Coffee Improv

A time of instability, of change, of liminality. A state of limbo. A temporary space. A KITCHEN WITHOUT A COFFEE GRINDER.


This was where I found myself a couple of months ago, when, fed up with bleak, plodding, coffee-less mornings, I resorted to a technique that I sometimes use to grind spices in a pinch. (Pre-ground spices, like pre-ground coffee, are never a good option. Unless you’re camping, in which case Nescafe paired with fakey-flavored instant oatmeal represents an acme of sensory delight.)

I took a glass jar, a wooden cutting board, and some coffee beans. I pounded, crushed, and rolled. After several minutes of effort, I had broken the beans into smaller pieces. Success! A novelty mug in the form of a misshapen breast, its handle a contorted nude woman, its nipple featuring a felicitous hole, served as an ersatz Melitta.



The resulting brew was weak and unsatisfying, but still recognizable as coffee and thus, better than nothing (my grind was too coarse for the pour-over method. It probably would have made a decent French press).



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