Handy Work

Oh hey! It’s Aashifa speaking, it has been a while since we last caught up on here. I hope you are in the best of health, drinking a coffee that you like, and have indulged in some self care. For this blog post we want you to kick your feet back as we won’t be needing them right now, because we’re going to talk about a human’s most precious tool: hands. 

As baristas, roasters, importers, producers, pickers, cuppers, coffee drinkers, V60 makers, we use hands for every task. Don’t believe me? Let’s talk this out for a second. With nimble fingers we pour latte art, with extreme care we pour from goose-necked kettles, wash dishes, insert portafilters into group heads, take cash, hand coffee to customers, what don’t we do with our hands?

Following our clay workshop and a live-feed class on hand exercises last week, we thought it would be good to share a blog on how to take care of your hands whilst following social distancing measures. In this blog you can expect to read through simple exercises, and some ideas about new skills you can learn using your hands.

The average human being has 17 muscles in their hand, none of which are in the fingers. The muscles that control our fingers are all in the palm of our hand; these muscles are broken down into two main categories: flexors and extensors. The flexors are responsible for closing the palm and the extensors for opening. Your fingers are reliant on the muscles in your palm and forearm, the index finger alone requires 7 muscles to control its movements. If you’ve ever taken a pottery class, a calligraphy class, or  even taken a course with the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) you may remember being taught certain practices that were ergonomical and best practices. These practices are put in place to support your hands and fingers, and prevent the risk of causing repetitive strain injury.

Simple hand exercises are known to reduce tension, strengthen mobility and fine motor skills as well as ease aches and pains. In addition to what has been shared on our social media we are including a few more stretches for you to have a go at! Please find some hand exercises below:

Finger Pull (top left)

Gently pull each finger till you feel a tug sensation in your finger, be careful not to pull too hard or too quickly. Slow and easy is best. Repeat the pull on each finger and on both hands, aim to hold each stretch for 10 seconds. 

Finger Walking (top right)

Similar to the finger pull, for this stretch you want to gently stretch each finger sideways as opposed to out. Once again, slow and easy is best! Gently tug each finger on both hands, aim to hold each stretch for 10 seconds.

Make an O (bottom left)

With your finger and thumb make an ‘O’ pressing the end of your finger into your thumb and your thumb back into your finger. Do this for each finger on both hands, aim to hold each stretch for 10 seconds. 

Prayer Stretch (bottom right)

Clasp your hands together and gently stretch to either side, you should feel a gentle stretch in your forearms. 


In addition to doing these exercises did you know that you can learn the following things with your hands and some additional tools: 

We wanted to share some things that can you do at home to pass the time and still be as creative:

  • Learn origami! All you need is paper and your hands, there are so many videos on youtube
  • Learn how to give yourself a facial massage, pretty easy!
  • Learn Morse Code – always wanted to communicate in secret? Get a pal and learn how to communicate in morse code
  • Learn sign language
  • Make some playdough and play with your kids
  • Learn how to draw! 

We hope this blog has demonstrated the importance of your hands, exercises you can use to take care of them and some new skills that you can learn!


Additional Resources