Monday, January 26, 2009

The Habits of Daybreak

This is what happens when a little, normal breakfast drink, becomes a bit of an obsession. See, we are coffee drinkers. As time passes, we continue to search for the the better maker, the better grinder, and the better coffee. It is a serious part of our lives, pitifully as it is, so if the purpose of this blog is to write about everyday, then, it must include a post about coffee.

I have never been crazed about Starbucks. Sure, I love the Pumpkin Spiced Latte as much as the next person, in all of its 14 g of fat and 330 calories. In fact, there is a little kick in my soul when I get a gift card. But, I have never bought into the notion that a great cup of coffee must cost you $5. The best cup of coffee I have ever purchased was from High Point Regional Hospital's little cafe off the lobby. I am not kidding. It was five years or so ago when Jay had his mild heart attack when I made this marvelous, yet stunning discovery. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I actually stopped at the hospital twice, for no other purpose, than to purchase a cup. However, after my own back surgery last year, I discovered that some person, lacking full mental capacity, had either altered the brand of coffee or the maker. Very disappointing.

I recall, too, before my surgery that a period of sickness, either viral or medicinally induced, brought with it a complete abhorring of coffee. It was shocking mentally and physically. My body fought the withdrawal (headaches, nausea, etc.) and I vowed that I would not return to my multi-cup a day habit. Alas, that last a month. `

Unfortunately, I am back where I started, one large, ok gigantic, travel mug a day. But, I am ok with that for now. And, to make it all possible, is the collection of coffee apparatuses that now occupy one section of our kitchen counter.
Actually, you can't see in this picture, there is one more green container labeled "Splenda" to the left. I drink my coffee black, always have, always will. However, my other half has to sweeten it up.

From the left:
Green container labeled "leaded": We don't use this as much as we used to as we are now grinding most of our coffee fresh.

Chrome mini-trashcan: This is for the quick disposal of grounds, pods, and Splenda packets. Really, my husband was too lazy to walk the extra 20 feet to the trashcan and requested this little device. It may be a European thing, too, as I think I recall little disposal containers sitting on most counter.

Coffee Maker #1 Breville Cafe Roman Cappucino Maker. This is our weekend coffee maker - when there is time to froth the milk, etc. Smooth and creamy. Very nice Saturday morning, lounging in bed, still in your pajamas coffee.

Capresso Conical Burr Grinder: The key to great coffee starts in the bean grinding process. When water is poured through the grounds, the water looks for the path of least resistance. When your coffee is not ground uniformly, the majority of the water follows that path, therefore diluting the flavor and strength. If your grounds are uniform and even, then the water flows through unvaryingly and thus...a great, full-bodied cup of coffee.

Coffee Maker #2: Philips Senseo. A great single or double cup of coffee with that perfect froth on top. Dutch brand, thus reliable and lovely. You have to buy the pods which can get expensive, but we order in bulk on Amazon. This maker is used on week mornings when time is very tight. It is quick and easy.

Coffee Maker #3 The old standby - Mr. Coffee. Not an elaborate system here and probably not a high grade coffee maker. But, it makes a large pot, can be programmed ahead (rarely happens) and shuts itself off after an hour preventing me from "burning down the house." This is our standard weekday maker, unless running short on time and then we revert to #2.

I might add that we have the BEST tasting water. It is well water and I am sure that it does add something into the coffee mix.

When friends get together in the Netherlands, it is always under the guise of having coffee. It was always, "let's get together for coffee." And, it actually happens...all the time. Relaxing, pleasant, laid-back, and always served with a great little coffee cookie. This consortium of comrades rarely happens in America. But why not? So, who's up for a cup and when are you coming over?


Anonymous said...

I wept when I saw the espresso maker. If Jay could just make me one more cup.

Rani said...

i feel the same way about coffee-LOVE it! Fortunately Alayna does too so we try to get to Starbuck's at least twice a month. When your girls are older it is actually something they want you to do with them (probably just so I can pay but whatever!. Call me anytime and I'll be glad to come over and have a cup with you