My parents were devoted coffee drinkers. When I was little, Mom would brew coffee on the stove in one of those percolator pots (if you’ve never seen one, I bet you could find one of the old Maxwell House commercials somewhere online and see coffee perking in action with catchy music). Both parents liked plenty of cream and sugar, and it was a constant battle between kids who were grossed out by little clumps of coffee-fused sugar in the sugar bowl and parents who didn’t think before they spooned.
When instant coffee came on the market, my dad was all for it. And not just because it meant he didn’t actually have to perk the coffee (we are talking about typical 50s kitchen-helpless male here). My mom was prone to zoning out somewhere else in the house and forgetting she had the percolator on the stove, and she had already melted two pots into the electric stove burners. You can imagine how long you have to leave an aluminum coffee pot on an electric burner for that to happen.
So from that day forward, my parents drank instant coffee. And the freeze-dried stuff when that became available. Always with plenty of sugar and cream. That was what “coffee” was in our household.
Any wonder I hated the stuff?
In fact, I was a dedicated non-coffee-drinker till I was diagnosed with diabetes and had to give up sugary beverages. On a business trip, I decided to try a cup of coffee with just a little cream in it. Whoa! I still didn’t brew it for myself at home, but at least I had something to drink at restaurants.
Then my daughter started working at Starbucks to help pay her way through college. Needless to say, I had never set foot in a Starbucks at that point. She very carefuly wrote down the name of a drink she though I would like (tall sugar-free-vanilla caramel macchiato) and I dutifully went in and ordered it. And I liked it.
One of the perks of Starbucks employment is one free pound of coffee per week. So my daughter got some for me and I acquired a coffee grinder, and from then on I happily ground and brewed my own. This continued in later years when my son worked at Starbucks in turn.
But after he left Starbucks, I realized there would be no more free (otherwise expensive) Starbucks coffee, and my favorite online source Cup of Heaven was really just for the occasional special treat, so for the first time I had to really think about what was available at the supermarket. I decided my best chance of good coffee at reasonable prices was at Trader Joe’s.
After sampling several different varieties, I have found a winner: Costa Rican Tarrazu.
Now let’s just hope Trader Joes’ doesn’t discontinue it.
photo credit: slimninja