Given my ‘druthers’ I enjoy a properly made cappuccino or a café con leche in the morning. But there are times when we are on the road and the means are not easily found to have those delicious ways to break from a night of heavy slumber. Our hosts for the Ft. Walton Food & Wine Festival set us up very well in a condo overlooking the water. I have the sliding glass door open now and I can listen to the rhythmic song of surf across the two lane highway of this wonderland of ‘sugar beaches’. But I searched high and low for a coffee filter to go with the bag of organic ‘morning blend’ they had provided, along with baguette, milk and orange juice and none was to be found.
I had to improvise in that being the beast of habit that I am I required some mocha java…. When we got to Key West in those first years I was introduced to Cuban coffee. We rented a home on Packer Street and when we moved in there was a device the original owners must have had and used countless times. It was a kind of ‘sock’ and funnel device for extracting the benevolent violence in the grounds of Cuban styled coffee. A neighbor we became friends with marveled at the ancient sock as we shared mornings that Spring. It was not a good looking thing to many I’m sure. The stains of coffee grounds could never be washed out. It had the look of nature stamped in a ravaged way upon it. But having been the beneficiaries of the aromatic and energy providing succor of the utilitarian patchwork of fabric and the ‘hourglass-like’ wooden holder we prized its rough and even crude look.
So it was the recollection of things past that brought me to my coffee enabled state. I took a clean white t-shirt out of my luggage and got it wet in the sink with scalding water. I squeezed it out and draped it over a huge wine glass that we had received the night before from our hosts. I then took the water in the “Mr Coffee” maker suffused with the black, granular magic and poured it through my once upon a time shirt and into the beckoning maw of the glass. My sense of smell was instantly soothed by the familiar and necessary company of coffee.
Morning had broken and a smile too.