Time To Blast Off

It’s been a couple weeks since I wrote anything for the blog, but we’ve been pretty busy, literally. In spite of the “stay-at-home” conditions here, the store, which has “essential business” status has been open and busy the whole time. Then when Ohio started to reopen a couple weeks ago I thought things would start to slow down a bit. Instead it just got busier. We are not alone either, our main supplier is starting to run out of stock and some things are hard to get. Needless to say it’s been stressful, so Mary Anne had the perfect solution, “Let’s go camping.”

So we called her brother Phil and his friend Charlene and packed up the camper to head to Allegheny National Forrest. It turned out to be the perfect get away for the weekend. We set up the camper and Phil had his camping tent to stay in. We used the cook stove and kitchenette in the camper for meals and had a homey campfire each night. We went on a few short hikes and pretty much took it easy. A great weekend.

Now for the “blast-off” part. Breakfast is a big meal when you’re camping (and my favorite anytime), but making a good cup of coffee away from electricity can be a challenge. Some folks would say instant, but not me. I not only have, but know how to use a percolator, but my secret weapon for camping is the “Coffee Blaster”. They are made in Italy in several different sizes and go by a confusing variety of names. It is actually known as a stove-top espresso maker and ours says “junior cafeteria” on the box.

How it works is very ingenious. First you unscrew the bottom part from the top. This exposes the coffee basket which you pull out the top. Then you fill the bottom part up with water to the mark near the top. Put the coffee basket back in and put in your coffee. Because of the steam and pressure involved, the coffee comes out pretty strong, so go easy. Then you screw the top on and put it on the burner.

Nothing will happen until the water boils and then boom, you hear a rushing/bubbling noise for a few seconds and it’s time to turn off the burner. Peek under the lid and presto – the coffee magically in the top of the pot and it is done. How does it work? I’ll try to explain it to you. When the pot is screwed together, the bottom is sealed from the top. When the water boils, it pressurizes the bottom section. The only way for the water to get out is through the tube that leads from the bottom of the pot up through the coffee basket. It rises through the coffee and then up a fixed tube built into the upper pot. It flows out of the tube and fills the upper pot. This all happens silently, the burbling that signals that the coffee is done is the steam that comes out when the water has passed through the system. As I said it all happens very suddenly, and so we nicknamed it the coffee blaster.

We’ve had it for years, and it lives in the pantry cabinet, but the only time it seems to get any use is on camping trips. A little coffee blaster coffee, some bacon or sausage and some eggs and toast is the perfect way to start the camping day. We had a great trip, but too soon it was time to pack up the coffee blaster and head back to the Old Hardware Store…