It was a warm and sunny day in Austin. We were standing around a picnic table when a friend poured himself a cup of coffee. His wife just finished describing her experience with her husband’s preferences to use the freshest beans, the right temperature, and the perfect grind. He took a sip and poured the coffee out. That is how I came to decide to seek out the perfect brew.
I first started with a hand cranked grinder, using the freshest beans I could get from a local store, an electric tea kettle, and the Chemex manual brewer. I’d set the kettle for the best temperature for the grind. The grind would depend on the coffee. My favorite part of the process was that moment when I would get the beans just wet enough and they would rise – or ‘bloom.’ I woke up one day and the beans stopped blooming. That was when I decided that I’d just like a cup of coffee. Really. I love coffee.
I also love a good brew. Recently I started to take another deep dive and now I’m making coffee that makes my toes curl when I get it right. This is about the how.
I want fresh beans. I think a good way to get fresh roasted beans is to just have them delivered to my door; so I sampled a few subscription services.
The top three are Mustache, Driftaway, and CremaCo.
Each have their own nuances. In the end, I decided on CremaCo because I like the way they deliver a brew log, their selection, and with their recommendations/suggestions; I cannot help but to love the adventure.
I explored a few more grinders when I returned to my coffee making experiences. I found that hand grinding resulted in an inconsistent grind; at times. The manual adjustment of the grinding mechanism could result in a poor estimate on expected grain size. Depending on the model of the hand grinder, I would also find that the mechanism would loosen itself – a problem that I didn’t experience my first time around; but am seeing with the two grinders that I currently own.
This is why I’ve decided that I prefer an electric burr grinder. I don’t have any gripes about this little devil. In over a year of use, it’s been consistent in quality.
I read somewhere, once, that the brew method depends on the roast. I have found that not always to be the case. I get my coffee from a subscription service and I like to vary the roast and flavor profile. With that, I decide that each bag of coffee I get must go through three processes: Auto Drip, French Press, and Aero Press.
Note on scoop: The Aero Press comes with a scoop. Rumor has it that a better brew may be achieved when one uses a scale to measure the exact amount of coffee to use. I prefer to use a scoop.
Once upon a time, I was determined to go with manual drip coffee, only. I have found myself liking another method more and more these days and; as such, I decided to put convenience and quantity over the quality potential. I tend to go with a large pot of auto brewed coffee on the weekend.
Set the grinder somewhere around the 8 mark, use two whole scoops, use the decanter filled to 10 to pour water into the reservoir.
I had a french press that I bought for five dollars fall apart on me so I replaced it with something snazzy. It does a great job of keeping time!
Heat the water to approximately 196°F. Grind one scoop of beans around level six (coarse). Pour the ground beans into the press. Bloom them (get them wet and wait 30 seconds. The beans will rise up a little bit. Take a moment to stop and smell them, should smell delicious!). Fill the water to just below the lip. Place the press on top and flip the timer.
When the timer runs out, press the beans down. Pour the coffee into a separate decanter and consume.
WARNING: From what I’ve read this technique may be highly controversial.
My favorite method, as of late, is to use an Aero Press. I’ve researched numerous recipes and tried three of them; but I started with the instructions provided with the device.
Heat the water to 175°F. Grind one scoop of beans around level 14 (fine). Add the filter (rinse it if that’s your thing). Place the Aero Press over a cup. Add the ground beans. Bloom the beans by getting them wet and waiting ten seconds – don’t forget to take a whiff. Stir them, add water to the four mark. Cover the water with the press. Count (or set a timer) for 65 seconds. Press the water into the cup. Fill the remainder of the cup with water.
Smile and enjoy.
That, my friends, is several ways to make a delicious cup of coffee.
What I’m gearing up to try out next, is this contraption:
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