December 26, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You want -- But Sometimes, You Do

There is a certain weight of expectation that comes from writing something one has devoted a reasonable amount of thought to. In truth, it's much easier to sit and just go, if you will. Yesterday, I was gifted a Bodum conical burr grinder. It is the sort of thing I've wanted for some time; and knowing my parents' tendency to get gift giving right, the sort of thing I rather expected to get. Do not misunderstand this as lack of appreciation, however. I was thrilled to open the box, elated when setting it up, and positively euphoric when putting the machine to use.

It did not dissapoint. I ground beans that my brother had given me. They were dark, though certainly not french, an oily gloss covered their exterior. The aroma was rich and sweet, that of dense black cherry, or a heavy wine. I would tell you their origin, except that I don't know it myself. I'm guessing Panama, and will check when I return to Lawrence. If I'm right, then my palate is, perhaps, a touch more refined that I've been giving it credit for.

But in any case, the grinder, and the performance thereof. Though I would be using my father's 12 cup electric brewer, I set the grind size a couple notches finer than the default drip brewer setting. Better to error on the side of strength, and cut later, I presumed.

And so, with less ceremony than my imagination projected, I hit the ON button, and the grinder went to work. Quietly -- moreso than I would have though -- it proceeded; and quickly, there was a fresh pile of grounds in the repository. Though there wasn't yet enough to prepare even one cup, I removed the lid, lifted the vessel, and inhaled. I imagine that I must have looked a bit silly then, smiling, and perhaps even laughing a bit, at nothing more than a pleasant scent. But it was more than that, of course. That tiny pile of grounds, stretching their collectively bewitching aroma up in to me, signaled that finally, I would be able to enjoy the sort of coffee at home that I desired. It ended the days of quiet compromise, of begrudging mediocrity, and ushered in the era of consistent quality.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, and perhaps indulging a bit in hyperbole. But the grounds did smell lovely -- the sweet, rich notes insisted a comparison to chocolate and cherry. But there was yet more grinding to do, which I completed with more satisfaction than a simple button push ought to yield. And then there was the brewing; not the hands on pour over to which I'm accustomed, but quite good enough.

And finally, the cup. It was not the best coffee I've had, but that's not the point. It was exceptional, and prepared, with relative ease, at home. Most of all, it promised similar efforts -- many of them -- in the future.

So yes, I've struggled a bit to find the words to properly encapsulate this. I got a grinder for Christmas, and for that, I am quite happy. I'd like to say more than that, of course, and perhaps touch on the other gifts I recieved -- suffice it to say, I will be both well fed and well dressed for some time now. But I think this will suffice. At least, it's going to have to.

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