I remember that making coffee used to require time and attention. The beans were ground by hand, and I remember how I wanted to help with this task when I was a child. I loved the sound of the grinder and the aroma of the crushed beans. Although I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to drink it, I have always liked the smell off ground coffee, that filled one’s nose and seemed to go right to the stomach. While I was turning the handle of the grinder, which was difficult in the beginning but became easier the more one advanced with the task, water was brought to a boil, and the porcelain coffeepot was preheated with hot water. After a few minutes, it was emptied again and the porcelain filter, fitted with a paper filter, was set on top. The ground coffee was measured with a coffee spoon and transferred to the filter, one for each cup, and an extra one for the pot. Now, boiling water was poured into the filter. This was a task for an adult, of course. I watched as the ground coffee was drowned in water, not too much at a time, and everything turned brown. Then, one could hear the coffee dripping into the pot.
This way of making coffee may be regarded old-fashioned these days. But who says it is? We used to have a super-sophisticated machine that was always on “standby” and could prepare filtered coffee, espresso, and even froth milk for a cappuccino. I always felt that the machine was making the coffee, not me. On top of this, maintaining the machine in working condition required tasks that (a) always had to be done when I didn’t expect them and (b) occurred as being unrelated to coffee-making: filling water into the reservoir, cleaning the machine of old and dried-up ground coffee, etc.
A few years ago, I found a compromise of sorts. An Italian espresso machine that makes enough coffee for two is what I use in the morning to prepare two cups. I fill it with 300 ml of water, add five spoons of ground coffee, and put the machine on the gas stove. Fill some milk into the cups, heat it in the micro-oven, and wait for the water to find its way upward through the coffee, into the little pot. It’s a fast and semi-automated procedure. The last drops of coffee will make pleasant splashing noises as it comes out of the vertical tube. This noise announces coffee-time and fifteen minutes of quality time with the person who drinks the other cup.