There are mornings when I easily drink the whole pot.

Not quickly, but usually in a couple of hours.  I do some letter writing, journaling, blogging and communicating with friends and family. OK, I might waste some time with a solitaire game or two.  I know when I am about done with these activities when the coffee runs out.  I never make a second pot.  Well, I shouldn’t say “never”, as I remember one snowy morning when it seemed that we’d never get out again, I ran through two pots before noon.  By way of clarification, I do not drink cool coffee.  It makes me gag.  I throw that away to make room for the hot stuff.

We are talking about a 4 – 5 cup pot.  There was a day, many years ago when native tolerance seemed to be greater, that I could drink the stuff all day.  That finally caught up with me.  I went for several years without drinking at all but then moved to New Orleans, where coffee is king (actually alcohol is king, but for the purpose of this little piece we will go with coffee) and I didn’t think I could leave my beloved Maine and do without darkroast at the same time – so I didn’t.  I was there two years and I only had one cup of bad coffee at a nice little restaurant on St. Charles Avenue, where the trolly runs.  Of course, we never went back.  I’d had worse, but that was in a Methodist church basement in Illinois.  You wouldn’t expect anything but the worst in such a place.

Since then, I have managed to temper my intake so that at some point in the morning I cut the caffeine off entirely for the day.  I have this little pot that allows me to set the time it will be ready.  I know that is fairly standard for most people but I never had a pot like that until a year or so back.  It  took me a week to figure out how to predictably set the damned thing.  I love getting out of bed and stumbling in to the kitchen and pouring a hot cup of darkroast.  it seems so civilized.  I mean, cave men can’t do this.

I remember when coffee was hand made by pouring boiling water by the spoonful over an open basket until the pot was made.  The pot itself sat in simmering water over a low fire.  No electricity was needed.  I still have this little pot.  It’s a small affair holding 2 – 3 full cups,  tops.  I remember buying this very pot in a drug store at the corner of Willow Ave. and Plank Road in North Baton Rouge.  It had to be 50 years ago.  Had to be.  

In those days you made a pot and drank it fresh.  It took on a very un-fresh taste if left to simmer in that little pan.  Often I made several pots in succession if there were more than just me drinking.  There were large versions of this pot but they were not often used, except in large groups where the contents would be drunk quickly.

Some of my fondest memories of coffee drinking were as a child.  I would be given a cup of this same dark coffee laced with cream and sugar while sitting on my grandfather’s back porch next door.  I can remember spooning out the unmelted sugar in the bottom of the cup after the syrupy solution was gone.  Yum!  My guess is that if they had enough cream and sugar in the stuff it wouldn’t hurt me.  I’m not even sure anyone thought of coffee as something that could be bad for you back then anyway.

At my grandmother’s home in Jackson on Sunday afternoons there would be coffee and cake in the afternoon on the verandah.  It was a real verandah with swings at both ends and rocking chairs in between.  It’s funny, a lot of memorable things went on during those weekend visits, but that coffee and cake on the verandah holds an honored place in my mind.

There are two other cups that stick in memory.  The first is the first time we drove down to New Orleans and parked at the old Cafe du Monde.  There was curb service then.  The coffee was half and half hot milk and uncut strong French Chicory.  And Beignets too.  I can smell and taste it now.

The second was the one with that king sized, unfiltered Chesterfield.  All I’ll say is that I remember it being wonderful and that I had the last experience of that 58 years ago.   Funny, how the coffee began to taste better after the nicotine.  Before that I needed the coffee to make the nicotine taste better.

Well, I have about half a cup left.  If you’ll excuse me – you know, before it cools off .  . .   .

JH

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