Why Fast and Easy Doesn’t Always Serve Us

When was the last time you made time stop?

Verena Wilmes
4 min readFeb 8, 2022
Photo by Charles Sims on Unsplash

Last year, a few days before my birthday, I bought myself a portafilter machine. And I had no idea, what I got myself into. I kind of naively expected to get very good espresso right away, without the need of going through some kind of learning process. In the modern world who needs to learn something about coffee to get one? There is not much that we can do wrong when brewing coffee or using instant coffee or handling our automatic coffee machine. So before getting any kind of decent espresso, I got a lecture from that portafilter machine.

Let me start by telling you, that to have good espresso or cappuccino you have to know something about the degree of grinding, the time of grinding, extraction time, and the frothing of milk. Things that change depending on the sort of beans you have. Things that sometimes even change daily. For whatever reason. So, it’s more challenging than to push a button and get the perfect coffee.

It’s about getting involved in a learning process, that frustrated me in the first days. It frustrated me that much, I was ready to throw the whole machine out the window after another cup of bad espresso. I asked myself, why I didn’t buy a fully automatic machine, where pushing a button is everything that needs to be done.

Fast and easy.

I was discouraged and surprised at myself, how fast I got discouraged. But that’s how it seems to be these days. Do we really have time for something else than fast and easy? It seems we’re constantly stressed out from work and from squeezing exercise, a social life, responsibilities, and a hundred other things into twenty-four hours. Why should anyone take time to learn how to create the perfect espresso? Especially when there are machines out there, doing it for us.

Fast and easy.

At least, that was what my friends were saying when I told them about my struggle. And their answers led me to the realization, that this is exactly what is going on in this world right now. We use apps for everything, we trust machine learning way more than our learning and we want everything to be fast and easy delivered to us. Do we ever wonder if that saves us that much time and how we spent that saved time? I guess for most of us, the answer is, we spent that time with our smartphones.

However, I bought that machine, because I wanted to learn, how to brew espresso with a portafilter machine in the first place. And I was shocked about how fast I was ready to throw in the towel. Technology made our life more comfortable and easy and we should be grateful for that. To some degree, it also does save us precious time. Isn’t it funny though, that we’re still under constant pressure and stress in the modern world? Or did we simply unlearn how to indulgence into a learning process, how to be patient? Did we unlearn how to make time stop?

A process like speaking a foreign language starts difficult and requires constant practice and involvement. And it offers setbacks. And this is something that ranges way behind instant satisfaction in the reward system of our brain. Yet, a learning process offers several dopamine peaks when we start to master the craft step by step. And isn’t it the losing ourselves in a thing, a process, that makes us forget about the passing of time?

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment

You own it, you better never let it go

Eminem — Lose Yourself

It’s that verse that describes best how I feel. Work is the most interesting when I can indulge in one task. I feel most fulfilled when I lose myself in whatever I do. Be it writing or reading or doing sports. When I don’t look for my smartphone or the clock.

Figuring out the portafilter machine and finding my taste in espresso, means being in the moment. And moments are everything life has to offer. Life is happening in moments.

Advertisements like to fool us about how amazing it is, to do everything instantly via smartphone. How helpful it is to not have to think deeper about something, or to get involved in something. But that may not always be the right way.

So for you, it may not be coffee but go out there and lose yourself in something. Something different than your Instagram Feed.