(Click for original image.)
(Mural from Tesuque Village Market.)
I worked one place, probably just for a night, as a bartender. Old school. Known, at the time, for its Irish Coffee. The recipe was simple, end of the night, a small glass coffee mug, 8-ounce size, a tablespoon of sugar, a shot of cheap Irish whiskey, and maybe 6 ounces of coffee. A spoonful of sweet, heavy, whipped cream finished the drink. I was thinking about that variation of Irish whisky, not really “the good stuff,” either. Closer to kerosene in taste and consistency. Or, locally, like “red diesel,” fuel that can only be used in agricultural equipment. Farm diesel, not as refined.
Irish Coffee with unrefined Irish Whisky came from my mother’s current breakfast favorite, Irish Tea. Like English Breakfast Tea, only stronger and less refined. What made me think about that bar, a legend in its time, an authentic Irish pub, before they were cool, run by a Greek family. Sure, made sense.
When I make a pitcher of tea, say, a quart of tea that I intend to pour over ice, a typical summer beverage, I might use three or four tea bags. Into a single serving cup of tea, my mother has been observed, along with her latest kick of Irish Breakfast Tea, using the same amount of tea bags as I would use for a quart. Single serving mug, mind you.
In the kitchen in Santa Fe, there were close to a dozen types of teas, loose leaf, bags, earth-friendly biodegradable steeping baggies, steel tea balls, and so on. Morning blend, though, was three tea bags strong. As much as I would use in quart.
The Tesuque Village Market is a bar, restaurant, and convenience store at a crossroads, either on, or near, the Tesuque Indian Reservation, minutes north of Santa Fe. Mother picked it out and we treated. In El Paso, maybe 200 miles due south, the word is pronounced “Coe-rod-Oe,” although the referenced sauce would be “Chile Colorado.” At the Tesuque Village Market, it was a thin, rich red sauce, laden with chile flavor and posole. After the meal, Ma Wetzel wanted a few things. The local coffee roasters apparently go by the name, “Red Rock Roasters,” and there was a healthy supply of dime-bag sized bean-bags. My wee, little Scorpio mum hefted one.
“Don’t they have this ground?” She inquired to the wall, “I like it ground.”
“As a coffee snob,” I started to explain, but I was cut off.
“Since your father died, I don’t have to grind beans in the morning.”
“If you’d let me finish,” I started.
“Ground. Don’t they have ground?”
I remember “8 O’Clock Coffee” in its red bag, and watching while my mother ground the beans at what was an A&P Supermarket. That’s revisiting some memories.
Underneath the nickel-bags of coffee, there was a grinder.
“As I was explaining, as a coffee snob, I abhor the ground coffee. Beans should always be ground fresh. However, as your son, I applaud your decision.”