Monday, November 5, 2007

Coffee Quest

funny cartoon of coffee pot that has overflowed; coffee-addicted woman is using straw to slurp coffee off floor


You’re not waiting for Mr. Right, you’re waiting for Mr. Coffee

It’s midnight and you’re weighing the pros and cons of making a new pot

Your favorite entree:
coffee meatloaf

Part I

Before I get into my story, I am going to digress for a bit to explain that I am in no way a connoisseur of fine coffees. I am not at all a fussy person. As a matter of fact, when it came to home brewed coffee the closest I ever came to that was pouring boiled water into a cup with freeze dried Taster's Choice. I did that for about 20 years. If I was entertaining, I always had someone else help me make coffee because I was never exactly sure how it would taste when I made it. Once we had some relatives visiting from MN along with other family and I put on a pot of coffee which I hadn't tasted first before serving. I decided to have a cup after they left. Oh dear wonder no one wanted seconds-it was AWFUL! I had used a can that had been opened but I didn't remember the last time I used it...months at least. Amazingly, they drank it. Nothing like trying to poison your out of state relatives! (Ahhh...just the thought of it reminds me of Trench Doc's red velvet cake story where his little old lady schizophrenic patient put rat poison in the cake at a family reunion that people from out of state attended, but I digress.) I am the only one in my family that drinks coffee. My husband and sons didn't/don't and so I never bothered to make it for just me and I wasn't at all familiar with how to store coffee or shelf life etc.. Just never thought about it.

I think the ER coffee was always so good when freshly brewed. The smell of it wafting down the hall was as good as opening a fresh can and taking that 1st intoxicating inhale. Having a cup of coffee there if possible during a busy shift or s-l-o-w one was always greatly appreciated! One Christmas the ER docs chipped in and bought one of those industrial type of coffee makers where the coffee brews instantly. I was pretty intrigued by that. Anyway, it wasn't long before I got one for myself. Not the same quality or as big but it did brew instantly.
Last year I bought this Bunn coffee maker. I love it! I was drawn to it because of the stainless steel and the sleek design. I love that the hot water is stored at (I think) 200 degrees and all you have to do is fill the pot with the amount of water you want to use and that same amount instantly pours out already heated into the coffee filter. Presto-in a couple of minutes you have hot coffee. I have always been happy with the quality of coffee regardless of which brand I purchased.

Part II

It all started with the excellent cup of coffee I had after our meal at the German restaurant last month on the evening of October 18th. Ever since that fateful night I have been on a quest for a good home brewed cup of coffee. Mind you, I had always been satisfied with my coffee until THAT delicious cup of coffee.

*I had recently finished a can of Of Chock Full o'Nuts hazelnut coffee (that I liked) and was currently drinking CFN (Chock Full o'Nuts) original flavor...which had also been fine. (couldn't find pic of CFN hazelnut)

However, the very next morning (morning # 1) I was seriously disappointed with my home brewed coffee. It tasted like lightly flavored coffee water in comparison to what I had the night before. I thought I miscalculated the measurement, so after a couple of sips I dumped my cup and the coffee pot. I proceeded to make a fresh pot being extra careful with the measurements. The 2nd pot didn't taste good either. This pot seemed weak too and yet I was using the same measurement that I always used. I let it go and just drank the coffee...but I was perplexed.

The next morning (morning#2)... the same thing happens. So I decided to make another pot and my thought processes were,"O.k. what are the directions on the can? Maybe my heaping 1/4 cup measurer isn't good enough. (it always had been) Heaping Tbs they say? I'm measuring the exact amount of coffee per CFN instructions. The coffee looks light coming out of the brewer. Did someone unplug it? Is the coffeemaker breaking? I put my hand on the feels as warm as it always does." I poured a cup, tasted it and dumped that batch out too.

I decided to make another pot and poured the measured water into the brewer but I got distracted with something and forgot that I didn't put the lid down after I poured the water which then activates the release of hot water through the brewer. When I went to pick up the pot it was light, didn't notice the lid was still up and I thought that I still had to add the water. So...I added the same amount of water, put the lid down but unbeknown to me at that moment it was now going to brew double the amount I wanted, which it did. Fortunately, I only make half of a pot for myself (I don't even finish that) and so it didn't overflow. Obviously this would be really weak and so I dumped that pot out too and brewed another half of a pot. Except this time I decided to shake the coffeemaker and filter slightly thinking maybe something was wrong with how it was flowing through the coffee filter. As I gently shook it, some thick darker coffee seemed to come through. Now THAT'S what coffee should look like! However, I only succeeded in causing the coffee grains to come through into the pot. Evidently my shaking the filter and coffeemaker caused the coffee grains to overflow down into the pot! I decided that I didn't want coffee after all. I dumped that batch out too!

But then it was bugging me. So I decided to brew another pot in the afternoon just so I could try it another way. Instead of a measuring spoon, I used heaping tableware Tbs. Still not right. What the heck??? I resigned myself to the fact that this is just how it tastes. It must be ME!

It's morning #3 and I am thinking, "It's true. You don't miss what you never had." But I had it and now I wanted more of the same. "This isn't rocket science...I can do this!" So I thought about how good the ER coffee was...even if I made it. What was different? They used a disposable medicine cup to measure with. For a full pot-5 heaping little medicine cups to be exact and one nurse used 6 because she liked it strong. Of course we didn't have any because I just finished throwing old medicines out! I just made the coffee the way I always do and drank it. This CFN Original coffee wasn't so heavenly and it was boring. I called my husband and asked him to bring home a can of hazelnut coffee since that is my favorite and I liked it a couple of weeks ago.

Part III

On Morning #4 I brewed the hazelnut coffee
. This also tasted like flavored coffee water with hazelnut. I drank it anyway.

I drank it for a couple more days until I couldn't stand it. Then I called my husband at work and said, "Honey I'm not liking my coffee...could you bring home something Columbian? N-O-O-O NOT "a" Columbian! Chock full o' nuts Columbian COFFEE!" Nah...we didn't say that but I did ask him to bring home a New Yorker. Oh wait...I didn't say that either. ;)

Suffice it to know that I felt the same about the CFN Columbian coffee. CFN advertises it to be a "rich full flavored indulgence". Indulgence? I never felt the guilt...evidently not indulgent enough! I drank it for a few more days.

ThenI called my husband at work again. "Honey could you please bring home a can of CFN New York Roasted coffee? What? No...I'm NOT drinking too much coffee!" At this point I now have 3 half full or so CFN cans of coffee sitting on the counter.

CFN advertises the New York Roast to be "dark, bold and intense". I had figured "intense" would be good. Unfortunately, it wasn't intense enough! I just drank it anyway.

"Am I pregnant? Did I have one too many scans? It's has to be me." I'm not product loyal but I stayed with it because it was cheaper than the other coffees. That week it was $1.64 a can although if I was dumping it down the drain, I guess it wasn't such a bargain after all.

After 12 days of this I decided to buy another brand. I decided to buy THREE cans of Maxwell House coffee while grocery shopping last week. I added these to my now FOUR half full cans of CFN that were sitting on my counter.
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
What can I say about Maxwell House rich French roast but... Ooooh la la! I love it!
Hazelnut is my favorite coffee and I am nutty (couldn't resist) about this one! :)
This is the only can I haven't opened yet but I am sure that it will be EXCELENTE!

Also,I have doubled the measurement in the amount of CFN coffee to get almost the same rich bold flavor as the Maxwell house. All this and I really only drink 1, maybe two cups of coffee per day. Probably more like 1 and 1/2. It's just that my morning cup of coffee is something I savor and I want it to be enjoyable. I also want to say that the CFN coffee did pass the CAT (coffee aromatic test) but just didn't capture the bold flavors for me as they have in the past.

I now have SEVEN cans stacked up in my computer armoire that I have looked at for my inspiration for this post...three more and we could go bowling...well almost! ;)

P.S. Grunt Doc has a good idea for making good coffee. It helped as did increasing the strength but still needed more kick or something. Being an ER Doc , I am sure he knows good coffee and it works, but for some reason the CFN coffee just doesn't do it for me anymore. It's just odd because I have always liked it before. Literally, I changed from one day to the next. Oh well...what do they say?'s a woman's prerogative to change her mind. :)

Also, for anyone who may be contemplating getting a Bunn coffee maker in the future, I have mixed feelings about the one I have now. As I've already said, I was drawn to it because of the stainless steel design. So that is a pro for me. I like the idea of no burner so that the coffee doesn't taste old after awhile. I like that I can take the carafe with me to where ever I am working in the house if I want to. I also like the idea of never having to worry weather or not I turned the coffee pot off when leaving the house all day. The cons: Because there's no hotplate the coffee doesn't stay piping hot after a couple of hours. However, someone in Grunt Doc's site told me that with a carafe, you have to warm it 1st. I didn't know that. So now I run hot water in it before I let it fill with coffee. It helps. Now this is part of the coffee experience for me so is a definite negative. The coffee aroma doesn't go wafting through the house or for long because it drips directly into a thermal container. I did have a Bunn with the glass coffee pot and did appreciate the brewing aroma more.


MedFriendly said...

Dear SeaSpray: Sorry to contact you this way so feel free to delete or not publish, but I wanted you to know that I really appreciate the time you spend on my blog and I always like reading your comments. I would like to offer you to be this week's guest blogger on MedFriendly. Simply send me an entry by email that is at least a paragraph, but it can as long as you want, on something that is patient-centered. Then I will publish it on the blog. It would also help if you gave me a brief bio sketch for introduction purposes (maybe a few sentences). Let me know if you are willing. Thanks.


SeaSpray said...

Hi Dominic - Thank you for your kind words. I enjoy your MedFriendly blog and have much to catch up on in there since I am relatively new to your site. It's a great blog!

Yes, I will be happy to contribute something as a guest blogger on MedFriendly this week. Thank you for the invite. :)

oh..oh-h-h...I feel a shy attack coming on. I'm kidding! I'll send something over. :)

Elaine said...

Hi Seaspray, I am a regular reader of your blog and really enjoy it, even though I often "lurk" instead of commenting. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Coffee puts the system under the strain of metabolizing a deadly acid-forming drug, depositing its insoluble cellulose, which cements the wall of the liver, causing this vital organ to swell to twice its proper size. In addition, coffee is heavily sprayed. (Ninety-two pesticides are applied to its leaves.) Diuretic properties of caffeine cause potassium and other minerals to be flushed from the body.

All this fear went away when I quit, and it was a book that inspired me to do it called The Truth About Caffeine by Marina Kushner. There are five things I liked about this book:

1) It details--thoroughly--the ways in which caffeine may damage your health.

2) It reveals the damage that coffee does to the environment. Specifically, coffee was once grown in the shade, so that trees were left in place. Then sun coffee was introduced, allowing greater yields but contributing to the destruction of rain forests. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere else.

3) It explains how best to go off coffee. This is important. If you try cold turkey, as most people probably do, the withdrawal symptoms will likely drive you right back to coffee.

4) Helped me find a great resource for the latest studies at

5) Also, if you drink decaf you won’t want to miss this special free report on the dangers of decaf available at

MedFriendly said...

Thanks SeaSpray. Deadline would be Sunday. You can email it to me at Thanks so much.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Elaine -your so sweet. I lurk around a lot too. It's not possible to comment everywhere all the time. Of course, I just need to work on shortening my comments a bit and then I'd maybe have more time.

I enjoy your blog too and you know I love the word PIFFLEBUNK! :)

SeaSpray said...

Hi Anonymous - I have one word for you...KILLJOY! ;)

Seriously, your input is greatly appreciated. I bookmarked both sites so that I can go back to read more. I also may order that hazelnut soyfee coffee.

I used to volunteer my time working in a local food co-op in exchange for a discount on food purchased there. The manager there was very particular about what they allowed in the store and if it wasn't pure they didn't sell it. He was adamant that caffeine wasn't good for us and sold another product as a coffee substitute but I don't recall what it was now. I liked it but of course in those days I usually only drank Tasters Choice.

Off topic for a minute but he often rejected products that health food stores purchase or that the general public thought was a wise health alternative. One product was tofutti. It is a non dairy soy based ice cream of sorts. The mgr told me that he was at a fair of some sort where you try the vendor's product, etc to see if you would like to sell it. This mgr was a purest and only wanted the purest healthiest products. When he read the list of ingredients he turned the tofutti down. The guy told him that no one would ever know because that ingredient was listed under "natural" ingredients, but he declined. he told me that just because things say "natural" does not mean it is good for you and the companies can put many things in a product under that label. This mgr also had a thing about fat free cheeses/dairy vs whole milk but I will have to think about what his contention was. It had something to do with the way it is all processed. But I digress.

Anonymous- I took the test and If I have 2 cups of coffee a day, I am only taking in 170 mgs which still put me in the cautionary caffeine withdrawal category. I don't like soda unless i get a yen for a certain flavor..which is so very rare. I don't like sweet drinks unless I can chase them down with water. I have to say that most days...based on that chart..I really do only have 170 mg. of course there are exceptions which would be an extra tea at night or chocolate dessert but not the norm.

Although there is this excellent dark chocolate candy that Ghirardelli puts out called Mint Bliss and oh dear God do I find my bliss when that is melting in my mouth! It is my new favorite of favorites chocolate candy! It is 60% cacao. There are studies out that promoting dark chocolate as being healthy for us, although it might be 70%. My point is that it has caffeine and yet they still espouse the health benefits such as contains antioxidants and helps to lower BP.

I am going to stop here to break it up as this is getting rather long.

SeaSpray said...

Anonymous - I really do appreciate your comments so please forgive me if I seem to be challenging them. I do want to know about this stuff. This is what is so great about the blogosphere, the sharing of information back and forth.

I will go back and take the test and use a bad day for an example-the kind where everything is to excess and see how that comes up but I don't use any of those products other than reg coffee, tea or chocolate and so it is easy to monitor. I do things wrong like too much fat...Hellman's Mayonaise for example.

The thing is that coffee has also been said to reduce the incidence of gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, colon cancer and I believe most recently it has been said may help prevent type II diabetes. I don't recall if it helps when you have it though. It can hurt a person who is prone to cardiovascular problems.

Coffee is supposed to be high in antioxidants and so are fruits and vegetables.

What about all the pesticides sprayed on the fruits and vegetables?

Or the fact that they keep growing these vegetables in depleted soil because they don't let the soil rest to rebuild itself and the vitamin quality in these foods has been compromised as compared to the crops of the past?

O-r-r-r...what about all the antibiotics given to the animals that we eat?

Or hormones that also show up in the beef or the milk?

And what about these studies? Who is behind them and how are these findings determined?

Which brings me to a short post by Throckmorton called CNS QNS (Sept. 6, 2007 post)in which he questions the validity of findings due to the biased ways information is sometimes gathered. (he says it so much better)

Sometimes I feel like it is a matter of choosing your poison and then have everything in moderation. Unless we make the effort to purchase free range meat and poultry along with organically grown fruits it seems the best we can do is just wash the food but the pesticides do penetrate.

Of course we have to eat good food but we don't 'need" coffee.

I am definitely going back to read the info and I did watch the video. Oh and I never have decaff because I had heard it was treated with formaldehyde. I did request the free info on decaff too. I also never use sugar substitutes and use real butter. Believe me though I am a bad girl with stuff too. I have the head knowledge but don't always apply it.

Anonymous -thank you again for your got me thinking. :)

I also just want to say that yellow apples are supposed to have less chemicals on them because they don't put the stuff on them to make them shine. I only buy organic carrots because they always taste sweet and the way a carrot should taste, not bitter, tasteless or laden with chemicals.

SeaSpray said...

Your very welcome Dominic.

You have a very interesting and informative site. I am thoroughly enjoying it! :)

SeaSpray said...

Oh and Ghirardelli's mint bliss is good but it was Hershey's extra dark chocolate mint that is my favorite. But I couldn't find it in google. I could have sworn it said bliss on the bag.

I brought some candy into the urodocs office and one of them was the bag of Hershey's extra dark chocolate mint which I like even better. Also, it doesn't have the white filling and therefore less carbs. They are these little chocolate squares and I think they are so good that just one is satisfying.

Someone told me once that if you are going to do something bad make sure it is worth it. Just one Hershey mint bliss square IS worth it. :)

DrGwenn said...

Starbucks freshly ground at home is my weakness! I know I drink too much java but I can't resist and I'm not too fun to be around with out it. I had that BUNN java maker for years and loved it...for every joy in life there will always be doubters...I say everything in moderation is fine!

SeaSpray said...

Hi Dr Gwenn-'re a girl after my own heart. :) I've never had a Starbucks or ground fresh coffee at home. But we will be having a Starbucks open in a little town right next to mine soon. I will definitely try it.

I also sometimes like to burn a Yankee hazelnut coffee candle. There must be a wonderful aroma when grinding fresh coffee beans at home.

The MSILF said...

Hi Seaspray, sorry I haven't been by in a while.

My absolute favorite coffee, which has good labor policies as well as environmental ones, and doesn't cost too much if you order enough for free shipping, is Cafe Britt.

One of their newsletters had this article:
which I thought was really interesting. I actually don't even like the dark coffee anymore - the light has so much more of a subtle flavor.

SeaSpray said...

Hi MSILF- it's nice to see you again. I'll check out the site. I'm thinking that I have crossed over to the dark side. ;)