Lo-Tech Coffee

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

Okay, when I got married I was not a coffee drinker. I would have the occasional – no, NOT Starbucks – the occasional 7-11 coffee if I was taking a road trip, but other than that I would drink water or a soda. Marriage and children tend to sap your energy, and eventually I got a coffee maker. I corrupted my husband, too. He went from being a traditional Egyptian tea-drinker to a “I can’t leave the house in the morning without my cup of joe” guy. I take breaks from coffee every so often, went on a yerba mate kick for a while (still like it, but not all the time) and I switch from regular to decaf when I feel guilty because I’m a nursing mommy. Over the years I’ve made cofee many different ways. Today I made it primitive-style. Well, primitive for me.

My husband and I do eBay, so over the years we’ve had a couple hundred coffee makers cycle through our house, purchased from various auctions and flea markets. Sometimes the coffee makers are brand-new in the box. The best ones I snag for myself to try. I’ve had Mr. Coffee and Kitchenaid and Melitta, every fancy brand name you can imagine. Each one promises to brew up THE BEST CUP OF COFFEE YOU’VE EVER TASTED! Eventually, each has left. Either I lose or break the carafe or I swear off coffee for a while and hubby sells the machine out from under me. I ended up with a pretty and delicate French press for a while, but broke it in a dramatic shower of glass shards when I accidentally banged it against a pot one day. That made me sad because the press was small and looked nice in the kitchen. After that I stopped drinking anything that had that had to be brewed or steeped. That pretty much left water.

That took me up to last week. Hubby brought home another coffee maker. This one was big, the size of a bread machine. Kitchenaid, good brand. I already had the right size of filters. A quick stop at the store for coffee and I was all set. I brewed decent coffee with it, but the machine was taking up too much counter space. And though it slid neatly under the cabinet overhang, I had to slide it forward to the edge of the counter in order to raise the lid and add water. Then I had to slide it back out of the way. Then back forward to remove the used filter. I did this little do-si-do for a few mornings and then gave up. I banished the machine to the warehouse to be sold. Once again I was coffee-less.

I decided to go lo-tech. I put on the tea kettle and boil water, which I have to do anyway in the morning because I make oatmeal for my father-in-law (heart healthy and lots of fiber!). I measure coffee grounds into an old Pyrex measuring cup. Pour boiling water over the grounds. Let sit for ten minutes, then strain through a mesh strainer. Add sugar and creamer. Taste. And lo and behold, it tastes like – coffee! I suppose I don’t have an aficionado’s palate, but it tastes like the same coffee I’ve brewed a thousand times before. The only difference is that I have a bit of dregs in the bottom of the cup since the mesh strainer isn’t as fine as a paper filter. I can live with that. So now I have freed up space on my counter and I no longer have to buy coffee filters. I have my morning caffeine fix and all is right with the world. Sorry Mr. Coffee, I’m breaking up with you for good.


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