We're coffee people. Or rather, we're coffee-in-the-morning people and tea-in-the-evening people, but coffee is the focus of this post. I make it for us every morning, seven days a week. It's likely that we're a little caffeine-dependent, but mostly, I enjoy the entire process (or routine, if you will) of preparing and savoring a cup of coffee. Here's how we do it:
Traditional stovetop tea kettle: we use this one slow mornings, since it takes longer. We usually get a slightly more consistent brew with it because it's obvious when the water is boiling.
Electric kettle: we use this on workdays because it boils water quickly when we're in a hurry to get out the door. One downside is that sometimes, it's difficult to discern when the water is boiling.
Grinder: Someday we'll invest in a more expensive (read: more consistent) burr grinder, but for now, we use an inexpensive one I bought in college for about $20.
French press: Recently, our glass one broke and we bought this stainless steel one.
Aeropress: Because it uses a filter, it makes a cleaner, full-bodied cup of coffee (just without the sludge at the bottom of your mug).
Coffee stirrer: I have a wooden spoon dedicated to this purpose, but a plastic stirrer works just as well.
Scale: I use a small digital food scale (If you don't have one, they're wonderful for weighing out dry ingredients when baking if the recipe specifies weight)
With our French press, directions for a 1L/8 cup capacity french press
- Measure out 2 scoops of whole bean coffee (our scoop is approximately 1/4 cup) and pour into the grinder.
- Pulse until beans are evenly, but coarsely ground. Dump into french press.
- Boil water in kettle, remove from heat source when boiling. Let stand for approximately one to two minutes for water to cool slightly.
- Add about 1 L of hot water to press and stir. Set timer for 3.5 minutes.
- When timer beeps, stir again, and slowly replace the plunger. Press down evenly. For best results, and to avoid over-extraction, pour coffee into mugs immediately.
With our Aeropress
- Fill kettle and begin to heat on heat source (generally, this is our stovetop kettle).
- Plug in electric grinder and place on scale. Zero scale. Weigh out 18 grams of beans into grinder.
- Pulse grinder until beans are slightly coarser than the drip coffee setting, but finer than french press grind.
- Wet paper filter to rinse it, discard water used for this.
- Carefully pour (or use the funnel included with aeropress) ground beans into the press.
- Once water is boiling, remove from heat. Wait 1-2 minutes for water to cool slightly.
- Place aeropress on the scale. Zero scale. "Bloom" the grounds with about 100 grams of water. Pause for about 15 seconds. Continue to add water until you've added a total of 270 grams of water (including the initial 100 grams for blooming).
- Stir coffee, then place plunger at top, to seal, without pressing coffee yet.
- One minute later, remove plunger, stir once more, then replace plunger and press until you hear a hissing noise.
- Dilute coffee slightly with additional water, to taste/preference. Nicholas drinks his coffee black, so I dilute his with hot water only. For mine, I dilute with a small amount of hot water, and then add a splash of whole milk.
A few notes:
Buying coffee: We alternate between buying nicer coffee from the grocery store and the really nice stuff from local coffee shops. Typically, I use the good coffee for aeropress, since the natural coffee flavors are better highlighted with that method. Wherever you buy your coffee, try to buy whole bean and grind it yourself the day of (it only takes a moment) and avoid dark, oily-looking beans.
Time to brew: Aeropress doesn't take any longer to prepare, but I make it one cup at a time, and I have to gather a few more supplies (the scale, funnel, etc.) so it takes slightly more thought. It also requires a little more attention so I can't walk away from it. Because of this, we usually use this method on days off.
Serving sizes: both methods make smallish serving sizes of coffee, perfect for 2 or 4 people. We don't make coffee for large groups very often, so these methods are still ideal in most settings for us.
Personal preferences: Unless the end result is something you don't enjoy drinking, there is no wrong way to make coffee. I'm just sharing our methods to make a reliably good cup of coffee.
P.S.— for more coffee fun, or to see aeropress coffee prepared in video format, Heart Coffee has a fun aeropress video.
Winter is coming, and along with it, dry skin and the subsequent need for a reliable and effective moisturizing routine. Almost as soon as the temperature starts to drop, I notice that my skin requires a lot more TLC, especially my hands. Since I really enjoy routines, I thought I'd write out my "moisturizing routine," if you want to call it that.
Since I wrote about my rest and comfort routines, it only seemed fitting to write about the converse: my activity routines. Although I've never been sedentary, I didn't partake in organized sports in my youth. I danced for many years and marched in marching band in high school, but otherwise, I wasn't particularly accustomed to workouts or time at the gym. Now, as an adult, exercising as a routine is still a bit of a struggle for me. I've committed to pockets of discipline over the years, such as when I trained for a 10k and a half marathon, but nothing in terms of a gym routine has permanently stuck. All that said, I do try to sneak in a good bit of activity each week via other means.
Life is a balance of rest and activity, isn't it? Sometimes, those lines are blurred. Rest can be active, and inactivity can be work. I'm particularly curious about the little routines we all implement in our lives, either subconsciously or consciously, to various ends. I've noticed trends in my own practices of resting and activity.