Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Maybe it was due to a very long day of work yesterday, or the fact that I woke up every thirty minutes beginning at 1:30 am, but after letting my obligatory morning cup of coffee sink in I still felt like I desperately needed another.  Wanting a little extra "kick" I tried adding some sugar to my usual coffee and cream only dose of much-needed energy.  This won't make sense at first, but I have tried unsuccessfully off and on for the past few years to add sugar to my coffee.  And again, I was unsuccessful, and think I need another cup, not only for the added benefit of even more caffeine, but to get the taste of the last cup out of my mouth.  Adding a little sugar to your coffee doesn't seem like a difficult task, or one that can be easily messed up, but I feel I have.  I believe this stems from my long-standing history with coffee...and possibly my emotional ties to it as well.

People think I'm crazy (or a liar) when I say that I started drinking coffee when I was two years old.  No, I wasn't sipping black coffee from a sippy cup.  Well, maybe it was in a sippy cup, but my dad would mix a little coffee with a lot of milk and sugar.  I have never asked how or why he started doing this, but my most educated guess is that I wanted to imitate my parents.  For as long as I can remember, my alarm every Saturday morning was the sound of my dad fiercely stirring sugar into his cup of coffee.  Mom drinks hers black, so she never made a racket preparing her cup, but the sound of Dad stirring his was like a dinner bell, or the sound of the freezer door opening to my dogs who always want ice.  It always got me out of bed.  Now, I'm not suggesting I jumped out of bed and hastily made my way downstairs.  But the wake-up process, however slow, had begun.  And a typical weekend commenced with Mom, Dad, my sister Sarah, and myself, sipping coffee and reading together.

In case you were wondering, I do not still drink a dairy-ed down version of coffee from a sippy cup.  As I got older, my dad adjusted the proportion of milk to coffee.  The end result was coffee with lots of milk and sugar.  And I eventually cut out the sugar completely and started using half and half instead of 2% milk.  But to this day, I still can't drink a cup of black coffee, no matter how smooth it may be. 

When I reached the age of full coffee maturity, my dad usually prepared it for me, at my request, because it never tasted as good when I made it.  It was always the perfect shade of Coffee Blonde, and had enough sugar that you could taste it, but never enough to drown out the flavor of the coffee. 

Something that really upsets me, is that I cannot replicate the taste of a cup of coffee my dad got perfect every single time.  I try every now and then for nostalgic reasons, but I am disappointed every time.  I have tried different brands and roasts of coffee.  I have tried preparing it different ways.  I have not added enough sugar and it tasted like the sugar sat in my cupboard for years.  I have added too much sugar and it made my lips pucker and my hair stand on end.  I have added so much milk that my first sip is room temperature.  And I have not added enough to accomplish the correct color and creaminess.  There are so many little things you miss when someone you love dies.  So many things you never know you won't be able to replicate until you try doing it yourself for the first time.  And that's enough to make you want to cry every time you try it in the future.  There were so many little things I took for granted.  And all I want right now is a hug from my daddy and a cup of coffee.

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