How will you make your coffee?

A friend asked me earlier today (though I will paraphrase), “On Christmas morning, you wake up, you go downstairs, how will you make your coffee?” I love to think about this kind of thing. I love my first cup of coffee everyday. In fact, I love my second, third, and sometimes fourth and fifth cup of coffee, and for me, the making of a coffee is an integral part, though it need not be time consuming or complicated. I am lucky in that I have nearly every conceivable method of extraction available at my disposal, however, it is often the most simple methods I find the most charming. And I always seem to look forward to my next cup, even if it is hours or minutes away.
So on Christmas morning, it will be something like this. The air will slightly cooler downstairs and I will probably be the first one down to light the fire. Regardless of my kids’ excitement, there is still a general fear of Santa and his elves, and the idea that he might still be around, so the kids will want me to make sure the coast is clear. I also have a nasty habit of waking up extremely early, so I will likely be the only one awake. The kitchen will smell like baked things as my wife and our dear friends at LPO supply my kitchen with a steady supply of various breads and cookies. I will hold a down pillow over the grinder to dampen the loud burrs, a method I have perfected in recent years. Sometimes when the house feels especially silent I will carry it to the garage and grind there. After putting the water to a boil I put about 2 tablespoons of ground coffee into a paper filter inside the hario. (There are any number of these available at your local grocery, plastic, glass, and ceramic. We have the ceramic ones for sale at our shop, so that is what I have at home.) I like to preheat with a bit of boiling water poured through into the mug, then emptied before I begin the extraction.) The water, brought to a rapid boil then gets put into a small metal pitcher, which brings the water temp down just below boiling and also allows for a nice slow pour into the hario. (Again, there are ways to make this more complicated, which I often do, especially when at the shop with more extensive tools. At the shop I measure the coffee out by weight – 23 grams, and I have the water measured to 190 degrees… but you can also just wing it, and it will turn out just fine.)
The first water I pour in does something wonderful. The smell of the coffee is suddenly forced up from the carafe into the air, and my mind reacts with great happiness. I pour the water ver slowly, around and over the grinds so as to saturate them without the water completely pouring through them. This is a someone important part. Ideally the water has at least a minute or so to absorb into the coffee before pouring through. A little will, but you do not want to overfill it. As the grounds come to life, they raise up, stretching, absorbing. Then I continue to pour. The cup I use at home is about 10 oz, and I shoot for a 4 minute extraction (yes, I do still time it at home.) I have tried everything from 1 minute to 6 minutes. 4 is right in the sweet spot, so it is a nice gentle addition of water, and then…
That is it. Then I have a great cup of coffee. This method is so incredibly simple. Hot water, ground coffee, a simple filter. And the result is so fantastic. I love espressos and drip coffee as much as anyone, but this method of extraction reigns supreme in my mind because of its utter beauty in simplicity.
Then I will cut a nice piece of bread or grab a springerle and procede to a comfortable chair by the fire to wait for the rest of the family to wake up. Most likely there will be calls from upstairs, “Has Santa been here? Did he leave yet?” Then, as my mind wakes up, Christmas will proceed.

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One Comment

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this post… I’ve often wondered the same thing: “How do they BCRC guys make THEIR morning coffee?” I’ve been using and Aeropress for about a year now, but am looking forward to trying something new. Maybe with a few well placed hints to my husband, I’ll get a hario in my stocking. 😉
    Thanks for making the best coffee we’ve ever had… and Merry Christmas!

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