the stuff that gets a great many people going each morning in many
parts of the world, gets me going or gets me upset every day.
my hunting and fishing companions become impatient as I delay heading
to woods or water in order to drink just the right amount of the
Louisiana background taught me to enjoy strong coffee. My favorite
type is dark-roast pure coffee. The people of south Louisiana, especially
those of French descent, drink their coffee strong and either black
or mixed with sugar and cream sometimes equal to the amount of coffee
in the cup.
truly sophisticated heat their cream nearly to the boiling point
and pour coffee and cream into a cup from a pair of hot pots, allowing
the mixture to bubble and mix perfectly.
drink coffee mixed with chicory, a filler made from a perennial
weedy plant. Chicory apparently came to be added to coffee many
years back, at a time when supplies of pure coffee failed to meet
most popular brands of dark-roast coffee do not use chicory as an
extender. Possibly, the only reason chicory continues to be added
to coffee is that some people developed a taste for it back in the
days when it was needed. The situation might be similar to that
of youngsters who learned to eat oleomargerine during World War
II when butter supplies were short and then continuing to choose
margarine over real butter.
are tricks to making good coffee. Sure, I love coffee boiled in
a pot over an open camp fire. I don't even mind chewing the grounds
that inevitably end up in my cup.
boiled coffee isn't as good for a person as is unboiled coffee.
So I avoid boiling coffee even when heating it at home to fill a
thermos to sustain me during a long day in a duck blind or boat.VVCompanies
that market specialty coffees and purveyors of dark roast, such
as Community, A&P 8 O'Clock or Seaport offer special brewing instructions.
suggestion is using two filters in the popular electric drip pots.
Doubling the paper filter allows the boiling water to steep the
coffee an extra moment and brings out full flavor. This allows the
person making coffee to cut down the amount of ground coffee used
and get the full strength. But most Louisiana dark-roast enthusiasts
want extra strength.
steaming cup of dark-roast coffee was on the table beside me as
I typed this column Christmas morning, but it was my memories of
being in Stuttgart for the annual Thanksgiving week Wings Over the
Prairie Festival that made me think about my coffee prejudices.
festival was out of reach for me this November, but I thought about
what I was missing all that week. The Cajun-style food served by
some vendors there is always a treat. The duck-gumbo cookoff is
for me the highlight of the festival. A few of the contestants bring
their own dark-roast coffee and share it with people sampling gumbo.
would seem that a vendor could add dark-roast coffee and improve
sales on Main Street. The traditions associated with waterfowl hunting
make a strong cultural connection between the people of south Louisiana
and the people of southeast Arkansas. Good coffee ought to be a
larger part of the connection.
houses have become popular in many Arkansas cities. Little Rock
has a few new ones. There is even a new coffee house in Fayetteville
that serves Community dark-roast coffee.
would be nice if people who serve coffee could be trained in the
old traditions of Louisiana coffee houses.
one thing, true coffee lovers never find coffee too strong for their
taste. Some who add nothing to their coffee require only that it
be served at the proper temperature. But those of us who often add
milk, honey, sugar and such are more difficult to please.
a zealous waitress refills a half-full cup of coffee-cream mixture,
she causes her customer to reach for more cream and sugar and try
to reestablish the desired mix.
the harsh environment of southeastern Arkansas' prime duck-hunting
areas between now and the end of the season, I hope I find good
coffee in those early opening cafes in such towns as Star City,
Stuttgart, Brinkley, Holly Grove or Grady. But just in case the
coffee is weak in my favorite warmup spots, my thermos will be full
of the right stuff.