Cowboy Coffee

Well, our coffee maker has officially died.  One morning, about eight weeks ago, it refused to draw up water into the filter basket.  A tap to the back of the machine solved that problem.  Then the power switch blew.  It went slowly, briefly glowing red when switched on before winking back out.  But the machine still worked: We just had make doubly sure it was turned off at night.  We’ve been limping along this way for several weeks, the prospect of our morning coffee always dubious, and at 6:00 in the morning with still no heat (my repair man forgot to order the part), having doubts about your coffee is troublesome.


You would think that my husband and I would just shell out the cash and buy a new coffee maker.  But in my stubborn quest to buy things made locally—or at least in the United States—we’ve hit a brick wall.  Every time we went to a store, we’d check the undersides of the coffee pots.  None were made in the United States.  Finally, at the mall on the night of the table-shopping episode, we found one "assembled in the United States.”  I looked for the telltale words: “of imported parts,” but couldn’t find them.  Still…

“Let’s wait until it dies,” I said to my husband.

This morning, it was over.  No tap to the backside; no frantic switching on and off; no dumping out the water and starting over; no moving the coffee maker to a new location in the kitchen would bring it back to life. 

I put on a tea kettle and set a coffee filter in a sieve suspended over a saucepan.  I pour boiling water on top, in what  my husband calls "cowboy coffee."  I discovered this coffee when the power went out for a couple of days.  And, in the dark with no power, this cowboy coffee can be romantic and fun.  We were survivalists making do.  But when the power is on and there’s no heat, cowboy coffee is horrid.  It’s thick and strong and oily.  I dump it down the drain and grump at the dogs racing around my ankles wanting to be fed.

And I realize what a contradiction this is: I insist upon a locally-produced coffee maker so that I can drink imported coffee, most likely grown under dubious working conditions.  While I walk the dogs, I wonder if I ought to give up coffee altogether.    

But instead, I head back into the kitchen and give the coffee maker a final mighty wallop, quite similar to the punch Filibuster gave to her computer the day it fizzled out.

Of course Filibuster’s computer stayed broken. 

But the coffee maker fires up again!  The light blinks on!  It spits and gurgles and the kitchen fills with the smell of coffee brewing!

For a brief moment, I consider smacking the furnace.

But instead, I sit and enjoy a much-needed cup of coffee, made from beans grown thousands of miles away. 






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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Cowboy Coffee

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cowboy Coffee

Well, our coffee maker has officially died.  One morning, about eight weeks ago, it refused to draw up water into the filter basket.  A tap to the back of the machine solved that problem.  Then the power switch blew.  It went slowly, briefly glowing red when switched on before winking back out.  But the machine still worked: We just had make doubly sure it was turned off at night.  We’ve been limping along this way for several weeks, the prospect of our morning coffee always dubious, and at 6:00 in the morning with still no heat (my repair man forgot to order the part), having doubts about your coffee is troublesome.


You would think that my husband and I would just shell out the cash and buy a new coffee maker.  But in my stubborn quest to buy things made locally—or at least in the United States—we’ve hit a brick wall.  Every time we went to a store, we’d check the undersides of the coffee pots.  None were made in the United States.  Finally, at the mall on the night of the table-shopping episode, we found one "assembled in the United States.”  I looked for the telltale words: “of imported parts,” but couldn’t find them.  Still…

“Let’s wait until it dies,” I said to my husband.

This morning, it was over.  No tap to the backside; no frantic switching on and off; no dumping out the water and starting over; no moving the coffee maker to a new location in the kitchen would bring it back to life. 

I put on a tea kettle and set a coffee filter in a sieve suspended over a saucepan.  I pour boiling water on top, in what  my husband calls "cowboy coffee."  I discovered this coffee when the power went out for a couple of days.  And, in the dark with no power, this cowboy coffee can be romantic and fun.  We were survivalists making do.  But when the power is on and there’s no heat, cowboy coffee is horrid.  It’s thick and strong and oily.  I dump it down the drain and grump at the dogs racing around my ankles wanting to be fed.

And I realize what a contradiction this is: I insist upon a locally-produced coffee maker so that I can drink imported coffee, most likely grown under dubious working conditions.  While I walk the dogs, I wonder if I ought to give up coffee altogether.    

But instead, I head back into the kitchen and give the coffee maker a final mighty wallop, quite similar to the punch Filibuster gave to her computer the day it fizzled out.

Of course Filibuster’s computer stayed broken. 

But the coffee maker fires up again!  The light blinks on!  It spits and gurgles and the kitchen fills with the smell of coffee brewing!

For a brief moment, I consider smacking the furnace.

But instead, I sit and enjoy a much-needed cup of coffee, made from beans grown thousands of miles away. 






Labels: , ,

3 Comments:

At November 7, 2011 at 1:31 PM , Anonymous Beverly Diehl said...

You're cracking me up. Isn't it nice that sometimes we can fix our devices by giving them a swift kick? Enjoy your coffee fix, however you have to obtain it.

 
At November 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM , Anonymous songbyrd said...

chuckling.... but I have to say one of my favorite cups of coffee is what you call 'cowboy coffee'... we call it 'pour over' and there is a local coffee shop that was offering pour over coffee for awhile! I guess the french press thing had become passe. ;)

 
At November 7, 2011 at 7:26 PM , Anonymous Avandekamp said...

The type of coffee you call cowboy coffee, my family has always called "beach coffee," since this is how my mother made coffee when we were kids and spent the summer in a beach house in Rhode Island. Of course, recently, I renamed this "hurricane coffee" since it was the only way my husband and I could drink coffee during hurricane Irene, when we lost electricity for several days and, thank God, had a gas oven whose burners we could still choose. I really enjoyed your description of this recent dilemma you faced.

 

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