Sunday, April 10, 2005

Coffee Geek "Has a Plan"

I should open up a coffee shop. Or maybe as I weave my way home after 10 weak coffee days on the road, I'm simply a little cranky. Or maybe for some odd reason I feel a need to share how I've learned to make a really flavorful cup of coffee! I've mentioned before that I've become quite a fan of the Bodum Nouveau coffee press we have at the casa. And it took awhile to perfect the process, but in case anyone's interested, here's the ritual:

  1. Fill pot with filtered tap water (filtering removes chlorine taste). I can't bring myself to use bottled water, that seems a bit excessive.
  2. Bring water to a low boil. Ideal temperature is between 190-200 degrees F.
  3. Pre-heat a stainless steel vacuum insulated coffee cup with boiling water (pre-heating can take 5-10 minutes, I do it first to save time. The cup warms up as the coffee steeps).
  4. As water comes to a boil, grind fresh, whole coffee beans (1 rounded tablespoon of beans per 4 oz. water).
  5. Dump freshly ground beans into coffee press.
  6. Pour water into press, then quickly stir mixture with a small wooden or plastic spoon (metal could crack the press' glass vessel).
  7. Place lid on top to keep heat in.
  8. Let it steep for 4 minutes (I set a timer). Watch for the bloom!
  9. Push down plunger slowly and evenly.
  10. Dump pre-heated water first, then pour fresh coffee into the vacuum insulated cup.
Done properly, a nice foam layer (the bloom) forms on top. I add a little half & half, but normally eschew the sugar. I'm sure everyone has their own cream and sweetener preferences. Also, I expect to soon upgrade the bean grinder to a burr grinder, which evidently produces more evenly ground coffee (instead of the "boulders and dust" inconsistency of a cheap rotary blade grinder). Lastly, I'm working on a little foam cozy to place (or wrap) over the press while the coffee steeps. This will help keep the temperature from cooling too much as the coffee steeps. And the vacuum insulated cup, though not mandatory, helps keep the coffee hot much longer, it's sturdy and is nice for those drives to work. So I'm not far from perfection, I believe, with a few more upgrades to the process. But nevertheless, my 10-point coffee plan as outlined above will make you a very fine cup of coffee.
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