I like my coffee mildly strong–medium strong being chewing on the grounds and strong having to do with intravenous injections. I’ve always said if they didn’t want you to put a lot of grounds in the coffee maker, they wouldn’t make the filters that big. I drink coffee in the morning and don’t touch it the rest of the day. Actually, I am usually done with coffee by six AM. I get up about four and have some of my rocket fuel, write a little and I’m ready for the day. I don’t drink decaffeinated coffee. What’s the point? It’s like a drug addict snorting powdered sugar because it looks like cocaine. I want all the caffeine I can get. My doctor once told me the body develops a tolerance for caffeine just like any other drug, and you have to consume more and more to get the same effect. I took that to mean he wanted me to drink more coffee, but he never wrote me a prescription.
In my novel In The Sticks the sheriff’s secretary drinks very weak coffee. It is based on my wife’s coffee when we were first married. It was so weak you could see through the carafe. A couple of years ago she got one of those new Keurig coffee makers with the pre-measured cups of grounds. At first she would run two cups of coffee through the coffee maker and drink the third cup, but that seemed wasteful. Now she runs a cup through and pours an equal amount of creamer in it–sometimes flavored creamer. She drinks flavored coffee, too. We’ll stop at a coffee shop and she’ll order a chocolickity-carameleto frappe expresso latte—or something like that. It has seven tablespoons of sugar and more fat than a pound of butter, but she’s convinced it’s a diet drink because all the diet books say coffee had no calories. When the clerk at the coffee store asks shat flavored coffee I want I say coffee flavored, because coffee is a flaver and you don’t need to put any pollutants in it.
For a few months when I was young I lived in an apartment with three other guys. It’s an experience I will never forget. (Especially the smells. There were mornings, especially after we’d had chili or beef and bean burritos when you could see the air. It made your eyes water and peeled paint.) The oldest guy in the bunch had an interesting way of making coffee. He would put some grounds in an old percolator, and then the next day he would add some more grounds without ever dumping out the old grounds. When the basket was too full to hold anymore, he would dump the basket and start over again. You would think after the wet grounds at the bottom of the basket had been there three or four days–fermenting and maybe growing mold–it would make horrible coffee, and you would be right. Easily the worse coffee I have ever had. On the last day before he dumped the grounds I took two sips and went to a convenience store to get a real cup of coffee. After the first week, I started getting up early and making the coffee while he was still sleeping.
I have a brother-in-law who buys raw coffee beans off the internet and then roasts them himself. It is the best coffee I have ever had by far, but I would never go through that much trouble for a cup of coffee. The difference between his great cup of coffee and my regular coffee is not enough to warrant that much time and energy. Still, I admire him for doing it, and if wants to send some my way I wouldn’t turn it down.