I really don't drink that much coffee but I also can't function without just one mug to get me going. I like those blend names like "Fog Lifter" and "Day Break Morning". If I were naming a coffee just for me it would be "Cobweb Cleaner". On an early rise, the only thing that gets me out of the bed is the thought of the first sip of a hot, rich cup of coffee. My anxious dogs must wait to be let out while I take the first sip. It's essential to the order of my being, I contemplate the day and life first thing in the morning while it's quiet and I'm drinking that cup of coffee. Morning coffee and I have that kind of essential intimacy. I don't want it at a drive thru with rush hour traffic but I've done that.
Over the years, I've experienced many different methods of coffee preparation beginning with my Mother's percolated coffee. Daddy was the coffee drinker so it had to be perfect, and it was. I don't know what happened to the little pot she fixed his coffee in but eventually it disappeared in favor of a popular, but inferior, Mr. Coffee maker, which puzzled me. My girlfriend and I where students abroad and spent some time in Paris. We had an syrupy espresso late one evening and never slept a wink. I mean, we were jitter bugs we were so beaned up. Swore that off and French pressed coffee also; too murky. I began to drink coffee seriously shortly after my first child was born when sleep deprivation hit me hard. Maybe a cup of coffee would prop me up for another day of diapering, etc. Then came the office coffee pot. Vile commercial stuff that tasted like it was brewed card board and the pot was never cleaned. I declined that brew altogether. My husband's aunt was quite serious about coffee and had a Kemex. She had whole bean coffee shipped monthly from Community Coffee in Louisiana and ground it fresh daily. I was impressed that she was so particular about coffee. So I got really snooty and started ordering and grinding my own beans too. I honestly, could not stand the noise of the grinder that early in the morning. Who wants to hear a buzz saw before you've even had a sip. It woke up my children too. Then Starbucks arrived and coffee became an American obsession. I stick with my single a.m. mug at home but have found myself in many a Starbucks store when out of town. It's quality is reliable but you couldn't pay me to drink one of those flavored varieties. Those where designed to suck in the younger generation much the way flavored wine and vodkas are. Make mine strong, straight up with a splash of half n' half. As one of my friends said, she wanted her coffee so strong it would make her nipples stand up. Cafe au lait is as far as I'll stretch. And now, those Keurig single serve packets. Expensive for the home, great for the office but an environmental disaster overall . I bought one and feel guilty every time I see all those little plastic cups in the trash.
Well, here's my problem in a word, acidity. I found the more robust the flavor the harder it was on my stomach. Then I retreat to something puny and boring. Finally, I have the answer. I heard about Toddy from New Orleans friends. A cold steeping method that takes out most of the acid? So on my recent trip to New Orleans, I tracked it down and brought it home. It's a process adjustment but produces a rich, smooth coffee without all the acid and oils. The Toddy Cold Brew System. They where right, pour water over coarse ground coffee and let it sit 12 hours. I'm simplifying it but it's still very simple, just different. Then it runs through a filter into a carafe to make a concentrate. For a cup or more, add water to desired strength and microwave. The concentrate keeps in the refrigerator for two weeks! The cold water method delivers smooth coffee no matter your choice of coffee.
A good cup of coffee in the morning is just one of those essential items in a civilized life. Nothing will replace my Mother's coffee. I wish I knew what happened to that little percolator.