Friday, January 29, 2016

Freestyle Friday - Coffee

I didn't alway enjoy coffee. My parents weren't (and aren't) coffee drinkers - we didn't even have a coffee maker when I was growing up. Mornings were not enveloped in the rich sounds and smells of coffee being made. I hope those will be comforting sounds for Shelby and Victoria as they have become for me! This Christmas I heard of the Swedish Christmas tradition of St. Lucia's Day ... we might have to visit that as the girls get older. It sounds like a very sweet tradition and a great teaching opportunity. And of course I like the idea of our girls dressing up and bringing us coffee!

Tim and I have a weakness for freshly-ground, recently roasted, whole-bean coffee
My first encounters with coffee were as a mysterious, bitter drink that was nothing like the hot chocolate it resembled when steaming in a mug. My mother's parents would have a cup with dessert. Grandma Jensen made it in a percolator on the gas stove top and I do remember watching the glass window turn from clear to brown as this strange adult beverage lava-ed up inside in violent blurps.

It wasn't until high school that I actually tried coffee for myself. Java Joe's. It was on the side of the highway I wasn't supposed to be on. The bad part of town. At least once I outed myself for having been there and got grounded. For some reason in my memory it wasn't far from a funeral home that had a full-sized casket on a pole as their sign. I often wonder if that place is still there, though I think Java Joe's may be long gone.

Some might have described me as grunge at that time (and I still love a great pair of Doc Martin's). With that came everything "Seattle," including coffee shops. Though I don't really think I drank much coffee there. And in all honesty I didn't really go there too many times ... it seems I was somehow ratted out (usually by myself) every time and most of the time I did try to avoid being grounded.

I recently learned that the fleshy outer part that surrounds the bean, called the cherry, is actually quite nutritious!
Enter the college years, when I realized the virtues of coffee beyond culture. Especially when I lived on campus. At one point in my Aggie career there was a coffee shop in Northgate called Copacetic that my roommate and I would frequent to study. It was there that I truly began to drink real coffee. Sure, at first I was pretty fru-fru with cappuccinos and cafe Americanos ... but eventually the end-of-semester crunches of both studies and budget taught me the subtle joy of a bottomless mug of house coffee.

It was also at a coffee shop in College Station - Sweet Eugene's (which I still enjoy on occasion!) that I met Italian wedding soup alongside a creamy mug of sweet ambrosia and the gathering of friends. When I moved to Boston for grad school I discovered why they say "America runs on Dunkin" ... I most certainly did!

Can you smell it?
My first date with Tim was to a Starbucks cloistered within the stacks of a Barnes & Noble. It doesn't get much better than that ... surrounded by books, nestled at a table for two sipping overpriced cups wrapped in recycled sleeves and being brutally honest with my future husband.

I didn't know yet all that he and I would go through together. Our styles of coffee have changed almost as much as our life. When we met, Tim was a Starbucks junkie. At least once a day. Sometimes twice. To his credit he was working nights. But still.

Early in our marriage our opposed, ships-in-the-night schedules lead to the purchase of a Keurig. The search for better coffee eventually brought us to the Moka pot and milk frother. Finally, on our first post-baby date, Truluck's introduced us to the all-stainless steel French press. I prefer a dark roast  and have even learned to enjoy my coffee black or "bullet proof." Tim appreciates a milder flavor with plenty of cream and sugar.

There's a story behind this Daneen Pottery mug too!
Sometimes staring into the swirling mug as my brain warms up to the day is like a trip in a deliciously comfortable time machine. All my memories associated with coffee seem to be especially happy ones. Perhaps that is a societal universal truth and why we so often plan to meet with friends over a cup or two.

1 comment:

  1. I love it dark and strong and black, freshly ground, using a French press. I have a drip pot and a Keurig for crowds.

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