July 25, 2007

Coffee and how to make a good cup

I love a good cuppa coffee, good beans, freshly ground, fresh brewed.........heavenly. Hate that stuff that sits on a burner at some places. I will make them brew fresh just for me. Heck I figure it aint free so I get what I WANT.

My passion for coffee started yrs. ago when I first moved to CA. I ended up working in a small gourmet shop. It sold cookware and giftware and had a small cafe that served good food and gourmet coffee beans. It was my first formal chef job. I wasnt hired as the chef, I was a clerk who would help in the kitchen if the chef needed it as part of my job. Two wks. into the job the chef loved me and my talents and insisted I work with him totally. I loved it and when he left, it became my kitchen. One of the things they sold there tho was fresh coffee beans. I got to taste them all. We never allowed the coffee to sit more than a half hr. on the burner. It then got dumped and fresh was made. Since then I do the same, it does make a difference. One of our lil jokes tho was after service as we cleaned, we inevidably would find beans all over the floor around the grinder. We jokingly named it floor blend and threatened to serve it to our regular customers when they would get silly with us .

When I left there I ended up working at the winery I talk about in my blogs. When we were just building the restaurant we would do alot of taste testing for things for the place and our menu. One of those things was choosing the right coffee for our place. The exe. chef knew where I had worked before coming there and recruited me to help him find the right blend. I was so honored. It was fun tasting and commenting on what people would like and what we liked and in the end we picked a mellow blend with a bit of french roast in it.

Most people do not have a clue how to make good coffee. Over the years Ive learned a few tricks and tried many things. It can be done! My daughter who never wanted to learn to cook, once she got married finally had to learn. One of the things she had trouble with was coffee. So I told her my way and now everyone just loves her coffee and always wants her to make it when shes visiting there.

I used to work at a gourmet shop, we had gourmet coffee we served longggggggg before Starbucks became a household word. It changed me from a tea drinker to a coffee one. Heres some of the things Ive learned. First gotta find great beans and a blend you like it is trial and error, for everyones taste buds like different stuff but.......I right now use Costcos Seattle Mtn. coffees. My particular fav at the moment is their Seattle Mtn. blend which is Arabica beans. But I have used their French roast and adore it, the bf doesnt so this one is a compromise.

Second you want fresh and I do mean fresh, not that canned crap at the stores. One reason I like Costco is they roast their own and I frequently can get bags of beans still warm from the roaster. Next and I know theres arguments on both sides but......I freeze my bags of beans to keep them fresh. I grind them as I need them. I used to use one of those lil cheapie grinders you find everywhere but since aquiring a bf whos heavily into it, and just as picky about good coffee as I am, Ive since bought a Kitchen aid grinder. I grind on the medium grind, I never do what those things say but you have to find whats best for you. I drip brew my coffee in this cute Hamilton beach coffee pot that you just push the cup against and it fills it for you, but Ive had others. I dont believe its the coffee pot, its the ingredients you use.

Now most days we just use tap water but THERE IS a difference when you use a nice bottled water. We like it best but since this coffee addiction costs me so much (we go thru 3 3lb. bags every 2wks!) Ive kept the bottled water thing to a minimum buying it only on sale and cheap. For us the coffee is more important than that water. But it doesssssssss make a nice difference. Also a little trick I recently stumbled across makes a nice smooth cuppa ....... a few grains of salt...not alot a tiny lil pinch. You dont want it salty but it takes the bitterness out if you use it. We tried it and noticed the difference right away and now we never brew without it.

Oh and one more thing......clean your coffee pots regularly, you would be surprised at the difference in taste. Run white vinegar thru it once or twice followed by water once or twice. Once a month is good. I try to do that when Im in the kitchen with other things cuz it take a bit of time. Its amazing the gunk that builds up in there from the water over time.

*We love a strong cup of coffee so I use one heaping coffee scoop for two cups of coffee. My pot shows the markings on it for 2,4,6,8. etc. So one heaping scoop for each marking on my pot.

Caffeine is my shepherd
I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake in green pastures:
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses. It restoreth my buzz:
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,
I will fear no Equal: For thou art with me;
Thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me. Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of Juan Valdez:
Thou anointest my day with pep;
My mug runneth over. Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the House of Folger's forever.

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