Time For The Percolator


I've never been a big coffee drinker. Perhaps you could blame it on a lack of exposure growing up. None of the adults in my household drank it. Or maybe you could also blame it on my childhood aversion to all things bitter. As a kid, I avoided coffee and abhorred licorice. I also detested the weird cacao candies that were all the rage in the 90s. Health nuts were trying to pass it off as chocolate. But I knew better.

For all of these reasons, for the vast majority of my life I didn't drink coffee. Thankfully, I never really needed to. Save for a few all nighters in college when I was trying to finish a paper, I never touched the stuff. Until I moved to Europe.



In Europe, it seemed almost illegal not to have a coffee. At nearly every restaurant, at every meal, at any time of day, people offered me a cup of coffee. And to be polite, I obliged. I was wonderfully surprised at the taste. This coffee was good--delicious even. It wasn't the weird tasting bitter stuff found in the kitchen at office buildings. Nor was it the stuff I gulped down in a furious attempt to stay awake and complete the paper I should have started two weeks ago. No. This coffee was good to drink just because.

I had no idea what had made the difference. Perhaps, I assumed, in Europe they used higher quality beans. Or maybe the water in Spain was cleaner and led to smoother taste. Good theories, but neither was quite right. I had no idea the secret to good coffee wasn't just in the ingredients, but in the instrumentation.

I discovered this when I moved into my apartment in Minorca. There among the cups and plates I found a strange little contraption. I was smart enough to realize that it was a coffee maker, not I wasn't bright enough to figure out how it worked. But at the time,  I was juggling three jobs so I needed to stay awake regardless.

So for weeks, I drank campfire coffee filled with grinds. It was nothing like the elegant coffee I enjoyed in cafes. Desperate to figure it out, I turned to the internet. Eureka! A youtube video showed me how to properly make coffee with this contraption. It was an embarrassingly simple solution --unscrew the top .



First Good Taste   

Inside, I found a metal filter and a container to place the water. I filled the compartments and placed it on the stove. Less than five minutes later, I had my coffee. My perfect delicious cup of coffee; made in the simplest way possible.    

Over the passing months, I made cup after cup of amazing coffee. Each brew had the perfect ratio of grinds to water. When added to milk or creamer, the bitterness subsided. Perfectly marrying to the sweetness of the milk and sugar.  



When I returned home, the first thing I did was buy an old fashioned percolator. Well, actually, initially I tried to make coffee with my mother's electric drip pot. But I was soon put off by the horrendous results. I stressed to her how much better and easier it would be to make coffee with what Amazon called a stovetop "espresso maker."

To me, it was simply a percolator, but I would allow for the fancy name. While I am still not a coffee connoisseur, I am happy that I've learned to make a great cup of joe. 

On my return to Europe, I may try a french press coffee maker. I have no idea how it works, or what makes it different from the kind I pour out of my stovetop espresso maker. To be honest, at first blush it seems a bit pretentious. But it might be worth trying anyway. Because at this point, it is nice to know that I've graduated to enjoying coffee just for fun.  

Candace Fykes