James Holland just celebrated his 78th birthday. And for as long as he can remember, or at least for 50 or more years, he has been a coffee drinker.
His wife, Gerry, 76, doesn’t remember the first time she ever drank coffee, but, on National Coffee Day, September 29, 2011, she said, “I remember when it was. I was in my 20s, and it was right after we got married … we’ve been married for 58 years … and someone had given us a percolator for a wedding gift … and on our first day in our home, when he had to go to work, I got up and made us a cup of coffee.”
Gerry Holland smiled, “We didn’t drink much then.” It was not until the couple moved to Marshall, Texas shortly after they got married to attend East Texas Baptist College (now East Texas Baptist University) that “we really got hooked … that was when everyone was making pots of coffee to study by and stay awake.”
Her husband drinks about three to four cups of coffee a day – though they are full cups. “I hardly ever drink a full cup of coffee – normally, you will see me with a demitasse cup full.”
He even built his own coffee maker a few years ago.
“You can go buy a coffee maker at a store for $14,” he stated, and added, “and I spent a month and half, designing the circuitry, and all it does is a heat a measured cup of water.”
The coffee maker, which has not been named, was carefully designed, thought out, and handcrafted by Holland in his workshop outside his family home and in his little workroom in the family den (once a walk in storage closet).
“I just made it out of whatever I could find,” he said, “like old computer parts, plumbing parts, and scrap lumber.” The trim was of pure copper.
Since then, his coffee making collection has grown – not all handmade, most store bought.
Gerry Holland, not a coffee guru like her husband, who says he really likes coffee that he roasts and grinds himself, said, “I am really not that picky … just as long as my cup of coffee is hot.” Where James Holland drinks his coffee black, his wife said, “I like to use half and half or just regular creamer.”
The Hollands get James’ coffee beans from a coffee house in southwest Georgia, called Cafe Campsenio. The coffeehouse is located in Americus, and the Hollands discovered it when their daughter was the news editor of the paper in Americus. He said that there is no real reason that he prefers getting his coffee beans there, except, “they have the green coffee beans.”
In 2008, James Holland took their love of coffee to the next level when he started an Internet Cafe at the church the couple attends in Cochran – Empire Baptist Church. The Cafe is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Anyone can come in and use the Internet for free on one of the many donated computers that James refurbished, and “enjoy a good cup of coffee.”
He has had several visitors to the cafe that have not come to use the computers but to hold meetings, like a local ham radio operators’ club, and have coffee. And some good conversation. Many of life’s issues have been discussed and solved over a cup of his coffee.
His wife said that having a cup of coffee brings a feeling of “calmness and pleasure.” With her coffee, she enjoys a bagel, “I am not a dough-nut person … whenever we go to a coffeehouse, I like to get a bagel.”
James Holland said that for a cup of coffee to be good, one must have “good water, good temperature and good measure.”
On National Coffee Day, the Hollands weren’t going to do anything out of the ordinary.
Or at least he wasn’t, “I am not going to do anything more than I would on a ‘blue’ Monday.”
His wife said, “I had a cup of coffee with breakfast, lunch and at dinner, and I will probably enjoy a cup of decaf while I watch The Mentalist.”
And with that, she took a sip of coffee.
For more information about the Internet Cafe at Empire Baptist Church, located at 115 Pearl Street in Cochran, e-mail James Holland at [email protected]