Today’s Coffee: Origin Story. A little project grown large.

I’m not what I would call a social media maven. I’ve only used this blog in the past to document the steps my husband and I took to downsize into a smaller house. I have a Facebook account (SandyNork) that I look at once or twice a day (and, by the way, repost a lot of coffee posts!), and a Twitter account (@novelgal) that languishes for months between my visits. I’ve had them for years. I use them when I need them.

I joined Instagram as novelgal back in 2011. I had no idea what to do with my account, or why I joined, or what kind of creativity it would inspire. I followed someone’s online suggestions, a little like using writing prompts, only trying to express my ideas visually. I added eleven photos. Fun, but it felt impersonal. I turned my attention to other things and forgot about Instagram.

In 2015, I added a photo of our front door at Christmastime using Instagram, thinking I’d play with the filters and create a photo for our Christmas card that year. Personal, but not very inspiring. The filters didn’t do much for the photo. The Christmas card never happened.

Then, one morning in November of 2017, I took this photo with Instagram.


I called it “A coffee miracle.” That little rolling waveform occurred all by itself with no manipulation.

There was no photo filter, nothing about what was in the cup other than coffee (it was Sumatra), or even a close, detailed look at the mug (the mug I refer to as my block mug). I thought it was a cool photo. I just didn’t know how I could consistently replicate the experience of unusual patterns of foam in my coffee. After all, I’m not a barista.

But an idea started percolating.

I love coffee. I especially love good coffee first thing in the morning. A lot of people do. But I got to thinking about why I like coffee and which coffees I drink all the time. I thought about why, after downsizing my mug collection in 2016, I kept the specific ones I kept. I wondered why I didn’t keep the mugs I no longer had that I missed. (Good news – not many!) I decided to document the mugs in my collection and mention the coffee I drink. The idea was to create a personal collection of mug photos in case I break or give away any. I decided to use Instagram, just in case the photos needed a little visual help.

It sounds simple, but it took me awhile to put my thoughts together, to decide that yes, l want to try Instagram again. I was coming up on the holidays, a hard time for me to start any new project for some reason. Also, I was having some issues with my arthritic right knee, which led me to begin physical therapy. During my six weeks of physical therapy I contracted the flu, followed by a nasty sinus infection.

I was starting to think I would never document my mug photo collection.

And then I thought, “Even if I can’t drink coffee, I CAN take a photo of the mugs I use.”

So my first official Today’s Coffee photo was this one.


And as I explained on Instagram, although this was one of my coffee mugs, I was drinking chicken broth in it.

What began as the Today’s Coffee thread started out with chicken broth and tea, but soon turned to Starbucks coffee and mugs. They’ve been my go-to supplier for a very long time. My equipment includes a Reserve drip funnel, two French presses, and a Verismo brewer, all purchased through Starbucks. But I like other brands (including my Cuisinart Grind N Brew), and I like to experiment and taste-test, so you will see some variety as time goes on.

If you follow my Instagram account, you already know that I  include many other things in my photos now. Plants, food, toys, books, musical instruments, quotations, author photos, household decorations, and clothing have found their way into my photos. They often have histories or meanings that I’d like to discuss in these blog entries.

I expect to show more ephemera and knick-knacks as time goes on, and I plan to include more books and authors. Because what goes better with coffee than a warm mug and an inviting book?




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