I’m a coffee enthusiast, not quite a fanatic and not quite an addict. I wasn’t always, of course. In fact, I didn’t start drinking it regularly until 1983, when I was on a deployment as a United States Marine on a United States Navy ship. I was merely 22 years old back then.
We ran out of everything except purified seawater while we were floating in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Lebanon for a month. Coffee was the last thing we had to drink before we had to rely solely on water. I’ve rarely missed a day without some form of it since then.
I used to watch my mother (and my father when he was around) and some aunts and uncles sitting around the dining room table. They were all drinking coffee, but I don’t remember which of them drank black coffee and which of them drank it with cream and sugar. Except for my parents, they always drank it black, without anything added at all.
I remember them waiting for the percolator to finish. Coffee grounds were different back then, before automatic drip coffee was introduced. They would always reuse them at least once. The second pot wasn’t as strong as the first, but it was still strong.
I didn’t drink coffee often before going into the military a couple of months before my 18th birthday. In fact, I can only remember drinking a cup once, heavily doctored with cream and sugar. It wasn’t the non-dairy variety of creamer, but I don’t remember the brand.
For the first several years of my military career, my primary source of caffeine was carbonated soft drinks like Coca-Cola. I didn’t drink a lot of it (or any other brand) unless I was on duty for 24 hours. Like all Marines, I stood duty at least once a month, usually more.
I switched to coffee while I was on the ship because we quickly ran out of everything else. I needed caffeine to get through some of my duty shifts and the soft drink machines were all empty. Even that didn’t last long, despite being watered down by the cooks.
When I stood duty for the years after that, I had to drink a lot of coffee to keep myself awake. It would start to leave a nasty taste in my mouth toward the end of my shift. That is, until I learned to brush my tongue along with my teeth every few hours.
Josie (my wife) and I lived with our older son’s family in Florida from June 2018 until March 2019. Joseph and Diann use a Hamilton Beach FlexBrew coffee maker. It’s one of the models with a single cup server as well as a full pot carafe. I didn’t like messing with it, so I drank instant coffee until we left Florida.
After we arrived in Hawaii, I found out Jonathan (our younger son) had a POS coffee maker that hardly worked. It took 30 minutes to make a pot and the plate barely got warm. His wife, Cathy, ordered a “Mr. Coffee” coffee maker from Amazon.com a couple of weeks after I complained. I’ve been drinking brewed coffee from it ever since.
I like my coffee black with some kind of sweetener, although I can sometimes drink it without any sweetener at all. A single spoon of sugar, if that’s what I use, is all I need. Creamers hide the taste I like, whether they’re dairy or non-dairy creamers. I stopped adding creamers years ago, when I realized I liked the taste of the coffee itself more than the creamer.
Although I like just about anything made with the real thing, I have to avoid most of it. At my age, all I have to do is look at something fattening, and I’ll gain weight. I’ll still give into temptation every once in a while, like at parties. I like coffee candy, cakes, donuts and coffee liqueurs, like Kahlua.
Coffee is something I just want to drink and enjoy, and I don’t want to be an expert or connoisseur.