Lesson four: Coffee

May 5, 2021

Before I start today’s recipe let me just say that last night I did not cook, yet again. Our friend Scott made a delicious pot of chili and invited us over for Chili and “Dawgs” (that’s what we call um in New York City or is it Long Guyland?) Well, enough of my terrible accent for now, the chili was delicious and I even had mine with cheddar cheese and sour cream on top. Plus, I had one hot dogs (sans bun) and only one glass of a marvelous merlot. Yes just one. I know that is strange for me but I have not been feeling very well. It seems I am always feeling exhausted lately but I’m heading to see the doctor and should be right as rain soon. I posted pictures of the wine and the chili at the end, not coffee.

Good morning and now back to our recipe! Today is all about coffee. At least I think it’s good morning. I have either not been sleeping well lately or not feeling well. I have finally decided to make a doctor appointment over this whole extreme tiredness thing that’s happening to me. Its very frustrating to want to do things and not have the strength or the energy to do even simple things like mow the lawn. All I want to do is laydown and rest but when I do, I cannot sleep. It seems crazy! Hence, I’m glad the coffee I made is almost ready.

So for most of you, I bet this is not a recipe. Much like beer that comes from a bottle or a can you may get your coffee from a pod or the local 7 Eleven convenience store. Now don’t get me wrong because I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee I have purchased from the aforementioned 7 Eleven or what is the name of those places on all the interstate highways – Stewarts, Speedway, Wegmans, nope? OH yes their called Wawa!?? Maybe I just love saying it in the car! Well whatever the place is the coffee is usually good unless it is like 7pm and you are on your way to night school and stop at McDonalds in like the year 2000. Then yuck! That coffee from McDonalds was one of the worst cups of coffee I have ever had to endure in my life. Why did I drink it? It was a Social Studies class after working all day and the professor read from the dam book all class long. It didn’t get much more boring for me than that. So to stay awake and still be able to drive home at 10pm I drank the mud that’s was from McDonalds and it was all I had. Since then I understand their coffee has improved but I have never been able to bring myself to drink it. Scared for life I guess.

            Now I have been making and drinking coffee regularly since the eighties. My mother first made coffee in a chrome pot that look like it was from the Jetsons kitchen…no I’m wrong…in the eighties it was probably still the Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker we had for ten years. Anyhow, my mother switched back to an electric perk coffee maker after that one finally died. 

            Otherwise, my love affair with coffee came from a dinner or what we called the coffee shop back in the olden days (I’m still stuck in the eighties for you young people). It had a coffee machine that took up most of the owners (who was also the cook) entire counter. There was hot water that came out of the center spigot for tea or hot chocolate. Then there was an orange one for decaf coffee. Then lastly, a black handle for the regular ambrosia that flowed out of the last spigot. I even stood there in awe one day and watched him make the coffee once.

To make coffee in such a large quantity he needed to fill a large aluminum pot that had a black Bakelite handle on it. He then added a pound of coffee to a huge coffee filter and placed that in this time warp of a machine. He next began to pour the hot water over the grinds as a clear glass tube began show how full it was with its black gold. He filled the pot again from the coffee spigot now and repeated the whole process two or three times until the coffee ran a rich deep black from the spigot. He then put the pot down and filled a large Styrofoam coffee cup (I know, don’t get me started on Styrofoam cups that are now band from use). I will save that rant for another day. Next came sugar and milk. I drank my coffee regular. Regular coffee is what you called coffee with caffeine that included a normal amount of milk and sugar. This is how MOST people drank their coffee back then because this predates Starbucks! The coffee was extremely hot so back then I blessed the Styrofoam cup for saving my hand although I always managed to burn my mouth on days when I could no wait long enough for it to cool at all. Thus, became what was a slippery slope of coffee all winter and iced tea all summer and beer on the weekends. Although I did not drink half as much iced tea as I did coffee or beer or so it seemed.  

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, the coffee recipe. Let’s see I will have to put this in my new “How to cook book”:

Coffee

Choose your coffee pot. My go to coffee pot right now is that old standby from Corningware. It’s white with blue cornflowers and Bakelite handle. It is a stovetop percolator with a little glass topper so you can see the coffee “perking”. This is a coffee pot that is not even made anymore. It’s a shame too because it makes great cup of coffee if you’re not in a rush. This will soon get saved for days when the power is out as I will replace its everyday use for a 12 cup electric percolator by Hamilton Beach or Farberware. My Preso one seems to be letting me down and making weak pots of coffee some days that are completely undrinkable.

If you are grinding the beans yourself then coarseness of grind should change based upon the pot you are making the coffee in. Course ground coffee is what is used for my percolator coffee pot or French Press, medium grind is for the automatic drip makers (like that old Mr. Coffee machine), medium fine is for those huge  commercial pour over things that looked so cool and steam punk back  in the day. Then there is fine ground used for espresso machines. There is also extra course for cold brew (really you can’t just chill it?) and extra fine is for people who just snort the stuff like cocaine (just kidding kids! Don’t do drugs!) Extra Fine ground is for Turkish coffee that I have never had. Here is the recipe for eight cups of coffee:

INGREDIENTS:

7 to 9 tbls. ground coffee

8 – six once cups of filtered water (six once cups?! what? That is what those stupid lines are for! Who knew? So a whole pot of coffee is not even a whole 8 cups! Why?! So be careful, there are 8 ounces in 1 cup therefore ¾ cup = 6 ounces in America. I use the dam lines! Sheesh!

DIRECTIONS:

Let us start with the water. Bad water means bad coffee or bad tea. MOST commercial places always have a filter somewhere on the water line that leads into the back of the commercial coffee pot. If they don’t they should! What do I do? I use the ice-cold water that is also filtered that comes out on my refrigerator/freezer. I fill the pot to the 8 “cup” mark that is located on the inside of the pot. Why cold water? Never cook with hot tap water. That is just nasty, ewe. Cold water works better when used particularly with an electric percolator. Like the one you own but never used but purchased it for large parties but then put it in the back of the hall closet. Yes, that one works best when you start with cold water. Next, add a coffee filter to the basket. No one likes grounds in their cup. “Tt’s the Grim!” Well that was tea in the bottom of the cup…if you read Harry Potter. I digress. Lets’ add the coffee already as I’m falling asleep. Now plug it in or turn it on and let it do its thing. Mine, is manual so I actually have to turn on the stove to high. I have to remain close by and wait for it to start to perk. Annoying huh, but it’s cooking! Then when it starts to perk and I can see it, remember that little clear glass thingy on top? I turn the heat down to medium-low so it remains perky (perky get it? its coffee) Never mind, and set the timer for seven minutes. Now if you like your coffee richer or more flavorful this is where the COOKING part comes in. You can adjust the recipe to YOUR taste. Start by increasing the time you cook the coffee by one or two minutes. Next, you can add a tablespoon or two the seven already in there. Each time you try something new make a note of what you did mentally or if you’re your tied in the morning make a note of it in your phone! Once you get a perfect pot of coffee repeat the same steps! Wa-la your cooking! After the seven minutes are up, I turn off the stove and let it stand so the coffee in the basket now filters all the way through (aka finished cooking/perking).

Was this a long version of how to make coffee? It probably was but just as in life when you’re going to a dull meeting at work or camping with a bunch of teenage energetic scouts this is an adults life line to sanity! So a good cup of coffee is a life saver! I myself just love coffee. It is probably my second favorite beverage. They are in order: beer, coffee, and water for which you can’t make the previous two without.

Until tomorrow. Stay awake, be happy and eat well.

The Drunken Chef

An amazing Merlot that I could enjoy all on its own

Scott’s wonderful chili and wine pairing
My Coffee Pot

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