Did Someone Say ‘Coffee’?

Did Someone Say ‘Coffee’?

By Jack McDonough

Early in my married life I made coffee in a Proctor Silex which, if I’m not mistaken, consisted of an arrangement whereby the coffee flowed from one glass section to another, up or down, I don’t remember. I probably used Maxwell House coffee that came in a can. The resulting cup of coffee was unfailingly excellent. Then the PS broke. I believe I tried unsuccessfully to replace it (“Sorry, we don’t make those any more”) or I possibly found some non-glass replacement that wasn’t as good.

Fast forward an indeterminate amount of time, and I remember complaining to someone that French Roast coffee was too strong. However, I corrected that character flaw and have enjoyed Starbuck’s French Roast for many years now. Dinner guests are consistent in their opinion that my coffee is too strong. The fault clearly lies in my selection of guests.

Millions of people obviously like Dunkin Donuts coffee. I very much dislike it and will drink a cup only if there’s no other coffee available anywhere in the world.

Two experiences with coffee:

  1. I had lunch in a Boston hotel some years ago and the coffee was so good that I asked the waiter what brand it was. He didn’t know, seemed surprised that I even asked the question and, as a matter of fact, appeared a little angry about the whole thing.
  2. Some time about 30 years ago the phone company was hours away from a strike and I, as a management person, was to remain in Boston overnight to be available for something or other early the next morning. Leaving the office late, I could find no restaurants open for dinner in our part of town. So I checked into a hotel near the office and called room service for a cheeseburger and a pot of coffee. The cheeseburger was excellent and the coffee was so good that I drank the whole pot. Naturally, that left me staring at the ceiling far into the night with a system full of caffeine. It was worth it. The coffee was that good. The company did go on strike but I have no idea what I did the following morning.

I have had some success using French press coffee makers. Done right, they produce a cup that shouts COFFEE. However, the process has to be carried out with perfectly ground fresh beans, the exact amount of water and the precise steeping time before pouring. Otherwise, you can end up with another cup of piping hot coffee-flavored water.

When all is said and done, here’s what actually happens in my kitchen circa 7 a.m. daily. I grind three scoops of Starbuck’s French Roast beans and put the ground coffee and two cups of water into my Black and Decker coffee maker and press the button. Voila! I enjoy the wonderful aroma of Juan Valdez’s mule and a steaming nectar that catapults me into the day. You probably wouldn’t like it.

Jack McDonough of Tewksbury, Mass., wrote for United Press International, New England Telephone, Brandeis University, and UMass Lowell in his career as a reporter and editor. He’s a baseball fan from way back, and played his share of ballgames: “good glove-good stick.”  We always appreciate his contributions to this publication. 

4 Responses to Did Someone Say ‘Coffee’?

  1. Henri Marchand says:

    Great to be reading Classic Jack material! A couple hours after sunrise…and with my first cup. As I read I hear your distinctive radio delivery.

  2. Henri Marchand says:

    Great to be reading classic Jack material, a few hours after sunrise and with my first cup! Even though I read silently my mind still hears your unique WUML voice and delivery.

  3. Frank Wagner says:

    Where I live in Texas, Independence Coffee is the greatest. It is a special thing to grind the coffee. Oh! The sweet aroma! was in the Navy in France and I have never had better coffee than there.

  4. Charles Gargiulo says:

    I admit, I’m a coffee amateur and couldn’t distinguish between a gourmet cup of coffee from a cup brewed at Cumberland Farms. What’s always been a mystery to me is how I have NEVER had a cup of coffee taste remotely as good as it smelled brewing.
    To me, the smell of fresh brewed coffee is comparable to viewing the awesome beauty of the mountains with one’s own eyes and the actual taste of that freshly brewed coffee is like seeing those mountains in a postcard. It can never fully capture the vast aroma.

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