Ground Coffee! #socs

Image by Christoph from Pixabay

Hey, guess what? Today’s word is ground, and coffee is ground, so we’re going to talk about coffee again! This time, we’ll talk about it the way most people like it, made fresh from ground coffee beans…

I used to go to the store a lot for Mom, so I learned that there were two kinds of coffee, regular grind and drip grind. I didn’t think there was much difference, to be honest, but Mom made it quite clear that she wanted Hills Brother’s coffee, regular grind, not drip.

Hills Brothers coffee can, circa 1922. The gentleman in the turban is supposed to be Ethiopian. Source: HillsBros.com

One day I went to the store and they didn’t have Hills Brothers regular grind, only drip. They had other kinds, like Folger’s and Maxwell House, in regular grind, and I was stuck: what was more important, the brand or the grind? Working it out in my 12-year-old mind, I decided the brand was more important, and got Hills Brothers drip grind. She didn’t say anything, so I guessed right.

Regular grind was meant for percolators and as such was ground a little more coarsely than drip grind. I didn’t know anyone who used the drip method to make coffee until I was at Meyer’s, a real honest-to-God soda fountain in the neighborhood, and watched Mrs. Meyer making coffee. I had never seen anyone make coffee like that, and for a long time I thought only Jewish people make coffee that way. They were across Lakewood Avenue from Weinstein Brothers Funeral Home, and the guys that worked there were always at the soda fountain, waiting for a call that said someone had died and had to be taken and prepared to be buried quickly.

In those days, everyone had a steel percolator that stood on the stove that had coffee in it. If you wanted to reheat the coffee, it was important to take the basket with the used grounds out of the pot, or you could end up with some real strong coffee. Speaking of strong coffee, my grandfather always cooked on Thanksgiving, and there was always a cast of thousands there for dinner, so he’d make egg coffee in this huge enameled pot. Must have held three gallons of coffee, and I don’t think there was any left at the end of the day. (And, if I’m not mistaken, this Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada, so if you live there, Happy Thanksgiving on Monday.)

Coffee has always been central to Mary and me. We got to know each other over cups of coffee at Xavier Grill at Loyola. After we got married, we discovered a brand called Stewart’s that cost a little more but lasted longer. Years later, I found out that Stewart’s was processed in Chicago, and their plant at the time was right behind Newly Weds Foods, where I worked for about a year and a half. Small world…


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Daddy Crisp potato chips. If you love your daddy, you’ll love Daddy Crisp!

41 thoughts on “Ground Coffee! #socs

  1. Love coffee any time of the day! We currently have a 12 cup drip maker, which I like better than most I’ve had in the past. We like Folgers and never tried Stewart’s but will give it a whirl next time we shop. My mother was from New Orleans and I was brought up on Chicory coffee, which I don’t drink today but I enjoy strong and bold coffee.

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    1. I don’t think they sell Stewart’s anyplace but Chicago, but you can buy it online at their website.

      We’ve gone back to an electric percolator and really like the coffee it makes. The drip makers that are mostly plastic make the coffee taste funny, and we must be rough on coffeemakers because eventually the other drip makers develop issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ve gone through several coffee makers and this one has lasted quite a while. I don’t use tap water in it, which I feel helps the taste of the coffee and the insides of the maker.

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  2. I had no idea what the difference was between regular and drip grind so there’s my new fact for the day. Love how you’ve brought the prompt together with a story from your childhood. Great job!

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  3. Just made my afternoon coffee, and it’s a treat to read your post. We use a Keurig now, and before that was a Mr. Coffee. I grew up with my parents making coffee with a Ware Ever drip coffee pot on top of the stove. I still have two of these now, and honestly it makes better coffee than any new kinds of machines.

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    1. I think, in making it easier to make coffee, it lost some of the flavor. There are quite a few Wear-Ever coffee pots, both percolators and drip makers, available on eBay. My God, they’re antiques…

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  4. Hubby worked in a coffee plant for 18 years. He came home smelling so good and we got free coffee. It was a shock to me when I had to buy it again. Sometimes we get whole beans and grind our own. I agree with Dan, love the history lessons you share.

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    1. Did he work for Hills Brothers? I know they’re out in San Francisco.

      We used to have a pot that would grind the beans and make the coffee. I think it was from Cuisinart. We went back to having it ground because we decided it wasn’t worth the bother. Remember A&P with their Eight O’Clock Brand, that was sold as whole beans that you could grind at the store? We used to get that a lot. A&P is long gone, but they still make the coffee…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He worked for the coffee division of Sara Lee in Hayward. Not many people know that Sara Lee had her hand in coffee (among other things – Hillshire Farms, Jimmy Dean, Hanes, etc). Safeway used to have a grinder by their coffee section but took it out a long time ago. Probably too much trouble and mess.

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        1. Stores in general had grinders for a long time, and they probably all figured out that if they took them out, they wouldn’t have to clean them…

          Sara Lee was a client of my old company, and I remember one of our trainers talking about how one of Sara Lee’s biggest problems (accounting-wise) was keeping her sticky buns separate from her pantyhose. It drew a lot of laughs…

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t remember it, but Starbucks has been doing “pour-over” coffee for a while, where they pour boiling water over grounds in a filter, which I think is about the same thing. We’re kind of klutzy, so we probably wouldn’t bother with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Can’t say I’ve ever been a huge coffee drinker, but for many years I’ve been a regular coffee drinker in that I’ll usually have one cup in the morning. Use to be about 3 cups, but I don’t seem to like coffee as much now. For the past 10 years I’ve been using a grinder with whole beans usually bought from Costco.

    For a while back in the 80s I was on a Kava kick. Anyone remember that stuff. I haven’t seen it in recent years, but then I haven’t been looking. Actually I don’t even think it was really made from coffee.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Wikipedia tells us that kava is made from the root of the kava plant. I could have sworn that there was an actual brand you could get in the coffee aisle, but I guess not, unless you know of one.

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      1. Yes, the Kava instant brand is what I used. It had reduced acid so it was easier on the stomach. I’ve not noticed it in the stores where I shop, but looking online I guess the Kava instant brand is still available from Amazon and other places.

        Arlee Bird
        Tossing It Out

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  6. I am not a huge coffee drinker, so I either use instant (dodges flying objects), or I brew some in a four cup electric percolator. I wanted to learn how to use a stovetop percolator, but didn’t want to buy one and never could find one with all the necessary parts in a thrift store. I wonder if it tastes any different when made on the stovetop?

    Kim</a

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    1. I actually kind of like instant. I talked about it in last week’s SoCS post. Like so many other things, it’s improved over time.

      The old stovetop percolators have fallen out of favor, I’m afraid. That was one of the first things we bought when we got the stove in our apartment (a couple of weeks before we got married). Made good coffee, a little stronger than you get with an electric percolator or the Mr. Coffee-style drip.

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  7. I still make those decisions at a grocery store for my wife when I go…pick between two different things and choose…I don’t go much but when I do it’s for something that has a big selection like coffee filters etc…I’m not a coffee drinker…she is though.

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    1. Maggie, my Dad, Johnny’s grandfather, called it “Swedish coffee”. There was a big enamel pot into which he put coffee ground and an egg. I think the egg was meant to clarify it? The coffee was strong. My parents didn’t drink alcohol but they served this coffee with waffles and/or cake to guests about 10 at night. I’m not sure how they slept!

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      1. How interesting! I did go read about it and the addition of the egg sounds foreign to me. Strong coffee was definitely an important aspect of prior generations. Thank you for stopping by to post.

        Liked by 1 person

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