Making Coffee

[This post is a part of the Letters to an Adopted Child series. Read the series preface here.]

Every evening I grind up coffee beans. Our grinder is loud—it shrieks, whistles, and whines. That means making coffee in the morning is no good—for someone is likely sleeping. So, I’ve made it a habit to grind the beans in the evening.

After I grind the coffee beans, I clean out the reusable filter—which has normally been left with old, wet grounds—and refill the water tank to match how much coffee we make—normally 4 cups. The second-to-last step is to scoop the new grounds into the clean filter. The last step is to press Delay Start, which I’ve programmed to brew at 6:45 a.m.

I do this every evening, and I’ve done so for years. I specify each step of the process for you not because it is all that interesting but so you can see how easy it is. This is to my embarrassment because I often do it wrong. One morning I went down for the fresh coffee and found only hot water—I had neglected to scoop the new grounds in. Another morning I found an empty pot, sitting empty on the electric heater. I remembered the grounds—but not the water! Another time I found coffee there, but upon tasting it I spit it out. There was something foul about it, and I realized I had placed the new grounds on top of the old grounds in the filter. Disgusting! The last step, which is as easy at it gets, has also given me great issues. On a number of occasions I have hit Start instead of Delay Start, and I wake up to find a full pot of coffee having gone cold some hours prior. Or, I simply forget to hit anything, which in the grand scheme of things is not so bad because I can start it right then, although it does cost me a few minutes.

You would think that since I have been doing the same action in the same way for years that I would be perfect at it. I would have thought so too. But I have come to better understand my tendency to err, even in the simplest, most routine things.