Ah! Coffee! If you would have told me seven years ago that I would be writing about coffee, much less liking coffee, I would have told you, “You’re crazy”. I was entirely proud of my non-coffee compliance. It was a badge of honor. I drank tea; Green tea, English tea, Breakfast tea, and homemade tea.
I see tea folks as quiet sophistication in motion. Like my Grandma Westra’s, tea group. Polite ladies, holding such delicate teacups, stirring with tiny spoons. Gracious pouring of one another cups. While making hushed conversation and the slow passing of Windmill cookies.
I want to be there again. A little girl, all of five years, sitting silently on the davenport, awaiting my cookie. I shift my little legs around as the material of the davenport is scratchy. Everything else in this place is in plastic. Why isn’t this scratchy davenport? Hopefully, my cookie will come soon and then I can leave.
Where it all began
It’s fun to reminisce. It brings back peaceful thoughts and warm feelings. Things a heart needs from time to time. We all have to grow up, and eventually, our tastes do as well. I had to grow up one cold January afternoon in Excelsior, Minnesota. We had spent the morning running around in -13° temps. By the time we got into our hotel room, I was frozen.
I quickly searched the complimentary coffee tray for the usual bag of tea. Nothing representing tea was there. Just coffee pods. Yuck. I fussed at my husband as he patiently brought bags into the room. Dropping the bags, he told me that “coffee is it”. He suggested that maybe now was time to “Suck it up.” With that, he showed me how hotel coffee pots worked.
Soon delicious smells of coffee were circling their way around the room. I always enjoyed the smell, but not the taste. Once the coffee was finished brewing, he poured me a cup. There, at the age of 43, I took and drank my first complete cup of coffee.
Has this become an obsession… Um, maybe?
That is a good question. Has this “affair” with coffee become an obsession? Um, maybe? But let’s not consider this pursuit of the “perfect cup of joe” to be an “obsession”. Let’s call it a “pursuit of knowledge”.
What does make a good cup of coffee? Is it the:
- Type of bean
- Where it’s grown
- How it is roasted
- Grind- coarse, medium, fine
- Water source
- The temperature of the water going in
- Ability of the coffee maker to heat the water hot enough
- The brand and model of the coffee machine
Oh, my goodness. I so hate variables! It will drive me to madness if I don’t get this down. So. I research online. I sample cups of coffee at different homes. Me and my mental notebook, taking notes at friends’ homes as they serve me coffee.
I ask questions in the fashion of the Spanish Inquisition. “Are you using water from your faucet again?” “Did you grind your beans? When?” “How cold would you say the water is? Oh? Did that come out of the fridge, ‘or no’?”
– Sidebar, my Grammarly Assistant is now flying red flags over my use of the “or no.” It is flashing the word “not”. I rebuff Grammarly by leaning in close to the screen and whispering that it is a common usage of a cultural, geographic, rhetorical question. Then I hit the little garbage can sign to quell Grammarly’s insistence that I change it. There. Silence.
Then I usually inspect the brand of the coffee maker. Mr. Coffee certainly has made his rounds here in Southwest Minnesota. Bunn coffee makers are popular as well. Hmm. So much to research and so little time.
Ask with boldness
Yes, friends, I have boldly asked various coffee house staff, “What type of coffee do you use?” Some have been honest and reported, “We use Folgers.” “We get water, cold water, right from the tap.” Huh? You don’t say. Interesting!
This is just the beginning of my quest, and you get to ride along. There are lots of avenues to explore. So, leave a note on the table, and let them know we’ll be gone a while. And maybe, we won’t be back?! Ha! We can’t do that, but that would be fun? “Gone for coffee… not sure when I’ll be back?”
Ah well, all the fun of adventures and quests, even if we only take them on paper! Till next time. Here is to good food, with good friends and a good life.
Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.