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Jeanette Riffle: Coffee Grinders

The Free Press WV

One of our friends was looking for a coffee grinder to grind her own coffee beans and that brought back some memories to us. Duane’s folks had one and he said he and his cousin played with it when they were kids and tore it up. His Aunt Susie told him that when she was growing up, you bought green coffee beans and roasted them yourself.  The one she had at the Shock log cabin was made out of wood. The grinder and crank of course were metal. They put the beans in the top and when they turned the crank, the coffee came out in a little drawer. They pulled the drawer out and poured the coffee into the pot and then filled the pot up with water. No coffee filters back then.  His Uncle Ralph Perrine had coffee in the store and they used it. He doesn’t remember them grinding coffee after he came there. It was already ground and in bags or cans.  I remember my parents getting coffee at the A & P store in Glenville. That store smelled so good.

As soon as you walked in you could see a cashier grinding coffee beans right up front of the checkout isle.  Another thing that I liked from A & P was the Spanish Bar.  Mom always had a sweet tooth and would bring home one whole brown bag of baked things…..an angel food cake for my oldest brother, honey buns or pecan rolls, Spanish Bar and something chocolate for the chocolate lovers.

The Free Press WV


Mamaw Warner had this huge coffee pot that was real fat at the bottom and smaller at the top. She would get up and make a big pot of coffee every morning and just drink on it all day. In the afternoon she would take a break with a cup of coffee and a couple of her Dutch Cakes. They were big round cookies flavored with nutmeg and lemon.  The old folks put crushed egg shells in the coffee pot. One person has told me it was to keep the grounds down and another said it was to take the bitterness out.  I remember Mom saying that she didn’t drink the last few sups of her coffee because some grounds settled in the bottom of her cup. Some people poured a little hot coffee in their saucer to cool it down, so they could start sipping on it.

I had a friend in Michigan that bought her coffee beans at the coffee shop in a mall. When spring came, and the sun had the enclosed porch all warmed up, she would call me early of a morning and tell me to get up and come over for some sunshine, apple cobbler and good fresh coffee. Sometimes she made rhubarb cobbler, as they grew rhubarb along one side of their house. They, like us, lived in a suburbia and there wasn’t room for a big garden, but you could grow a few things along fences or at the back of the property. She kept half and half in the fridge and that really made that strong coffee taste good.  This friend was a country girl like me. She grew up in a tar shack up north and knew the country ways. She and her husband had a nice brick home in Taylor, Michigan, not too far from us. It only took me about 20 minutes to drive over there. I met her at the choir of a Baptist church in Taylor.

I can’t remember for sure when instant coffee came along but Mom sure went through a lot of jars of that. It seemed like she was forever sending Dad to the store after more coffee.  She sometimes would share a jar of coffee with a neighbor that came to visit.

I remember this lady would get a coffee headache when they ran out of coffee, and she would walk to our house to have coffee with Mom. They didn’t have a car.

Some of you can remember those coffee cups that came in boxes of detergent. I think it was Fab. Sometimes it was a saucer or a plate.  That was exciting to open up a box of detergent and dig down and see what was in there each time. Those dishes were a light green color.  I don’t think Mom ever did get the complete set, though. You couldn’t tell what was in the box. It was a surprise each time.

Until next week, take care and God bless!

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