Friday, November 21, 2014

Coffee Addiction

All this immigration theater is such a downer, I want to write about something light and frivolous.

Old AF Sarge has a nice post with many comments about Navy coffee that reminded me of Army coffee circa 1960’s as found in our Engineer Company in Germany.

In the field coffee was made by dumping cans of coffee into 30 gallon pots of boiling water. Not bad, until you got to the bottom where the grounds had settled (no filters). 

Most of our power boats, and many of the trucks, had various containers mounted on exhaust manifolds where water could be kept hot for coffee and heating C Rations (all forbidden by regulations). Some used instant coffee (nasty stuff) but most of us just poured coffee into the water. Not being the most macho type, I had a small metal filter that was easy to tuck away.

One of our cooks was of Polish descent, and had perfected appearing stupid. After washing out of radio operator school (deliberately), the Army made him a cook. Few realized he was a Michigan State graduate with a BS in Applied Mathematics. One morning while we were bivouacked along side the Rhine River, Mike decided to wash his socks out in the coffee dregs before emptying the pot. A newly assigned 2nd Lieutenant observed him doing this. Aghast, and not waiting to discover any facts, he rushed up and ordered Mike to dump the coffee. Mike did, right on the spot, splattering both the Lt and himself. Relieved the daily tedium that it did.

It wasn’t uncommon to spend ten or more hours operating  bridge erection boats, coming to the bank only to refuel. Having something hot to eat or drink kept us going, especially in the winter. Whenever we had a higher headquarters formal inspection, there was always a rush to remove and stash the water heaters.  Otherwise, everyone turned a blind eye. When we had observers aboard, they were very open to sharing our coffee.

Growing up, we had “cowboy coffee” made over a campfire in the same manner as Army coffee; a large tin can of boiling water with the coffee dumped into the water. When brewed, a cup of cold water was carefully poured in to “settle the grounds”. I can’t remember the grounds settling, but do remember trying to strain the coffee through my teeth. My father liked his coffee and no hunting or fishing trip was complete without a fire and coffee.

All the coffee bars in the world are wasted on me. I like my coffee, but I like it “Folgers in the Cup”. I’ll drink it plain, but my morning preference is a 16 oz mug, freshly made, with a generous amount of heavy (real) cream and a big spoonful of raw honey. Some mornings I will grind the beans but mainly I’m too lazy.

Given all the crap going on right now, I find some comfort in my morning routine, and my coffee. I’m sure some Progressive out there is trying to find a way to control our coffee, strictly for our own good, of course.


  1. My morning shower is my coffee. No way in hell can I drink that nasty stuff. People tell me, 'oh you just need to add more sugar.. or chocolate.. or creamer'.

    Bull puckey.

    You can make a beautiful cup of hot chocolate for me. Chocolate, sugar, milk, maybe a few marshmallows in my favorite blue mug. And add one single drop of coffee and ruin the whole goddamn fucking thing.

    Hm. Evidently coffee evokes strong feelings in me, too.

  2. In Vietnam those of us in the "bush" used C-4 to heat our water for the instant coffee that came in our C-rats. Also for cooking.....Very hot and reliable flame.

    1. Works well, as I remember. You did need to be careful as C4 burns hot enough to melt aluminum if too close.

  3. Cajun coffee... One pot in the morning, last cup goes in the travel mug. THEN I'm awake enough to face the day... :-) And I've had enough cowboy coffee to actually 'not' mind if the coffee is a tad 'chewy'... :-D

  4. What I know as Cajun coffee has molasses and rum mixed in, and topped with cream. A pot of that in the morning, along with a travel mug, would certainly make me alert. Perhaps yours is prepared differently?

  5. It's half chicory... sigh... I WISH it was the other version...

    1. I've had coffee with chicory. That is a taste I could have on a daily basis.