Like gazillions of people I like my caffeine fix first thing in the morning when I wake up. Kick starts the day.
It wasn’t always that way. When I was younger, the only thing I liked about coffee was the way the grounds smelled when you opened the can. The product had no appeal to me. Part of it might have been that my dad was a coffee addict. Drank it all day long at the restaurant at Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass., out where the forearm of Cape Cod turns northwards in the cold Atlantic Ocean. He took his coffee with cream and sugar but he rarely drank the entire cup and you’d find these disgusting, half-filled cups sitting around, here and there, with cream curdled on the top.
I started drinking coffee when I was in my mid 40s and living over in Antibes, France, (between Cannes and Nice) on the French Riviera. Not surprisingly, the coffee I drank was brewed in a “French Press.”
Whenever I was someplace where they had an espresso machine, though, I’d always get a cup or two of that…my preferred coffee drink.
The last five years living in Fort Lauderdale I had a great countertop espresso maker and used it exclusively though I still kept the French press around.
When I moved to the Republic of Panama I started out as a house sitter in Potrerillos Arriba, in the mountains above the city of David (dah VEED). What a wonderful place that was! I was so fortunate to be able to spend an entire year up there. Actually, the year was divided into two six-month stays, the intervening six months was spent in Boquerón where I would spend the remaining six and a half years before repatriating to the U.S. In the mornings I’d sit out on the front porch with a freshly brewed cup of locally grown coffee (how I miss Panamanian coffee) and gaze down the mountainside all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the distance.When the coffee kicked in I’d move to the back porch under the loom of Volcan Barú where I wrote my book “Adversity’s Wake: The Calamitous Fourth Voyage of Christopher Columbus.” (Available through Amazon)
While up in the mountains I switched from the press to a moka pot…
[The moka pot is a stove-top coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. Named after the Yemenite city of Mocha, it was invented by an Italian engineer named Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. Bialetti Industries continues to produce the same model under the name “Moka Express”.]
It wasn’t a Bialetti, but rather a cheap knock off that I think cost me under $10. It was a six cup model (that’s espresso-size cups!) and I used it daily until about a week ago when the handle broke off.
I made a bus trip out to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and bought a REAL Bialetti six-cup model. As you can see, it’s actually larger than my original pot.
Now, one of the problems I have with this size pot is that the brew nearly fills an American-sized coffee mug. That wasn’t a problem when I was living in Boquerón because when the coffee would cool down to below tepid I’d just nuke it for 30 seconds and I’d be good to go to the bottom of the cup. Not having a microwave on the boat ended up throwing away close to a half cup every day, and of course wasting the grounds to make the stuff. A moka pot on brews up what it’s designed for and you can’t adjust it.
I went online and ordered a 1-cup Bialetti model. It’s fine for making a thimble-size Café Cubano for an aprés dinner sip, but not nearly enough to get the day started. That, then, led to the purchase of the 3-cup model which is just right. It cuts down on the volume of grounds used, and if needed a second batch can be brewed up in no time.
Life is good anchored out…