Remember the old coffee percolator, the one with the glass bubble on top? An ingenious device to be sure. The versions we still see today are based on the 1825 invention by a tin smith in Paris, France. The key principle is in the hollow tube or rod, that stands in the center. Once the water is boiling it migrates up the tube overflowing onto the coffee grounds in the basket. Continuous and automatic. Wow
The word percolator is from ‘per’ meaning through and ‘colare’ meaning to strain. In the making of coffee we strain water through the ground up beans. The finer the grind, the stronger the resulting coffee. When buying land to build a house on, where we do not have sewer for waste water it is fed to a septic field and percolates back into the earth. One needs a percolation test before building the septic field.
The percolator is a fabulous teacher. It teaches the fundamentals of project management, for instance. Having decided to make coffee we need to assemble the device. If we miss putting a part into it, say the basket that holds the coffee grounds, well, coffee won’t happen. We then need to load it with the water and the grounds in the right amounts. Then we plug it in. What else do we need.
Ah yes, sounds Blempph gurleck hehhh… then nothing.
The percolator struggles to life. A jerk, a stretch, an exhale, yawning while scratching its head and rubbing its tummy. After the dramatic shudder, silence. It had all been a mistake. Time passes… glub, just one. Wait, glub, glub and soon enough glub, glub, glubs a many. The percolator is perking.
Coffee? Not yet, but soon. See it bubble in the glass globe on top. Though the percolator is percolating we need to let it do so a while. The percolator teaches us about process and order and patience. Pouring too soon will deliver tasteless yellow water. The glass bubble on top gurgling so happily with the ever darker colour of coffee brings joyful anticipation. We can learn much by, ourselves, modeling the percolator and patiently seeing others as percolators too.