28 August 2016

More Thoughts on Coffee

I find it no coincidence that the Pacific Northwest is well known for both their production and consumption of fine microbrewed beer, and for their love affair with the coffee bean.  It only makes sense really, that people balance one with the other to find their zen.  Stimulant followed by depressant equals status quo, right?  

Many smallish towns in these parts have their own microbrewery.  And every inky-dinky, blink-and-you-missed-it, tiny-dot-on-a-map town has a coffee shack to keep the populous fruitful and productive.  

In this spirit, we’ve been refining our personal coffee brewing skills, and have a few thoughts to share on the matter.

First, this:

Stainless French Press by Bodum
is the bomb.  Kirstin’s darling sister wanted to give us something useful to take on The Big Adventure, and she nailed it with this item: vacuum-insulated, stainless steel, Bodum French Press.  It’s simple, durable, doesn’t require additional or disposable filters or parts, can be used to make tea, hot or cold-brew coffee (see previous post on this), and will keep hot coffee warm for hours.  I don’t know how much it cost, as it was a gift, but as I will almost always pay more for a superior product, this item is one that I would have paid a premium for.

Coffee thought #2: Only buy coffee from Costco if you’ve tried it or you are otherwise reasonably certain that you are going to enjoy it, because as you no doubt are aware, a Costco-sized portion of coffee beans will last a loooong, loooong time.  For instance, while “Organic Rainforest Blend” beans may sound delightfully delicious, you might instead find them to be not to your liking.  Should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, and you are unwilling to simply pitch the giant bag of beans that you just bought, you might consider adulterating your pure, black, coffee nectar with other non-standard ingredients to achieve a more palatable energizing beverage, to wit:

Coffee thought #3: The Recipe.  This is a work in progress, as we’re constantly experimenting.  This version will convert your Organic Rainforest Blend, or other suitably unsuitable beans, into a lightly spiced, not-quite-sweet, rich and energizing elixir.

To make one carafe of brew, add:
  • Coffee grounds (4-5T for our carafe), coarse ground works best for the French Press
  • 1/4t or so cinnamon
  • 6 or so dashes of Indian paprika (this was an accidental purchase on our part that’s turned out well, as the Indian stuff is spicy, unlike regular paprika)
  • 2T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 drops Stevia natural sweetener
  • hot water

Coffee thought #4: Best Coffee Mug Ever award goes to the stainless steel, insulated Contigo handle-less mug, as pictured above next to the French Press.  These are the only travel-style coffee cups we’ve ever used that are legitimately leak-proof.  They stand up well to abuse, fit great in auto cup holders, and keep stuff hot for hours.  Best coffee mug ever.  And also a gift from Kirstin’s sister.  Coincidence?  Not really.  That girl knows her coffee and coffee accessories.

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