Instant Coffee

I have poor impulse control when it comes to coffee. I have spilled many partially-brewed pots on our counter trying to sneak a cup. The answer to my impatience was simple but unthinkable as I really appreciate good coffee; my answer was a brew that demands little or no patience from those who drink it; instant coffee.

I didn’t come to realize the instant potential of coffee on my own. I introduced you to Travis Black last spring when he was tying walleye spinners in a quiet, calm and meditative way. Travis is sort of my guru when it comes to simplicity and instant coffee was his suggestion; I was immediately repulsed by the idea. I only drink good coffee. Instant coffee is something you set on a shelf to show you are hospitable to visitors but not something you actually consume unless an insurance salesman happens to visit in the afternoon. My only experience with instant coffee was as a prop in a high school play and it made my stomach hurt. I like coffee perked, I like coffee pressed, I like coffee dripped but I resisted coffee freeze dried-then I tried it.

I fill up my cup from my sister with warm water, hit the “beverage” button on the microwave then get my blankets and magazines arranged on the couch which uses up just enough time to heat the water. The instructions say one rounded teaspoon but that is for non-believers, I use one and a half. I like how the water reacts when I dump in the brown crystallized coffee; it sort of boils up and makes a froth which warms me right down to make caffeinated soul. Then the taste; you may drink coffee with your mouth but you taste it with your nose-that’s the great thing about instant; it’s so concentrated! I’ve even heard of people who put instant into already-brewed coffee but I’ve yet to try it. Cup in hand, I make it to the couch just as our cats arrive to join me in a hot, no-wait cup of afternoon coffee. I am warm-instantly.

Instant coffee is also welcome at work. I am thankful that coffee is provided at my workplace but the truth is that by the time it gets to human lips it’s well past prime and oxidized to the point it no longer chemically resembles coffee. I like to call it “government gin” to borrow a term from the book, “1984” that describes a poorly-made, homogenized alcohol fed to the oppressed people of a totalitarian government. Instant coffee is so consistent and it is protected from the ravages of time through the very process by which it is made-plus the jar is so cute. It is the perfect stimulant at three in the morning; in my most tired moments, I wished I could wash my eyeballs in the stuff.

I will always have a place in my heart for regular coffee, even the half caf/half de-caf stuff Lisa makes me drink. There’s nothing like making the full twelve cup decanter on the week-end with a big breakfast and watching the CBS Sunday show. That much coffee takes times to make and time to drink; it’s demands a sort of commitment that seems justified and in proportion to the pleasure it gives us. However, when the mood strikes me and I want a lot of coffee taste in a hurry; make my coffee instant- it’s not just for visiting insurance salesmen anymore.

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