Sept. 29 is a holiday dedicated to those of us who know more about the origin of our morning brew than we do about our co-workers. Yep — it's National Coffee Day, and yep, this is exciting stuff if you love an energizing cup (or carafe) of java as much as I do. It is very, very tempting to use National Coffee Day as an excuse to get so hopped up on caffeine that you can hear colors, but that enjoyable buzz only lasts so long.
Because fighting complete mental burnout and withdrawal symptoms isn't the ideal way to spend your work day, it's probably wise to explore ideas for honoring the coffee gods that don't include adding an extra shot of espresso to your regular order. We all know, when it comes to coffee, more is only better until the crash; that's when you realize more was a terrible idea.
Although bopping from shop to shop in search of the best Americano sounds pretty amazing, there are other, more creative ways to spend National Coffee Day. Celebrate like a coffee connoisseur in any of these seven ways, and take advantage of the 24 hours dedicated to one of the greatest beverages ever produced by human hands.
1. Get after the deals of the day
Chase the caffeinated dragon while staying on budget! Lots of coffee-slinging establishments are doling out irresistible bargains on beverages, some even offering free cups. Today, you can take that money you'd normally spend on a grande latte and do something responsible with it, like treating yourself to a croissant.
2. Take a risk on a new shop
I know, I know, the baristas at the corner spell your name right, and they're happy to see you, and they know you love coconut milk and sometimes they don't even charge you for it (shh), but take National Coffee Day as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. Depending on your city, it could be a matter of just a few steps before you run into a corner bistro that you'd never know served the perfect flat white unless you worked up the courage to explore.
3. Surprise a friend with a cup
Remember that four bucks you saved on your normal order? Forget the croissant — that was a terrible idea. Instead, use it to pick up a cup for a friend, or a co-worker, or maybe the lady who works the crack-of-dawn shift at the gym. You'll improve someone's day, and be no deeper in debt for it.
4. Brush up on the origins of java
There's a lot more to this drink than we realize. Considering that coffee's been around for so long, it's kind of amazing that no one is 100 percent sure what its truest origins are. Spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with coffee's mysterious backstory, then drop a few nuggets of newfound knowledge into conversation later in the day. If you impress no one around you, at least you'll impress yourself.
5. Add something unexpected to your brew
A new twist on your typical morning fare, coffee add-ins can range from the alcoholic to the grass-fed. On this special day dedicated to all of coffee's many variations, go crazy and try something to differentiate this holiday from the rest of the caffeine-fueled mornings you slog through. Instead of using coffee as a means of surviving the day, do it the honor of being the star of the show. Give it some extra love to say thanks for always being there when you need it.
6. Whip up the perfect complement to coffee...
Cake! Coffee cake. Zucchini coffee cake from How Sweet Eats, to be exact. This recipe for a sweet, dense accompaniment to a strong cup of Joe is exactly what you'll want mid-morning. And, hey, vegetables!
7. Invest in a French press
Die-hard coffee nerds and my well-traveled aunt agree, the French press is the best way to prepare a pour-over coffee. Sure, anyone can buy one of these gadgets, but the trick is in the art of brewing. Blue Bottle Coffee has an easy-to-read and visually appealing tutorial on using a French press the right way. Celebrate National Coffee Day with the perfect cup that you made yourself. Pat yourself on the back, get out there, and revel in the thought that today, everyone you cross paths with will likely be caffeinated to the point of bliss, and that means it's going to be a great Thursday.