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Slow Coffee

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It began at -- or rather, over -- a McDonald's. Carlo Petrini, an Italian political activist, was incensed that the fast-food giant was opening a stone's throw from Rome's Spanish Steps. What Petrini termed "Slow Food" was at once a cri de coeur against the standardized fast food offered by the chain, and a surprising catalyst for a movement that hoped to lead, in Geir Berthelsen's words, to a "Slow Planet." Fast forward to 2004. Carl Honore publishes In Praise of Slowness, in which he not only named the Slow Movement, but also distilled its ethos:"It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting."

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In the decade since Honore's book first appeared, the Slow Movement has, appropriately enough, expanded slowly. Its ideas have found currency in many areas of modern life as people increasingly look for ways to carve out oases of calm amid the hurry in their lives. Across fashion, education, photography, food, travel and even urban planning, people are discovering, as Honore put it, that "Slow is beautiful." The Slow Movement has even found its way to coffee. It's a stark contrast to the speed offered by instant coffee, Starbucks and Keurig, where the pace at which coffee is made and consumed at once fuels, and acts as a metaphor for, society's obsession with speed. Some companies associated with the Third Wave of coffee (especially Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, and any number of neighborhood coffee houses that value quality over speed) have wholeheartedly embraced Slow Coffee. The growth of companies like Japanese vendor Kinto and Dutch company Fascino Coffee prove that the home-grown aspect of Slow Coffee transcends borders and extends far beyond bringing home a bag of beans from Blue Bottle or Roasting Plant.

Enjoy Our Park Avenue Dark Roast (Slowly, of Course)
The pace of our lives is often hectic to a point where it might seem beyond our control. In that sense, the caffeine in our morning (or afternoon, or evening) coffee can be a double-edged sword. Being awake and alert is helpful, to be sure, but it can be helpful to make sure that the lift (or jolt) it brings with it doesn't lead to a mindless rush. Making and drinking your coffee slowly may seem like an indulgence, but it's worthwhile to find (or make) small still points in the rush of the day. Make your next cup of coffee an opportunity for calm and mindfulness. Learn More: Nick Stevens, Why We Chose for Slow Coffee ABS CBN: Why the 'Slow Coffee' Movement is Gaining Ground The Slow Project: http://theslowproject.com/ Slow Coffee: http://slowcoffee.com/ Ministry of Calm: http://ministryofcalm.com/ A TED Talk by Carl Honore (transcript here):