A History with Coffee


I’m drinking my coffee black this morning. It’s not too bad this way. Usually, I have cream in it. If I could eat anything I liked, I’d have cocoa in it. Which reminds me that I bought cacao nibs and need to figure out how to brew drinking chocolate… 

My lifelong flirtation with the black stuff in a cup started in college 1.0, when I was 18. My hot beverage of choice up to then was cocoa, or tea. But I was hanging out with the rock climbers and river rafters and they all drank the bitter black stuff. So I did, too. It was easy and it grew on you. Besides which, I was one of the very few (ok, usually only) females in that group. Most of the girls at that college were there for their MRs degree. I was not, but I got it anyway. Shows you what the power of suggestion will do on even an ostensibly intelligent person. 

Pregnancy pretty much killed my ability to drink coffee, and as I had four babies over the course of 6 years, that meant I was back on tea and cocoa and milk for… a long time. I started up again when it was just my Dad and I, and I was a single mom needing all the help she could get to try and keep up with work and kids and all the things. Coffee became my new best friend. That’s when I started drinking a lot of mocha. Or at the very least milk and sugar. Dan came home with a Bunn that had a leaky seal (ready fix with silicone caulk) and we had coffee all. The. Time. I miss that coffeepot. 

And then the First Reader came into my life. He can, on his own, drink at least a pot a day… there’s a reason I wrote a love for the ‘black elixir of the gods’ into Pixie Noir, after all. The First Reader used to take only sugar in his coffee. He took a cup from Dad and I’s pot and asked… ‘how much coffee do you put in there?’ 

I pointed at the measuring cup in the coffee can. ‘Two scoops.’ 

Turns out, I was putting double the necessary grounds into the pot. Well, no wonder I couldn’t drink it black… And Dad had to have some dairy in his due to a stomach ulcer ages ago. For that matter, Dad had to drink half-caff for a long time. However, we figured out that when I was using the ‘correct’ amount of grounds, I could drink the stuff black again. And a friend introduced me to Death Wish Coffee. That stuff is smooooth. But I can’t indulge in it every day. 

I still took a little cream and sugar in my coffee, because I like it that way, until this last year when I was doing intermittent fasting. You can have it black, but the sugar and fats will mess up the fast. So… And then I cut all the sugar out. Because my body Lurves sugar. Yeah. Wants to make it all into a nice fluffy protective padding layer. I can do without that. Working on getting rid of all the fluff. 

So I’m sitting here drinking my coffee black, and remembering when I was young and carefree and had the camaraderie of a great group of people around me, and challenges to climb in front of me. Memories are sweet, and so is life. My coffee doesn’t have to be. 

(Header image: The old Bunn, with a farm kitten warming himself on top of it. He wasn’t allowed up there, but coffee has a warmz!) 


6 thoughts on “A History with Coffee

  1. First coffee for me was heavily corrupted with milk and sugar; but I was 3-4 years old at the time. I had it because mom and dad did, and if they did I *had* to.
    Cut to my teens. I started drinking the stuff again around 14-15, then gradually moved to having Louisiana style, heavy on the chicory. This lasted until I was seventeen. I joined the Navy, and first morning in Basic I grabbed a cup in the chow hall. One sip, and I swore off the stuff for two years. Yeah, it was that bad.
    While stationed at a Naval Air base in the PNW, I started again. It seemed I made the best coffee in the whole shop. I had to figure out why.
    And I’ve been drinking it steady ever since.Mrs Olsen and I have a long, and comfortable, relationship.
    And after years of taking it straight black, I’ve moved on to mixing a package of Texas Pecan into the can of Breakfast Blend. I was unaware how good that made my favorite brew.
    What’s that Beatles song? “Now, I’m a believer!”

  2. When I was a kid, I drank coffee once a year– the Ash Wednesday, equal amounts sugar and powdered creamer, veeeeeery light colored. When I started drinking coffee in the morning, at about 14, I drank black. Still prefer it, unless the coffee is really bad.

    I’m debating saving up to buy a Bunn. They last forever– the one my folks had when I was a kid lasted 15 years, and only died because someone else was stupid– and it’s so NICE to have on-demand hot water. The Amazon Warehouse ones are only twice the price of the cheap-os….

    1. I’d look at reviews – the last time I was coffeepot shopping they weren’t fantastic, which made me sad. I was willing to spring the money for a Bunn that would last a decade.

      1. Hm, I know the one my folks got to replace the last one was good…now I’ll have to go digging at the reviews, see if it’s more of the chinaBots…. or the folks who think the “run vinegar through it” thing is unneeded.

        Or you could hit goodwill when they’re open again, I guess.

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