Sunday Scribblings: Coffee

Rewinding back to growing up vivid images come to mind when I think of coffee. Every morning when I came downstairs the familiar smell of brewing coffee filled the house. The clear Pyrex coffee pot on the stove was always full of enough coffee so Dad could have some with breakfast, Mom could have her morning coffee before school, and the thermos Dad took to the Zinc Plant could be filled. I remember removing Dad's thermos from his lunch bucket in the evening and washing it gingerly as not to break that magic glass inside that kept the liquid hot.When a can of MJB coffee emptied, I loved watching Mom use the little key to open the top of the new can. Even today with an electric can opener and a different brand of coffee I love that smell of the fresh coffee as the lid comes off the can. The only time coffee was made in the evening was when we had a special dinner and coffee was served with a dessert, sometimes during the holidays, or if Dad wanted some to go with brandy. It always seemed odd to me when people always had a pot of coffee going on the stove.
Grandma Woolum always said nobody made coffee like my mom. She loved to come to Kellogg and drink my mom's coffee. After each of us left and moved to other places we decided it was the good water in Kellogg that helped to make that good coffee. Grandma's house had that same smell in the morning when we stayed there and I think Dad always liked that comfort of coffee made at his mother's house.
We often stopped at Dick and Floyd's in uptown Kellogg. It had a counter out front with a soda fountain, magazines, candy, and doughnuts. There was a bar in the back. Oftentimes as I sat drinking my fountain root beer there would be the same people drinking the thick black coffee that had sat on a burner for most of the day. That coffee had a much different smell than what I experienced at home.

I don't remember exactly when I started drinking coffee. I probably made the mix of coffee, sugar cubes, and cream at church or at a wedding reception just because we loved sugar cubes and cups with saucers. I just remember always adding something to it in my youth.

Moving to college is when my serious coffee drinking started. Moscow, Idaho does not have good tasting water and the coffee we had at the house tasted horrible, but everyone drank it. We often went to a cafe that stayed open late to study and have "better coffee". Thus began my lifetime ritual of drinking coffee. I have carried coffee in a big Stanley thermos, a plastic to-go cup that came free at the service station, a cuter red cup that fits in the car holder, and a mug that stayed a bit stained all week in the teacher lounge. I was still living in Kennewick when the first drive-thru espresso stand opened. I drank these horribly sweet mochas back then and thought I was getting designer coffee. I survived moving to a rural area without espresso stands. When JEJ and I first met we would do Saturday drives around the area and stop for coffee at small town cafes, gas stations, and rest stops. I do like fresh ground beans at home, but now mix my own by taking a few types of coffee beans and mixing them in the bag at the store. Every time it tastes a bit different.

I still look forward to drinking coffee at my mom's house. Nothing fancy. She has moved to a coffeemaker you plug in, but she doesn't grind her own beans, buy Starbuck's House Blend, or use a French press. She opens the can of whatever brand she had a coupon for and it was a store special. I think last time I was home it was Yuban French Roast. I often take a cup for the road when we leave after a week-end visit.

For other Sunday Scribblings on coffee go here.


  1. My mother used a Pyrex coffee pot just like this one. Thank you for bringing back a fond memory. Very enjoyable post. BJ

  2. Coffee is such a part of life - I see it continuing in my family. It's fascinating how many remembrances can be stirred by the thought of coffee! Enjoyed your post!

  3. What a perfect recollection of coffee drinking in the house. But Dad didn't just drink the coffee in the morning, he SLURPED it, along with his runny eggs. I recall many mornings sitting at the breakfast table as Dad slurped down his breakfast!! Do they even make those Pyrex coffee pots anymore. They are kind of cool looking!!

  4. nothing smells better than fresh brewed coffee.
    And nothing smells worse than the end of the day brew. ick.

  5. Your coffee journey growing up sounds very similar to mine. We had the tall Percolator. The little bubbles in the top and the aroma... such good memories. I still have my red and white CircleK insulated plastic mug from 1977. I could refill it every morning on my way to work for a quarter!


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