I had to jumpstart the coffee pot.

As my dad once said, It’s so cold out there, I had to jumpstart the coffee pot.

I’ve been known to say that sometimes coffee is just a caffeine delivery system and sometimes it’s a spiritual experience. Some days, it is both.

Coffee, is, and has been, my favorite beverage for decades. I drink it hot year-round. I drink a whole pot by myself before I ever step foot out of the door in the morning.

I cannot, and do not wish to ever, live without coffee. I even bought a gas grill for the primary purpose of being able to make coffee during power outages. I bought lots of BTU power, but it still takes forever to heat water.

I even have a spare coffee-maker to throw in the trunk on road trips. Those puny things in motels are all but useless not to mention the two little packets of coffee provided (1 regular, 1 decaffeinated). The travel pot also serves as the backup pot. This is how much I want and need coffee. There are always two.

I drink it black in a mug that is small by other coffeeholics’ standards. Like good whiskey, I sip my coffee. With a big mug, it’s cold before I get to the bottom.

Each night, I set up coffee for the morning, hit the timer button and toddle off to bed. This insures that the coffee is raring and ready-to-go when I stumble down the stairs trying to orient body and mind to an existence that seems more dream-like at 6 a.m. than my dreams.

Yesterday, on Facebook, a friend happened to mention that she’d gotten a brand new Cuisinart coffee pot and did I want her old one which was a snazzy red. I told her no, because I have a snazzy white Cuisinart albeit an older model.

Her original status update had to do with why she poured in 12 cups of water, but the reservoir only showed 10. We also discussed why, even after topping off the reservoir, 12 cups of coffee only produced 10 cups.  (Presumably, if we didn’t top off the reservoir, the brewed amount would be 8 cups.)

It’s one of the mysteries of the universe. It’s not just this particular brand of coffee-maker, but all of them.. I’ve never had one that produces the same amount of brewed coffee as water I pour in.

The immediate supposition is that two cups are lost as steam during brewing. Two cups is a lot of water. Really, I think I would notice two cups of steam collecting under my kitchen cabinets. I mean, really, wouldn’t it drip from the cabinets?

I have no suppositions about the reservoir.

Another mystery is why every single coffee-maker carafe dribbles. ‘Tis near impossible to pour a cup without having to immediately grab paper towel and wipe up the mess on the counter. I do pour carefully. I pour slow; I pour fast; I pour medium. I pour from great heights and I pour with the lip of the carafe touching the cup – there’s always that dribble.

For a long, long time, I was uncommonly fond of, and unapologetic of, Maxwell House French Roast coffee. All that fancy, schmancy stuff in coffee shops was wasted on me. And don’t even get me started on Starbucks. The first time I had it, I gave the cup back to them and told them they needed to make another pot because that one had gone bad. They did. The second cup was worse.

I did develop a fondness for Columbian coffee (though not Starbucks’). However, with the quantities I drink, it was hard on my stomach. I returned to Maxwell House French Roast.

And then they new-and-improved it to the point where it was undrinkable (unless that was the only coffee I had). I fumbled around in the coffee aisle at the grocery and eventually switched to Folgers.

With a twist of fate, I discovered Tanzanian Peaberry. Now there’s a coffee bean a girl could love. I bought 5 lbs of beans from a mailorder place and reached coffee nirvana.

At times I would run out of the Tanzanian and at other times I just couldn’t afford it. Folgers was the old standby.

During the course of yesterday’s Facebook conversation, we discussed the penchant for Cuisinart’s built-in grinders to gum up. Mine will be fine for weeks and weeks. Then, one morning, I will wake to half-a-pot of semi-brewed coffee and half-ground beans all over the countertop. This is not an event that provokes a good morning.

Wouldn’t you know it – shortly after closing Facebook, I made a new pot and the damned thing gummed up, overflowed, and thoroughly messed up the counter I had just cleaned.

So cursing and stomping (and calling my friend names because she jinxed it), I cleaned up the mess. I unplugged the pot and began cleaning out half-ground beans. There was one spot near the top of the brewer that I couldn’t get to. I turned that baby upside down and used the sink sprayer attachment.

Since I had the damn thing all torn apart, I decided to clean it. I poured in vinegar and I poured in water and I turned the pot on to brew. Nothing. No lights, no camera, no action.

I checked the breaker box – fine. I plugged the coffee-maker into another outlet just to be sure. Nothing.

Sigh.

I dragged out the backup coffee-maker – a Melitta that never did grind right – and got out the Folgers. All was more or less well, though I was still mad.

This morning, I stumbled down the stairs and realized I’d forgotten to set up coffee last night in the excitement of Chef Boy ‘R Mine’s 10 p.m. arrival. It took a minute to register and without thinking, I hit the power button even though the Melitta was sitting next to the Cuisinart. (Neither maker is particularly small and only an early-morning fog explains this.) The Cuisinart saluted, slipped into gear, and brewed me a nice pot of vinegared water.  The supposition here is that the electronic parts had gotten wet and just needed drying time.

Sigh.

I poured water and Folgers into the Melitta and hit brew.

The Folgers is right tasty this morning. I only got 10 cups and there’s coffee dribbles on the counter, but still I have cup of coffee and all is right with the world. Sometimes coffee is just a caffeine delivery system and sometimes it is a spiritual experience. Today it is both.

Good thing. It is so cold out there, I had to jumpstart the coffee pot.

19 Comments

Filed under January 2010

19 responses to “I had to jumpstart the coffee pot.

  1. We had one of those Cuisinarts. After it ground and backed up and spilled coffee all over the counter and floor one time two many, we switched to Keurig. Expensive yes, oh so convenient!

  2. And that would be “too many”. Argh.

  3. I usually, but not always have one cup of decaf in the morning.

    My wife just bought one of those fancy machines that grinds perks and reaches out and pours it down your throat. $9.95 at a Goodwill store in FL.

  4. You’re exactly like my dad. He HAS to have Coffee before he’s even human (and believe me, he ain’t human anyway…so…) But he drinks Maxwell House (used to be Folger’s) and has been drinking it for years. On Coffee Makers: He doesn’t care for them there fancy machines – he uses a Dollar store special; a Durabrand. Haha!

    And on the Starbucks – FINALLY someone who has the same opinion as me on this. The first time I ever had Starbucks (hot) coffee was at a franchise in Dresden, OH. I took a sip of it, told them it was terrible and I wanted a new cup – got it, spit it out and told them what I thought. It tastes like what piss smells like. LOL.

    • My dad got all kinds of excited when he found a Corningware electric percolator at a junk store. It’s what I grew up and what he and my mom used for years. He doesn’t use it, but it satisfies some need in him. The drip coffee makers came out just about the time I was getting my first apartment. Being the trendy chic I was, I had one of the first Mr. Coffee’s ever made. I like ’em. Percolated coffee can get to tasting like Starbucks if it sits in the pot too long.

  5. Mrs Beans

    I work with a gent that roasts his own beans. I thought, “that’s a lot of bother.” One day he shared some with me. OH! Now I occasionally hang out near his cube with an empty coffee mug and a big puppy-eyes expression and hope…

  6. We have 3 coffeemakers on the counter. Three! One big one (12-cup) for when company comes, one 4-cup for Larry, and a one-cupper for me. I got mine and Larry’s at Goodwill, I think. It’s hard to remember because I’ve had them so long. The bigger coffeepot is a cheapo too, and we’ve had it for a good while too.

    My favorite, though, is the filter/funnel thingie I use at work. One cup at a time. I boil water, pour ir through the grounds in the filter/funnel, and there’s coffee. Easy, little mess and makes a fresh cup every time.

    Larry is like you, gotta have coffee first thing. He can’t even go to the bathroom first, I think! I drink tea in the morning, good English tea with cream and honey. Coffee is for later. But I sure miss it if for some reason I don’t get a cup or two during the day.

    • Mrs Beans

      Hey, I use that same filter/funnel thing too! I use one at work and more scarily, I use one at 3:15 AM in my dark kitchen with my bedhead and fuzzy brain. One of these days I’m going to knock the whole mess over & call it a day and go back to bed.

  7. Ann

    I must tell you that I have found a coffee-maker with a carafe that does NOT dribble! On Christmas of 2008, Santa placed a Cuisinart DCC-1200 coffee-maker underneath my tree and the only time the carafe has ever dribbled is when I did not have the lid on properly. I have been downright thrilled with it.

  8. I’m not picky about my coffee-as long as I’ve got it : ) Neat post.

  9. We like our coffee perked on the wood stove. Hubby likes his cooked forever, the aroma of it cooked this way is almost as good as drinking. Me I just get mine before it’s to overdone.

    • Yeah, if you let it go on too long, it starts tasting like Starbucks. 🙂

      I love sitting around a campfire with a percolator sitting on the coals. There’s nothing like that aroma.

      I keep running into people who tell me they love the aroma of coffee, but can’t stand the taste. I don’t quite get that – the loving one, but not the other. Taste and smell are so intertwined, who’d have thunk you could separate it out that way.

  10. Pingback: Pointy Toilet Paper « W. Va. Fur and Root

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