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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making That Morning Cup Of Joe


Making That Morning Cup Of Joe
 
Oh how our world has changed in the last 100 years.  One thing that has not changed is our addiction to coffee, that morning cup of joe.  Few of us are worth a thin dime without that morning cup of coffee to get our blood stirring and kick start our bodies.

The way we prepare that coffee has changed.  Way back in the stone age that was my grandparent’s era, coffee grounds were added to a pot of boiling water.  Oops!  I left out the grinding of said coffee.  Those grounds were then added to the pot of water with a pinch of salt and an egg shell.  The egg shell was added because great grandparents said to add it.  No one remembers why.  After boiling for several minutes, the pot was set aside to allow the grinds to steep and settle to the bottom.  This twenty minute process filled the house with that wake-up coffee aroma.  Then the coffee was poured carefully into a cup keeping the settled grinds on the bottom of the pot.  When finished, the grounds would be saved for tomorrow’s pot, mixed with new grounds.  Coffee was expensive and grandma stretched all the flavor and caffeine that was possible out of those grounds.  Eventually the grounds ended up in the garden to help grow the vegetables.

My mom had it a little easier making the morning cup of joe.  She purchased the coffee already ground.  It came in a one pound tin can.  The can was opened with a special key which grabbed a tin strip and would wind the strip off the can separating the top from the can.  The top would generally slice your hand during the removal process, that was bad, but the can when empty made excellent storage units for nuts and bolts in dad’s workshop, that was good.  Mom didn’t boil the coffee in a pot; she percolated it in a coffee kettle or special percolator.  The grounds were added to a filter on the top of the pot and when the water was brought to a boil on the stove it was fed up a tube into the grounds and then filtered back into the kettle.

The percolator system took about ten minutes.  It made wonderful coffee, brewed to mom’s desired strength.  The percolation made a popping noise which woke up the house and the smell of fresh coffee drew everyone into the kitchen.

Years ago, Joe DiMaggio invented a new coffee maker, “The Mr. Coffee.”  It heated the water electrically, and brewed the coffee much faster.  It did require expensive filters and did not produce that wake-up pop-pop of the percolator.  The wake-up smell still wafted through the house every morning.  Mr. Coffee was easier and faster than the old pot, or the percolator, but it needed to be replaced every other year.  The old pot or the percolators were indestructible.

We now have the “Cups” machines.  They only need to be filled with water every two or three days.  The water heats up in this electric machine almost instantly, and is filtered into premeasured cups.  This new machine makes coffee one cup at a time, so there is little waste.  It is fast, convenient and clean.  The coffee grounds cannot be reused or recycled, there is no morning music from the brewing process, and there is very little wake-up smell.

What a wonderful world we live in today.  Everything is so easy and fast. 

I sure enjoy my morning cup of joe.

I do sorta miss that percolator music and the wake-up smell of coffee wafting through the house.  The vegetables miss the grounds, (who am I kidding; the vegetables are all frozen in the freezer.)  The time I save brewing my morning cup of joe, and the quick clean-up after is really appreciated.  I use those extra 15 minutes to spend 15 more minutes of doing nothing in my retirement.

It does give me enough time for an extra morning cup of joe.  

17 comments:

  1. My mum always made coffee in a percolator and I also used to like the sound. I started off the same way but found it made too much for 1-2 people (or more often just me) so for years now I've made my coffee in a plunger (these days more ostentatiously called a 'French press') and I love it. It's quick and easy and makes good rich coffee, and you still get the lovely smell.

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  2. I'm dreading the day the "in" thing will be just popping a coffee pill evey morning. Where's the fun in that?

    S

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  3. i loved the percolator. at my mom's funeral, the priest read memories from me - one was the comforting gurgle and sigh of her old percolator coffee pot...

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  4. I have never had a cup of coffee. I am one of the great minority who cannot stand the smell of it. I avoid the coffee aisle at the grocery store because of the smell. I know, I'm weird. I don't eat cheese either - don't like it. Never have had a piece of pizza.

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  5. I guess we can thank the British for our love of coffee. After the Revolutionary War we turned our backs on all things British (including tea) and reverted back to Dutch models. It was the Dutch who loved coffee, and Santa Claus rather than the British Father Christmas. We have a Keurig but I also miss the sounds and smell of percolating coffee.

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  6. My dad hated the extinction of the percolator. He said all subsequent coffee was made from "fried" water. Having drunk from that percolator for a few years, I can attest to his observation. Dropping hot water through coffee grounds is not the same and pulling the water through the thoroughly saturated grounds. All the above notwithstanding, I too need the morning Joe. Anything but instant.

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  7. "Cowboy" coffee - boiling the grounds with eggshells and leftover grounds over an open fire at 6am and breathing fresh mountain air... aaaaah, cough, cough, hack, grrrrr!

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  8. I didn't drink it until I was around 40, but now I've gotta have it....by whatever system is available to deliver it. I like the memory of the tin can with the key and that dangerous tin strip.

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  9. OMG you made me want coffee with this post I stopped drinking coffee a few years ago but damn I could go for a cup right now

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  10. OH, I recall the percolator!

    Pearl

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  11. NOOOOO I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE EGGSHELLS ARE FOR!! I thought you were going to explain that and I got so excited, because I know many many people who still do that.
    Hold on, I'm going to ask google...

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  12. I make coffee in a coffee maker or a French press. The grounds go in the garden and the coffee is as good as whatever the grounds are. I grind my own and the coffee grinds go in the compost. These new coffee makers are horrible for land fills and add one more piece of garbage to the bin.

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  13. I used to love watching the percolator when I was a kid. Seeing the clear water bubble up to the little glass top, then get browner and browner; the sound that went with it; and the awesome smell. Also, when My Mom would open one of those big cans of coffee, there was always a rush of air from it (I think it's called a coffee fart) that was magnificent to the nose of this 6-year-old.

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  14. Oh, and in case Mich is still wondering, the eggshells were supposed to remove some of the bitterness.

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  15. I'm actually a freak of nature amongst all of my family and friends in that I don't drink coffee. Never have. Just can't stand the taste of it. And I live and grew up in the Northwest. I'm fortunate that they allow me to live here.

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  16. Love the smell, hate the taste. I tried coffee ONE TIME. Ack! That smell is false advertising. My mom percolated, and my dad drank.

    The guy I used to ride to work with stopped on the way to the city every morning and filled a giant Bubba cup with hazelnut coffee at QuikTrip. Throughout the day, he stuck it in the microwave. It improved his mood exponentially.

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  17. No coffee for me. I can only handle a half cup. More will have me trembling like the percolator. I stick to a daily cup of tea.

    My parents weren't coffee drinkers either...strange. Though I seem to remember the can and the zip and the slicing of the hand. Hmmm...Maybe that was sardines or Vienna sausages.

    Your evolution of what it took/takes to have a cup of coffee is very funny.

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