As far back as I can remember, my mom always went out to get the paper and coffee first thing in the morning. I think it became a way of getting peace and quite from 4 loud daughters and countless pets running under foot. Although I do remember this ritual long before all of my younger sisters were born. I became a daily coffee drinker when I was in prep school. Long stints in painting studios will do that to a girl. It was a convenient habit to pick up…it was always right there in the dining hall just waiting to poured and so lovely to sip while working in the studio.
When I was in college I never made coffee myself, we had Dunkin Donuts all over campus and a huge cup could be mine with a simple swipe of my student id card. After school I began living with my now ex husband and he used to prep the little drip machine we had before he left in the mornings so I just had to start it when I got up. It was very sweet of him to do this and it made my coffee drinking almost perfect, but you see, I’m a slow coffee drinker. I carry around a cup with me at all times, but I only drink 2-3 cups a day. I don’t mind it cold, and I actually add cold water (instead of milk) when I prepare a cup. I however abhor burnt coffee. Working in my studio at home meant that it would take me all day to drink that one pot. By afternoon, when I was ready for my third cup, it was undrinkable…but seemed like a waste to make a fresh pot for just one cup.
My step-mother heard my woes and gave me a little percolator at some point that did indeed help the burnt part a bit, and I was happy; especially as I was married at that point and continued to just have to plug in when I woke up. Those were lovely days, until the second percolator that I bought to replace the first when it wore out stopped working. I started using a drip again as I had one lying around and, well, convenience trumped taste. Then one day I had a light bulb moment and got an insulated carafe. I simply transferred the fresh brewed pot into the carafe and presto! Warm coffee that was not burnt could be mine all day…and this made me ridiculously happy!!
After the divorce, I still used this method until the drip machine broke and I happened to have on hand a French Press that a friend had just given me as a gift. Voila…a new love was formed! Well, except I ended up breaking the French Press, but no worries, I ordered a new one up instantly. A friend of mine did break the new carafe a couple of months ago, but I was due for a new one anyway and French Press parts are easy to reorder…which was excellent news as I seem to have really bad luck keeping a coffee maker in working order.
Somewhere in the midst of all of this, my mom bought me a mug. She asked permission first…and I assured it was not only ok, but that I loved it. It’s the perfect size, white ceramic with ART SLUT in black print around it. It’s the only mug I drink coffee with and that’s all I use it for…I actually drink tea in different mugs. I have created the most ritualistic routine to my morning coffee consumption. Is this weird? Do any of you do something like this?
Well even if this is all just a neurosis spinning out of control, it’s not over yet. We are just getting to the root of the evil…the bean itself. I have been grinding my own for some time now, I’m pretty sure since I started living on my own again 6 years ago. My ex husband was nice enough to prep the coffee, but didn’t want to take the time to grind it. Ah, his loss, fresh ground coffee is awesome. I’ve flirted with different brands and roasts, and I’m pretty simply…I light a lighter roast…perhaps a breakfast blend. Nothing too extreme and I’m not so obsessed that I travel far to get specialty beans or order them online. I need to be able to buy them at the local stores. I’ve tried fair trade, organic and big box brands. I’m not so much of a connoisseur that I can really tell the difference. But I am a label whore. (Label Whore, Art Slut…great impression I’m making today!) So when I realized that the master of awesome Italian caffeine packaging design, Illy, sold whole coffee beans and not just for espresso, I squealed with delight! Compared to fair trade, its not so expensive and those tins, oh those tins!, they are divine to look at. I heart them big time. The sassy red lids make me swoon. I use the empty tins in my painting studio as storage. I keep it on my counter…right next to the grinder. It looks THAT good.
You know what the worst part is? That I’m drinking coffee right now as I type, and I still want to run over and make another batch after writing about it. Addiction’s a bitch.