I’m a coffee snob. Oh, I like my foo-foo coffee drinks at Starbucks, and I really do think there’s a noticeable difference when I brew a pot with filtered water and freshly ground beans…but that’s not where my snobbery comes into play. It’s color…I have to have the perfect COLOR in my cup of joe.
I grew up before the advent of good coffee. We had Maxwell House (and maybe Chase and Sanborn if it was on sale), and it took forever for the old-fashioned percolators to get to the final bloop-shhhhh that signaled that the finished product was ready to sample. (I remember the first time we had a Mr. Coffee that would allow you to pour before the brewing cycle was finished….DAMN, it was as if we lived in the future!)
My earliest coffee memory is of my grandmother playing cribbage with a cup of coffee next to her. She drank it with two sugars and a generous amount of Carnation evaporated milk, and it was a beautiful light caramel color. I always thought that it smelled amazing…much better than the plain cup of black coffee that Mama loved (yuck), or the big plastic cup with melty ice cubes that Granddaddy seemed to always have with him (I love iced coffee now, but it just seemed wrong back then).
I usually drink mine like Grandmama’s, but with half-and-half or coconut milk creamer, and with stevia instead of sugar. (Hmmmm….so…actually nothing like hers.) I tend to get a little anxious though if I don’t see that same warm toffee color. There’s just something satisfying in the perfect alchemy of it.
There is one other coffee color-changer that works too. I don’t remember Grandmama using it, but I’m sure she’d approve…