This piece was originally conceived to be read as a non-linear mind-map; do check it out if you prefer a more visual, non-linear reading experience!

musings are a trail of thoughts that may or may not end somewhere interesting


If asked to choose, I'm definitely a tea person rather than a coffee person.

But after reading Bear Pond Espresso's LIFE IS ESPRESSO book...I am reminded of how, it is coffee, not tea, that has woven together so many of the beautiful relationships I have in life.

The connections I've forged through coffee...

If I say I'm not a coffee person,
I know a (many) few people who will roll their eyes and or freak out.

Yet that remains true.

Coffee is not a pleasurable flavor in and of itself for me.

But it's led me to amazing friendships. I'm friends with my colleague at the bottle shop because of coffee. I made friends with the founders of Bootleg Coffee over coffee... The owners of Double Up coffee, whose coffee accompanied me to New York, and tide-ed me through the drought of finding cozy pourover spots. I've had coffee tasting nights that led to delicious soy sauces in my fridge from sake sommeliers...

Sure I have a tea mom, and I make my art primarily with tea.
But I have less beautiful tea relationships than coffee ones.

The relationships I do hear about in the tea world involve so much pretension, commercialism...where's the romance I wonder.
This quieter medium somehow is fraught with more drama and uncomfortable people...

The tea world that I have touched was mostly fraught with drama and pettiness. There's a distance between tea people. A sense of snobbishness rather than community. There's competition, and there is drama. I'm sure these exists in the coffee world as well, and might be even more intense. But somehow I've been fortunate enough to be spared it; to only be surrounded by warmth and welcome.

I'm sure the following is also true for tea.
It turns out every café, or every coffee, is like a work of art. From sourcing to roasting to brewing. The owner, (or the barista), is trying to say something. The cup you are drinking stands for something:
Usually, a form of highly individualistic self-expression.

Compared to coffee, the brewing of tea is usually more flexible and is often brewed to the drinker's taste. (Maybe this is why my people-pleaser self feels more alignment to tea...)

There's also something curious about coffee. Or coffees the produced by a café as it expands. The owner decides on an expression...like a song writer who writes a song. But it is  prepared by someone else: the barista on duty. Who may not feel, embody, or even know the story behind that cup. Like a musician who plays the music but may not stand or embody its lived expression.

And what about the farmers and roasters? Like the craftsmen who make instrument, they don't decide what message that coffee is going to stand for. They merely prepare the canvas, avail the opportunities...


Today I learned about espresso and New York coffee. It may not be my style of beauty and aesthetics, but I understand now. And that affords me appreciation, as well as the ability to indulge.

Espresso is the intensity of expression, it reminds me of my taste story about angels...An intense, dense experience that you need time to process in the background as you go about your day.

Tea is (and maybe Pourover too) is about stretching the moment to infinity, while espresso is about compressing infinity into a moment.
Both beautiful in their own ways.

There's a connection here I have no words for.
We live in a web of intricately, beautifully woven serendipities.
Ri Chang
The intersensory workaholic who has made life their job. Also an artist-padawan...and kind of long-winded. 康復中的工作狂. 正努力練習認真生活