Friday, March 22, 2013

Company Girl Coffee 3/22/13

Ah, coffee. Over at Home Sanctuary, Rachel Anne opens up our virtual coffee break with some questions about our coffee/hot beverage habits.

Are you a coffee or tea afficionado? Is iced tea your cup of choice? Just for grins, share your favorite drink - hot or cold - and the brands/methods you use to get it "just right."

My coffee habit can be traced back to my grandfather; yes, it's all his fault.

My grandfather was born in Sicily, emigrating to the US at roughly age 25. He served in the Italian navy during World War I before joining his brothers in moving to the U.S. Some years ago I was able to search the Ellis Island records and order a copy of the page of ship's manifest that included his entry. He arrived on January 8, 1920 - exactly thirty-nine years before I was born.

For breakfast, or for a snack, he would make a coffee porridge of sorts. First, tear up a couple of slices of squishy white bread (the squishier the better) and put them in a bowl. Add some milk and a bit of sweetner, then pour over the hot coffee and stir it all up.

For us kids, he'd mix up a mug of mostly milk with a little bit of coffee and sugar, and give us a slice of bread to tear up and dunk.

Sitting at the table in my grandparents' tiny kitchen, sharing a mug of coffee is one of my strongest memories of my grandpa.

While I love coffee, I'm pretty much an egalitarian when it comes to brands and types. Growing up, coffee was made in a pot on the stove - a pot of boiling water to which instant coffee was added. Yeah, it was probably as unappealing as it sounds, but it was still coffee.

The instant coffee habit followed me to college, joined by really, really bad vending machine coffee. While I dropped the milk (too hard to keep in stock in the dorm room), I started adding a bit more sugar to mask the battery-acid taste of the swill from the machine at the college library.

Maybe that drink permanently singed my taste buds, but I can't usually tell the difference between high end and bottom of the barrel blends. Most mornings, I'll pick up a cup of McDonald's coffee (which has improved over the years). The brew of choice at home is Dunkin Donuts, though in the past I've picked up pounds of Jamaican Blue Mountain and Kona.

Equipment of choice at home is a Cuisinart automatic drip and a small Krups espresso machine. I've toyed with using some of the other brewing methods: French press (too messy to clean), pour over (too fussy), Moka pot for espresso (cleaning), Keurig (coffee too strong, don't care for flavors). I'm happy with the basic auto-drip.

My jaunts to Starbucks, Alterra, Stone Creek or Anodyne are for lattes, not coffee. I'll tell you a secret - I really don't care for their brewed coffees. (side note - while Milwaukee may no longer be the country's largest beer producer, we do seem to be rising in the ranks of home grown artisanal coffee houses - that list above is nowhere near complete).

Basically, as long as it is hot, caffeinated and black, I'll drink it.

Well, except for the coffee at the office, which is a whole 'nother story.


Anonymous said...

I'm more of a tea drinker, but I love the different flavors of coffee sometimes. :) Thanks for sharing the story of your grandfather. I have good memories of my grandparents too.

Rachel Anne said...

Ahhhh. Loved the story about your grandfather. I've never heard of drinking (eating?) coffee that way, but what a wonderful memory. I do the drip coffee method, and have been making a stronger brew than I used to and that seems to be satisfying me. I usually don't drink more than a couple big mugs in the morning, but sometimes in mid afternoon I've got to have a pick me up! Keurig seems so handy but yes....way too strong for me. But give me time....maybe one day soon it will taste perfect.