John Steinbeck's Coffee

Novelist John Steinbeck, at a rest stop outside New Orleans with his truck camper, Rocinante
I went into my house and set coffee to cooking, and remembering how Roark Bradford liked it, I doubled the dosage, two heaping tablespoons for each cup and two heaping for the pot. I cracked an egg and cupped out the yolk and dropped shells and white into the pot, for I know nothing that polishes coffee and makes it shine like that.

The air was still very cold, and a cold night was coming, so that the brew, rising from cold water to a rolling boil, gave the good smell that competes successfully with other good smells.

My guest was satisfied, and he warmed his hands against the plastic cup. "By your license, you’re a stranger here,” he said. “How do you come to know about coffee?”

"I learned on Bourbon Street from giants in the earth,” I said. “But they would have asked the bean of darker roast, and they would have liked a little chicory for bite."

Travels with Charley, Copyright John Steinbeck, 1962

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