Coffee —- merely typing the word conjures it’s alluring aroma. I loved the smell of coffee decades before I appreciated drinking it. Even the lure of increasing at least the appearance of sophistication in college didn’t pressure me to imbibe. The reason is glaringly obvious now. The real deal — freshly ground beans brewed lovingly and with precision in a French press —- had never crossed my lips.
Every morning at 5:00 AM Mom pulled out the can of Folgers from the cupboard, measured out the required number of scoops by what the price of coffee was at the time. Yep! If the price was high, then there was one less scoop. If the price dropped, then she added a scoop for good measure. The pot was the old fashion percolator. Those of you of a certain age might have visions of the old Folgers TV commercial featuring a pot merrily percolating. Or was that Maxwell House coffee?
In our house coffee was not to be wasted. So the brewed leftover coffee sat on the stove ready to be reheated and served to any guest who came into the door. The guest protocol was if person sat down, then the offer of coffee was a required politeness. If there were no guests, then the pot was reheated the next morning. Since we lived on a small ranch, normally there wasn’t leftover coffee. Of course it was only served black for family members, no sissy cream or sugar.
Remember as a kid sneaking a taste of vanilla straight out of the bottle with the grand expectation it was going to taste as tantalizingly delicious as it smelled? With the same anticipatory glee I tasted my first cup of coffee. Gak! Gak! Gak! Why would anyone voluntarily drink something that tasted like burnt dirt suspended in water? Bottom line I was permanently traumatized. Subsequent coffee forays in college substantiated my initial impression. Think about it — dorm coffee.
Sometime in my early 40’s I had to drink a cup to be polite at someone’s house. Fresh Ground Beans. French Press. Cream. After that sublime cup of coffee, I donned the robe of an acolyte and took the vow to be a devoted priestess.
In this new world I learned to appreciate the different qualities in a balanced cup of coffee such as aroma, flavor, body, acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and after taste. So many coffees, so little time; especially when you consider food pairings with coffee. In my book the #1 pairing is: Surprise! Coffee Cake!!!!!