Thursday, September 3, 2015

How to Make Coffee

This post originally appeared on my now defunct food writing blog, The Famished Freelancer, on 11/21/13.

Coffee in the morning
Photo credit: chichacha
My mother makes terrible coffee. So she has been told, and thus she shall believe evermore.  I'm not sure I've ever had coffee that she's made, since she hasn't made a pot since before I was old enough to drink the stuff.

You know how I learned how to brew coffee? We were throwing a party, and I was, let's say twelve or thirteen. And my mother asked me to make a pot of coffee because everyone hates her coffee. So I read the can of coffee. 

1 tablespoon of coffee grounds for every 6 ounces of water. 

I figured out how to work a drip coffee maker, put in the right amount of coffee grounds and water and got loads of compliments.

That's it. That's the big secret that has eluded my mother for decades. My mother, the science teacher. She's smart enough to learn how to make coffee, but she's decided that it's a hopeless cause.

My brother made some progress and taught both our parents to make coffee his way. But he makes coffee like a crazy person - fill the grinder with beans and call that the right amount of coffee for a pot. He never makes less than a whole pot of coffee, and if anyone complains that his coffee is too strong, he tells them to add water.  How they're supposed to do this after they've already added milk and there's no room in their mug is not his problem.

When it comes to coffee, my brother and logic are not are one with each other. 

He once ranted to me for five minutes about how evil Starbucks is. And then told me how delicious venti caramel macchiatios with an extra shot are. I suspect all the caffeine has affected his mind over the years.

My mother's inability to make coffee has not been an issue for most of her life because she was a tea drinker. Hell, she probably started making bad coffee to get back at people for forcing her to make coffee for them, you know, fighting the patriarchy. 

And she was content with this until her fellow teachers got her hooked on the daily coffee run. 

And now she's retired and doesn't have people bringing her coffee anymore. And she doesn't want to make a whole pot like my brother taught her because she only wants one cup. And she's decided that measuring out 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds and 12 ounces of water is just way to complicated. (And in fairness, I've seen her before she's had her caffeine - that may be an accurate assessment.)

So she got herself a k-cup coffee maker. Because it's easier to have other people dig petroleum out of the ground (and fight wars over it), turn it into plastic, mine the metal for the foil lids, then drive a truck (fueled by more petroleum) to take away the cups and lids to be recycled than it is to wield a measuring spoon before breakfast.

I'm just saying that people who live in flood zones should be a little nicer to Momma Nature. And that if you're going to insist that you can't do something I taught myself to do when I was twelve, I get to make fun of you.


  1. Too-strong coffee with water added just tastes like diluted too-strong coffee. Blergh.

  2. Being evil is not mutually exclusive from being delicious. And I have a coffee scoop thank you very much.


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