Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break. —Earl Wilson
We’re on our third pot of coffee this morning. There was, admittedly, a cup of orange juice between the first and second pots because I’m old enough to really need the vitamins and stuff. There’s no replacement for coffee, though. Our lives would be but a shell without it. For that matter, I’m pretty sure some lives would be shorter without it. This drink makes us stop and think a moment before taking any actions. There are times when that’s the only thing preventing homicide. Coffee saves the day.
A lot of the best people I know are coffee enthusiasts. One colleague goes out of her way to explore new coffee shops and coffee drinks. Many of my best friends are rarely seen without a coffee cup in their hands. I consider a coffee stain on one’s clothes a sign of intelligence and deep thought. After all, had they not been thinking so deeply about something else, they probably wouldn’t have spilled coffee on themselves.
I’m also excited by the fact that our friends at Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company finally completed the installation of their bean roaster this week. Now, like any other new piece of delicate equipment, roasters take some time to calibrate and get to know. We’ll give our friends a couple of weeks to work out the kinks, but I’m looking forward to my next visit. Coffee people, real coffee people, are the best people in the world.
Obsessed With Making Coffee
Those who indulge in this dark essence of warm delight are often as obsessed with making it as they are with drinking it. I can’t wait until I’m awake enough to get Kat awake enough to drive me somewhere to place an order. I need to make my own and if I’m making my own I want it to taste good.
Like many people, I grew up with percolated coffee. Some of you children have likely never experienced such a thing. Percolators are devices where the ground coffee is placed in a basket at the top while the remained below is filled with water. Water is then brought to a boiling temperature at which point it is forced up a tube and over the grounds, exiting the basket at the bottom and mixing with the remaining water below. The whole process takes about 15 minutes for a standard home-use percolator. Percolated taste is passable, but the longer the machine percolates the more the coffee is poured back over the grounds and can make the results bitter.
Then came Mr. Coffee. A home version of the commercial Bunn machines used in restaurants, these nifty new devices heated the water, poured it over the ground beans, then deposited the filtered results into a glass carafe waiting below. Think of it as a multi-cup pour over. There were a couple of inherent dangers, though. One was that the thermostats heating the water were less than precise. As a result, one might find a carafe of lukewarm garbage barely drinkable, or something so hot it threatened to eat through the glass. The other was that many people would leave just a tiny amount of liquid in the bottom but leave the warming plate on. Burning, horrible burning, would occur. The smell was enough to turn stomachs.
Tools Of The Trade
So, what is the best way to make sure your morning starts right? What tools does one really need to make a drink that is not only passable but worth stumbling through the house in the dark and stepping on three Lego’s? Personally, I prefer french press. We use a 20-ounce carafe. I know exactly how to grind the beans, the exact amount, and just how hot to let the water get. My method is so rote I can almost do it in my sleep.
Understandably, not everyone agrees. In fact, I was quite amused when Business Insider published an article on the six things we all should have to prepare this most necessary drink. Their list is, shall we say, a bit pretentious:
- Chemex. That’s a very specific pour over brand. Pour overs are okay, I suppose, but the one cup at a time limitation rather sucks, especially if one has company. There are larger versions, but at that point, they’re really not any different than a Bunn, are they?
- A gooseneck kettle for precise pouring. Personally, I find this falls into the give-me-a-fucking-break department. The number of people who can actually tell the difference is one in about three hundred and fifty million coffee drinkers who are awake enough to be paying attention. No one whose eyes are still half shut gives this much of a fuck. Just let me have my damn drink.
- An Aeropress. If there were no hipsters, there would be no need for this product. Again, I’ll take my french press any time over this nonsense with its filters and need for precision. This is just craziness right here. Anyone who owns one of these has probably tried brewing their own beer as well. Total pretentiousness.
- A scale. Give me a fucking break. Unless you’re putting weed in your coffee, which I don’t recommend, this is a total waste of time. Coffee doesn’t need to be that precise.
- A grinder. Okay, I’ll give you this one. Grinding your beans fresh is a critical part to getting a good taste. Of course, that also raises issues about how to grind, how long to grind, how much to grind, how to store what you’ve ground … you get the picture.
- A coffee table book on coffee. Am I the only one having flashbacks of Kramer’s coffee table book on the sitcom Seinfeld? Please, tell me I’m not alone here.
Dealing With Excess
Even though we drink a lot of this stuff, there are still times we have leftovers. I hate waste, I really do, but I can’t stomach anything that’s been sitting out on the counter for the past three hours. Fortunately, the good folks at Death Wish Coffee Company have some ideas for how to deal with leftover coffee. Here, they even put it in a video for you:
Now, For A Break
This whole writing about what I’m drinking has become exhausting. I need a break, and a refill. You’re more than welcome to join me. After all, it is Saturday. And it’s raining. Do you really have anything better to do? No, you don’t. Sit down and pour yourself a cup. Enjoy.