How I Invented Coffee

Coffee foam art by Kazuki Yamamoto ( foam art by Kazuki Yamamoto (

Full Stomach, Fuller Heart

(an occasional series)

Unlike my oldest daughter, who as a newborn would have been thrilled if Mommy’s breasts dispensed House Blend and Dark Roast, I had to learn to like coffee.

The Coffee-Milk Era: My mom let me try her coffee when I was 7. Too bitter! But then she poured a little into my milk and I loved it! My first Coffee-Milk was a pretty palomino color and tasted mysteriously wonderful! I didn’t like coffee, but I loved the flavor. So I happily imbibed my Coffee-Milk, along with coffee candies and mocha malts.

The Singing Coffee Era: Sophomore year in high school I joined the elite audition-only A Capella Choir (translation: you had to be able carry a tune in some semblance of a bucket). The A Capellas met during “Oh! Period,” too early for mere mortals. So, like many of my fellow-elites, I began stopping at the school snack bar and buying a cardboard coffee to take to rehearsal. I didn’t like it, but I loved how adult I felt walking into class with my cuppa joe (in truth, I often bought a watery cocoa instead, doctoring it with a nearly equal amount of cream).

The Techie Era: I was a theatre major in college, and one of my first experiences was as a techie (crew member) on a three-hour production of Marat/Sade, the bizarre, vaguely true story of play produced by inmates at a mental asylum. I was trying to slim down so I could land all the juicy dramatic leads in productions to come, so I avoided snacks and guzzled gawdawful un-creamed crew-brew every night. I didn’t like it, but I got used to it. And by the time the play and my diet were over, I’d developed an addiction to coffee, along with Nestle’s Crunch bars (so much for the diet).

The Dark Days: I later worked next to a hot-water-dispenser. Result? Instant coffee all day. Jitters? Yes. Stomach ache? Yep. Happy? Hardly. Hooked? Oh, yeah. I’ll say no more. Except that I later repented and have since forgiven myself. Please, can we just move on?

And Then I Invented Coffee: One magical day, I discovered the little-known Swiss pour-over method, and had an instant dancing-and-singing conversion! Finally, after all those years of wandering I’d found The Source!  I started buying amazing locally-roasted beans, and learned how to grind them to my own demanding specifications. Result? The Best Coffee On the Planet. Need proof? A few years later, I met a beautiful girl who loved coffee, but LOVED my coffee. And so she married it. And me.

And we rode off into the caffeinated sunset together.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to How I Invented Coffee

  1. Well, that makes sense. If she loved your coffee you’d have marry her. I’ve never liked coffee much and prefer tea. So naturally I married a nice English lady who tolerate the way I make tea.

    She makes her own coffee as I have a bad reputation near a coffee pot…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. People’s affnity for coffee is interesting. Much of our bitter plantlife is poisonous. The bitter flavor warns animals to stay away. I often ask myself preferring it black, “How can I so enjoy something that tastes so BITTER?” I guess that will remain one of life’s mysteries.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      I understand that “bitter” is one of our basic taste receptors, and that some people are biochemically more pre-disposed to like bitter flavors. E.g. my daughter loves LOTS of bitter things I don’t like.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I turned my Cuban wife into an American Coffee Lover. To my dismay. Apparently I am the only person that can make the coffee that satisfies, and she requests it, usually just as I sit down to watch TV or read some dense theological tome. But, we have coffee time together every day.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Gina Cash says:

    Ah!! I remember coffee milk! I loved it as a child when my paternal grandmother let her three granddaughters drink it from fancy cups and saucers just like her. Ours was full of sugar along with milk. It bore very little resemblance to her “adult” coffee but I loved it. My parents didn’t drink coffee then so it was a wonderful treat at Mema Billie’s house. To this day I cannot drink coffee without milk or cream and way too much sugar. Guess I’ll always be a coffee milk girl!!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Jennwith2ns says:

    When my husband and I met, he proudly told me he had a Keurig. I tried to be politely impressed but we got rid of it about six months after we tied the knot because I converted him to a level of coffee snobbery that has far outstripped my own–via Cemetery coffee. What’s that, you ask? Well, let me tell you:

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I enjoyed every sip of this heartwarming story… but I confess I’m not a coffee person. No matter how much cream, sugar, or flavorings went into a cup, I never developed a taste for it. As teens who enjoyed it, my children would convince me, “Oh, try this. You can’t even taste the coffee, it’s more like _____.” I do love the aroma and the fragrance would deceive my brain into trying again causing a revolt with my tastebuds.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. robstroud says:

    I began drinking coffee in restaurants because “back in the day” it was the only beverage that got free refills. Milk or cream makes it a dessert, which I don’t consider coffee, per se (as delicious as it is).

    The A Capellas experience was surely interesting. As for the low audition standards… that was for us guys, since we were harder to recruit for such groups. The ladies had much higher standards. Your experience reminded me of audition for a vocal jazz ensemble at the U of Washington… so I could spend some quality time with my betrothed who majored in music.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      It’s true, Rob, the low standards really were just for the guys. My ear developed quickly, however, just from being around them and, like you, I eventually made it into a genuinely picky vocal group in college. So our interests have all kinds of similarities, not the least of which is our love of Lewis, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember coffee milk! I really enjoyed your humorous take on your addiction to an acquired taste.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Pingback: Lifestyle: How I Invented Coffee — Mitch Teemley – The Urban Fishing Pole: Cigar Blogger, Lifestyle

  10. mimfilip says:

    Great post Mitch, what is the Swiss pour method? I haven’t heard of it before.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. My daughter had the first I’d ever seen, when we visited her at christmas 2019. The coffee was coffee alright but…the coffee didn’t stay hot!
    Myself, I’m a French press girl, historically speaking but this year we bought a high powered expresso machine. It’s become the love of my life💕

    Liked by 3 people

  12. This girl who drinks way too much coffee was wondering how you’d turn that title into a believable tale. Well, you did it. I loved your story, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. kutukamus says:

    This is beautifully romantic. And the thumb-up foam by Kazuki fits! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  14. From a coffee ☕ lover👍. You should surely try once Indian filter coffee.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. masercot says:

    1. You’ll never convince me that the French press isn’t the best way to make coffee.
    2. Marat/Sade was a brilliant play. Have you seen the movie?

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Love Alone says:

    Reblogged this on Love and Love Alone.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I never got the hang of coffee, but I love the aroma. My cup of tea is tea. Caffeine is caffeine.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. JOY journal says:

    Coffee. Coffee flavored anything. Coffee, the color. It’s all good. I’ll have to try this pour-over method!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I too was introduced to coffee (diluted with milk at first) by my mother.

    I was drinking drip coffee (plain black) by the time I was in high school.  I still remember my silly little parody of Shakespeare dialog from a time when I made coffee for my senior year English class:
            The noble brew,
            wherewith the thirst to quench
            and prop the drooping eyelids up …

    Got thru college and grad school with eyelids propped up by untold gallons of pour-over coffee.

    Now my old stomach rebels against hot-brewed coffee, but cold-brewed coffee came to the rescue.  Still plain black and dark-roasted, usually as iced coffee, sometimes warmed in the microwave.  If my old stomach ever vetoes cold-brewed, I’ll know it is time for one last Shakespeare parody:
            Exit Mellow Curmudgeon.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I got hooked on coffee my eighteenth summer while living and working with a missionary family in Honduras. It was either coffee or reconstituted powdered milk, served at non-air-conditioned room temperature. The choice was clear!

    Liked by 3 people

  21. gregoryjoel says:

    I know what you mean about the wannabe adult. I used to spend summers at my Uncle’s ranch in South Texas as a kid. He supplemented his income by working for Brown & Root checking all the oil wells on hi and a couple other ranches. We would arise at 4:00 AM and leave to check to south end and return at 6 AM before checking the west end. Both times, my Aunt would have steaming hot coffee going on the stove – I would have a cup of “coffee” – more cream and sugar then coffee – and think I was a big dog.
    Years later, my coffee is still the old Folger’s in a can, but I drink it black. I don’t do the unnamed large coffee chain’s stuff that tastes burned (I’m pretty sure that’s why all there lattes, cappuccinos, and such are sugary sweet) I’m not much of a connoisseur, but plain old coffee is not far down on the greatest discoveries of mankind. God is so sweet!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Your stories are always so entertaining. I look forward to reading them

    Liked by 3 people

  23. boromax says:

    That is a truly delicious retelling of your personal trajectory of coffee appreciation.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Morning, Mitch. I’m finicky about coffee too. It’s a product worth being finicky about!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s