June 16, 2007 - Thoughts on coffee (before the first cup is, honestly, barely begun)
I mentioned my Chemex in last night's post. I'll be honest where I learned about this wonderful device - James Bond novels, specifically From Russia With Love (my favorite book and movie). In the book Fleming paints a picture of Bond's daily life in London. The part about his breakfast captured my attention. I can honestly say that I rather enjoy Cooper's Orange Marmalade, Tiptree "Little Scarlet" Strawberry preserves (when I can find and afford it...we're talking potential fiscal ruin here), and the coffee brewed in an American Chemex. He also mentioned an egg boiled for a precise time (never been a fan of soft or hard boiled eggs but I've had them scrambled and fried in celebration of this ideal), two pieces of wheat toast (I'll eventually post the brown bread recipe I use that brought this to new heights), each with a large pat of Jersey butter (Normandy is better but I take whatever is in the fridge door), and some Norwegian honey (which I've never been able to find here in ATL). Fleming also wrote about the china...Minton...used to serve the breakfast. I work for a living and don't earn thousands of Pounds Sterling from gambling all night at a club. I'll take the Fiestaware we got for the wedding or the restauarant white I had before. Now back to the coffee...the Chemex. This device couldn't be simpler. No plug, buttons, or other nifty devices. We're talking seriously low tech. My only caveat is to buy the Chemex filters. I have heard reports that other filters give way under the weight of water and coffee (since they rest partially unsupported). Put medium fine ground coffee in the filter and pour over 195-205 degree water and when it finishes dripping experience the finest cup of coffee known to man. What makes it even better is to roast your own coffee - yes, I'm a home roaster and proud of it!! and brew that up. For one stop shopping for the Chemex, roaster, and green visit my friends Tom and Maria at Sweetmarias. These folks stock an amazing assortment of green, brewing gear, and more important knowledge and wisdom for the home roaster. They moved to California some time back so shipping take a little longer than it used to when they were in Ohio but the service and selection far exceed the extra few days wait for the goodies. Next on my list for green suppliers is Coffee Bean Corral. Good people, fast service, and amazing selection. Now I don't always have home roasted coffee - I either forget or run out of time - so here's a shameless plug for one brand of coffee that always graces my pantry and brewers - Community Coffee - I used to drink the Dark roast exclusively and then I decided to try the Between roast once. I've never looked back - Between roast is a favorite of the wife and I. Somehow the local markets stopped stocking it - note to aforementioned retailers - you really cheesed me with that one. Her parents were gracious enough to bring four pounds with them on a recent visit and we'll stock up when we go down to New Orleans (her hometown and where her parents reside) in a month - I do plan on blogging that food event. I've included my formula for coffee below:
For every 8 fluid ounces of fresh, cold water - 1 SCAA measure (found at Sweetmarias) ground coffee - I use a medium fine grind that I have adjusted my Zassenhaus manual burr grinder for. I'll post a picture at some point so you can see but it won't give you an accurate idea. You have to tinker with it.