Making coffee on this Saturday morning

CoffeeHello, Mr. Coffee, my old friend. It’s always good to see you again, but this morning you can take a seat on the bench.

It’s Saturday morning, you see, and there isn’t much to do. We’ve already gone out for breakfast and then stocked up at the grocery store. We did some cleaning and then I ran some errands and washed the dirty dishes while Janet fixed tonight’s dinner in the crock pot — all before 10 a.m. even though it was 4 below zero outside.

But the better part of a lifetime misspent in newsrooms — at all hours of the day and night — resulted in many bad habits, including an addiction to coffee. So another cup or two, or, heck, a whole pot, seemed like a good idea when the urge hit to write something on the old blog. For me, writing at a computer keyboard will always go hand in hand with having a cup of coffee within reach.

And since it’s Saturday and I have no particular place to go or anything to do, it seemed like a good opportunity to break out the French press. According to Wikipedia, the French press is a simple device for brewing coffee that was patented in 1929 by Attilio Calimani, an Italian designer. It is the best way to make coffee, if you ask me.Still, I don’t use mine often because of the convenience Mr. Coffee offers with his timer, which allows me to make coffee before going to bed each night and awaking to a freshly brewed pot.

Typically, I drink a cup at home first thing each morning and then I head out to tackle the day. But my coffee addiction is bad enough that one of my first stops is often Elly’s Tea and Coffee. To be honest, I go to Elly’s to visit with Elly and her sister, Jackie, along with Julie, Kara and the other baristas, Of course, there are a host of other regulars I also look forward to seeing nearly every day. And the coffee is pretty good, too. The baked goods are even better. I wouldn’t even want to imagine a downtown Muscatine without Elly’s.

Shorty'sBut it wouldn’t matter how good — or bad — the coffee is at Elly’s or anywhere else, for that matter. In those misspent years as a newspaper guy, I drank lots of not-very-good coffee in the White House Cafeteria, which is in the Thrifty White Drug store in downtown Bismarck, N.D. Later on, I was a regular coffee drinker in Winona, Minn., at Shorty’s Cafe & Bar, which was destroyed by a fire several years ago and exists only in memories.

The White House and Shorty’s are on the low-end of my personal coffee-drinking spectrum, which is a standard set by:

  • The Mill Gourmet Coffee in Lincoln, Neb. It has been around since 1975 and in its current location at 800 P St. since 1988. It has always been a hangout for University of Nebraska students, business leaders, politicians, hippies and journalists — the newspaper is barely a block away. Dale Nordyke — who was and, I suppose, still is one of the owners — was there every day, roasting coffee beans and visiting with customers. He knew everyone and heard about everything that was happening in Lincoln, which made him a good guy to know.
  • Java Coffee & Cafe in Twin Falls, Idaho. In a past life, my day started every morning at Gold’s Gym. But before I headed for work or home, I stopped first at Java, where the house specialty is what they call the Bowl of Soul. My favorite was the Hammerhead (coffee with two shots of espresso) and an order of avocado toast. I met most mornings with the same group of regulars. That’s some fellowship I still miss even after all this time.

The fellowship is a side benefit to enjoying really good coffee — like the pot I brewed today with the old French press. Good coffee can also conjure up good memories. After a few sips this morning, I started to remember those great coffee hangouts in my past, which was a nice way to warm up on a cold Saturday.