How to Make a Cup of Coffee

(a guide for the caffeine-deprived philosopher)

Step 1: place filter paper in coffee grounds holding unit. Spend precisely ten seconds pondering the fine mesh of plant fibers, bleached to snow-white perfection. Wonder what poor tree, having weathered the elements for decades, gave its life so that you could enjoy your beverage. Shed a single tear before moving on with your life.

Step 2: measure out one quarter cup of coffee grounds. Inhale deeply through your nose and savor the aroma with your limited human sense of smell. Let it transport you to the tropical environment the beans called home. Realize that, depressingly, your food is better traveled than you are. Make a solemn vow to out-travel all food in your house, or at least buy local from now on. Pour grounds into holding unit.

Step 3: measure out 3-4 cups of water. Slowly pour water into holding tank. As you do so, gaze in wonder at the stream of bonded hydrogen and oxygen and contemplate its significance in the world as a whole. Feel bad for using precious clean water for such a banal thing as making coffee. Promise to donate money to a charity that gives pure water to those in need. Turn on coffee pot.

Step 4: allow coffee to percolate. Now would be a good time to go do something else, such as make some toast, butter a bagel, pour some cereal, fry up some Kobe beef, plan a vacation, or make a donation to a charity of your choice via PayPal. Or you could just stare out the window and ponder your own insignificance. The choice is yours.

Step 5: pour coffee into mug. Add non-dairy creamer, if you like. Watch as the creamer forms little off-white islands in the dark ocean of hot, steamy goodness. Wonder why you never got around to writing that fantasy novel. Set creamer aside. Add sugar, if you like. Marvel at the fact that each granule is its own self-contained world, a saccharine mountain crisscrossed with deep gorges and sharp peaks. Realize that you've added too many saccharine mountains to your coffee. Set sugar aside. Stir coffee.

Step 6: sip coffee carefully, so as not to burn yourself. Enjoy the taste, even if it is a little too sweet. Turn off coffee pot. Have a seat in your favorite chair. Close your eyes. Let your mind wander. Smile at the knowledge that small pleasures still exist.