Among the numerous luxuries of the table…coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions…is never followed by sadness, languor or debility. -Benjamin Franklin
I cannot begin my day without a hot cup of coffee. Nothing is better than being able to get out of bed, come downstairs, and plug in the percolator — the pot having been fixed the night before. Although I gave the task of fixing the pot before going to bed to my daughter, I’m lucky if this happens once a week. Typically I am reduced to dumping the previous days grounds and re-heating the remnants of yesterdays pot before indulging in a fresh pot of brewed delight. I hate letting even a half a cup of coffee go to waste.
When I was a child, I remember begging my maternal grandmother for a tiny sip from her cup and her telling me, “It’ll stunt your growth.” On the other hand, my paternal grandmother either didn’t believe such nonsense or because she had such a kind heart, always shared her cup with me. The sugary-white liquid she gave me though, was nothing like the bitter-brown elixir I enjoy today. I guess she didn’t want to chance that the old wives tale were true so gave me more sugary-cream than coffee.
My love for coffee remained with me and as soon as I was “old enough” to drink it, according to my parents that was around 16 years old, I drank it every chance I got. My parents never had coffee in our home, except when company came over, so my coffee drinking was done at restaurants or when visiting my grandparents.
Even when I moved out on my own, coffee drinking was done mostly when at work or at restaurants because my attempts at duplicating the hearty, rich flavor produced by commercial brewing machines fell flat. I was dishearten to say the least.
Finally, four or five years ago while garage-saling I came across a Farberware percolator for $5.00. Hoping it wasn’t that I was incapable of brewing good coffee and that it was perhaps the coffee makers I had used, I took a chance and bought it. As soon as I washed and dried the stainless steel pot, I filled it with cold water, lined the basket with a coffee filter, scooped in three heaping tablespoons of coffee, and plugged it in. Within seconds loud thuds began emanating from the pot as water was pushed from the bottom of the pot through the tube and then finally slammed into the lid. The kitchen filled with the rich scent of coffee, reminiscent of how my grandmother’s homes smelled while growing up.
I could hardly contain myself while waiting for the Pop-Burp-Thud to stop so I could sample the hot steamy coffee. Pouring myself a full cup, adding a teaspoon of sugar and enough cream to turn the deep brown liquid tannish-white, I nearly burned my lips taking my first sip. It was perfect.
Be it the percolator or the coffee or the maker or any combination there of, I had finally attained status of “Coffee Brewer!” Before that I was merely turning water into sludge and trying to pass it off as coffee.
Since that first cup my tastes have changed and I no longer add sugar to my coffee. Instead, I enjoy the bitterness of the beans toned down with just a splash of cream. And on those especially difficult mornings, I don’t bother with the cream at all.
What a find it was to get a Farberware percolator for only $5 and have it last all these years, giving me the boost I need every morning to push forward and face the day. And how great it is to have the luscious smell of fresh brewed coffee remind me each morning of my grandmothers and all the wonderful memories I have of them both. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure — and for this I am Simply Grateful.