Homemade Coffee on a Kansas Homestead

After buying supplies for homemade coffee, bag springs a leak on the walk home and one tough Kansas homestead woman decides to retrace her steps.

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Aunt Lizzie lived through the early days on a Kansas homestead, enduring the privations common to all. In the years of crop failure and grasshopper plague, it was hard to obtain the plainest food, and luxuries such as homemade coffee and sugar were almost unknown. Molasses was used for sweetening, and grain was roasted and boiled as a substitute for coffee.

Aunt Lizzie went to town one day, and having a little cash, she bought a few groceries, including a pound of coffee beans. She anticipated many cups of delightful brew as coffee grounds were saved and used over and over.

She made the trip with a neighbor who lived some miles away. It was dark when they reached the neighbor's home and Aunt Lizzie walked the remaining miles to her home. Arriving at her dugout in the hillside, she was dismayed to find the paper bag containing the coffee had sprung a leak.

As soon as it was light next morning, she retraced her steps, salvaging the previous coffee beans.

"And do you know," she would say, "I don't believe I lost an ounce of 'em. Did that coffee taste good!"

For Aunt Lizzie that had been a serious coffee break.

Mrs. Ross Blake
Oakhill, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.