And just like that, another high-priced coffeemaker with extra bells, whistles and raving reviews bit the dust.
Let me start by mentioning that I’m the coffee snob. I can skimp on my other groceries, but my coffee has to be organic, fair trade, whole beans. If there were a label that said “cruelty free”, I know I’d buy that snake oil, too. Any special stamp or label added that the other bags are missing, I feel like it’s more superior than the rest.
Every morning I have a routine. I get up, grind the beans – and not just any old $20 grinder. Last time I splurged on a burr grinder. Why? Because some review I read sounded like it was the only way to make real coffee and I fell hook, line, and sinker. So I grind the beans, start the pot of coffee, walk my dog, come in and make breakfast for us, and play Spelling Bee on the NYT app while I savor two cups before going to my desk.
When my old coffee maker started slacking on the job by not spilling water into the carafe, and I cleaned it by running vinegar water through it as the instructions say but I usually ignore, but that didn’t fix it. Then after several days and losing hope, once again, I fell down the rabbit hole of endless online reviews – many that turned out to be paid advertisements – and making a list, then reading the top one for this site was the faulty one for that site. What is the exact temperature that a coffee maker should reach? Is it certified by blah-blah-blah? Does it have a cone-shaped vault? These are not good. It was frustrating. Finally, I decided, why not skip all this b.s. and get an old school percolator. My grandparents used theirs often, unless they had company. It’d be cool to hear the bubbling and to see the brown liquid percolate in the glass knob on top.
Surely I couldn’t buy one without falling down the rabbit hole of percolator research. Then I slapped some sense into myself. I went online and found a stainless steel percolator by a reputable name brand, added it to my cart, and immediately checked out. I felt like I might be setting a new trend, while waiting for it. Yeah. I’d planned on posting pics on Instagram of the perc and people would notice and say, ‘wow! Is that a percolator in the background?’. They’d see how hip I am to go old school and simple. Back to basics. Could I switch to Folgers? Look at me. Maybe I’d get a toaster next.
When the perc finally arrived, it was beautiful. I washed it with soap and water first, as the instructions said. I decided to adjust the grind on my burr grinder. I might need coarser grounds with this gadget. One problem – the measurement marks were inside the pot. Being low vision, I mark a lot of my things with a bold colored sharpie, but I could see this even being an issue for crisp sighted folks. I held it under the hood light and made sure it was close to the mark I thought would be four cups – which makes two cups (I’ve never understood that math). I still couldn’t read it, so I sort of winged it. I added my grounds and turned it on. This was exciting. I could see my reflection on the side of it as I watched it. It was annoyingly loud from the sound of my electric stove generating heat in the empty half of the vessel.
The instructions said to boil until you see it percolate and no longer, then lower the heat for about 10 minutes. This meant that I needed to stay watching the percolator, waiting for the perc. I couldn’t fool with my dog, do makeup, go to the bathroom, scroll my phone, or feed the fish. I had to watch it like a hawk. And another downfall of the perk-olator (see that? I didn’t), unless you are fully sighted, it’s hard to determine if the brown coffee is hitting the glass knob. You need to make the coffee super strong aka overloaded with grounds to darken the color.
The first few days I was so excited to drink it. It was extremely hot – like lady who sued Mickey D’s hot, so I couldn’t blow and sip, like usual. I learned to let it sit a minute or two after scalding my top lip.
As the month carried on, there would be days where I would pour faint beige water into my cup and have to start completely over, wasting my overpriced grounds. Or days when pouring the second cup, the whole internal well that holds the grounds would clang against the top. There were a few days I forgot to place the lid on the internal well, boiling the grounds into the coffee water. It became quite a chore and difficult to get right, only making two cups for myself – it really needs more water to boil and reach the grounds. Meanwhile, my dog has finished her breakfast and is staring a hole thru me, wondering when we’re gonna go outside. I came to the decision that I was done. What the hell were my grandparents thinking? Percolating is rewinding modern technology.
It turns out, I prefer the modernity of the electric coffee maker. I went online, skipped the reviews, and ordered the cheapest electric coffee maker by one of my go-to brands. Since chrome is currently the rage, they were pretty expensive, but the same model of the only one I found to be perfect was on sale in black. So cheap, that I felt uncertain about buying it, but thought most of them die after a year anyway. My appliances are black and chrome, so the black one would work just fine. Turns out, it looks much better than a chrome one.
I cannot tell you how satisfying it was the first morning that I ground my beans, set it and forget it, and resumed my old routine of walking my dog while the coffee brewed itself. I have the timer feature if I want to set it before bed to brew while I’m sleeping. It also has a 1-4 cups button, if you’re brewing for one or two – take that, percolator! And you know what? It tastes delicious. Here’s to you, my perfect brew.