At Catalyst Ranch, the first creative meeting venue in Chicago, many of the Ranch hands begin their day with a cup of coffee or tea. We are lucky that we don’t need to stop at a coffee shop on the way to work because the some of the best coffee in the city is waiting for us right here at the Ranch. Being a green meeting facility, a few of our crafty Ranch hands have even perfected the art of creating iced coffee delicacies with the leftover coffee.  The Ranch kitchen contains all of our funky serving platters and unconventional snack bowls along with colorful plates, mismatched silverware, and drinking glasses. Offering unexpected stimuli at every turn, the Ranch has an array of quirky vintage and modern mugs to choose from in virtually every shape, size and color.

One of our goals is to ignite the imaginations of meeting attendees by tantalizing the senses. Coffee and tea provide many people with an energy boost in the morning, but the ritual of preparing your morning beverage can awaken your mind to creative thinking through touch, taste, smell. Smell, in particular, is linked to memory and brewing one of our unique teas may remind you of a trip you took or time spent with friends or family. Selecting the vessel for your morning beverage is also a tactile experience, engaging another sense. The mug one selects and the thought process behind the selection can speak volumes about his or her personality. We interviewed a few Ranch Hands about their mug selection rituals to learn more about our team! Here’s what they had to say:

Meredith a.k.a. Miss Meetings, our Client Services Director said, “I use the same mug for my morning tea that I’ve used for nearly ten years! I actually stole this mug from my sister years ago, so it’s a small way for me to be connected to her and think of her each day. The blue and white flower design gives the mug a feminine feel that I love.”

Becky a.k.a. Gathering Guru and Assistant Client Services Director says, “Every day I go to the cabinet to find the largest mug possible. I like having a really large cup of coffee in the morning – then I do not feel obligated to have more than one cup. Once I find the largest ones, I do consider the color and if matches my outfit or if it just makes me smile. Before choosing, I also consider the handle. Some of the large mugs have small handles, so I don’t feel like I have a good grasp on my coffee, and the last thing I need it to lose my grip and find myself wearing a hot cup of coffee. Today I am wearing green, and I choose this vintage coffee mug with a green border and a rooster on the front. Great size, large sturdy handle, coordinates with my shirt, and it has a funky rooster!”



Lauren a.k.a. Gala Girl, our Marketing Director, changes up her mug selection every day. “I have some specific criteria for a coffee mug and it starts with size. I need a mug that can handle a big cup, but not too big. Near bowl size is just too big. With so many neat options, there is a new mug for me every day. If the mood strikes and I can find a mug to match, I coordinate my beverage receptacle with my outfit. I’m also a big fan of mugs shaped like animals and have a few at home. The baby blue and pink fish mug with a tail for a handle is one of my favorites. What does this say about me? Perhaps I like to tackle each day with a fresh perspective.  I often find myself starting each day with renewed energy. Yesterday might have been rough and a busy day, but tomorrow is a new day. Kick the day off right with a cool new mug, and maybe it will help make the day a little better.”




Arin, Client Liaison and Social Media Sorceress, also considers how the mug will coordinate with her attire. “I am not only a fiercely dedicated coffee drinker, but I also have years of barista experience, so I am extremely picky about my coffee. The fair trade Colombian coffee we serve at the Ranch is absolutely wonderful! It’s bold, but not too heavy and not too acidic – it is just right with a splash of almond milk. I like picking out a different mug every morning. Size is an important factor as the mug needs to hold at least ten ounces of coffee but not be so large that the coffee gets cold before I can finish it. I have to admit, I try to pick a mug that coordinates with my outfit – either something in the same color palette or in a pattern that works with what I’m wearing. I have my favorites that I gravitate toward because of their shape, color, and the way they feel in my hand.”



John, is the Operations Manager and the H/R Director at the Ranch, so he has a lot on his plate and manages many of the “nuts and bolts” of the Ranch. His response to the mug selection process reflects his practical, no-nonsense attitude. “I just grab the biggest mug I can find.”



Cameron, our Facilities Manager, also keeps it simple: “I always use the flowery one because it matches my tattoo.”

What’s your morning ritual?  Do you just use whichever mug is handy or do you take the time to compare multiple mugs before deciding? Do you prefer to use the same mug every single day or do you like to change it up? What do you think that says about your decision-making processes in other areas of life?

Stay tuned to learn more about the amazing staff at Catalyst Ranch in an upcoming blog, “The Delicate Art of Selecting an Apron!”