Resetting expectations

Coffee and running have the ability to mess with what you think you know + V60 Cold Brew method


TL;DR: Running is hard. Coffee is good. James Hoffman’s Cold Brew Method for the V60 is at the bottom of this post.

Coffee is yum

About a month or so ago, before lockdown, I went for a coffee with a mate down to New Chapter Coffee Brewers by the Wellington Railway Station - it’s an amazing place that I’ve written about before.

We ordered some sort of filter coffee from Rocket Coffee, brewed on the V60. When Long Nguyen brought coffee by the table, he noted to us that this coffee had big apricot notes. My friend was confused - apricot? How can a coffee taste like apricot? How can a coffee taste anything other than, well, coffee?

This coffee did in fact have a massive apricot flavour and it really did throw my mate. It totally reset their expectations on what you can get from coffee.

The next time we went, a whole new world was opened. It was like they were seeing coffee for the first time.

Coffee has definitely been like that for me. Surprisingly, running has been like that too.

Running is fundamentally quite a simple pursuit

On the face of it, running is quite simple. Go for a run, keep doing it for a bit, and you’ll be able to run further and further.

I soon discovered that this wasn’t the case. Just going for a run might make you fitter and stronger, but unless you work on your old mind brain - the nugget - you won’t keep improving.

When I was training for the 10km race back in February, I was really daunted by it. I wasn’t sure if I could complete the distance, let alone do it in a time that I thought was respectable.

During that training, I had a 12km run scheduled. I knew it was coming in week 8 of training, and I let that weigh on my mind from day one. How could I do that sort of distance? That’s soooooo far. I hyped it up so much in my mind that come the day for this jog, I fell apart. I let the mind over come the legs. It was terrible. I hated every step.

The next day though, I realized that I had actually run(ish) 12km. It really shouldn’t have come as any surprise, I had been training for two months. I let that sink in. I had just done something I was really sure I couldn’t. But I did. It reset the expectation in my head about what I could achieve and unlocked something.

The next time I ran that 12km, a few weeks later, I ran knowing that the distance wasn’t a problem, and I had a great time. It wasn’t fast, but I ran free.

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The more I learn the more I forget

There’s some sort of saying about information not being knowledge without wisdom or something. I don’t know. But fast forward a few months and I’m training for a 24 km trail run and I was feeling the same way I had when training for the 10km race - I pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Even though I have experienced pushing through the mental block of a distance, and even though I was being guided by a training programme, there was no way I could actually run this thing. I really thought that, 14 weeks into training - until last Thursday.

Bashing out a run

I had worked all day, writing words that no one will read, not really paying much attention to the day as it had progressed. At about 3pm, I realised I needed to do a run. I checked the schedule - a 21km run was on the cards.


It is the longest run of the training block, and it had snuck up on me. I didn’t have the chance to think about and agonize over this run. Which, as it turned out, was a good thing.

I got ready, fired up my kit, and an hour and a half after being presented this challenge, just as the sun was starting to make it’s way into the magic pre-twilight stage, I was running.

Not just running, but running my first half marathon distance in over 10 years, and only the second time in my life I had run that far.

I chucked on the best mindless podcast I could find, and just ran (actually it was a brilliant comedy podcast about gaming - called Gamey Gamey Game).

And ran.

And ran.

For an amount of time that is neither here nor there (I’m not a runner - it wasn’t fast) but I did it.

More than the fitness boost I’ll get from it, the major benefit of this run is the mental block I’ve now overcome. I’m certain I’ll finish this event now. It’ll be slow, and I’ll be bringing up the back, but I’ll finish - that I know.

What’s the lesson?

Dunno. Don’t look at your training plans? Running will set you free? There might not be a lesson here. There might be. I’ll probably forget it nonetheless.

The major real life lesson I learnt was that COLD BREW IN A FLASK IS A BAD IDEA.

I fired up a V60 chilled coffee for this one - recipe below - and thought it would be a great fuel for the run.

So, I put it 200ml of the delicious Grey Roasting Company Kenyan Kamwangi PB into a 500ml soft bottle and chucked it in the bag with my other water and supplies. About 8km in, around the Shandon Golf club, I pulled out my coffee. As a treat right? I deserved it! I needed the fuel.

This was going to rock.


Turns out running with 200ml of coffee in a 500ml bottle means you create 300ml of gross foam.

All the running had shaken everything up so bad it turned my delicious cold brew treat into a warm, foamy disgusting mess, so bad that I ended up spitting it out with a noise so terrible it made a golfer massively slice his tee shot on the 14th. Whoops.

Lesson learnt - next time, fill the whole damn bottle up.

Make hot coffee cold - James Hoffman’s V60 Cold Brew method

There are a bunch of ways to make Cold Brew or Cold Drip coffee. I’ve written about a few on here before.

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty (unless you shake it all up…) method, look no further than James Hoffman’s V60 method.

  1. Rinse your filter paper like normal

  2. Grind up 15g of coffee, slightly finer than you usually would

  3. Boil up 135g of water, up to 95 degrees

  4. Put 90g of ice into your decanter

  5. Put your V60 on top, and brew like you normally would, directly on to the ice.

  6. Stir it up to melt the ice, serve and enjoy

Key bits:

  • Coffee to water ratio = 1:15 = 1g of coffee to 15g of water

  • Ice to hot water ratio = 40% ice to 60% water

Thanks for chooning in

That’s it for another week. I’ll keep blasting these out so I can look back and see how terrible this whole running thing really is.