Coffee Hound. 2015-12-03

CoffeeCupTrue confession. I am a coffee hound, and I’m not referring to that fabulous campus-inspired coffee house in Normal, Illinois. Coffee and I go way back.  This actually dates back to infancy, but my personal relationship with this dark hot liquid started when I was just graduating from high school as I was being thrown into the deep end of the pool of the workplace at the age of 17. I had one week between graduation and fulltime working status at the group of companies where my parents were employed. Both were coffee drinkers, Mom insisted on black, Dad liked a little sprinkling of sugar in his. The early morning ritual started around 5:30 am with scooping coffee grounds into the metal basket strainer that fit inside the pot on the stove. Once the coffee was cooking and started bubbling up through the little glass top, then and only then did getting dressed and ready to go commence. After the percolator had done its duty, you could then pour the coffee into the plastic to-go cups with lids and head out for the 40-minute ride to work with the carpool. There was a pot of coffee brewing every morning, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Coffee was the priority number 1 morning starter in our household. Now that I was a young adult about to earn $74 a week as an entry-level secretary, Mom took me under her wing to learn how to be a proper coffee drinker. Of all the advice she could have passed on, this was seemingly most important. Coffee after all, is the lifeblood of the office worker. At some point I will certainly be required to take coffee orders from my bosses, balance the hot paper cups that cost 5 cents each out of the machine in the hallway, and efficiently deliver them matching order to person. It’s also something that will be part of every conference, hallway conversation, group gathering, and will be prominently found on most desks along with the standard ashtray. Okay, I’m game. Of course I want to fit in; blending is my middle name. I began with a small expresso-sized cup of plain black coffee. Blowing to cool, then sipping slowly with my nose turned up, I distastefully asked, “I have to learn to drink this stuff?” Mom’s response was, “Yes, and learn to drink it black because there may not always be cream or milk or sugar to add to it. If you drink it black you can fit in anywhere.” Fit in were the magic words. I eventually built up a tolerance for it, then started looking forward to it, then started relying on it. “What? No coffee? Come On!”  You can see the revolution of coffee and coffee makers has changed dramatically in the 45 plus years since. We went from the stovetop percolator to the revolutionary and astonishing Mr. Coffee. What serious coffee drinker didn’t have one of these miracles in their kitchen? Then came the coffee revolution led by Starbucks. I now slip one of a hundred flavored k-Cups into my amazing Keurig, and am now eyeing the Ninja Coffee Bar.  Coffee products have gone from being hawked by every-man Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio to ultra shiny bright and sexy Sofia Vagara. Oddly enough I still have most of those pots stashed somewhere in the house or office including, thanks to Oprah’s favorite things, a French press. I mean, what if one breaks or the power goes out? I have to have back-ups. Dad passed away many years ago, Mom much more recently, but they both stuck to their original coffee choices at every meal to their last days. Decades ago I left their understandably so depression-era thinking that black coffee is the only way to go. After all I think I can afford a little spritz of skim milk and a packet of artificial sweetener or an occasional skinny vanilla latte (yum), or maybe chocolate raspberry truffle, or salted caramel or…sorry I got sidetracked. However, if those are unavailable, I actually can down a cup of good hot black java without breaking stride. Thanks Mom.  Sandy


3 thoughts on “Coffee Hound. 2015-12-03”

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