Song Of The Day 8/7/2013: Billy Joe & The Checkmattes - "Percolator Twist"

OLYMPIA, WA -- We didn't always make coffee with automatic drip makers, or French presses, or espresso machines, or transcendental meditation. We used to use something called a percolator. The coffee-brewing process of the percolator was fraught with a few pitfalls. You'd put coffee grounds in the top chamber and water in the bottom chamber. There was a central vertical tube that went from the top of the coffee pot down to the bottom where the water was. Then you'd put the percolator on a stove top if it didn't have its own internal heat source. As the heat increased, water would go up that central tube and fall down on the coffee grounds. Then it would seep through the grounds and eventually wind up back in the water chamber. So the water was basically regurgitating on itself, mixing coffee with what original water was left to be brewed, like how honey is nothing more than bee vomit. And once the coffee was brewed you had to take it off the heat source immediately, or else you'd wind up with overheated, bitter coffee. It was kind of disgusting. Times were hard.

Usually percolators had a clear plastic knob that served as a window. Water would bubble up to that knob before its descent into the coffee grounds. That's how you knew it was working. Some ad agency assigned a musical quality to the basically soundless act of the water bubbling through that plastic knob, and Maxwell House turned it into commercials. Billy Joe & The Checkmates turned it into a twist. The coffee still sucked. Would you like a croissant with your order today?

--Paul Pearson, shooting for a Pulitzer since 1985.™


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