Friday, May 03, 2013


Behold my Farberware Superfast Fully Automotic (FSFA) percolator, which was built by cavemen in the paleolithic age.

I don't know exactly when My Gram Soos purchased the FSFA, but it was surely in the 60s or 70s. It's bequest to me was like any other such transfer of goods (Erin? Do you want my Farberware Percolator? I don't use it anymore, but I don't want to throw it away. It's a perfectly good percolator!) I reluctantly accepted and relegated the FSFA to the cabinet above the stove, while my gleaming 12-cup Braun graced the counter top.

The Goat and I were married in 1992. The Braun was one of our wedding gifts. It died after a year or two and, thinking that the failure was some sort of fluke (we're talking a Braun here), we replaced it with the exact same model. After all, the carafe from our first Braun was still perfectly good and wouldn't it be nice to have an extra if the carafe on the new Braun broke?

The second Braun (of course) died after a few years with its carafe completely intact. At that point, I tossed the second crapped out Braun and both unbroken carafes.

Humble Hostess displaying
Poly Perk, circa 2006.
Next up, enter the Cuisanart drip coffee maker with the insulated carafe. We used that for a long time until a friend gave me a French Press as a gift, which I love and use every day. The French Press, however, does not accomodate a large group. So when we hosted a dinner party last fall, I pulled out the Cuisanart and readied it for brewing after dinner.

The miserable thing turned on BY ITSELF in the middle of drinks and nibbles. It sparked and dumped water all over the counter top like some sort of goddamn appliance terrorist attack.

And what was the stand-in for that event? The FSFA of course. The FSFA was the stand-in between the Brauns and the Cuisinart and a couple other models I'm probably forgetting.

Fast forward to this morning. The French press refused to press courtesy of stripped threading on the plunger (which had admittedly been deteriorating for some time). I proceeded with a predictable oath-peppered tirade and then, also predictably, I pulled out the FSFA, put in the water and the coffee, plugged it in and after a few minutes of burping (the FSFA, not me), I poured a cup of regular shitty American coffee exactly the way my Gram Soos did some 40-plus years ago and exactly the way my kid will do 40 years from now.

Hence, one ancient FSFA > two Bruans, one Cuisanart, one French press and at least one or two others I cannot remember--call it at least $400 in coffee makers.

People, behold everything that's wrong with America.

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For the curious, I still have the Poly Perk (pictured). Although I have not used it in some time, it presumably still works and therefore garners a Honorable Mention from Yours Truly. Click here for more information.

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Vince said...

You're only pleasuring yourself. Go out and get a family of these they come in 2-4-7 and 10 cup sizes. Or do like I had to so I wouldn't kill myself. Get a real espresso machine. I have three shots with my breakfast fried eggs. Then two mid morning.
If you do get the jugs, watch yourself for you may find yourself making two ten-cup pots of a morning. :-)

Tony Rugare said...

We have a vintage FSFA also which we will bequeath to our daughter who will no doubt wonder why.

Yabu said...

Nothing like a good percolator. I still have one that works fine over a camp fire.

dean said...

I use a single-cup drip cone. No moving parts, no plugs, no wires, nothin. Works first time, every time without fail.

dean said...

OF COURSE I also have one of these which I fucking love (that's FUCKING love, not just love) because it is almost entirely manual (it does have a switch to turn on the power to the coil) and if it gets worn or something breaks I can rebuild it like a Chevy motor.

Erin O'Brien said...

This thread is SO HOT.

And here is a photo just so you people can know the caliber of person you're dealing with here.

John Venlet said...

Erin, great percolator. Here's a pic of the type I use in camp, though mine is a 14 cupper, and I run two of them when I have a number of guests in camp. This vintage Corning Ware 9 cupper, though, is the one that my Dad said made the best coffee ever. I have it my home, now, and occasionally my Mum and I will have coffee together, made in that pot, and talk about Dad. It makes a great cup of coffee, but I still say camp coffee is the best.

Anonymous said...

Attacked by evil robots? Don't bother with Tea-3PO. Summon R2-Decaf.


Erin O'Brien said...

I'm going to Venlet's house and stealing his Corning Ware pot.

Contrary Guy said...

Most drip coffeemakers are crap, as you've found. My Bunn, on the other hand, is still rocking after a decade or so. Downside: they're not cheap.

My Braun coffee *grinder* has lasted even longer. Can't kill that thing. But it's easier to keep something working when you're not pouring water into it every day.

John Venlet said...

Ha! Good luck with that caper, Erin. I will make ya some good coffee, though, if you make it to my neighborhood.

Erin O'Brien said...

That everyone is talking about their coffee pots on my blog fills me with pure joy.

Sarah Keller said...

I love all the coffee talk myself, but I find that what this blog is about is the demise of the old American work ethic and the pride we used to take in things that were supposed to last a forever.

Bill said...

Yeah Sarah. It's partially about that but it's mainly about a kick ass writer who can make a story about anything interesting and who can charm you and piss you off in the same sentence. That's why I keep coming back.

Anonymous said...

Wow. No love for 'Tea-3PO' and 'R2-Decaf'?

I might have to take my A-list material elsewhere.


Woodman said...

Thing is, America can still make a 10 cup percolator coffee maker that will last 40 years +, for the same amount your parents paid for it, in 2013 dollars.

It's just that now, a bells and whistles digital automatic grinding brewing monstrosity can be manufactured and sold for less than that.

I think it's not a commentary on American workers and standards, but on American Consumers. When people paid cash for everything then getting something that would last was the important part, if you have to save up for a couple months to get that coffee maker then you are going to get a good one. And you are going to take care of it.

Now, buy a $20 coffee machine at Target and that money will be on your card longer than the coffee maker is on your counter.

I have two french presses, bought one at "fancy kitchen store" for $20, with a free travel version, bought the second one at Goodwill for $4. They both seem to make coffee just as well. My grinders are all $5 and at least one of them is 20 years old. The "party backup" is our second Cuisinart of the marriage, and the last. I spill enough crap on teh counter without paying $100 for a machine to do it for me.

I have a perker for camping, I might look into one for home.

Erin O'Brien said...

I'm here, gang, reading all the comments, just quiet on account of lots o' work.