As devoted as we are to coffee it has probably happened to all of us. The coffee nightmare; something prevents us from our cup of coffee. In one such nightmare, we wake up and make a beeline to the kitchen wanting to put on a pot of coffee before jumping in the shower and getting ready for the day. You turn on the cold water grab the pot and move just a little too quickly and smash the pot against the side of the sink or tap. You cringe and are filled with horror as you hear that small cracking noise. Not wanting to look but knowing you must, you look at the pot. Your nightmare is about to begin as you see that a crack has indeed appeared.
Or perhaps you manage to fill the pot with water without incident and reach for the coffee canister. You quickly fill with dread as you think it feels a little light. When you open the canister all that remains is less than one scoop, not even enough for a small mug of coffee.
Maybe you plug in the pot and turn it on only to realize you have no electricity due to a power failure.
The staff here at Coffee and Tea Time all can confess to at one time having run out of paper filters and having to resort to rinsing off an already used and just discarded filter. One of us has even used a paper towel to line the filter basket.
Our hope is to help you avoid and deal with the coffee emergency with the advice that appears below.
The most important thing is to of course have a supply of coffee. A generous two week supply is the bare necessity. Most of us here at Coffee and Tea Time keep a 4-5 week supply on hand. By having a larger stash on hand you will be prepared for greater then usual consumption due to unexpected visitors or because of an increase in your own cravings. To preserve flavor and freshness it is very important to store your coffee properly. For proper storage please see Storage at How to Brew A Perfect Pot of Coffee. In addition to your usual brew it is of extreme importance to keep a jar of instant coffee on hand. At first, a true coffee lover may shudder at the thought but the purpose of instant is to allow you to handle the worst case scenario of no electricity and extensive power outages in your immediate vicinity. Instant can also be used when you do not have a functioning coffeepot or coffeemaker.
In addition, have a back up coffeepot. Having a back up pot/coffeemaker covers the emergency of broken glass pot, burned out heating element and other instances of non working or unusable pots. Most of the staff here have two back up pots or coffeemakers.
If you need milk or cream in your coffee besides remembering the milk or creamer for the fridge, have a small jar of instant creamer in the cupboard. This can used during power failures and when severe weather prevents you from getting to store or when you've simply run out of creamer or it has soured.
Of course if you use sweeteners keep a good supply on hand.
If you use an automatic coffeemaker and use paper filters make sure you have a supply of filters available. We of course still recommend a permanent filter as discussed in How to Brew A Perfect Pot of Coffee. A reusable filter is also a good idea even if you normally wouldn't use it. If you normally use a permanent filter have a small supply of paper filters available in case you permanent filter is damaged.
Have your supply of mugs or cups accessible as well. Store on a shelf within reach. It is also a good idea to have a travel mug or disposable to go cups and lids in case you must leave before you are finished with your coffee. A good thermos is also recommended for longer travel times. An insulated carafe also makes a nice addition.
One of the hardest situations to deal with is the coffee all over the counter situation. This can occur in several ways. One is forgetting to put the top on your percolator and having the coffee spray all over as it perks. Of course the only prevention is to make sure you put the top on. Another far more damaging situation results when using an automatic coffeemaker that requires the pot be properly set under the basket in order for the pot to fill. These pots have a feature that allows you to sneak a cup before the entire pot is brewed. If the pot is not under the basket properly or the lid is not on correctly the basket continues to fill with water but it has no escape until it overflows the basket and covers your counter. The only prevention here is to make doubly sure the pot is in its proper position with the lid correctly in place. While not exactly an emergency this is an awful mess to clean up because when the basket overflows the grinds flow with the liquid. The counter situations not only create a mess you will need to clean up but it will delay you first taste of coffee.
We hope you can avoid a coffee and tea emergency but if it happens realize we've all been there and have survived. It may not have been easy but we did it and we learned from the situations and are hopefully better prepared because of it.