Monday, July 13, 2015

Zen and the Art Of Brewing the Perfect Mug Of Coffee

Coffee is a weird thing.  It's just like making the perfect hamburger.

Why?  Because the perfect hamburger is the one you decide is best. 

Put another way, it's the one you make yourself.  Preferably in the backyard on a good hot grill, cooked to medium rare, served with Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Mushrooms, Catsup (or how ever the hell you spell that), and maybe Mustard.

On a good day, that is.  Mustard is always optional.  You may disagree, but hey that's why I phrased it the way I did.

You see, you get a recipe.  It doesn't matter what it is, could be coffee, a burger, some bread.  You can find recipes for all of them here on this blog or other places.

You will take that recipe and without realizing it, you will adapt it.
Make it the first time but realize it may be better if you add or subtract something.
Cook it on a different appliance.  Grill, skillet, oven.
Instead of Medium Rare, you are a philistine who prefers your meat Well Done.

Sorry, no thanks, I'll call out for Pizza.

What I am describing is something called "Co-Evolution".  It is where the process changes to fit the results, and the process changes every time you make it. 

Mission Creep is another way of looking at it.

This was brought about by a simple question:

"How do you make a cup of coffee".

I don't.  I make a French Press Mug full of coffee, and drink it right out of the French Press Mug.

That changes drastically how the coffee tastes.  I actually LIKE that oil that is in the coffee, it makes it much more complex. 

Filtered drip coffees will leave the oils behind on the filter to be thrown away and make the resulting coffee taste more flat - like listening to a symphony on an AM radio, just don't do it.  Trust me on this.

But while I could turn this all into a comedy act, here is exactly how I do it.  I stepped back and measured everything, and I do mean EVERYthing.

First - the French Press is a measured 22 ounces to the brim.  Exactly, or as close to exactly as I could come.  If you don't have a French Press, you can actually use a mixing cup or bowl and pour the coffee through a strainer or a fine metal mesh sieve to serve. Yes, there will be a little bit of grounds in the bottom.  Drink around them.  They make the taste better.  Wait for them to settle, you will be glad you did.

Second - I almost always use a 50/50 mix of a good decaf and regular coffee.  Decaf tastes weaker, regular coffee is more bold and complex.  On full caffeine coffee I become a rather large and intense being.  I was asked by those around me and several government agencies not to drink full caffeine coffee.  I complied.

Third - forget that Second bit.  Select a coffee that YOU like and skip the snobbery.  You will adjust it later anyway!

Fourth - Co-evolution is your friend.  The second time you do this, you'll like it better.

Here goes! 

  • To an empty 22 ounce French Press, add 21 grams of finely ground coffee.  Each level measured tablespoon of Dunkin Donuts Decaf Pre-ground is 9 grams.
  • Add 5 grams powdered creamer.
  • Add 2 packets or 2 grams of Sweet N Low.
  • Boil water in a whistling tea kettle until it is at a full whistling boil
  • Add 515 grams or 17 ounces of boiling water to the French Press.
  • Steep the Coffee mixture for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Add 4 ounces Ice Cubes to bring the Coffee down to drinking temperature.  This was 5 cubes in my freezer.
  • Total was 595 grams or 21 ounces of liquid after the ice melted.

Weights were all measured in grams, then converted back to ounces.  I actually set the French Press Mug on top of the scale and measured it as I added the ingredients.   Really simple process.

A proper electronic kitchen scale will help you in this and any other recipe and they run about 8 Bucks online or a couple dollars at a thrift store.  Bring some AA (or AAA) batteries when you go look so you can test. 

No comments:

Post a Comment