Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Coffee

Are you a coffee drinker? I am, but usually only in the mornings. Pap drinks a cup of coffee with every meal. I started drinking coffee when I worked the early morning shift at Lake Logan.

One of my older cousins said she had been sent to make so many pots of coffee when she was growing up, that she had no desire to drink it now.

I like my coffee with cream no sugar. Pap likes his straight up black. Vintage Vera had a discussion going that reminded me of something folks at my Granny Gazzie’s would do-saucer and blow their coffee. They poured the hot hot coffee into a saucer, blew on it, then drank it from the saucer.

Pap has his own way of cooling coffee, if you ever eat in a restaurant with him he just might steal a piece of your ice for his cup of coffee.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    K Brokaw Barragan
    February 20, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    I love Tippers blog about everything but this one on coffee hit home. I am 67. As a girl staying with them for weeks at a time I remember my grandparents riding at 4 am to get ready for the farm chores at 5 am. I was only 10 but remember the enticing smell of the coffee and the quiet of the early morning
    along with the loving camaraderie around the kitchen table. My grandmother is still alive at 103 and still lives in her own home. Her mind is sharp as a tack and she can still recall her life stories that I revel hearing over and over again.
    I am a coffee drinker. Have to have cream and artificial sweetener. My grandparents percolated theirs on the stove. I think I will find one and try it myself.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Soon we will be lucky if we can afford coffee at all! Even chickory (the substitute for poor folks) throughout history, is almost not affordable now! What ever will we do?

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    March 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    My daddy taught me to drink coffee when I was very little girl. He drank about half milk and half coffee in a big old cup. He would let me taste it. I loved it. I was grown before I stopped using cream or milk. I never used sugar. I love coffee-ice cream. Sometimes I’ll pour a little coffee on my ice cream. There is nothing as pleasant as the smell of coffee brewing when I wake up. My sister never learned to drink coffee, but I like it in the morning after breakfast and sometimes at a restaurant after a good meal.
    It is hard to find a good cup of coffee these days, even when I make it at home.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

    At 45, my wife and I still PERC our coffee using a stainless steel electric percolator. There’s just something that tastes better about perked coffee. I can remember my grandfather taking his coffee black with one sugar. That’s the way I drink mine today.

  • Reply
    robert Loftis
    March 22, 2011 at 1:04 am

    I remember pouring coffee in a saucer,cooling it with my breath,then drinking it.also i remember while i stayed with my grandparents on Buck creek in mcdowell county.we would pour sugar on a busquit then pour cold coffee on it and eat it .we called it a “soaky”

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I remember when they used to pour their coffee in the saucer and sip it. When I was young, Mom would fold a piece of light bread in two and dunk it in her coffee and let me take a bite. That’s all the coffee I was allowed, they said drinking coffee would stunt your growth.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    March 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Back in “The Great War,” my Papaw sat in the trenches with the rest of the unfortunate and made the best coffee he could, boiling water in his jerry cup or its own can, then throwing in a handful or two of machine grinds, or rifle pounded beans. He waited a bit, and strained it off, or, if he could get one, he’d put a raw egg, complete with shells, into it to settle the grounds.
    I don’t know about the egg, but the shells do work to reduce the bitterness (cook some Folgers this way and they’ll turn greenish, which is an indicator of the most inferior coffee), which I’m sure was pronounced in whatever coffee he was able to procure.
    Of course, he and his fellows then ate the egg(s), a practice he continued until the day he died.
    If you’re really adventurous, try dry roasting some dandelion roots as a coffee substitute, a practice from the War for Southern Independence (or at least that what my history teachers called it).
    It’s bitter, non-stimulative and readily available. It’s even tasty if you deaden your tongue with salt cured ham.

  • Reply
    Ferne Kellow
    March 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

    I enjoyed all the coffee stories, but was surprised that no one wrote about “camp” or “cowboy” coffee. When I was growing up my dad took the whole family out on many camping trips, usually to hunt deer. He got up early and built a fire for cooking breakfast. He always started with a big coffee pot full of water, which he balanced on rocks over the fire. As soon as it was boiling, he added a large amount of ground coffee, and then brought the pot back up to almost a boil. He let it sit for a bit, then pured a cup of cold water on top, which settled the grounds to the bottom. I heard that some people also added egg shells to the process, but my dad never did. That first cup of coffee sure tasted good on a cold, frosty morning.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 12:09 am

    I certainly remember my daddy pouring his hot coffee in the saucer to drink because it was so hot and yes it was made in a metal coffee pot on our wood stove so I’m guessing it was really hot. I started drinking coffee when I was around 18 and have loved it ever since. I will say I used to be a smoker a long time back and that was my favorite thing to have after dinner, a cup of really hot black coffee and a cigarette. Thank goodness I got rid of the cigarettes about 16 years ago but I still love my hot black coffee.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Nice post. I think black coffee drinkers like taking the time to enjoy the beverage. (I am among that crowd.)

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I am a coffee drinker and I confess that I love “fancy” coffee. *sigh* A habit left over from city living.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    March 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Yes I have blowed and drank my coffee from a saucer but it was 40-50 years ago probably don’t have a saucer that you could do that with anymore. I still love my coffee but can’t have much since I am not supposed to drink any more than 60 ounces of liquid per 24 hour period including any liquid in food also. I use drip maker most of the time but have an old 9 cup aluminum percolator plus I make some homemade espresso in an aluminum Moka Pot I found at an Amish store for $4.00 it is not as good as the real thing but it is good. I like my coffee any way you can fix it.

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    March 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    All the “old folks” around our house used to pour their coffee in a saucer and blow it to cool it. I just drink a couple of half-cups in the morning. I like it strong, black, and really hot–so hot I have to slurp it to keep it from burning me! So I usually don’t drink it in public! My grandmother drank only Luzianne Coffee with Chicory. And it WAS bitter!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I am a coffee drinker for quite some time although I will say I take cream & sugar in mine.

  • Reply
    Luann Sewell Waters
    March 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    This was a joy to read! My dad was a big coffee drinker. He would go through a whole pot before everyone else was up for the day. He brewed it STRONG–I used to kid him that it was so strong that a spoon would stand up in it. (Lots of other stories on ‘cowboy coffee’). I didn’t start drinking coffee until in college…always black. In later years I did enjoy an occasional frappachino (sp?) tho’. For the last two years, have only had decaf and have learned to like herbal (caf. free) teas–doctor’s orders. Still love the smell of a good cup of coffee (the real kind).

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I can’t stand coffee, no matter how it’s doctored up. It does smell divine though, and I have many happy memories of waking at my Grandparent’s to the smell of coffee perking. We would listen to the news on the radio, Grandpa would dash down a couple of cups with breakfast before he left for work, and Grandma would finish the pot and put it away. My other grandparents drank coffee all day and all year round. They even claimed that hot coffee was more cooling than an iced drink in the summer.
    When I was growing up, my folks always drank instant coffee, these days they each have their own coffee maker, Mom drinks flavored coffees in about twenty varieties and Pop is still an 8’o’Clock fan.
    The only place I have seen coffee saucered and blowed is when Grandpa did it on the Waltons, maybe that practice didn’t make it up this far?
    Have you ever eaten chocolate covered espresso beans? I love them as much as I dislike coffee!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I am just getting home from the sale of some of my 93 year old Mothers estate…It has been a real nostalgia trip today. We left before the crack of the dawn! I am just now sitting down to your coffee post…Needless to say I had more that a few cups of coffee this morning…Cream (skim milk) no sugar, please!
    Both my Grandparents drank saucered coffee into the late 50’s…
    The flat saucers of today won’t work as well…There is a saucer we called a cup saucer that is deep, especially made for saucered and blowed coffee..Generally you find them in older English or American china..In fairness there is also a underlayment usually clear glass but much smaller, called a cup saucer but usually just to catch drips..PS..Don’t get me started on the little glass cup saucers, I have collected them for years and probably have over 300…
    We don’t drink coffee or tea as hot as it was served in the past. Remember that coffee on a wood stove or open fireplace was hot, hot, or hot to boiling. The temperature was harder to control and even when coffee was made on an electric stove it was kept hotter than the new fangled electric coffee makers or urns of the 20’s, and later…I really don’t like to hear that slurpping sound of saucered and blowed coffee..ha This was not just a mountaineer way of cooling down coffee it was done with hot tea in Europe as well…
    I got addicted to coffee at an early age…due to all the hmmming of “that’s good coffee” coming from I had to try it..My Dads coffee would bend a spoon..strong…the stronger the better..but he grew up on coal black woodstove coffee practically boiling when poured in the cup…
    Does anyone remember the awful smell of the coffee pot when forgotten and would ‘bile dry and scorch the pot? Ewwwww…took a few steel wool pads to get it clean…
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    There used to be ( and probably still is ) a brand of coffee called Luzianne. It had chickory in it. There was a white label and a red label. My great Grand Ma always drank that brand. I don’t know maybe I was a sissy but, I thought it was so bitter when it was black that it would make a hog shake its foot if it got in their trough!
    We used to – when the grown-ups weren’t around – would take a cup and fill it with sugar and cream and get a biscuit and make SOAKIE BREAD. Hey look, when you are a little poor boy ain’t nothing wrong with that. We thought it was good ( after we had changed its original chemistry ).

  • Reply
    Jeanna M
    March 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I am not a coffee drinker. When I was younger I tried to drink it but it literally makes me sick. Now my mom and sister can drink coffee 24/7 and my husband and kids like it but not me. I also do not drink tea. I just don’t like the taste. Oh well at least there is good water.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I used to drink a lot of coffee-especially filter coffee- and mostly in the morning. Now I love green tea with lemon for breakfast and an espresso or two later in the day.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    In the midwest, where I grew up, offering someone a cup of coffee when they dropped by was standard.
    As a newspaper guy for decades, I drink coffee almost incessantly.
    Your posts are very relaxing – like sitting down with a neighbor and visiting over that cup of coffee. In the background Pap or Paul are pickin’…
    This is a fine way to start a Saturday morning…….

  • Reply
    kathryn magendie
    March 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I like mine black too! and I only drink it in the mornings, unless there’s some special reason why I’m having coffee at another time…. I drink Deep Creek Blend from Smoky Mountain Roasters 🙂

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    That cup of coffee looks just the
    way I would like it, without any
    cream or sugar. I’ve been drinking
    that stuff since I was just a little feller. Sometimes I make 2
    pots a day, especially in cold
    weather. My daddy use to pour his
    out in a saucer, blow and drink it
    that way too. But my sister-in-law
    drinks more coffee than anyone I
    ever saw, over 20 cups a day.
    I don’t drink much coffee in the
    summertime, mostly water and them
    little bitty dopes…Ken

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I’d never seen this until I was married & my dh’s grandmother always drank her coffee that way. I’ve never heard the term saucered & blowed either.
    I remember thinking my grandmother would never have done anything like that at all – she was very proper, but I loved my dh’s grandmother so very much & it was something special to her. She was the only one I knew who did that. After she passed away, my dh asked for her cup & saucer. He’d watched her drink coffee that way almost 50 yrs & it was something he loved about her.

  • Reply
    John Dilbeck
    March 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Tipper, I love coffee. I drink it all through the day and use it to supercharge my big ol brain when I’m trying to do something that requires a lot of thinking.
    I drink it black. Used to like it with sugar, but cut that out a few years ago.
    My grandfather used to sip his first cup of coffee in the morning out of his saucer. He said it was faster so he could get out and do his chores. Any other time, he’d drink out of a mug or cup.
    I hadn’t thought about him drinking out of a saucer in years. Thanks for the memory.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    March 19, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I am a big time coffee drinker, any time of the day/evening, and I like it strong and black.
    I remember folks who would do the saucer/blow, but I’m like your Pap in that I’ll add an ice cube if the coffee is too hot.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Oh, Tipper, do I ever drink the coffee! The wife and I are percolator people (we did find an espresso machine at a consignment shop for a measly 11 dollars!, but we save it for special occasions) and drink a pot most every morning. We have friends that give us guff for using the percolator versus a drip maker, but we like our coffee with that smooth, cooked-in flavor.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Many times when I read one of your blog posts, it reminds me of something in my childhood…like the adults blowing their coffee in saucers. How do you remember all of this????

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    March 19, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I love my coffee however I am with Pap I will sneak a piece of ice to cool it down. I sip coffee all day not sure how many cups it comes out to be I just keep topping it off.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    March 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I love my coffee in the morning with cream and 2 diet sugars- and the hotter, the better. I like a cup after supper too if it’s not too late. It’s kind of like dessert. My Mamaw drank coffee from a small bowl so she wouldn’t spill it – such a hill billy and such a treasure.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I’m not a coffee drinker but I love to smell it brewing. I’m a tea drinker hot or cold. I can remember my grandfather pouring his coffee in a saucer to drink it. As a child I always thought that was a strange thing to do.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    March 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Leading up to and during the Battle Of Manila Bay, Commodore George Dewey ordered that coffee be made available for the sailors twenty four hours a day. It has been so in the Navy since then. I drink a LOT of coffee.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Who has not heard/read the story in discussions of the etiqette involved here? The story that George Washington would not have done such a thing out of etiqette but on one occasion a visitor at dinner was observed pouring his coffee into his saucer to blow it to cool it. The father of our country felt that accomodating his guest trumped etiqette so he proceeded to pour his coffee into his saucer so his guest would not feel out of place.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I’ve drank coffee all my life. When I was a child, Mama would put cream and sugar in it for me and some times would pour it in a saucer to cool it.I was too impatient to let it cool much.Love it just as much today but usually drink it black altough at a times i crave it with good cream not that artificial stuff.

  • Reply
    Phyllis Salmons
    March 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

    As a child, I copied my older brothers, doing as they did, climbing trees, uttering the occasional off-color word, and drinking coffee.
    At the age of 7 or so, I saw a neighbor girl add sugar and cream to her coffee whereas my family always drank black coffee. This was an appealing idea, but my brothers did not approve. They called me a “sissy” which was quite the insult. Thereafter, I drank black coffee and was in my 20s before I “allowed” myself to add cream and sugar. Now either way is acceptable.
    On the other hand, I am completely out of touch with the current day “Starbucks” generation who supposedly drink coffee. In reality have a tiny bit of coffee in their mocha latte brew and pay the price of a meal for a cup of it!
    Once I was in Orlando in an area with a number of legal offices. I saw a coffee shop and decided that a coffee and danish sounded good before continuing with my business. When I asked for a medium coffee, the clerk responded, “What kind?” I know I must have looked completely shocked until I realized that these days the word coffee must be accompanied by a number of adjectives when ordering. I replied, “Just coffee — plain old coffee.” I’ll bet that was a rarity for the clerk!

  • Reply
    Gary Boyd
    March 19, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Tipper, thanks for the memory trigger. It has been a while since I re-remembered the days of my youth and sitting around on the porch with my grandparents as we saucered and blowed our coffee.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I am a morning only coffee drinker/cream and sugar please. O Wise One like your Pap steals ice for his black coffee. These days we both drink decaf : )

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 9:35 am

    i am addicted to coffee and ours is ready to pour when we wake up at 4 am. we have our first cup in bed, and get up at 5, we started this 26 years ago due to bob leaving early for hour drive to work, now we are retired but have kept it up. i do not drink coffee after about 10, but do have 4 cups before 10. mine is cream and sweetner, bob is sugar only, real sugar, one level spoon. he drinks 2 cups and i get the rest of the pot. i love coffee and if i dont get it my head hurts and i am upset. like when i have to fast for lab work. i did not start drinking coffee unti age 28, my parents did not drink coffee.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Don’t drink much coffee now, got switched over to green tea. However when I want coffee it needs to be strong with cream and sugar or honey.
    I suppose that since I don’t drink it often that is why when I do I really enjoy it!
    That picture certainly qualifies as ” one picture is worth a thousand words” for any coffee drinker!

  • Reply
    Debra Ann Gray- Elliott
    March 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I am so glad I found your blog. I am in the process of writing a new novel about the Appalachia. I love the fact I can do research from a personal point a view.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2011 at 9:06 am

    No, I don’t drink coffee. I’ved tried and I just don’t like the taste. But the smell of fresh brewed coffee is one of my favorite scents.
    I knew someone years ago that drank their coffee from a saucer. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.

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