It's 5:40 AM, 20 degrees out, it's been snowing and sleeting throughout the night, I've reluctantly crawled out of my sleeping bag, and I'm about to have the best worst cup of coffee of my life.
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This was my morning routine at 9,000 feet up in the White/Inyo mountains during my "summer" field camp for my geology degree. It was during field camp that I would have the worst cup of coffee of my life, but love it anyway.
The brew was like a perfect storm of bad coffee making. I mean, you couldn't possibly make a worse cup of coffee if you tried. Its the kind of thing I would never normally touch, but the thought of adding caffeine withdrawals to my list of aches meant that drinking it was inevitable.
Our camp cook would fill this great big pot with water, bring it to a boil, toss in a few massive scoops of the Great Value (Walmart brand) grounds, and hope for the best. If I timed my place in line properly, then the grounds would have time to settle to the bottom. If I was overzealous in my rush to fuel my addiction, I would be greeted with a crust of grounds that I'd attempt to disspiate with a futile swishing motion of the ladle. If I was late, then the coffee would be burnt, or If I was really late, cold and burnt.
Keep in mind that this is a dry camp, so no water can be spared for washing dishes. I have licked the rim of my old insulated mug clean, but there are still grinds from yesterday's cowboy coffee coating the bottom, and the walls are plastered with this bitter varnish of old coffee.
I'm thinking about how nasty my mug is, how much I miss my V60, and how I really don't feel like spending the next 12 hours mapping. I ladle the brew into my mug, take a sip, and everything is good again.
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