Coffee Fix: Fancy-Cowboy Style

December 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m not one of those “coffee is the nectar of the gods” sorts.  I don’t live for the “buzz.”  In fact, I admonish black cups that yield overly-jittery mornings that linger past lunch.  But a morning without coffee (or, I’ll be generous, without tea) becomes unmarked, lost in a haze of more and less important “to-dos” of the day.  A morning coffee isn’t nourishing in the way an omelet with red peppers is nourishing. In fact, if you look at the world through the lens of life-sustaining foods, no five-calorie drink realistically makes the cut.  If wouldn’t kill you to delay coffee drinking for a few hours; if you put off peeing or taking some important pills, the results could be disastrous.  In short, a cup of coffee is a comparatively superfluous delight.
Drinking coffee signals: I want the house to smell good.
It says: This is just for me.
It always says: Shut up and don’t nag.
And even in a travel cup it says: Baby, sip me slowly.  

Exhibit A: Tea steeping

Enter: The French Press.  I love coffee shops, but I love protecting my already-deflated wallet more.  A french press is a relatively inexpensive start-up purchase, it uses no electricity, the coffee grounds can be composted and the gizmo itself is versatile–I use my french press to steep loose-leaf tea, too (see Exhibit A and B). Making coffee at home is easy-peasy and takes fewer than ten minutes.

Exhibit B: Making chai tea

A note about coffee grounds: The best coffee, I think, is prepared with beans that are ground the day-of.  But if you don’t have a bean grinder, not to worry: You can still have a great cup of coffee so long as you use beans that have been ground relatively recently (ideally the last couple of weeks; short shelf-life).  If you like coffee from a particular cafe, buy a bag of their coffee beans and ask them to grind the beans for you.  Keep in mind: French press coffee requires the beans to be ground slightly coarser than that of a drip-coffee machine, so be sure to mention you have a french press at home.  Alternatively, most grocery stores have a coffee grinder in the coffee section–if you purchase your coffee there, grind it yourself and choose the setting.

What you need for one cuppa coffee:
French-press
8oz. water
2 tablespoons coffee grounds

Method:

1.  Heat one cup of water on the stove.  Meanwhile, measure two (heaping) tablespoons of coffee grounds into the bottom of the french press. When water comes to a boil, remove from heat.  When the water ceases to bubble, pour into the french press.  Stir with a spoon and then put the lid on top to keep the water warm.  Set timer for 4 minutes.

2.  Press the “plunger” down to the bottom of the glass jar to trap the grounds.  Pour coffee into a cup and drink black or with preferred additions (sweetener; cream).  In summer, add ice cubes.

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