April 17, 2010

Do sweat the technique

I love my little Melitta. Sure, she's made of plastic, and her price point doesn't inspire jealousy. But you know, appearances can be deceiving. I challenge any of the new one-cup coffee makers to produce a more consistently great cup of coffee. 

Any takers? There shouldn't be, frankly, unless they'd also like to be losers. 

That's because, if you're making one cup of coffee, the cone is the best means of production.

Even better than the french press. Blasphemy? Perhaps, but also true. If you want the more syrupy body of coffee produced in a press, simply use a metal filter in your cone. Or don't. I'm not here to inspire a coffee making holy war -- just to celebrate what, in my humble opinion, is the best means of making a cup of coffee. 

If you know how to use it; which, unfortunately, many don't seem to. 

With that in mind, I present a reasonably concise list of steps that, if followed, should yield a great cup each and every time.

1. Place your cone on your mug, and insert filter (paper or metal) in to cone. I've found that it helps to pre-wet the filter. It helps it stick to the cone, thus optimizing the flow of water once the brewing process begins.

2. Bring water to a boil.

3. While that gets going, grind your coffee, and make it fine. Not quite espresso fine, but fairly close. The amount of coffee you use is up to you, but I think the standard 2 tbs coffee/6 0z water ratio works fine. 

4. When the water comes to a boil, pull it. As soon as it stops bubbling, pour it over the grounds. Go too fast, and some water will subvert the grounds or simply go out the side. But there's no need to go at a tortoise's pace either. Your pour should be steady, and the cone should fill.

5. Stir the slurry. This ensures optimal distribution of the grounds, and thus a fuller cup.

6. Finally, stir the finished cup. This is another important step that's often omitted, but is necessary to ensure even taste.

7. Enjoy.

If that sounds a little more involved than pushing a button, that's because it is. But the added effort is most certainly worth it.  

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