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.


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.


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.