I come from a long line of coffee drinkers. The first thing my grandmother would say to visitors to her home was, “Would you like some coffee?” And then everyone would sit around the big, built-in table in her Midwestern farm kitchen with coffee in hand, talking over the problems of the world.
The weather didn’t affect this…it was never too hot for a steaming cup. The only thing that changed was the location of the family summit. On hot summer days, we would all be in a circle of lawn chairs under the shade of the big apple tree behind her house drinking coffee and talking while the children ran around the yard.
One of my earliest memories was of my grandmother making coffee in a little metal pot on the stove. When I married my husband, he had a similar model from his youth. It’s in our kitchen on top of a cabinet and when I see it, I think of my grandmother and her country kitchen from long ago.
I had my first cup of coffee while in high school but didn’t learn to love the beverage until I was in college and used it to stay awake to study. I remember being really pleased when I bought my first coffee pot…one of those plug-in percolators with a metal stem and basket inside to hold the grounds. Waiting for the perking to finish and the light to come on seemed like an eternity some mornings, but the pot served me well all through my college years.
Once I got my first job, I traded up to one of the new Mr. Coffee automatic drip coffee makers that were introduced in 1972. Some of you may remember their advertisements on TV in the 1970’s with baseball player (and former husband of Marilyn Monroe) Joe Dimaggio, as their spokesperson.
A few years ago, I was at a friend’s house and he made coffee that was good and brewed really fast. It was then that I discovered the three minute Bunn coffee maker. No more mornings standing impatiently tapping my toe and waiting for the gurgling pot to choke out the last few drops. (Thank you, John Caldwell.)
My first Bunn coffee maker worked great for over ten years before it simply wore out. Recently, we replaced it with a new model that is actually very similar to the first one in both design and price. We also added one of the new Keurig pots to our coffee-making arsenal. It’s fun to have a collection of different Keurig Cup flavors to choose from, and making the single cup at a time is fast for impatient coffee drinkers like me.
There are much more elaborate coffee makers on the market now that will both grind your beans AND make your coffee. This is kind of nice but my old grinder still works just fine. I did recently see a fancy Jura coffee maker for sale at Crate & Barrel for $3499. It’s made in Switzerland and not only makes your coffee but is programmable and can add milk or milk foam to your specifications. Call me old fashioned, but for that price, I would also expect it to do my laundry and wash my dishes!
Some of the early coffee makers were pretty elaborate and fancy-looking too. They remind me a bit of a Rube Goldberg machine…one of those inventions that is overly-engineered and complicated but designed to perform a simple task.
Those of you, who are regular coffee drinkers like me, know that nothing tastes as good as that first cup in the morning. It’s so soothing to sip coffee and wake up slowly as the caffeine does its magic wake up call. I’m a purist. I like my coffee straight but I live with someone who likes a bit of sugar in his.
According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, 54% of all Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. Besides providing us with antioxidants, studies have shown that drinking coffee has other potential health benefits as well. Some of these include: promoting heart health and protecting us against Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer and type-2 diabetes.
So, the next time someone offers you a steaming mug of java, perhaps you should take them up on it!