Real Coffee

November 10, 2011

By D. Sophie Washington

My grandfather was a true believer of starting with the bean, from the bush to the pot, to achieve what he considered to be the best and freshest coffee.

I was always the curious one and wanted to learn how to do everything grandpa did, from milking the cow to how the coffee was made, therefore at age five I was awakened at five in the morning to watch the process of the freshest coffee being made from beginning to end.

The beans were green and I informed grandpa that the coffee my Mama had, was in a bag and was black. Grandpa said, “You just watch, these will be black like your Mama’s.” We lived in the city and Grandpa lived on a farm in the country.

He put the green beans in a black iron skillet on a piping hot wood stove. We had to continually stir the beans as they roasted to a very dark brown color, bordering on black. The darker the bean, the stronger the coffee. I took my turn stirring.

After the beans were roasted to his satisfaction, they were allowed to cool before grinding. The cooling process was hasten by fanning the beans back and forth in a straw basket.

The grinding took place in an old fashion grinder mounted on the wall with a handle that you manually turned by hand. I got a turn at that too. That was the fun part.

Once this process was done, Grandpa carefully measured enough of the fresh grind into his cloth filter that was fitted into a two cup coffee pot. That amount made a very strong pot of coffee.

I inherited grandpa’s coffee pot. It is not in the same condition as when he had it, at that time, due to the many years of use until I received it. But needless to say, it sits on the shelf among all my other valuables, only to be looked at.

The amount of coffee that was made in that pot amounted to two cups because the cups used were smaller than your average cup of today. There was one and three fourth cup for grandpa and a fourth cup for me. My cup was served with lots of fresh cream and sugar.

We called my cup, Cafe’ o la’, in French. In English, that means Coffee Milk. We kids were not suppose to have coffee so it was made that way and called a different name. You could say I was having Espresso long before it was invented, or even all the other fancy names they give coffee with milk or cream in it, today.

Grandpa’s final words after downing the last cup was.” Now, this is real coffee, what your Mama drinks is not real coffee.”

D. Sophie Washington spends her days helping those in the Portland, Oregon area find freedom in their lives through her company.

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