Measuring grounds accurately in the carafe basket. I know my limitation on the amount of time I have to enjoy. Not too much, not too little. I keep coffee of various flavors in the freezer, flavors that will make or break a mood. One-half cup at a time. I do not like coffee to lose its wake-up texture of heat, the dark heat on my tongue, the heat that stays in my palm. A glorious steaming hot half cup at a time.
I was not a coffee drinker until the age of thirty. I had tried coffees in all forms with cream, without, weak, and strong, every flavor imaginable and nothing worked although I inhaled its beautiful rich aromas. One evening while at a cousin’s after a fabulous wok shrimp stir-fry and sticky rice wrapped in seaweed served in bamboo thingy-ma-jiggers, and a dessert of a marbled raspberry cheesecake, I said sure, give me a cup. Black. Bingo.
My parents loved their morning coffees. My mother made a theatrical event of making sure she had the exact amount of cream in her coffee, the clang of the spoon, always a napkin to sit the cup on, and a newspaper unfolded beside. This could take several minutes. It needed to cool just a bit before the first slurp, after that, the coffee was ignored until a stiff ring had formed around the inside edge of the cup. A smooth dusty color now looking like gravel in the rain.
Throughout the years between kids off to school, grandkids, visitors from other states, cats in and out, and my job at the University, a morning rush was on. I eventually had a third small corner shelf added to the shower where I carried a half cup of coffee with me each morning—so tired of lukewarm coffee. Since retirement, I can enjoy my coffee on the porch most mornings in the wicker rocker. Coffees taste so much better in leisure.
Life can and is difficult at times. Starting the day needs care. I look forward to that time with coffee, not to be interrupted, an aromatic roast from the steep hillsides in Columbia, the roughness of Arabia, or the lush plantations of Hawaii, all in my control in a cup, under my nose, a smile on my face. There is much to be said about this little dark bean. For now, I am about to pour my first cup and move to the porch, after all, it is nearly six-thirty a.m. and time to ease into my day.