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:
8oz. water
2 tablespoons coffee grounds


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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