Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 16 January 2011

With this I brook no argument

My perfect cup of coffee (black, always black) has its roots in the USA and has nothing in common with the doll’s-house cupful which accompanies a digestif. It is comparatively weak and I drink two mugs (ie, a surprisingly large total of 700 ml) with my brunch. Arriving at perfection has taken an adult lifetime and cost several hundred pounds. These are the essential constituents:

MUG Bone china, William Morris pattern, large handle, parallel sides. There should be no compromises – aesthetic or material – with such an item in daily use. Were it to be broken I would need a week in a residential care home.

COFFEE Three moderately heaped teaspoonfuls of Fairtrade Colombian ground, bag secured by a crocodile clip (forget rubber bands, lengths of string, and especially “hopeful” folding), kept in the freezer. This coffee is in fact Guatemalan but I received it as a Christmas table present and the quality is very close.

PERCOLATOR A dozen others, all in working order, were discarded before I acquired this Krups costing £75, about three times the previous average. The most common failing was the manufacturer’s inability to design a valve between the percolator chassis and the jug that allowed the jug to be removed or installed without irritation. The Krups jug, possibly made from an aluminium alloy, is vacuum-insulated and may be set down without harming polished surfaces. A plastic filter is included but I augment this with a paper filter.
NOTE: Those who have read my novel, Gorgon Times, will already have met the Krups which plays an important role in defining the character of Jerry, Clare’s husband. I should add I am not Jerry.


Rouchswalwe said...

Ah! The perfect cup of coffee! I found my first cup in, of all places, a Japanese coffee shop filled with quirky characters and aromas to make you close your eyes and sniff in the air before taking a seat. Until recently, I never thought I'd be able to enjoy coffee that much again. Here at home, I have my 8-ounce Bodum Press. Fairtrade Italian Roast beans ground each morning. Strong! With a splash of 1% milk on weekday mornings and a splash of cream on weekends. Served up in one of two earthenware cups. Were they to be broken, I would join you in the residential care home.

20th Century Woman said...

I don't drink coffee -- only tea. But since I have a husband named Jerry and a daughter named Clare (and I really like your writing) I would like to read your novel. How does one obtain it?

Off the subject: I have noticed lately a couple of really awful grammatical errors in blogs you commented on, but you never mention them. If you were Father William I would ask, "What makes you so awfully nice?"

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): United in affection we are divided in our coffee preferences. The biggest difference being you are white and I am black, something I hadn't made clear originally but which has subsequently been corrected.

20CW: I like tea but only under such pernickety conditions (no milk, very very weak, boiling hot) that I rarely bother. Prior to retiring I drink a mugful of peppermint tea but not for pleasure, primarily as an aperient designed to operate seven hours later.

It was the conjunction of those names in one of your posts that drew me to your blog. Just to recap on the novel: it grew out of 7000 words I wrote over a decade ago. Various regular Works Well commenters asked to see this passage, made suggestions, and I resumed, providing regular progress reports over the year until the 106,000-word MS was finished in September 2010. Further comments were provided and most were incorporated and the MS is presently with the agent who tried but failed to get two much earlier novels I wrote published. If Gorgon Times also fails I will probably have it published under a vanity scheme which includes a listing with Amazon.

"Really awful grammatical errors" - my dear! It is hardly my job to correct other people's blogs especially since they are all written by people far better educated than me (I started work at 15). And whereas as a professional editor I was hot stuff on such defects what matters far more these days is hard-to-define "wit" - a rarish quality which can compensate for all manner of spelling mistakes, dangling participles and chest-beating egotism.

I suspect a trap in your final equivocal question and am reluctant to rise to the bait.

Plutarch said...

There was a time when I shared the view of many other europeans that American coffee was thin and without taste. Nowadays I ask unashamedly for an americano in Italian style establishments where espresso is an article of faith. I'm with you on coffee by the mug- rather than the thimble-full.

Glad to hear that you are not Je

The Crow said...

I like to make my own blend of coffee beans, preferring some Blue Mountain, a Turkish darker-than-Hades roast, with a light roast Colombian to balance it out.

Recently bought a dark, unidentifiable roast from Starbucks' chief competitor out in Oregon and Washington, called Colonel Dickison's blend. Bleechh! Tasted like what I imagine the water from boiled shoe leather must taste like, so I won't be getting that again. My favorite coffee is French roasted, with chicory, like we used to get with our beignets at Morning Call, in the French Quarter, back when I was teen in New Orleans.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow; You make me sound like a real coffee amateur. Especially that bit "with chicory" which suggests you may have French blood in you.

Hattie said...

Not to be outdone, we are making our own coffee. Terry picked the beans, rinsed them, and is now drying them on our lanai. The bean farmer will roast them for us when they are ready, and we'll have sixe pounds of super premium coffee.
We were drinking espresso but recently started drinking Americano again, made in a coffee maker like yours but not quite so fancy.

Barrett Bonden said...

Hattie: The alternative to keeping ground coffee in the freezer is to store it conventionally as beans and grind to order. This I did for a year or two without practising any introspection; suddenly I decided I couldn't stand the noise any longer and the grinder was retired. The coffee in the US that arrived with (as opposed to after) meals was just a trifle stronger than the coffee I make now; in those days it was intended as an accompaniment to the meal. Given that everyone in the US now appears to drink bottled water with their lunch (if the movies and TV programmes are to be believed) I wouldn't be at all suprised if coffee consumption has also dropped.