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I'm a failure,


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Last spring I posted a confessional about my dear parents coffee. It was really undrinkable. Several people suggested I bring my own press pot and grounds to their house, or volunteer to make the coffee. Unfortunately feelings would be hurt which would be much worse than a bad cup of coffee. So instead, I thought some suggestions and a few gifts might help effect a reasonable solution. But one new coffee maker, burr grinder, one initial pound of beans, and almost a year of practice later, the coffee is worse.

I should never have intervened in the first place. They only either got confused or, more likely were just never into improving their coffee beyond trying to make their son a little happier.

Last year wasn't so bad. I lived in the area and only had coffee after family dinners. Now that I've moved away and stay with them on holidays such as the one just past, I'm subject to the coffee on a regular and constant basis. (Thank god for the new laptop that's allowing me to write this as I sip a latte at the Panera bread shop; no local coffee shops in this part of town. But at this point the 7-11 would have worked too. They just don't have free wi-fi.)

The problem as it stands today: 1) the coffee maker is a little more sophisticated than their old one. It's a cuisinart thermal caraffe and, because the lid and cone are more complicated, they don't get cleaned very often. 2) somehow, they got the notion that any coffee that starts as whole beans at the point of purchase is good. That means Dunkin Donuts, which tells people how good its coffee is, and any other non-canned, unground, bean. 3) the grinder has never been used since that first pound. They just grind it at the store or the donut shop, then stick it on the shelf in the cupboard often times for months. My mother even talked about a friend who has a small refridgerator and whose husband insists on keeping a full pound of coffee in there. "What a shame, taking up so much space." 4) Blending. I was told on arriving that the "Folgers" can in the cupboard didn't have any folgers in it, so I shouldn't fear. Inside instead was a combination of, all whole-bean, store-ground, coffees including Duncan Donuts, Eight OClock, Tim Hortons, and some other supermarket kind. It's really really awful. Much worse than before I intervened.

I think this is a problem without a solution. Since this is probably the worst crisis in my family right now, I just may have to let it rest and hope the coffee someday gets back to its old just bad self.

Edited by BeJam (log)

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Oh, for goodness sake, you big silly! Just make it a nice little ritual for your visits. You love you parents and you want to offer them something special, so YOU bring a small selection of beans, a pot's worth of a few different selections isn't too dear for a visit to the parents. (Not too dark a roast, mind you! We must compete with DD good grief.)

And we take it from there. It is your LOVE your parents which prompts this, BTW. NOT your personal dire straits, capish? "It is so much trouble to clean a machine, Ma, I will do it for you right now! Don't worry, it's like meditation for me, honest!"

After cleansing the machine, YOU grind the fresh beans, and then you make a decent pot of drip brew. "Dad, how is this blend to you? What do you think of this compared to the one we made this morning? I would love to know which one you end liking the best. I wonder if we'll end up liking the same ones. What? No, it isn't a test, Dad, I swear, they're all excellent beans, it's like good cigars, personal preference."

Don't come to this subject from the place of hurting their feelings. The reason you can't hurt their feelings is you are not going to do this out of your own frustration, but to SHARE this lovely habit of yours with them, to PLEASE them, not to denigrate their taste, and certainly not to TEACH them anything.

You only have their pleasure in mind while you do this. You are giving them a present of your time, effort and affection! Look! He's brought all of those beans for us to try. He's a nice kid, after all. Weird, but an OK guy. :biggrin:

You ask them their opinions of the various beans you've brought, you tell a funny story or a small bit of intriguing fact about the beans to them, you ask your parents when they began drinking coffee, they will tell you stories about college or kitchens with aluminum percolators. Stories about paper cups of swill drunk in offices, dates that were prolonged with pots of weak diner coffee. Whatever they tell you, it is NOT about the coffee, but becomes about their lives and winds onto how they feel about their own memories.

So. You enjoy your cup of coffee, and you allow yourself to enjoy your parents memories, and then when you leave you get back on your laptop and you write us a nice piece all about it, so that we can be touched as well, by your wonderful visit.

Or, just suffer, and you'll have a funny story to tell folks when you are older.

Edited by me to add this: I've just read your last thread on this subject. Dear boy, I hope you're not the family trouble maker, 'cause THAT will make executing my plan all the more difficult! If that's the case, I'd suggest passing the instructions along to sis. Be :raz: cause, well, maybe she's their favorite? Heh, heh.

Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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They're far from alone in their practices. I did a service call last year for one of our occasional clients - very rich but not sophisticated - who needed some adjustments done on their super-auto espresso machine.

It's in their summer house which gets used primarily on weekends in the summer. The missus just had to have the same machine they have in another facility they own (which actually does serve large groups on a regular basis and the cost can be justified).

It's a $12,000 machine and they said the coffee didn't taste like it should. At the other facility they use fresh roasted espresso blend of good quality (I know because I roast it). Here they were using Dunkin Donuts beans!

Duh. And buying a Ferrari will not turn me into Jackie Stewart or Mario Andretti :rolleyes:

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Some people like lousy coffee. Some people don't even like coffee but drink it anyway, so they don't care.

At least your folks don't drink decaf! :shock:

SB (who's Mom makes weak coffee, and insists it's too strong) :sad:

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Does your mom know my mom? This weekend I looked in the freezer and the bag of Tanzanian peaberry I brought last Xmas was still there. It was, yes, stale, but still better than the maxwell haus she had before. When I make the coffee she says, "don't make it as black as you like it." She usually drinks tea when she's by herself, so I think she thinks that coffee should look like tea, preferably weak tea.

And your mom could do a _lot_ worse than Dunkin Donuts, though I wouldn't use it for espresso.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

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