“Let me wake up next to you, have coffee in the morning and wander through the city with your hand in mine, and I’ll be happy for the rest of my fucked up little life.” ― Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps
How we prepare coffee, in general, has changed dramatically over the years. Coffee was once boiled on top of a wood burning stove, a process that was aromatic, but tended to result in a lot of burned coffee. There are still modern ceramic pots that duplicate that effect, with the presumed side effect that one is actually watching the range top a little more closely now. James Mason invented the percolator in 1865, a device that used heat to pour hot water over the grounds. Eventually, the design was modified and made electric and by the 1950s there was hardly a house in America that didn’t have one. For special events, there was even the giant two- or five-gallon size that would brew enough coffee for an entire platoon.
Commercially, though, the Bunn company had a lock on brewing coffee that was faster, and in many opinions, better. They invented a machine that was connected to the water supply, so coffee was always ready to go at the push of a button, great for restaurants and all the coffee shops that were beginning to pop up across the country. The Bunn heated the water first, then poured it over the coffee grounds which were sitting in a filtered basket. Coffee would then drip down into a waiting carafe. When Mr. Coffee introduced a home version of this machine in 1972, with baseball great Joe DiMaggio as the spokesperson, it changed the look of American kitchens and killed the percolator.
Personally, I prefer my French Press for a couple of reasons. First, I find the plunger style of coffee brewing to be more flavorful without risking burning the coffee. The carafe never sits on heat so there’s no chance the coffee is going to slowly turn into sludge. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I can do it at home, any time of day.
I seriously don’t understand people who don’t brew their own coffee. Consider today’s picture. Would this scenario have happened if one had to get dressed and run to the nearest Starbucks for coffee? While I suppose it’s possible, it certainly wouldn’t be likely, and definitely not convenient. I’m all for coffee shops, mind you; I spend a great deal of time in them. But I want that first cup of coffee in the morning to be like love: unfiltered and something I can cherish privately to myself or share with someone intimately.
We get rather religious about our coffee now. Everyone wants it prepared their way, we want it to taste the same no matter where we are. No matter how you prefer to have your coffee, though, there’s no question that our love for the beverage is unfiltered.