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Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Simple Living

A storm rides in
On cold grey wings
Birds shun the sky
Trees turn their backs and hiss
Wires twist and moan overhead
The house sits back on its heels
I make coffee, sip, and watch

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I live in Seattle, and we have a reputation for loving our coffee. I’m no different, however, I am not a purist by any means. I can’t tell if you brewed it with tap water or distilled water or filtered water or Artesian spring water, and unless your tap water is really awful, I bet you can’t either.

I have my favorite brands of coffee—Torrefazione Italia is the best I’ve had, but hard to find; Caffe D’arte is a close second, but not available in stores—but they’re so expensive that I only get them from a barista. For everyday brewing, I buy in bulk, try to get fair-trade beans of good quality, and grind it myself as needed in a good burr grinder.

But where I can make a huge difference is in the brewing.

I’ve tried almost every brewing method. I’ve tried brewing it cowboy-style in an open saucepan (toss in an eggshell to make the grounds sink), which I do not recommend, and for years we simply stuck with our standard drip-maker and a small Braun espresso machine.

On the more esoteric side, I’ve tried one of those vacuum-siphon brewers. Aside from the sheer coolness of watching it work, and the drama it imparts to the ritual cup of coffee, it only delivered a mildly better brew than standard drip coffee makers. High-maintenance to use, a bitch to clean, it also was so fragile that it broke after only a few days’ use; a disappointment, but not a tragedy, as I’d already made my decision that it wasn’t worth the trouble.

For pure outlandishness, I have also tried the Presso® espresso maker, which works solely on muscle power. A hand-pulled demitasse is pretty cool, and it cleans up pretty easily, too. It wasn’t expensive, and it’s very solidly built, so I’ll keep it around.

But, for the best cup of coffee you can brew, I say you can’t get better than the old-school, low-tech, tried-and-true method of the French press. We use a Freiling press (pictured top) that has double-sides of stainless steel, so it also acts as a thermal insulator, keeping the coffee warmer, longer. Put your burr grinder on “coarse” and brew up a cup. Steep it for 4 minutes (longer if you need a slice of coffee instead of a cup), keep the press on the table, and serve as needed. It is never bitter, never harsh. My wife, who gave up coffee because it upset her stomach, can drink it again, now that we brew it in the press.

Another win for low-tech!

k

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