Phase 1: Observe
Every morning, after I roll out of bed at approximately 8:30, I head to the kitchen to brew a fresh cup of coffee. While I enjoy both hot and iced coffee, I have been enjoying refreshing iced coffee during the last couple of warm months. I began to drink coffee, specifically iced coffee, at the age of 17. I use coffee as a source of energy, but I also like to drink it just for pleasure.
List of materials
- Two tumblers
- One straw
- Ninja coffee maker (with milk frother attachment)
- Dunkin coffee grounds
- Monin french vanilla syrup
- Ice cubes
- 1% milk
I took the majority of the pictures on my own using my iPhone XR. I also had my mother, Kristen Dixon, take a few pictures.
For the time lapse, I used my iPad.
Fill the water tank.
When I first get out of bed, I immediately head to the kitchen. The first thing I do is fill the Ninja coffee maker water tank with water. I am usually a bit disoriented when I complete this task because my eyes are adjusting to the bright morning light and I usually get up out of bed way too quickly.
Pour coffee grounds into coffee maker.
Next, I reach into the cabinet and select the coffee grounds I want to use. The kind of coffee grounds I use sometimes vary from day to day. However, I have been loving the Dunkin coffee grounds. I scoop 3 small scoops of coffee grounds into the Ninja coffee maker bin.
Adjust the settings to medium cup and cold brew.
Place tumbler underneath spout, press start.
I pick out a tumbler from the cabinet, place it in the coffee maker, and press start. I am impatient when my coffee is brewing, so I start prepping the latte base.
Prep the milk mixture in a separate tumbler.
Since the coffee takes approximately 5 minutes to brew, I prep the milk and syrup in a second tumbler. This is my favorite part of the process because making the milk mixture makes me feel like a barista.
I pump 2 pumps of Monin french vanilla syrup into the second tumbler.
I usually eyeball the following measurements, rather than using proper measuring cups, to limit the amount of dishes I use. I like to pour approximately 1/4 cup of 1% milk into the second tumbler.
Froth the milk mixture.
Once the milk and syrup are in the tumbler, I use the milk frother attachment on the Ninja coffee maker and froth the mixture. I love this step because the milk foams up and by now, the cold brew is almost done!
Scoop the ice into the tumbler.
Next, I scoop ice into the second tumbler. This is my least favorite step because I have to bend over to get the ice from the ice bin.
Pour cold brew into tumbler.
Once the cold brew is done, I fill the rest of the second tumbler with the coffee.
Stir and enjoy!
Lastly, I place a straw in the tumbler, stir, and enjoy! This is the part of the routine where I am the happiest. I get satisfaction from the hard work that I had put into making a delicious iced coffee.
My morning iced coffee routine has been the exact same, every morning, for the past couple of months. I didn’t realize how repetitive my iced coffee routine is until I documented my process for this project. I roll out of bed, head to the kitchen, and start this 7 minute routine. I prep the coffee maker, start the cold brew, prep the milk mixture, and combine the ingredients. The results? A delicious sweet drink. I usually begin the process very tired, but making my coffee excites me. As I move around the kitchen, I begin to wake up and I get excited for the end product. By the time my coffee is done, I am ready to drink it and start my day!
Synthesising the flow into a journey map.
This journey map evaluates the deep emotions and variations in my extensive iced coffee morning routine.
First, I laid out each step to create a skeleton for the journey map. Then, I filled in the blank spaces with my feelings and other details. I underlined where I yearned for the routine to be over in a dark green color. I felt a yearning when I woke up because I had to find the motivation to get out of bed and into the kitchen. The next place I felt a yearning was at the frothing stage. The milk looked delicious as it foamed up, and I could smell the sweet syrup. I felt the strongest yearning when I stirred my coffee, and was almost at the end of the routine.
There are a few points of variability within my iced coffee morning routine. The types of grounds I select for my morning coffee varies from morning to morning. For a normal morning, I will have regular, medium ground coffee. However, sometimes I will use some of my mom’s light grounds depending on how strong, or how caffeinated, I want my coffee.
At the end of the journey, I evaluated the reasons why I feel satisfaction when completing the task. I also felt it was important to note the possible negative emotions that may have occurred throughout, or at the conclusion, of the process.
I start the day with a cup of coffee because it is a motivator to get me out of bed, and it stimulates my mind and body. I also know I will feel accomplished when I complete this task because I made my own gourmet coffee rather than buying one out.
I felt it was important to also acknowledge the negative emotions that are felt if there is an error in the routine. Sometimes, I add too much milk or too little syrup which makes my coffee taste off. Also, I feel a sense of stress and disappointment when I run out of the milk I use, forcing me to use an alternative. The last negative outcome would be dropping my coffee at the completion of the routine. When I drop my coffee, my draw drops and I am usually speechless. When I drop my coffee, I have started my day off on the wrong foot.
My iced coffee routine evokes a range of emotions at the start of each day. By completing this task, I feel a level of satisfaction that boosts me into the rest of the day.
Phase ii: expand / contract
After completing research on my iced coffee morning routine, I realized how much joy and satisfaction the task brings me. I am interested in nudging a factor in the coffee making process that brings me these feeling, and see what effect it has on my mood.
First, I brainstormed the different variables I could manipulate in my routine on sticky notes and arranged them on a scale. The top of the scale is labeled “how interesting”, and the left side is labeled “level of impact”. After I arranged the sticky notes, I grouped similar sticky notes together into three categories:
- changing the actual coffee routine
- incorporating technology
- changing my mindset
After narrowing down my most interesting and impactful ideas, I settled on “Journal before starting routine”. When I wake up, I am usually exhausted by the idea of getting myself out of bed and ready for the day. My first thoughts of the day are usually negative ones. What if I took a moment to pause and reflect before diving into my morning coffee routine? What is fueling my happiness and motivation in the morning?
The Concept: Journaling before starting coffee routine
My nudge idea is journaling before starting the main coffee making process. Journaling is a therapeutic way for me to process my stress and anxiety.
- No Phone! (exception; camera and timer)
The bright light from my iPhone screen strains my eyes, especially in the morning. I want to shift my focus from a screen, which often causes stress, to a clean sheet of paper, waiting to be filled with my thoughts and feelings.
I will use the camera to document the process, and the timer to help keep track of the time.
2. Journal morning reflections, and intentions.
While I’ll probably stay in bed for this nudge, my goal is to create a cozy morning to help start my day off in a positive way. I want to center and ground myself for journaling. I plan to reflect on the weekend, list what I am thankful for, write out my goals for the day/ week, and log some progress in my agenda.
I hope the process of journaling before making and consuming my coffee reveals the true source of my happiness and motivation in the morning.
For this nudge, I simply woke up and reached for my journal. I opened up to a new page and started writing down my thoughts. I set a timer for 30 minutes, but actually finished in 15. After journaling, I jumped into my coffee routine, as described in phase i.
My coffee routine isn’t the only activity that brings me joy in the morning. By adding journaling into the routine, I was able to take a moment to pause before jumping straight into my extensive coffee routine.
Journaling helped me stay calm and focused. My coffee routine helped me feel productive and energized. Journaling helped me get into a positive mindset before I even left my bed!
In conclusion, journaling helped me slow down, pause, and reflect on the day ahead. I plan on adding this step in my daily routine!
I was born and raised in America, so I focused my research on America’s “coffee culture”. I want to investigate how coffee became a staple in our daily routines, and how coffee is prepared compared to other countries around the world.
Coffee as a stimulant
- “People wake up to a pot of coffee rather than a pot of apple juice.” (video) Why? The American people use coffee as a stimulant to help jump start their day.
How coffee became a “cheap luxury”
- “Postwar coffee”- Instant coffee was the trend
- The “second wave”- Starbucks paved the way with their delicious craft drinks
- The “third wave”- A “refinement of…. Starbucks”- Finally, coffee has become a craft. A “cheap luxury”. There is more attention to the aesthetic, overall experience, and the roast.
True coffee connoisseurs are frustrated that people “mask” the natural coffee flavor with excessive amounts of cream, sugar and syrups.
Coffee customization is important to Americans.
- “American coffee is supposed to come in a larger sized cup, it is more expensive and it is customizable to the point in which the flavor of the coffee itself is lost”
“…while in Europe, it is hardly as customizable outside of sweetness and whether milk is added or not…”
Young adults are the primary consumers of coffee in America.
- “as much as 44% of America’s coffee is drank by… young adults”
Aesthetics are a huge draw for coffee drinkers
- “… they also specify that coffee is more acceptable to drink in public than soda and sugary drinks, due to the image of the person they carry on: someone who drinks soda is usually judged as somewhat lazier or less elegant, while coffee carries a classier note to it”
- “coffee shops are a mandatory stop on the way home, with their warm atmosphere, the welcoming baristas, the pastries and the option to customize your order are what keep attracting customers”
What does the coffee routine mean?
The research I conducted on the American coffee routine and habits can be summed up into these keywords: customization/ expensive/ aesthetic/ ritual/ craft.
In my own routine, nudge, and research, I noticed a common theme of crafting an aesthetic experience. Many articles that I read during the research phase noted the importance of aesthetics to Americans. The “warm atmosphere (of coffee shops), the welcoming baristas, the pastries… are what keep attracting customers” (The influence of millennials article).
Why? Who doesn’t love drinking a beautiful cup of coffee and being surrounded by a picturesque environment.
I focused my ideation on creating an even more aesthetic, futuristic, coffee experience both in coffee shops and the home.
Normalizing & creating a designated/ sacred/ aesthetic place at home reserved for morning coffee ritual: Instead of a reading nook, coffee nooks should become a new trend. This would bring the comfy and cozy environment of coffee shops into the home!
Coffee shops with complimentary mindful journals & journaling prompts: In this future, coffee shops would offer a free journal with the purchase of a coffee. This would encourage customers to pause and reflect on their day. The prompts would change each day.
Having the whole Starbucks coffee bar installed in the home (syrups and everything): Starbucks is a whole aesthetic and experience in itself. This future would have Starbucks coffee bars installed in homes with the whole line up of syrups and sauces. This would enable the user to create endless, aesthetically pleasing coffees without leaving their home.
Coffee maker automatically selects music, tumbler/ coffee cup, and candle scent for the morning: Take the guesswork out of selecting and curating the morning aesthetic. In this future, the set up process is accelerated through a coffee machine that does all of the guess work for you. This allows for more time to relax and get mentally prepared for the day.
After considering all of these ideas, I would like to detail out “coffee shops with complimentary mindful journals and journaling prompts”. The goal of this idea is to create an inviting atmosphere, encouraging thoughtful journaling and meaningful quiet time.
Developing a Storyboard
First, I created titles to help me organize my ideas and storyboard. I came up with the titles and any additional details that were needed.
- Order coffee- Ordering coffee helps excited the subject about the upcoming experience. This is the first step when arriving at a coffee shop.
- Select mini journal- Near the pick up counter, there are shelves filled with complimentary journals and/or journaling packets. The customer can choose a journal that reflects what he or she needs to focus on for the day.
- Journal + Coffee!- Finally, after all of the materials are gathered, the coffee and journaling process can be enjoyed. This is a moment of reflection and meditation.
Next, I created the storyboard doodles and some additional, simple titles. In these doodles, I added some labels to help the viewer understand these drawings. I made sure to include the various feelings and emotions that may be experienced throughout this process.
Through this blog, I have been able to analyze the role coffee plays in my life. After conducting research on American coffee culture, I have discovered that customization and aesthetics are essential to create the ultimately coffee experience. I value both of these characteristics in my daily routine.
I enjoy the coffee regime because it is a productive and delicious way to start my day. I have discovered that coffee is not the only activity that could bring me joy in the mornings. Reflective activities such as journaling can be a positive and calming start my day, especially paired with coffee.