I won’t go so far as to say that there is a connection between good coffee and good health but I will say that without a good strong cup before my early morning run I would not have been as ready mentally or physically in all the years I got up early to run before work. Beth wanted to include coffee stories and I’m happy to oblige. After all, I love talking to people about coffee as much as I love making it. It’s another obsession, another important part, for me at least, in the pursuit of living better.
I used to drink coffee to stay awake or wash down something exceedingly unhealthy that I consumed for breakfast. Occasionally I would drink coffee in the evening if I had too much wine with dinner, there was usually a connection between food or beverage consumption and coffee drinking. With that type of purpose it’s easy to drink whatever is available and easy. Now, drinking coffee is no longer associated with something else. It is a stand alone treat and one that rivals the other great treats in life. It’s a special thing I do for myself, loved ones and anyone who would like to taste it.
For a several decades now I’ve been slowly refining my coffee brewing process in pursuit of the best possible coffee I can brew at home. Because my coffee has become one of the highlights of my day I want that same coffee when I travel so I’ve also worked hard to find brewing methods that require only hand operated highly portable equipment. I love the routine of hand brewing, it gives me a sense of intense pride to make a delicious cup. Care and patience are required with every step so that the end result is spectacular but just part of the fun. I love to see other people enjoy it as much as I do.
After experimenting with different brewing techniques and coffee types, constantly learning more about coffee production, processing and roasting, I’ve gotten to the point where my coffee is consistently delicious. Sometimes I have to experiment with dosing because every coffee is different (the correct amount of beans by weight for my coffee maker) and the right grind varies with the particular bean.
I enjoy brewing and tasting different single-origin, seasonally-available beans from small coffee farmers around the world, beans grown with great care and focus on quality, now commonly referred to as Specialty Coffee. The roasters I patronize are small locally owned businesses, close enough that the coffee I order arrives on my doorstep within 2 days of being roasted. I buy enough to last about 10 days, before the coffee loses it’s full flavor.
It starts with the best water and the best beans. You can’t make good coffee with bad water or old coffee. Grind your coffee beans just before you brew. If your beans were roasted more than 2 weeks ago don’t feel badly about throwing them away. You don’t need thousands of dollars of brewing equipment but a good quality burr grinder is the single most important piece of your coffee gear. There are some reasonably priced good quality hand grinders that are small enough to take backpacking with you so you can enjoy great coffee anywhere. My favorite brewing methods are the moka pot, sometimes called stove-top espresso, and the Aeropress. Occasionally I do pour over or french press. All of those processes travel easily.
If I’ve piqued your interest stay tuned. In upcoming posts I’ll talk more about some of my favorite coffees and pieces of equipment. Enjoy!