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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jan 16, 2015

I am sure our home is not that different from most in that one of the first duties after a night’s sleep is making a pot of coffee.

I am not exactly sure who, when, or where it was decided to roast beans, grind them and run hot water over them.

I am sure that information is only a computer search away so there is no need for me to explain information that you can read as easily as me.

What I do know from watching my parents before I even entered kindergarten is that a cup of coffee represented several things and they all seemed to be good.

The only question was if you wanted it with cream or simply black.

I believe my first taste of coffee was around age 8, give or take a couple years, and my reaction was, “Oh, that’s awful. How can you drink that?”

For me, and probably a lot of others, coffee was an acquired taste that was not acquired until adulthood.

Every home has its own version of how to prepare a good cup of coffee, and at our home, my wife believes you start with grinding your own recently roasted beans each morning.

I am not the purist she is, so when I have to make my own coffee because she is gone, I reach for the already ground coffee in the container from the grocery store and a few minutes later, as far as I am concerned, I have a perfectly good cup of coffee.

However, a cup of coffee by yourself is one thing, but when there are two or more people, it ascends to a higher level.

Even the suggestion of two or more people deciding to pause for coffee, before the first cup is poured, creates a pleasant feeling of anticipation as cups are passed out and seats are taken.

The coffee becomes the common denominator for the group as plans are made, stories told, all of it with smiles or occasionally, sadness.

There is usually a table involved and since the days of my parents, a car is now as easily a part of the coffee ritual.

So what is it about coffee that creates the general good feeling that accompanies it?

Is it the flavor? Is it the hot temperature? Are we conditioned because we associate it with hospitality?

In my dad’s later years when frequent coffee drinking irritated his stomach, he would drink just hot water.

“There’s not that much difference,” he told me.

I guess that takes care of the flavor part.

My sister has developed a taste for iced coffee, something I have not been able to even attempt.

To me, the words “hot coffee” go together like the words “happy” and “birthday” or “thunder” and “lightning.” You can’t have one without the other.

So, for me, coffee remains a mystery of why we enjoy it.

While my first taste was disagreeable, it has become a friend that can comfort me when I am alone or as a vehicle of fellowship and pleasantness in the presence of one or more people.

My coffee cups have been though the dishwasher so many times they have lost whatever wording was located on their sides.

In a special place in our kitchen cabinet are two of the cups used by my parents when it was coffee time because someone was at the table or just because it was coffee time.

One of those cups was handed to me by my dad when I was in the combine cab during harvest along with a thermos of hot coffee. The memories are still warm.

I’ll take my coffee black, but if you have some real half and half in the liquid form, just add a splash. It’ll be fine.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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