Friday, July 7, 2017

Coffee

I had my first cup of coffee when I was twenty or twenty-one. I drank it black with a little bit of sugar, like my dad drank it. One time, my mom was fixing me a cup of coffee during a visit at their house.

"Do you take yours with sugar?" she asked.

"Yes, but not cream," I told her.

"Whoops," she said. She'd already put the cream in. "Well, I'll make it extra good." And she proceeded to put in even more cream. She always drank hers with cream and sugar.

***


I can't remember when I became a regular coffee drinker.

Shane dramatizes the time I sold his coffee maker at a yard sale. I got $2 for it, but as he tells it, I sold it for a quarter.

We had a Keurig that replaced his coffee maker--mostly because a friend of mine introduced me to the magic of K-cups, and hazelnut coffee pods, and the sweet little basket of assorted flavors she'd present during a mom's coffee hour. I loved it. I lobbied for a Keurig. Shane wanted to know the cost per cup, K-cup versus ground pound. I had no idea. Presentation doesn't consider practical matters like cost.

I got the Keurig.

Our Keurig was moody after enough time, occasionally spewing out only half cups or turning itself off in protest to my constant abuse, I mean, addiction, I mean, well, use. Finally, it broke--at four in the morning. I pulled out a back-up 4-cup mini that barely heated the water. Dismal. Disappointing.

That was three years ago, and we switched over to Bunn. I loved that coffee maker because it could brew single cups of hot goodness from pods, grounds, tea bags and loose leaves. It was a multi-functional dream. And the coffee was the hottest of any coffee maker I had ever used. Delightful.

One day, it may have been after a remark online someone had made about the absurdity of blowing money on K-cups, I began to reconsider the 10-cup maker. We drink enough coffee around here to justify it. And I felt like I was dropping big bucks too often to keep up with the demand around here. Money that could be better spent on books. One coffee maker went on sale that caught my attention with its cup, large cup, tumbler, half-carafe or full carafe menu; brewing strength options, iced coffee feature and frother (it's a self-contained PARTY). I got it for Shane, ahem, for Father's Day. I couldn't wait to use it.

***

A few years ago, I had a wonderful cup of coffee at a friend's house. She fixed a delicious homemade coffee cake, and poured two mugs of hot coffee. It was a treat.

"Do you take cream?" she asked. And, sometime over the years, I went from sugar to cream and sugar.

"Yes," I replied.

She heated the cream in the microwave.

"I like heated cream in my coffee," she explained.

I looked around for sugar and didn't see any. She didn't offer any. I thought to myself, well, I won't ask. I'll drink it like she does.

That first sip. Shocking. I commented, "This is really good. I usually put sugar in my coffee, but this is amazing without it."

She said, "Good coffee doesn't need sugar. And this is good coffee. It's German."

I kid not: it was the best cup of coffee I had ever had on American soil. I had been on a search in the stores for German coffee since that experience. I never found it, and I never really looked that hard to be honest, because the convenience of pods seemed sufficient. And there was always sugar to make up for the bitterness of convenience.

***

So anyway, I'm at the store looking at coffee beans and ground coffee since we have taken a step away from pods, and my eyes landed upon the top shelf where there was GERMAN COFFEE. I reached for it immediately in its air-vacuumed brick and paper wrapping, like a GIFT! We still had a pot or two left of the Wegman's brand, and I kid not, I held that block package in my hands almost daily, like I was trying to determine the gift inside by running my hands over the wrapping. (I have issues.)

The day I peeled the wrapping off and snipped a corner off an end to pour it into the canister--the grounds inhaled the breath of life and the package expanded, much like my heart in anticipation. I was probably drooling. I could hardly wait for that first sip, and it did not disappoint.

It is my go-to coffee now. (I recently snagged four bricks of it to put in the freezer. I also, on a whim, got a less worthy, neighboring, flavored blend. Bah! Boo!)

It is smooth, rich, and creamy without even adding cream--though I do. And I do sprinkle in a bit of sugar, just because old habits die hard. (And Whole30 kinda wrecked me for drinking coffee black.)

It is perfect hot. Or cold. Or even reheated.

Oh, the little things.

Life's a feast. 


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