Alexander Pschera

Alexander Pschera, born 1964 in West Germany, studied German, Philosophy and Music in Heidelberg. He is an author, publicist and translator.

Source: shutterstock Hand grinder of dark beans: Instant karma, not instant coffee

Endangered gestures:Grinding Coffee

Turning the crank liberates thoughts

A short time ago I got into a fix ( . . . another of these endangered gestures): It was a Sunday in summer, and we had invited friends over for breakfast. I realized that there was no more coffee in the storeroom. So I went to the neighbor. We live in a small village, and our house is surrounded by farmhouses. The Nespresso maker hasn’t yet arrived here. Coffee is still ground by hand. Without so much as a hint of embarrassment, the friendly farmer’s wife handed me a small bag of coffee and a wooden coffee grinder which must have been made in the 1950s. So I sat in the garden, held the grinder between my knees and began to turn the crank, as I had seen my grandmother’s housekeeper do it in the past. An aromatic fragrance arose from the grinder. The finer the coffee grounds became, the easier it became to turn the crank. My joyful anticipation of breakfast increased continuously. At the same time my thoughts were liberated, a meditative karma set in. A manually operated machine serves a human being, a human however is the servant of an automatic machine, into which he places a little plastic (!) form, which somehow transforms into a cup of coffee. The more a household becomes mechanised, the more pallid will become the joys, the blander the impressions, the more lacking in character will the human being finally become. The food processor finally marks the end of culinary workmanship just as artificial intelligence marks the end of thinking. By the way, when I returned the grinder to the friendly farmer’s wife, she only said: “You can keep it. We’ve got another.” Which, after some polite resistance, I did. From now on, I will grind my coffee every morning and at the same time I’ll think of my grandmother . . .

Translated from: Cato Magazin

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