Creativity, Coffee, Conversation – Art, Heart & Craft of Life
A conversation over a cup of coffee can change our life…
It is no more a promised statement that gets often broken. More often the power of coffee is intrinsically more empowering to us. Just a casual encounter could well lead to a serious affair. A usual chat over a coffee in a café could become a harbinger of new beginning in our life. This could be between an entrepreneur and an investor. This could be between two friends meeting after a long hiatus. This could be between bloggers meeting for the first time in the real world, a much needed break from the virtual text to text comments to a face to face conversation. All these life changing conversation to get going needs the stimulation to simulate the warm up session and it is coffee that does with élan.
The secret of coffee is roasted in the red seeds of the green cherry.
Coffee and Caffeine
Coffee contains caffeine.
It is the heart of the matter.
Coffee acts as a stimulant and this is of mild intensity. As we enter into the cycle of sipping coffee, we set the rhythm; the caffeine slowly reaches our brain cells and gradually controls our neuron network. Our mind is a machine and is on constant work…the work of thinking. We are most of the times under the relentless siege of compulsive thinking. Mind bound to get tired and there is then the automatic onset of fatigue. This is not a good state of mind. We need some “Fatigue Breaker” and coffee acts as that positive catalyst to counter the negative affect. It helps in regaining the concentration to get our work going. Caffeine blocks the release of unhappy chemical that makes us feel drudgery. Also, it triggers the brain to produce dopamine, the happy chemical that makes us feel animated.
Caffeine in coffee has a limited role to play in terms of any permanent enhancer and expander. It does very little to enhance our ability to learn or expand our capacity of memory…
Coffee and Habit
Coffee drinking is a habit; many of us are in possession. It is a typical habit which is tricky to absolutely qualify as good or bad. Though excessive drinking is bad and moderate drinking is good. Much like many other habits that we harbor in our life where moderation matters, the habit of drinking coffee is no exception. Surplus caffeine in the brain makes it to create more adenosine receptors. It elevates the brain to a higher energy state, and commands the brain to take a break. Also, scientifically it’s been observed that in a lower energy state the subconscious neural network is relatively more creative. The creativity is a function of the cause of caffeine in the coffee, and it perhaps inversely proportional. The inference we can draw no caffeine in coffee, no creativity. There is a point in our mind where the creativity magnifies. Each one of us has our own point of state where it gets triggered and we can term that point as the “Ignition Point”.
Why are we not creative all the time?
What then drives creativity?
Is there a condition that augments our creativity?
These are legitimate questions that demand reasonable answers. We can attempt to suffice the quest for curiosity. Creativity after all is a state of mind and many factors contributes in creation of that state. And coffee continues to be one of the most intriguing factors that stimulates and simulates a state of creativity. It seems there is an umbilical cord between the cup of coffee and the cusp of creativity. This then gets aromatically conjures up the moment we shift our gear to that engaging mode of conversation. In other words coffee plays the critical role of breaking the barriers in our thoughts and making a difference in our mind to connect with the scattered thoughts. Deftly, this very changed state creatively weaves together the different threads of floating thoughts in our mind into a beautiful fabric of tale to tell.
The conversation starts…
Science of Caffeine
Caffeine is trimethylxanthine. The complex chemical name confounds us. It operates in the brain like the cocaine and heroin but in a much milder way. Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP) provides energy. It goes on to activate specific proteins. Caffeine blocks the enzyme that breaks down cyclic AMP. It stays longer and hence we have more energy to spare. Caffeine also blocks the adenosine receptors which liberates dopamine.
Caffeine is a natural or added part of coffee to chocolates to colas; we have either one of them or more of them everyday. Consumption of caffeine is an integral part of our daily life in one form or the other. It activates the adrenal gland leading to the production of adrenalin, known as the “Flight or Fight” hormone harmonizes the energy and galvanize our state of vigilance.
Neurons keep firing within the brain and in the process produce the chemical substance known as adenosine. This generates those tiny signals that get transmitted to different parts of the body. This in turns facilitates the processing of thoughts through the different lens of our senses that keep otherwise floating randomly within that cerebral space.
Caffeine is a brilliant actor and does the natural acting of that of adenosine telling the brain that body doesn’t need the rest. It is the test of stamina. The cup of coffee is doing a Placebo Affect by convincing the body that energy is in stored back to keep going. Stronger signals between neurotransmitter means we are more likely to discover the hidden connection between the different strands of ideas. In effect this entire phenomena implies that coffee chemically facilitates our thinking towards fostering creativity.
Art of Creativity
This is how we craft superimposing of this chemical phenomenon on the process of nurturing creativity? We are establishing an indirect correlation. Quite interestingly, it is the paradox, where science has always been reversely playing its clandestine part in the creation of art. Reverse in the sense it is scientists who get their idea conceptualized thorough the work of art and then those ideas undergoes the process of concretization through the body of science.
Coffee beans are actually seeds with the cherry like fruit called as berry.
There is a rhyme, much like poetry.
“Black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love”…the Turkish way of looking at the coffee, it is mystically poetic.
Beyond the poetry are the products. Coffee has two main varieties namely Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is mild tasting considered as the king of coffee and comprising of 3/4th of the world coffee production originally descend from the Ethiopian coffee tree. Robusta is bitter tasting largely found in the Southeast Asia and Brazil (highest coffee producing country) comprises of the balance i.e. 1/4th of the world market. And then we have the mixed flavour, a product of blending different varieties of coffee.
Creation of Coffee
A coffee tree is a work of art wherein evergreen timbered branches interspersed with dark green leaves growing opposite to each other like a “Romantic Pair”. It is the love of aroma in nurturing the nature at work. It starts with the fragrant white blossoms which later mature into coffee cherries. The tree needs rich soil and mild temperatures to nurturing its nature. The condition needed to grow and bear the beans that gets then roasted and grounded to produce the coffee.
There is an art in the crafting of the growth of the plant and bearing of the bean in the coffee tree.
Cherry after picking either goes through a dry or a wet method where the layers are removed from the beans through a process called as hulling, and are then graded and sorted based on the size and the density. Roasting is the culminating process where the coffee’s flavour is finally fulfilled. Coffee roasting is also called an art where the roast master employs light, time, smell, sight and sound to discover when the beans are roasted to perfection. It can be said if coffee is an art then brewing is a canvas to produce that masterpiece combing the colors of freshness, proportion of water and coffee, and the exact grind…Grinding is all about obtaining that perfect flavour.
Coffee and Conversation
There are these “Coffee and Conversation” meet up group around the world who meet with a cup of coffee to connect and collaborate. In Istanbul the native speakers meet to improve their English. In Tokyo, the group meets to share their experience of travelling and we are what we are because of collective sharing of travelling experience. In Ottawa, the group sole purpose is to meet new people and make friends.
In Washington elementary schools they have this “Coffee and Conversation” where parents meet on a particular day to discuss the various happenings in the school and how to better support their children’s growth and development.
In Dallas, there is another form of “Coffee and Conversation” group where the members work on a community engagement program providing space for open dialogue on topic to unite the people rather than divide them.
In Chicago, there is this “Coffee and Conversation” group comprises of entrepreneurs and innovators who value collaboration and face to face communication. The meeting takes place in new locations every month so as to explore and connect with vibrant landscape of different entrepreneurs and diverse innovators.
In Columbus, there is this “Conversations and Coffee”, a program that brings together artists and lovers of art where the participant bring their snacks to share and coffee is served during the conversation.
Creativity and Coffee
Creativity is not a normal state.
It needs an inspiration.
It needs a trigger.
Coffee craftily harnesses that state of activation.
How to train our mind to think creatively has always been the quintessential question that keeps haunting the scientist to artists. We are inspired by the artistic work of Leonardo Da Vinci to scientist work of Isaac Newton, and these are a product of creativity. Beyond our real world that world of imagination. This keeps giving us the magical glimpses of so many fascinating things to explore and new ideas to innovate that can change our way of living in the real world.
In the profound words of none other than the man himself, Albert Einstein “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge”.
The interesting question, can we simulate a state of real conversation in our world of imagination where we are fostering creativity, sounds intriguing…
Nihar R Pradhan