A New Blog: The Joy of Coffee

So what - a new blog; what 's the big deal? Probably not much to many of the one-thousand or so hardy souls who still receive these emails. Of course the roughly five-hundred who previously have unsubscribed due to differences of opinion on the course of the direction of the country, or probably were just too busy to read "just one more" dribble of email will miss this. Oh well. To be honest, I find writing book reviews is easier than an original set of thoughts on something that is current and interesting, and hopefully thought-provoking. In fact, YTD in 2022, I've published eleven book reviews and only one blog. That one, back in March, dealt with the ongoing deluge most of us get from politicians and charities looking for donations. It appears clear to me that if one donates to one, they all get a notice that "you" are a potential donor and the avalanche starts.

For those who missed it, here is a link to it:

A Tsunami of Pleas for Money - J.K. (Jim) George (authorjkgeorge.com)

But onward ... as an attempt to get back into expressing something interesting and hopefully thought-provoking, here's a new blog. I hope to get back to a schedule of one a week, or at least several a month. Perhaps this one will be so trivial or prosaic that it might be the last one you read. I hope not, but here goes......

As a young kid at home, both my parents were coffee drinkers, but the brew held no special interest for me. That persisted until college and the need to stay up late, or as it turned out for me, getting up very early to study as I found I was a morning person in terms of reading recognition and remembering what I had read. Also, in terms of an engineering curriculum, the problems seemed more manageable in the morning, although of course there were fewer persons to ask for advice. So somewhere during my four undergraduate years (one at a local community college and three at Virginia Tech), I started my days very early with coffee. At first, sweeteners and cream were part of the regimen, however weight gain soon started to be a factor. To make a longish story short, after some years, the sugar and cream additives stopped and now I enjoy only the fundamental dark coffee bean taste.

There are persons who specialize in (to me) fancy brewing procedures; French presses and the like, but as a fundamentally basic guy, I've settled on the simple Keurig brewing technique. This involves popping a prepared little plastic cup-container into the Keurig and pressing the "brew" button. Easy peasy. After trying several "pods" of coffee, I now use a basic brand available at HEB grocery stores. It's called San Francisco Bay Special, or something like that. In addition, I've used the Paul Newman coffee as well, with the impossibly handsome headshot of the late Mr. Newman himself. Both are a bit strong and pack a punch, which suits me just fine.

My one little "dramatic moment" occurred recently, when the Keurig machine suddenly developed a nasty tendency to burp out an inch or two of blackish and foul looking hot water as it was warming up. That spewed out, unexpectedly, into the "catch basin" at the bottom. Thank heavens, the system includes that feature. Apparently, one is supposed to run vinegar or some sort of cleaning fluid through the critter on occasion, an act that of course I've never done. The system seems to have self-corrected after several near disasters and now that I'm aware of the problem, it has stopped, and of course I have stopped worrying about it. So all is well. (Note several weeks after this blog was published ... I finally did the "vinegar and hot water" process  to clean out the Keurig, and then engaged in the nearly endless process of clearing out the vinegar taste. All now is well.)

Over the years, well-meaning folks have gifted to me several fancy gizmos for soaking ground-up coffee in hot water. I'm a person who seems never to throw anything away. But at the same time I admit that I'm loath to try new things and depart from my OCD way of doing things the same way unless the "same way" is just terribly unsatisfying. I just continue to do the same ol' things so on I go with my venerable Keurig and my little pods. It works for me!

Comments are welcome and will be published, pro and con. Make your observations below or send them to me via email at n3bb@mindspring.com. Email commenters will not be identified unless requested.

Enjoy life; it's the only one we will get.

J.K. (Jim) George

**********************************************************************

* Check out my books and blogs on my author website:

www.authorjkgeorge.com

Please recommend them to your friends. Also, recall that I’ll travel to any book club or radio club within two hours of Austin to discuss either of the books and answer any questions. Any and all comments are welcome either by email to my return address, n3bb@mindspring.com, or to the website in the comments section after any blog.

* Reunion is available in stock at Tamarack on the West Virginia Turnpike as well as at amazon.com and other Internet retail locations. It’s under consideration for a movie, and a screenplay now is under active development!

*Contact Sport is in stock in hardcover print format at any of the thirteen HRO (Ham Radio Outlet) stores nationwide as well as at DX-Engineering and the American Radio Relay League. In addition, many Barnes and Noble stores nationwide carry it in stock, and they, as well as Book People in Austin or any independent bookstore can order it. You can buy direct at my website’s link for a personalized copy.

*Both books now are available in Print, eBook, and Audio Book formats at all major Internet retailers or from my web site as a personally autographed copy in any print form.

 

 

 

11 Responses

  1. You're a Keurig guy, I'm a drip brew guy. My day doesn't start until I get the first jolt, which is brewing a pot of Columbian in the Cuisinart while I'm taking my shower. The machine grinds the beans in something called a burr grinder, which makes a racket, but the cats have become accustomed to it. As I'm emerging from getting dressed, the smell of freshly brewed coffee permeates the house, and I begin my ritual of consuming a pot of coffee in the morning...nothing much happens until that is process is at least started.
  2. JK James George
    From Anon-1: Enjoyed your off-the-cuff ramblings about your coffee experiences. I have one I'll share with you. Many years ago, back in the late 50's, I was attending a "Teachers' College" in Maine and paying my way by working in the kitchen. I had to show up around 5:30 AM and one of my first tasks was to brew "some" coffee for the 6:00 AM arrival of the cleaning staff for their early hit of Java. The kitchen and dining room were in a girls' dorm and the "worker bees" were the girls also working their way through college by cleaning the dorm as well as some working as "wait staff" in the dining room. The "coffee pots" were two large percolator types: you filled them up with water (50 quarts?) and filled the "basket" with ground coffee. Then, you powered them up; the coffee would percolate, and the heated water would filter through the coffee grounds until the "machine" decided it was ready. I was never satisfied with the "thin" color of the brew when it was supposed to be ready, so I would lift the lid on top of the grounds basket and using a small cooking pot I'd fill it up with the weak coffee and pour it atop the grounds, over and over again until it passed my quality test. That test consisted of my "pouring" (actually you just tugged on the spigot handle and out came the coffee) it into a white coffee mug; if I couldn't see more than 1/16" along the meniscus inside the cup, it "passed"! I always made my coffee that way. One week I was out with a "bug", probably a stomach flu, and when I returned to work in the kitchen, after making my pots of coffee, the girls came through the kitchen, single file as usual, got their mugs, poured themselves a cup on the way to the dining room, and was greeted with, "...I'm glad you're back...the coffee's been awful!" I thought I'd share this experience with you since it was relevant.
  3. JK James George
    From Anon-2: I (1) still use the Keurig, (2) use San Francisco French Roast pods which I get off the Internet, and (three) still read and enjoy everything that you publish, at least mostly so. Keep the words flying, OM! (Note to self ... perhaps I have a twin out there in blog land somewhere)
  4. JK James George
    From Anon-3: Great blog, enjoyed it!
  5. JK James George
    From Anon-4: Enjoyed the blog! I am (was) a pour over guy. Had to put the beans down though due to high anxiety effects. Glad you’re cleaning your Keurig with vinegar. I’ve read that there are mold issues with those machines if not.
  6. JK James George
    From Anon-4 (a prominent attorney, if you can't guess).... Jim—I have long known that many reasons support our friendship and that I know you to be a good teacher. But until this evening I had not noticed one of your great virtues—you appreciate a good cuppa joe. For me, coffee is not just something that props open the eyelids and permits me to drive the roadways as less a public threat than I might have been. As you know, it is not merely a vehicle for softening morsels of donut, scone, or cookie. It is as much or more a social beverage than beer (with the added benefit that drinking it beyond reasonable limits does not make you drunk). And in at least one situation I can remember, it provided a bridge between me and a bitter negotiation opponent. My strongly preferred method: in the morning, using a Melita glass carafe of some age and its companion plastic funnel, I make up about 7 cups (42 oz) of coffee in a process that has become fashionably known of late as “pourover”. It’s much more pedestrian than it seems, and requires only a kettle of hot water, a bunch of grounds, a paper filter and a travel thermos (warmed by the hot water) to produce in a very few minutes enough coffee for a good part of the day, which does not become bitter and only slowly cools down (provided you get the coffee into the thermos quickly enough). I use mainly coffee ground at the shop, bought in ½ pound increments and stored in an old metal animal crackers tin. Sometimes I get insufferably fancy and buy roasted beans that somehow magically have managed to get to Austin from Yemen. And even grind them myself (with my grinder that announces that is was made in West Germany—therefore at least 33 years old). Adaptations can be made when traveling. This method has some “righteous” elements when compared to others: for example, having almost no plastic waste, and generating a mass of coffee grounds that can be composted along with its paper cone with the leaves and leavings of the yard. And it doesn’t even stink. And a time-saver as well, because the time for dripping through the cone corresponds to the time needed to put items for lunch into the lunch carrier or bag. I grew up in a family of coffee drinkers but only two others in my group of siblings drink good strong black coffee. (Occasionally my brother will enjoy black coffee but that is rare.) Mom had a coffee pot (one of the really old-fashioned kinds that you put on the stove or fire), all metal and enameled with color scheme only a Scandinavian could love, that said: kaffetaren den basta ar of alla jordiska drycker. In case your Swedish is a little on the rusty side, that means “coffee is the best of all earthly drinks.”
  7. JK James George
    From Anon-5: I read your coffee blog. Way to go!
  8. JK James George
    From Anon-6: I enjoy everything you write. You are an amazing person! Hope all is well.
  9. JK James George
    From Anon-7: Try Peets french roast. Good black coffee. I like mine strong. Good blog. Sorry you lost followers. Their loss.
  10. JK James George
    From Anon-8: Mornin' Jim. I’m sitting here this morning, drinking coffee, while cleaning up emails & finally am reading this one. Based on our previous conversations, of which I remember very little, I’m under the impression we’re close to the same age. Just curious whether maybe your paths crossed. I can’t resist just one bit of “coffee” advice. Run some vinegar thru it while something is still able to pass thru it. 😃
  11. (It is clear that Anon-9 is a real, real, real coffee guy! Liked your coffee post of a few week ago. Coffee is definitely a gourmet beverage with depth of aroma and flavor that comes close to that of wine. Our best local restaurant for coffee just happens to also serve the best cinnamon rolls that our guests say have ever tasted, and of course we agree, making a once a week visit mandatory. My coffee making equipment is my email . . at the beginning of the pandemic, when going to my new coffee place was not going to work, I purchased a Breville "Bambino Plus" coffee machine. (snip) Has worked perfectly for over 2 years now. . cost was about $500 -- already used for about 1200 coffees. I had previously purchased a burr grinder (a Barratta Maestro). Lately I've been ordering "Jamaican Me Crazy" coffee beans from Finger Lakes Coffee Co in the town of Victor NY . They have both decaf and caffeinated beans, and it comes in paper bags. . The packaging for most coffees (non-recyclabe plastic) has always bothered me. Interesting that buying in bulk from NY is somewhat less expensive than purchasing our locally produced coffees.

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