Bill's brimming all over with a cup and a half of excitement this morning. He accepted some payola from one of his clients who's from Louisiana. The guy gave him a pound of Community Coffee, so he's going to brew it up at the office today. He's equally thrilled because Jeannie Mikkelsen's excited too.
She works at the local Department of Lands office, and she makes the best frybread in town. Today she's looking forward to getting her first taste of the stuff so much so that she even told Bill that she'd forego morning coffee so her tastebuds would be ready for the chicory treat which has its roots in South Louisiana just like Bill.
I borrowed some history off the Community Coffee website, and here's what they say:
Community Coffee Company is steeped in tradition as rich as our coffee. As the largest family-owned retail coffee brand in the U.S., our company’s roots grew from a small country store in Baton Rouge where more than 80 years ago, founder Henry Norman 'Cap' Saurage brewed his popular coffee.
The coffee became so popular that he named it Community in honor of his loyal friends and customers. Cap eventually turned his attention away from the grocery store and devoted all of his time and energy to making great coffee.
Today, Community Coffee Company is so much a part of people’s lives and spans so many generations that it has been dubbed the State Coffee of Louisiana. We invite you to enjoy this family tradition and experience a little bit of Louisiana in every cup.
Bill lamented that Jeannie just won't get the true flavor because the IDL office doesn't have one of those drip percolators that they use down South to brew the coffee properly. I think that was the kind his mother used. It sat on the kitchen range, and the first time I ever visited their home in Oakdale, someone poured me a cup of coffee, knowing full well I was in for a shock.
Remembering my manners on this maiden visit, I tried really hard to pretend that I liked it, but the folks watching could see from my expression that it had presented a formidable shock to my Northern tastebuds.
I'm sure it took me a while, but I quickly found a nice way to ask if they'd pour just a quarter cup so I could dilute it with three quarters of a cup of water. For years thereafter, any time I visited, Bill's mother Ora did not need to be reminded that Marianne could go for days on one pot of Community Coffee. I could stand the stuff only if it couldn't stand up on its own in my cup.
This morning we talked of how that tendency of brewing coffee so strong it could compete with a can of Drano has gradually been making its way into virtually every coffee shop across America. Bill says the onset of Starbucks everywhere has even kinda diluted the appeal of a good cup of pure chicory which he's so used to drinking in the South.
I can remember trips to Louisiana when I savored that last cup of coffee on the plane before landing in Dallas or Houston, knowing I was gonna have to get back home to enjoy a good cup of Folger's or Hill's Bros, which was available not only in my kitchen but in virtually every local restaurant. Try to find that now!
I swear that even the Folger's folks are sneaking some of that creosote into their coffee grounds. Or, maybe I get that idea because Bill makes the coffee almost every morning and probably puts in six tablespoons to my three. I yearn for a good cup of mild coffee, and I'm wondering these days where a person can go to find one. Seems like every restaurant has gone over to the other side, even the convenience stores.
I think Sandpoint's Connie's Restaurant still accommodates the wimps around town whose tastebuds recoil with revulsion on taking that first sip of the "in" stuff. Last time I went to Connie's, I remember actually enjoying the three cups I downed while visiting with a friend.
In all other cases, I find myself pretending that I like the concoction which leaves an oily film on my tongue with every swallow. Generally, my cup remains three quarters full in these situations. I also submit that there are a lot of coffee-drinking hypocrites out there who hate the stuff as much as I do, but they put up with it because it's fashionable.
Try as I might, my buds have never developed a taste for anything that resembles chicory or creosote. In fact, I've even resorted to taking my "mocha latte creation" powder with me whenever I go to Saturday coffee cult. When the waitress isn't looking, I dump in the chocolate powder and then relax, knowing that this time, I can actually enjoy my sipping as much as I enjoy my gabbing.
Am I the only one, or are there others out there who'd almost pay extra for a good ol' cup of regular coffee? Anyone? Anyone? If you exist, let's get together, form our own coffee company and bring back an old flavor called "Wuss Brand" for us Northern wimps whose tastebuds long for a soothing cup of non-intimidating, mild brew.
In the meantime, I'd give anything to see Jeannie's face this morning when she takes that first sip from the Community pot.