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For the Love of Coffee

July 12, 2011

A simple post; today I wanted to share how I start off most mornings.  This is my absolute favourite way to make coffee.

First, begin with whole organic beans that have been stored in air-tight conditions.  This is an important step; after you open a sealed bag of beans it is quite important to expose the beans to the least amount of air and moisture possible.  Air = dried out, crappy beans.  You know when you open a bag of coffee beans and they are all glossy and oily-looking and beautiful?  That oil is magic. You want to preserve the magical beany properties.

Secondly, we grind the beans.  No pre-ground beans.  Just No.  For the longest time, we had a little cheap-o blade grinder.  These are pretty good (and you can pick one up for close to $10), but you need to have a good eye for the type of grind you need.  What do I mean?  Well, different brewing methods require different coarseness of grind.  It all comes down to the surface area of the ground up beans.  The finer the grind, the more surface area is exposed.  A fine grind is perfect for when the grinds have very little contact time with the water; for example with a shot of espresso.  In an espresso machine, hot water is pumped at high pressure through a compressed “puck” of finely ground coffee beans; the water moves through quickly, and therefore you want to maximize the amount of bean surface area.  For a run of the mill coffee maker, the water drips through the grinds and via gravity makes its way into the carafe below; more contact time with the grinds and therefore you use a grind somewhere in the middle (sometimes known as “Universal” grind).

As we increase the coarseness of the grind, we get to my favourite brewing method: the French Press.   In my opinion, a French Press makes the most flavourful coffee.  The coffee isn’t run through a paper filter, as it is with your average coffee maker, so you retain a lot of the natural oils from the bean (and oils contain heaps of deliciousness.)  Most recently I busted my cheap-o blade grinder, and upgraded to a “burr” grinder.  These types of grinders have a dial that you simply set to the desired coarseness, and the little “burr” thingy grinds the beans at the touch of a button.  No stop/starting to check on the coarseness of the grind, as I always had to do with the blade grinder.

A “French Press” is usually a glass carafe with a push-down stainless steel filter.  Mine is made by Bodum; I have had other brands before, but they often contain plastic parts that eventually break.  You put your grinds in the carafe, pour in your boiling water, give it a stir, and set your timer for 5 minutes.  After 5, you slowly press the filter down, and there you have it – the BEST cup of coffee you’ve had in a while, I guarantee it!

I love mine with a few ounces of coffee/table cream – which here in Canada is about 18% MF.  Delicious!!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2011 1:14 pm

    Good post, thank you! Can you explain the first paragraph more?

    • July 26, 2011 7:52 pm

      Hi there! Thanks very much, glad you like the post.
      Essentially, as soon as coffee beans are roasted, they will start to deteriorate as they are exposed to air and any moisture. Most coffee is packaged air-tight, which avoids the loss of flavour while the beans are on the way to the store, and sitting on the shelf. As soon as you open the package, the beans are exposed to air and any moisture in the air, which will slowly start to decrease the flavour and freshness; this is how coffee becomes “stale”. Chemical reactions slowly allow aromatic compounds to evaporate, and oxidation occurs. Storing your coffee beans as air-tight as possible will minimize these chemical reactions, and delay the “staling” process.

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