I always make a full pot of coffee. But what I've learned, is that if I pour from a full pot, I spill too much on the counter or the floor, or me. Not a huge loss, but a pain to clean up. I've tried pouring more slowly and more quickly. I've tried putting the cup close to the lip of the carafe. I've tried holding the carafe much higher than the cup. I've tried regular and decaf, all to no avail and much spillage.
Yes, I could make less coffee, but why would anyone do that?!
And then I remembered our simple coffee pot has a 'hold' function that allows me to pour coffee before the whole pot is done brewing. Elegant and simple solution - I pour from a half-filled pot and problem solved. No spillage! Success! Never let it be said that I have complex wants or needs.
As it turns out, this only works if you (meaning, I) don't walk out of the room while brewing. Yup, this whole, simple, brilliant solution only works if I don't get distracted from the task at hand. Two minutes in the living room wiping up the rain that has blown through the screens and the coffee pot may be full. Answering the phone to a telemarketer and walking to my office forgetting the task at hand, the pot is full. Unloading the dishwasher and thinking, "sure, I have time to empty the silverware rack before the pot is full" - wrong!
And that old adage about a watched pot never boiling holds true in a way for my coffee maker. If I watch the coffee drip and the level rise in the carafe, it never quite gets high enough to fill the cup while I have the patience to stare at it. If I look away for a moment, it may as well be full.
I have learned that the magic number is 5. If I hand wash five items left in the sink over night, that is about equal to the first cup of coffee. More than that and I will get distracted and be too late. Fewer and there isn't a full cup. This does mean that there are still a few unwashed dishes in the sink but no spilled coffee. I'm okay with that.