The Covid-19 pandemic and learning to make a “Damn fine cup of coffee”

Home brewing set up, featuring from left to right a Chemex brewer, local coffee from Bird Rock coffee roasters, a mug and a Stagg EKG electric kettle.

Shannen Marie Hansen

Staff Writer

shansen4@umassd.edu

Statics run our minds. Give me a good statistic and I’ll believe almost anything you say. Today, the weather is sunny with clear blue skies and a persistent spring breeze. Yesterday looked just like today. Blue skies stretched in all directions. Everywhere I went yesterday strangers reported that the weather forecasted a 100%chance of rain on Wednesday (it was then Tuesday, Tuesday with the blue skies stretching in all directions). I didn’t think it were possible, and here we are, 100% sunny at nine a.m. 100% wrong forecast. My rain jacket and rain boots stand alone, the jacket on a peg above the boots by the door, sunshine filters through the window onto them.  By eleven a.m. the weather changed and the sky was fully down pouring. Take that to mean what you will regarding statistics. Perhaps in my next article I will source some real statistics. 

I begin with this situation to suggest the importance of not being overly impressed by statistics. I can look up a number online that will tell you that 64% of women and 63% of men drink coffee every day. Check another site, it’s down to 50% and 54%. I write this, dear Reader, in order to inform you that the rest of this article will not include statistics; this is all I wanted to tell you (but I know you love them so I wanted to share with you why they would not be appearing, which is that I doubt their sincerity and I am all about sincerityand truth).

Hopefully by now, Reader, you have seen the fantastically charming and off-kilter hero, Agent Dale Cooper from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks television mini-series, exclaim to country town waitresses about  their exceptional cups of coffee. Here we see him halt the waitress from walking away as he sips his steaming cup of empowering dark nectar only to reify to her that this is, in fact and excuse me, ‘a damn fine cup of coffee.’ 

Since the break-out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the punishing lock down orders (there is no sense in portraying it as otherwise. The sunny side of the coin, the ‘two weeks off doesn’t seem like a bad idea’ honey-moon phase has long since dwindled and perished) there has been a jagged halt to our routines, including our coffee consumption.

Strangely enough, the Starbucks in my neighborhood was only shuttered for a matter of weeks before they swiftly coerced their way to ‘meeting all guidelines’ which smaller coffee shops struggled to navigate. I think it was the drive-thru that made them kosher for the Gods of Public Safety, aka, the CDC and Dr. Fauci. Perhaps it was their sheer monetary strength. Or perhaps it was because the public would have lost their good senses if they were unable to find a cup of coffee before they themselves navigated home brewing.

Most college students run on a tight budget, so it is possible that ya’ll are already brewing cups of Folgers in a Mr. Coffee automatic coffee pot.

However, much like wine, coffee is a drink which prompts obsession weakened to compulsive attitudes and gestures. We just may feel compelled to spring for the $100 dollar sexy all glass and wood and leather Chemex art-piece coffee drip-system brewer and a second $100 dollars for the svelt Stagg EKG water boiler device (pictured right) which is equally visually transcendent of average kitchen counter-top functionality. And then for the heralded 4 minutes of coffee brewing at home in the quiet morning (or late afternoon, depending on how you, dear Reader,  may have adjusted your sleep cycles. I do not judge you, you snowy Night Owl, you alluring Creature of the Night). 

Perhaps you went straight to the Keurig, fit really, in my opinion, only to doctor’s offices or break rooms. I recommend you toss that excuse for a cup of coffee, ditch the overpriced tablespoon of coffee wrapped in ready-to-melt plastic, and step up to at least either a Kalita Wave 185 SS pour over (much more modestly priced at $40, pictured below) and simply boil your water on the stove, microwave, or electric tea kettle (unless you want that weighted goose-neck Stagg beauty). Then there is the classic Bialetti stove-top espresso genie magic maker (but be warned that that cup is dark and fierce and will seriously jack you up); and don’t forget to grind your coffee, fresh, in a burr grinder (which I still don’t have myself, dreams, oh sweet dreams).

Whatever you’ve done to keep yourself awake during these ‘unprecedented times’ allow me to congratulate you and inform you that the King has left the building and from now on we will have to suffice on the melody of our own drums and make tomorrow better than this questionable today.

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If you have not watched the Agent Dale Cooper from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks television mini-series, watch the link provided:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxwcQ1dapw8

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