October, 2012. Black Mountain, North Carolina. Drip-O-Lator Coffee Shop

Posted on October 9, 2012


I’m known to be just a teeny-weenie bit testy until I get my first morning cup of coffee.

And I love to visit coffee shops while we’re traveling. Each one is different with decor reflecting its surroundings, each one full of that wonderful aroma….that my husband thinks “stinks”.

But he indulges my craving, even though he’s a non-drinker who prefers caffeine from colas, so it was no surprise he suggested we stop into the Drip-O-Lator Coffee Shop while in Black Mountain.

And there I had one of those lightbulb moments.

Inside the Drip-O-Lator was a small display of – what else – drip-o-lator coffee makers, those beautiful old works of practical art from the glass and dinnerware manufactures of the 1930’s through the 1950’s, like Hall China.

Drip-o-lators work on a simple principle – you pour boiling water over ground coffee held in the upper chamber, which is either metal or glass, and it drips slowly into the lower carafe, usually decorative china or glass.

As I examined them sitting proudly up on a shelf above all the complicated coffee machinery being manipulated by the barista, it dawned on me that my up-to-date, expensive k-cup machine is nothing more than an electrified old-fashioned drip-o-lator, dolled up in plastic and fake chrome to look modern.

I get a single cup, instead of a whole pot, and I get to pay big bucks for the machine and the cups, while I could have kept mother’s old drip-o-lator, saved a bunch of money and had something actually pretty sitting on my countertop.

But, the modern version IS fast and convenient, and I guess that’s called progress.