I shuffle into the kitchen and turn on the microwave light. It is all the light I can handle while trying to wake up. I am looking forward to my first cup of coffee, the pod kind.
Water and pod. Check.
Slam lid shut. Check.
Place my colorful, thin-rimmed, mug under the spout. Check.
It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Within seconds, delicious coffee aroma fills the air … and here is where it abruptly stops, my trip into a perfect morning.
Hot water gurgles, and this amazing invention of man, spits coffee grounds all over my favorite cup. Within seconds, the liquid looks as if I rinsed my feet in it, after a walk on a muddy beach. It’s definitely not this taster’s choice.
Before coffee-making became easy, it was a lot simpler. I remember sitting at my Oma’s bare, wooden kitchen table. I watched her and learned, not how to make coffee but how to deal with the grounds.
There was no coffee maker, no nifty little plastic containers which were chucked into the garbage. There was a kettle on the wood burner, a tall skinny carafe with a daintily knobbed lid, a tin of coffee, and a little sieve with a small handle, which fit perfectly over the flat coffee cups.
Oma took the tin and, with the wisdom she had gathered over the years, put the coffee straight into the carafe. She had no need for a measuring spoon or a barista’s instructions. She just knew. Then, when the kettle called from the stove, she poured boiling water into the coffee pot, straight over the grounds and put on the lid. Something rich and pleasant permeated the air. Suddenly there was indulgence on the table, in the home which missed many of the common conveniences. This simple pleasure had been steeped by the hardship of war and by making do with one loaf of bread for eight kids.
After a couple of minutes, Oma took the little sieve and set it atop her own cup and poured. Thick, gritty coffee ran from the thin, curvy spout. No, she was not greedy to receive the first cup, but she wanted to make sure she was the one who would gather most of the grounds which still swirled inside the pot. Then her guest was served, who knew that kindness hid in receiving the second cup. The sieve was emptied into a small container on the counter. Grounds were good to toss into the soil of a failing houseplant or a needy shrub in the garden.
I listen to the low rumble of the kettle on my range while I clean up this mess. I wonder about life and all the gritty parts, which I would like to conveniently dispose. I need reminding. This attempt at my first cup of coffee maybe much less about waking up my brain but much more about comforting my heart. Things will be ok despite the mess, and what’s more, maybe even because of it.