Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The coffee obsession begins...

I have recently become intrigued with the culture of coffee; how it's made and how people choose to share it and enjoy it. I discovered this fascination when in India I encountered a new type of coffee making device:

The powdered coffee is packed into the top portion and then filled with hot water and left to sit as the water slowly filters through the grounds into the bottom canister. Until making coffee in this new way it had (naively) not occurred to me that different cultures would make coffee in different ways with different tools. I had discovered a new obsession: coffee cultures (both preparation and enjoyment of) from around the world.

My new interest picks up at home with my quest to collect various coffee making implements and using them to brew the best home-made coffee.

My first purchase was a five-dollar Melitta 'Ready Set Joe' Cone for a single cup of coffee.

You can see the coffee drip down through the little window.

I was pleased that I could now brew just one cup of coffee for myself rather than making at least four with the electric drip pot that my family owns.

After doing some research on how to brew the perfect press pot, I learned that the blade grinder I had been using for my beans comes highly unrecommended. The best thing to use, I learned, is either a manual grinder or an electric grinder. Seeing as how fancy electric grinders cost about $80 at a minimum, I opted for the cheaper manual grinder. And so, yesterday, I purchased my new coffee making tool.

Presenting my new Hario Coffee Mill with ceramic burrs:

It works like a pepper grinder. The beans go in the top portion where there are slots that allow the beans to fall into the burrs where they are pressed rather than chopped (like with a blade grinder) and the freshly ground coffee falls into the plastic canister at the bottom. Numbers mark off the number of cups worth of grounds.

Turning the nut adjusts the space between the burrs, creating a more coarse (counter clockwise) or more fine ground.

The only directions for my new grinder are in Japanese. Thankfully the guy that sold it to me showed me how to use it.

It's a little tedious to use. I have to grip tightly with one hand and crank with the other trying to keep it still has it jerks around. Admittedly, I don't know quite enough about coffee yet to really tell a difference in the grind as far as how it really affects my coffee. But I do like that I now have to work for my coffee. It makes me appreciate it that much more once I finally can enjoy the hot, fresh brew.

For now, I am content using my 'Ready Set Joe' cone, but until my next paycheck, my dreams continue to be filled with Bialetti Moka stovetop percolators and Bodum French Presses.

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