I’m not sure when I actually started to drink coffee and like it. I remember the occasional cup of warm milk with a dribble of coffee added for flavor. I remember my first serious exposure to the art of making coffee.
It was hardly an art form. And no matter how good the coffee may have been, it always ended up being awful. It may have been carefully measured into a filter, but it was still percolated coffee. The stuff in the pot was overbrewed and bitter, almost burnt by the process. It started out as Maxwell House and the occasional can of Yuban until Folger’s came on the market. I learned wisely to avoid coffee that added chicory as a filler because it made the coffee bitter. My thought at the time was “How could you tell?”
Percolators were too slow for the restaurant industry. They brewed their coffee through the drip method. Mr Coffee came on the market and changed how we made coffee at home. The water was still delivered to the grounds by percolation, but they only went through once resulting in a less bitter brew. Paper filters would trap any bitter oils giving the brewer a better cup of coffee.
It suddenly meant something to carefully select your coffee. And fresher coffee could be had if you ground your beans right before brewing. Automatic drip coffeemakers began to add features. Gold coffee filters, water filters, automatic brewing and automatic shutoff are now standard on most machines. The most expensive are grind and brew coffeemakers that store the beans in the machine. Less expensive and simple on-off machines are for sale in the supermarket or drug store.
The spread of upscale coffeehouses selling espresso and cappuccino introduced the automatic espresso machine. Not to be outdone by the Italians, the French introduced their coffee presses to the US market. It is now possible to freshly brew your favorite coffee into a single cup with the arrival of pod brewers. You can make cappuccino for you, green tea for your co-worker and French roast for the boss all at the touch of a button.
My preferred method of brewing coffee is by automatic drip coffeemaker using paper filters. Until six years ago, I was fine buying either Maxwell House or Folger’s coffee at the supermarket. A friend introduced me to Community Coffee and I fell in love with it. Seattle may brag about their fancy coffees, but I believe that the best coffee comes from Louisiana.