It was a ‘Coffee Christmas’

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Through the years, I have noticed some Christmases develop definite themes — based upon the most desired and in-demand gifts. Remember the Cabbage Patch doll several years ago that every girl wanted and which quickly sold out? I never could understand the appeal of such an unattractive and unrealistic toy, but the craze swept the country, so I think of that Christmas season as the Cabbage Patch Christmas.

There are have been others, to be sure, and marketing analysts refer to this Christmas as the smart phone, e-pads and tablets, techno-Christmas.

While several members of our family did receive such technological wonders as gifts this year, I will always think of it as the Coffee Christmas.

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It all began way before Thanksgiving. My husband has long been a fan of espresso coffee. Thirty years ago he purchased a mighty fine Pavoni espresso maker that has been a real crowd pleaser as it whistles and “whooshes” away, making tiny cups of caffeinated brew guaranteed to wake the dead. He also has a tiny one, a Bialetti he purchased in Italy 40 years ago that you place on the stove top. It produces the same brew and he tends to use it more for every day.

The tiny one had begun to rust out and in late October he found a replacement in a Tallahassee store for the grand sum of $30. He happily placed it on the stove and went on about his business, totally forgetting to turn down the heat. He returned later to find it ruined. So, I purchased a new one as a Christmas gift and hid it away.

A week before Christmas, I am reading the emails and find he has ordered one from a Seattle based coffee company. I grudgingly returned the one I purchased.

But that is only part of the story.

My daughter and son-in-law came to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with us and he brought his brand new espresso maker, a modern, nifty looking little gem called a Via-Venezia. He and my husband actually had coffee cook-offs for three days, each trying to outdo the other — pitting the vintage hissing machine against the sleek, modern Via-Venezia. All hours of the day we sampled special dark roasted blends from each machine and were all so wired we could hardly sleep. The coffee wars continued for three days.

At that point I could see my husband began to dream of owning a new Via-Venezia all his own.

That wish was fueled by his decision to cleanse his old machine with a special solution. Since it was the first time in 30 years he had ever de-calcified the machine, it proceeded to destroy a rubber gasket, causing all the water and coffee to spill over the counter.

He was now faced with the decision of having his old one restored, or buying the new one he so much desired.

I assured him Santa would take care of what ever decision he made.

In the meantime, all the son-in-law wanted for Christmas were items designed to enhance his new-found coffee addiction. We gave him a set of little demitasse cups with saucers and tiny spoons, also a set of Irish Coffee mugs, should he desire to make those. His daughter bought him cappuccino mugs, a special pitcher for frothing the milk and a thermometer, whose purpose I have yet to determine.

Yes, Santa was good to the son-in-law. He traveled to Ohio to spend Christmas with his parents, and yes, with the zeal of any new convert, he took all of his coffee gear with him, setting up a coffee station in the family utility room, where he proceeded to send the whole family on a caffeine high.

As I write this we are awaiting the arrival of a new Via-Venezia ordered from Seattle, and I view the cleansing of the vintage model as highly suspect.

Yes, I will always think of this year as the Coffee Christmas.