photography by Chelsea Paisley & words by Lauren Dundler
Communion | 2015
'For I have known them all already, known them all:Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.'
- T. S. Eliot.
A quasi-minimalist cafe inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design in Surry Hills, Sydney emphasises three things: coffee, function and purpose. Artificer Coffee is a space that fosters the relationship between barista, patron and the daily coffee ritual.
Coffee has become a naturalised gesture in our lives. A ritualistic staple in the modern world, it heralds the morning and also occasionally slips by for an afternoon visit or lingers after a hearty evening meal.
In 1920, T. S. Eliot introduced to us the concept of measuring one’s life in coffee spoons, and this image continues to resonate with contemporary audiences. The art of creation and consumption of coffee has become a point of communion between the cafes that share it, the people that drink it, and the wider community around them both. Urban environments are dominated by coffee culture and even the humblest of country towns offer gathering places where coffee can be created and consumed.
Despite coffee being ubiquitous in the modern world, it remains a highly private experience. The coffee we choose to drink becomes an extension of our own personality in this constantly changing world where we seek timeless, personal experiences. Our consumption of coffee is a ritual performed so regularly that it becomes embedded within us. We rarely hesitate when asked what coffee to order because the answer is an internalised gesture: small latte, no sugar. The only other question we respond to with the same amount of confidence concerns our full name, address or date of birth.
We form intimate relationships not only with the brew, but also the cafes that produce it. Whether selected for convenience, aesthetics, ambiance or product quality, we often forge bonds with these centres of coffee culture. These surroundings are chosen as they invite us to embrace a quiet, reflective moment before the day has begun or before we are able to return to the task at hand.
It is not unusual to know the name of your regular barista as the relationships we forge with the physicality of cafes and the staff that work within them are essential to our coffee consumption experience. Relationships are also fostered by the shared experience of partaking in coffee together. Coffee shared between colleagues can be highly conducive for innovation and increased productivity, especially if occurring outside of the work place. And a coffee break with a friend is capable of nurturing both ourselves and our cherished relationships. These moments of reflection and calm are the perfect opportunities for comfort, future planning and reminiscing. Coffee is a communal experience that brings us together, binds us and centres us.
More than just a beverage that keeps us awake, alert and motivated. It is part of a community where relationships are fostered and our souls are offered a reprise from our chaotic lives. The coffee we drink, the place where we drink it and the people with whom we share it are a break from the rapidity and distractions of modern life: a moment of calm and appreciation for quality of company, quality of exceptional artisanal coffee, and quality of life.
Artificer Coffee is located at 547 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010