In the bleak nonwinter, we drink coffees

In the bleak nonwinter, we drink coffees

March slipped in like a lamb this morning with temps forecast to be in the high 60s. I’ve been cheated out of winter this year, and I don’t like it. George said, “Just think about it as less heating fuel used and more sunshine.” And dear readers, I almost threw him out of the house because he knows how much I love snow. But the sky looks beautiful this morning, and I’ll grumble my way to accepting the bleakest of nonwinters.

I wrote about coffee several weeks ago — wait, I always write about coffee — and my friend Jim, who works at New Towne Gallery in Millersburg, emailed me. They sell Millersburg Coffee Company coffee (find them on Instagram) and wanted me to stop out for a bag. After a nice tour of the gallery, which by the way shouldn’t be missed — amazing artwork from local artists (also find them on Instagram) — he sent me home with a bag of beans “straight from Colombia” to try.

Here I have to admit I’m not the biggest daily coffee grinder person. I somehow ended up with my dad’s grinder that still works perfectly today. He’s been gone since ’09, and I have no idea when he purchased it. I make sure to clean it out and store it safely, and whenever I need some beans whirred around a bit, it gets the job done.

He started out as a Maxwell House guy and ended up a bean guy. Go figure.

I waited several days, and on one particularly bitter morning — did we have any of those this winter? — I opened up the bag of beans and got to grinding. The aroma of fresh coffee beans is like no other, and I put my every effort into making sure they were ground properly.

I don’t know anyone else’s coffee-to-water ratio but my own, so I spooned six heaping spoonfuls into the BUNN coffee filter and poured 6 1/2 cups of water into the BUNN reservoir. I like my coffee bold and able to stand on its own two feet. If it doesn’t hit me like a hot jackhammer it’s nothing but a tepid mess.

Then I waited as the BUNN performed its three-minute magic.

My coffee cup contains these ingredients before I pour anything into it: 1 teaspoon of cane sugar (no subs) and roughly 1/8 to 1/4 cup of half and half. This is an eyeballed measurement. Do not give me milk, artificial creamer or oat milk in this scenario. (We can talk about oat milk later.) My sister also got me a frother for Christmas that has now changed my life.

The BUNN finished its brewing, and as the sun started its slow climb over the neighbor’s garage, I poured my first cup of this local coffee roaster’s brew into my cup that looks like Spanish tiles. I’m weird about my coffee cups and had to have my favorite for this occasion. Right now I have two favorite cups I use, but this one fit the flavor profile.

The coffee was delicious. It had an earthy, bold undertone that hit the back of my tongue and gave me the full flavor. I highly recommend picking up a bag from Jim at New Towne Gallery — tell him I said hi when you go.

I did later discover that to make this bag of Colombian beans even bolder, I needed to grind it finer. As I worked my way through the bag and gave Dad’s little grinder a workout, the finer the grind, the more I loved it.

This is not to say I’ll ever leave my beloved canister of McCafe Colombian. Call me lowbrow if you want, but the absolute best coffee on a consistent basis, except for that cup I had two days in a row in Mazunte, Oaxaca (oh the dreams I still have), is a steaming cup of McCafe. You can try to prove me wrong if you want.

Melissa Herrera is a columnist, published author and drinker of too many coffees based in Holmes County. You can find her book, “TOÑO LIVES,” at or buy one from her in person (because all authors have boxes of their own novel). For inquiries or to purchase, email her at

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