Thursday, June 16, 2022

Making coffee


     Practice makes perfect.
     And after uncounted mornings of making the coffee, measuring the scoops of Major Dickason's Blend beans into the grinder, filling water into the coffee maker while it grinds, washing the pot and filter holder, setting the filter in place, I've got it down to a science, achieving the steaming pot of Peet's perfection with the minimum of motion. Efficiency of action. Uniformity of result.
     Until something goes wrong. Every now and then, I'll leave the ground beans in the grinder and turn the coffee maker on, realizing my mistake only when I take a sip of hot dirty brown water. Or pour ground coffee into the grinder. 
Or, as in this case, skip the grinding part and dump the whole beans directly into the coffee maker — the result, I believe, of that bag of ground coffee (Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut. My wife likes it. What can I do? It's her house too). My theory is, sometimes using ground coffee throws off my game. Introduces confusing variables into my finely tuned coffee system.
     And at first you feel stupid. Gaze at the mistake with bovine incomprehension. Ah gee, I do this every day. I must be slipping. And then, hurrying to fix it, you realize, if you do something long enough, eventually you'll make a mistake. That's human nature.
     Here being a writer helps. Because no matter how good you are, mistakes are always made in writing, and you have to check for them, because they're always there. As I like to say, "Too right is two air." Whoops, what I mean is, "To write is to err." But that's true for life too. Don't beat yourself up over the mistakes. Correct them and move on. Enjoy the coffee, extra steps and all.


  1. Mistakes are inevitable. What is not is admitting them. Accepting and learning from them is a very good thing. Ask any politician.
    Regarding coffee making “errors “, see it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Another very good thing.

    1. Although mindlessness sometimes has its benefits!

    2. Speaking of mindfulness, which I usually value little, what really gets me is to realize the second I push the send button that I've forgotten once more to attach some document to the message. I should include boiler plate to my emails stating that if you were expecting an attachment that's missing, don't fret -- it will be coming a little later.


  2. I just tell myself that I should never try and make a pot of coffee when I need a pot of coffee! Haha

  3. From the perspective of a cynical, unsophisticated bastard such as myself, many folks take their coffee WAY too seriously. My father spent a lifetime drinking instant whatever -- he wouldn't even deign to pay for a name brand like Maxwell House -- and somehow slogged through the day intact. I'm not suggesting that Major Dickason is not the bomb, being a military man and all, but the idea that one must grind one's own beans fresh every morning is... well, let's just say that I'd be happy to settle for a cup of DD swill like your wife. ; )

    For decades, whenever I've bought a bag of "fancy" ground coffee -- which we use for months, since we're tea drinkers, mostly -- the bag says that it should be consumed within 2 weeks, for "optimum coffee enjoyment." The first place that I was instructed about this was at the original Intelligentsia on Broadway. I laughed, then and now, and somehow manage to enjoy a sub-optimum beverage.

    Caveats: To each one's own, of course, and obviously I have an unrefined palate. Clearly, my not being a daily coffee drinker invalidates this opinion. And the lesson of today's post, "Don't beat yourself up over the mistakes" is one I would definitely benefit from taking to heart.

  4. A topic complementing yesterday's column, the terrifying onset of dementia. For me it was the year 2020, maybe caused by the isolation and masking during the Covid pandemic. Making an omelet cracking and egg dumping it in the garbage and looking dumbfounded at the shell in my hand. Cleaning shrimp, shell in the garbage shrimp in a bowl, then staring at a shell after the shrimp went in the garbage. Grocery shopping seeing Hampton Farms roasted peanuts with Sox label on sale. Then getting home discovering they had Cub labels. Only a few were rotten, ate them anyway, didn't get sick. Another time saw delicious looking sausages at a good sale price. Get home and read the label, Vienna Wrigley Field Smokies, blech! Have to admit they tasted pretty good. Fortunately, my memory has recovered, and things are back to normal.

  5. I can proofread a piece 3-5 times and still miss mistakes. And as far as coffee goes, my last faux pas was pouring cold water out of the electric kettle (forgot to turn it on) over grounds in the French press. Took a bit of finagling to remedy the situation.

  6. Auto-correct is my own worst enema.

  7. In regards to coffee: When our Mr. Coffee Maker broke we went out and got a percolator. What a difference and it was only $15.00. I would never go back to that drip coffee maker.


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