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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Here’s to mornings and relationships grounded in coffee

While cleaning the kitchen counter this morning, one thing was clear. Coffee is king. At least, it accounts for most of our kitchen clutter.

We don’t have a fancy food processor, juicer or even an oven that maintains consistent temperature, but this morning I had a choice of four different ways to make the morning Joe I share with my 13-year-old son. Coffee is our thing.

With each child I spent some time enticing them to taste the tantalizing drink I love more than any other food or beverage. I’d always pick coffee for my dessert island.

When Emily was a toddler I used to hold the bags of beans open so she could inhale the aroma. It didn’t really work, but she eventually learned to like coffee, and going out for a cup together has become one of our favorite ways to catch up.

Isaac hasn’t acquired the taste yet, eschewing every attempt to tempt him into a coffee conversion. Part of me still holds hope, but for now we connect over other things.

But our youngest, Ian, has become a full-fledged coffee connoisseur. We go out for coffee a lot and have tried many area establishments in search of the best brew. When your kids hit their teen years it takes more effort to stay connected.

Coffee grounds do that for us. They’re the perfect breeding ground for conversation. You can talk about anything over a warm cup of coffee. You can even talk about coffee.

Over the past year, Ian has surpassed my pedestrian passion for perk and can talk at length about beans, roasting and various ways to make a quality cup. And his coffee concocting experiments have resulted in some of the tastiest brews I’ve ever experienced.

That’s why Curtis recently purchased an AeroPress at an auction, adding to our ever-expanding coffee-making implements. He’s feeding Ian’s interest in my drink of choice. I’d never heard of this odd plunger and filter contraption for making coffee but gave it a try.

Unfortunately, my first few attempts at using the gadget were disastrous. Coffee spread across the kitchen counter. Grounds flew everywhere. Apparently, you should read the directions thoroughly and follow the steps precisely. In other words, I should have had a cup of coffee first.

Knowing it couldn’t be that complicated, I waited and tried again when I was more awake. After several shots I eventually mastered its one-cup-at-a-time magic, achieving the smooth java promised. It’s actually easy once you know what you’re doing.

For an unplugged process, it has surpassed the French press I purchased years ago for off-the-grid coffee while camping. I’m not sure what will happen when the novelty wears off, but the perky plunger is currently our homemade method of choice for quick coffee in the morning.

When we have more time, we still prefer our espresso machine. Of all the coffee making we’ve done over the years, it’s gotten the most mileage as an economic alternative to the budget-busting barista-made lattes we enjoy a little too often at area stands and shops.

Like most homes, we also have a drip machine. At 20 years, it’s lasted the longest, but that’s because it usually stays out of sight in a cupboard behind the waffle maker. I pulled it out this week while my wonderful in-laws visited. My father-in-law has perfected drip coffee making to a fine science. Our beds may not sleep like his own, but at least he can have a taste of home when he’s here.

There’s just something about coffee and drinking it with the people you love.

Jill Barville will write in this space twice a month about families, life and everything else. She can be reached at
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