Sometimes, when I think of her I go back to the memory of her in the kitchen making coffee.
The first image that comes to mind is her Mexican hand with red acrylic nails gripping a 2% gallon milk jug with the blue label. Two maybe three heaping and I do mean over flowing teaspoons of sugar would already be resting in the bottom of a large soup cup. A cup which could easily handle a four cup coffee pot in one pour with room for milk.
As a young boy, I would look up to my Abuelita as she would flood the black elixir with milk till the color of her drink matched my skin tone. She would smile smack her red lips open and say “Good Coffee!”.
One special morning which the details of escape my memory, she made me a very small cup of “Good Coffee”, which was mostly milk and sugar with a hint of Maxwell houses’ finest French roast.
Thanks to her morning ritual of coffee and singing to me, not to mention all the sugar in both our cups, I became addicted to our coffee klatch.
It was over coffee that we discussed the bible and fortune telling. Made plans for vacations and grieved for friends and family who parted unexpectedly.
Good coffee was never really about what was in the cup but about the time spent around the ever cooling liquid which perfumed the air around us.
My grandmother could not have imagined that with a simple gesture of sharing her cup, that she would forever alter my future and how I would handle my all of relationships.
It was over coffee that I fell in love with poetry, performance and the friends who mastered both.
It was a pack of camel wides and a bottomless pot of Perkins coffee that got me thru my hellish high school years. And after twenty plus years of drinking java from around the country to “across the pond”, my coffee completion and flavor looks much like it did when I was a child.
But now “A Good cup of coffee” needs to have more than just an extra spoon full of sugar.
It is doubtful that I will have grandchildren, but if I did then they would drink the same stuff that I am today.
Organically and ethically farmed, locally roasted and purchased from people who are giving jobs to my neighbors in my community while simultaneously giving a portion of their profits to a local charity that gives back to the farmers of the coffee that I am pouring for my family.
If my Abuelita was still alive I would make her a cup of Stone Fruit coffee and I would give her all the sugar and milk she wanted and damn the consequences.
So, what is good coffee?
For me it’s a moment savored with the hope of a refill.
The overly caffeinated blogger