9 Caffeine Lovers on Why Their Morning Coffee Routine Is an Act of Self-Care

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Routines can be grounding, calming, special, and even the highlight of your day. Just ask any coffee lover about brewing their morning cup, and you'll get an earful about how comforting it feels to start your day with the soft whir or slow drip of your trusty coffee machine. (Of course, coffee is a stimulant, so it can increase anxiety levels for some people, too.) With moderation, many people have a positive relationship with coffee and other caffeinated beverages. After all, it is a valued and cherished tradition across hundreds of cultures. (TBH, what's not to love when it comes to coffee?)

I started to recognize how special my coffee routine is during the early days of the pandemic when I needed some sort of punctuation to break up the seemingly endless hours spent in my apartment. New York City was entirely locked down, so I just stopped going out to get coffee—partly because there were no businesses even open to grab one. My own coffee preparation became something that I could return to daily to give me a sense of order, encouragement, pleasure, and familiarity. In fact, having a daily routine, particularly during high-stress times like the pandemic, has been shown to help protect your mental health, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Global Health.

I even found it calming to watch other people make their morning coffee. I started following influencer and writer Maggie McGill, who sparked an Instagram trend called the Morning Pour Club, where they filmed themselves pouring their first cup of coffee for the day. It felt nice to see someone else sharing such a simple and comforting ritual, and also get a glimpse of how many different ways other people perform the act of making a caffeinated treat.

With that in mind, I set out to understand why coffee lovers from all walks of life cherish their morning brew so much. Here's what they had to say.

"I am very involved in making the coffee, as I grind my own beans and brew in a pour-over. This makes it feel more personal and sort of a small accomplishment to start the day off."– Rachel, a marketing specialist

It can be the one constant in your life

"I've drunk an iced latte nearly every morning since I was 16. It's literally been the only constant in my life since adolescence. It gives me a routine through my life's chaos in a world that often feels like it's falling apart. My morning lattes give my days a beginning—and act as a sign that it's safe for me to show up fully as myself, protecting me from whatever lies ahead."—Jordan, a model

It just makes you feel really, really happy

"I was at a cooking gig upstate where they had a beautiful coffee maker, and while I was there, my morning coffee routine literally set the tone for my day. I felt like I had a moment of peace for myself; it was blissful. Pressing the silly little buttons. Watching the milk frother warm my milk. Before having to take care of everyone for the day…bliss."—Maghan, a poet

It can help you to be more mindful

"Aside from the suggested protective health benefits of moderate doses of caffeine, the mental routine in the morning is the only one I'm consistently able to keep! It's also my favorite mindfulness opportunity."—Katie, a clinical psychology doctoral student

It can actually motivate you to get out of bed in the morning

"This is almost too hard to put into words! I make coffee at home, and it's literally the first thing I do in the morning. Some days it motivates me to get out of bed. And it offers a really good rhythm where I can start my pot and then get something else done (get dressed, wash my face, etc.), and so I can come back, and it's done and at a good temperature. And then it's nice not to have to get moving again until I've finished my cup."—Haley, an academic librarian

It can connect you with faraway friends and family

"Especially as I'm continuing to isolate at home because of COVID, my morning coffee routine is not only something to look forward to but also a ritual that anchors me to the friends and family I miss—I know my mom is somewhere popping a pod into her Keurig, my sister downing an espresso, my best friend getting her PSL on, and so I can sit in my home, ground myself, and steady myself in this common connection."—Han, a poet

It can encourage community and facilitate friendships

"I didn't even drink coffee until quarantine, but it was the [only] thing that was open. I had three minutes every day when someone outside of my home would see me and the outfit I put on just for this, even though I knew I'd change the minute I got home. The baristas were the only strangers I interacted with regularly, and I needed that. Now I like coffee, and I still approach baristas like friends and tethers to reality! Ordering coffee has become a way of like… micro-dosing extroversion. And maybe that's not fair to them, but I'm grateful for my little local coffee shop and the little relationship I have with them."—Rio, a graphic designer

It can connect you to your partner

"I like to have a morning ritual (pour-over carafe or home cold brew in warm months!) I also pick music to play while getting dressed, etc. It's a nice moment to have with a partner in the morning, too; my partner has a favorite mug when he sleeps over."—Elliot, a writer and volunteer coordinator for a food pantry

It can be about cherishing the steps as much as the final result

"My morning coffee routine helps me start the day with something productive, familiar, and comforting. I am very involved in making the coffee, as I grind my own beans and brew in a pour-over. This makes it feel more personal and sort of a small accomplishment to start the day off."– Rachel, a marketing specialist

It can give you a chance to have fun

"I make my own coffee at home, and I bought a handheld frother. I honestly just really love the intentional practice of having fun with my coffee instead of just using it as a lifeline. I add things that taste good, like vanilla almond milk, etc., because we all deserve a little treat every f**king day. (And I don't skip the sugar!)"– Sam,  a therapist

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