Black Coffee in Bed

Split, Croatia

It has been an ugly 13-day battle, but I think I am emerging the winner in the now legendary (just ask my roommate, Emily), Loren vs. Morning Coffee war.

It all started an hour after I arrived in Split and realized there was no coffeemaker in the apartment — and the nearest cafe is 700-825 steps away (thanks steps-counter app thingy) depending on whether you take the shortcut. Either way, it requires putting on pants, which is something I’m just not willing to do regularly before my morning coffee.

Over the past week, I’ve been preparing to make that first cup, secure in the knowledge that an available coffeemaker would appear in my path. One day I bought a bag of coffee. Another day I bought milk and sugar, but alas, still no coffeemaker was anywhere to be found.

My obsession with having morning coffee in my new home grew in relation to my desperation to establish just a hint of a normal routine necessary for me to feel grounded, settled and myself in this new life which is fun, but oh-so frenzied. I mean, c’mon, how freaking hard could it be to make coffee in the morning? I’m setting my bar preeeeeetty low here.

After a solid week of searching, asking around, ultimately putting on pants and walking 700-825 steps down the hill to the cafe on the beach each morning,  I headed to my last resort – a mall. In an Uber. Which just seemed weird.

So, last Sunday, which I dubbed “See Nobody I Know Sunday” as the intense group environment was starting to wear me down (more on that later), I waded through store after store that offered me nothing but the Cadillacs of coffeemakers, all unsuitable for my nomadic lifestyle. Finally, I spotted this little darling tucked in the back of a shelf strewn with random household stuff at a grocery story.

How adorable is she?!?!

Well, as anyone with children (not me) will tell you, anything that small and cute is hiding a darkness — a deep reserve of difficulty and drama just waiting to strike when you need her to be compliant the most. Like that kid having a fit on the floor of the grocery store who is never mine. But now she is.

Game on, little lady.

Morning #1:  How the hell does this thing work? The directions are about as descriptive as, “fill base with water, add coffee to the basket, place on stove till done, pour.” But, how much coffee? How much water? How high a heat? How long do you cook it for? WTF????? I’m the girl with champagne glasses and an ice bucket stored in my oven at home – you can’t make me guess this stuff.

Before you ask, Google is no help at all because all entries discuss a version of this little stove percolator that has a clear bulb to look at to make such determinations as when it’s done. Mine is opaque. I can’t see a damn thing.

I fill it to the top with water, stuff it full of coffee, put it on the highest heat, hear it boil, watch steam roll out and burn the crap out of a cup that is about 10x too strong. In defiance, I drink it anyway.  It’s gross.

Morning #2: I take the opposite approach. I fill it moderately with water, put two scoops of coffee in the basket, place it on a low heat and stand there wondering what and when something is supposed to happen. Yesterday, I heard boiling and saw steam, which at least indicated something was going on in there. Today, nothing. I finally figure if yesterday’s coffee was demonstrably wrong, then today’s, must be right. Wrong. It’s light brown, tepid water. In defiance, I drink it anyway. It’s gross.

Morning #3: I’m pissed and more than a little desperate. I just want to drink a freaking cup of coffee in my pjs in my apartment while reading The New York Times! Why is this so freaking hard?

I need a new approach, so I do the thing I always do last when it’s the thing I really should do first – I ask for help. Emily, a great cook, helps figure out how much water, how much coffee (I was pretty right on my second try) and what temperature to cook it on (I was waaaaay wrong on both my tries). It’s the right color, the right temperature. I put in too much sugar.  In defiance, I drink it anyway. It’s gross.

Tomorrow I’ll try again. And I’ll ask for help more often.

At least now I now have a “ground”ing morning routine. And I don’t have to put on pants.

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