The curious nostalgia of your parent’s bad coffee

When you visit your parents, what coffee do you drink? Do you pack an extra suitcase to fit the hand grinder, V60, scale, and single origin Gesha? Or do you accept the pre-ground grocery store coffee, sputtering out of the never-been-cleaned Mr. Coffee?

should I leave the pot on?

There’s something relaxing about letting go.

It’s a feeling coffee snobs, especially home brewers, rarely experience because we’re consumed by the pursuit of perfection. Some days, I don’t think about what I’m doing, or about the amazing coffee I have in my mug, I’m thinking, “Should I have poured 1g/s slower? Was it a mistake to wet WDT during the final drawdown? Is that astringency I detect?”

The nit picking and hyper-focus robs me of my joy. Suddenly the coffee I eagerly awaited in the mail becomes a source of stress, as I absentmindedly worry if I’ll mess up my next brew.

We, as home brewers, aspire to have consistency but what if good is never good enough?

Recently, while looking through old photos from a visit to my parent’s house, I was noticed my large mug of coffee with dare I say… cream. At first I laughed but then I remembered back to that moment. I was relaxed. It felt good to be somewhere that felt familiar. Somewhere I wasn’t responsible for everything.

That helped me realize it can feel good to say yes to bad coffee.

When you go back home you lose control. You don’t have your fancy grinder or perfect water; and you can’t understand why everyone around you is content drinking stale dark roasts or watery instant coffee.

When your parents ask, “should I leave the pot on for you?” What do you say?

Try saying yes.

Free the Mr. Coffee carafe from its scorched hot plate, grab a mug you used to use as a kid, and pour yourself some of your parents bad coffee.

As you drink, don’t look inward, over analyzing every flavor, instead, look up. Be present and enjoy the life happening around you.

Now settle into your old room, gaze out the window at the tree that’s been growing longer than you have, and marvel at the fact that your parent’s coffee has achieved a consistency yours never will.

The consistency of not worrying about it.1

  1. If you enjoyed this post you’ll definitely enjoy this video. ↩︎
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