Goodbye coffee maker – See you never again

For the last few months now I have been solely making coffee at home by hand and it has been amazing. Previously I was using a drip coffee maker during the week for the sake of ease in the morning and leaving my hand making of coffee to the weekends. This felt really weird as I much prefer coffee made by hand methods over a machine. Not only is drinking it a better experience, but also the process of making it by hand is really rewarding for me. Once I started to really think about it I realized that relying on a machine during the week was doing me more harm than good. I wasn’t drinking good coffee, at least well made coffee. I was still only buying quality coffee, but brewing it in a drip machine. Crazy, I know!

Cassidy brought it up that we should buy cheap coffee for during the week and higher quality stuff for when I make it by hand at home. Then we wouldn’t be wasting good coffee in the gross drip machine. This got me thinking about making coffee by hand all the time and how I just needed to get rid of the coffee maker. By only making coffee myself on the weekends I wasn’t continuing my learning of home coffee brewing. I had found myself forgetting methods and techniques that I once knew more closely.

This is when I decided to get rid of the coffee machine and make the vow to only make coffee by hand in our house. And I must say that it has been super awesome. This has helped my coffee making exponentially. It has allowed me to refine my process for each method. I make a subtle tweak to what I normally do and taste the results until I get a method down that gets me what I am looking for. Then I keep doing that until I have it down pat. I now really like my French press recipe and I have been circling in on how I want to do pour overs. I’m getting really close.

It has also done wonders for helping me wake up in the morning. It has become a great morning ritual which is simple yet complex enough for my freshly woken mind to wrap itself around. I can just focus on doing this task and I find myself waking quickly. But, in the end I am really happy with devoting time each day to making coffee and trying out new ways to make better coffee. I’m not afraid to try out adjusting grind size or brew time because I can always try again the next day. It has helped me to have coffee making as part of my every day life.

If you have a coffee maker and are serious about learning to make coffee on your own you owe it to yourself to get rid of it. I am very glad I did and don’t plan on buying a coffee machine ever again.

The beautiful failures of coffee experimentation

This morning I learned the beautiful lesson of messing with a dialed in coffee recipe and the difference that 50 grams of water can make. Let me tell you, it is quite a difference my friends. I have always been told about the subtle balance that is going on in the coffee brewing process and I feel that I have a good understanding of it. It is something that I always keep in the back of my mind as I develop my recipes. Today I was reminded of that balance and how when it’s off it can seriously bite you.

I like to make a French press every morning before work. It is a simple process that my newly awoken brain can handle at 6am while still being challenging enough to help me awake and begin my day as I need. I have been using my 34oz French press which makes more than enough coffee for myself and my wife. Lately I have been thinking about how much I have left over when I leave for work. There is coffee available at my work, so I don’t think to pack the remaining coffee in a container of some kind to continue drinking. Although I really should. As an alternative to this I have been thinking about how I can make enough coffee to drink in the morning for my wife and I, but also not have any left over once I’m done. My first thought was to tweak my French press recipe to produce slightly less coffee. This seemed like a reasonable idea, so I gave it a shot this morning. Today I tried using only 750 grams of water instead of my usual 800 grams. My mistake was still using my usual 45 grams of coffee. This blew my ratio to pieces and the coffee came out bitter and gross. The really sad part is that it was the holiday blend from Victrola Coffee, which is incredibly delicious this year. If you haven’t tried it I suggest grabbing some if you can.

Victrola Coffee being my favorite coffee in all of Seattle I was especially disappointed to create such a travesty using their stuff. If you can hear me Victrola, I’m sorry. Looking back on it I realize that I don’t need to tweak my recipe. What I need to do is to work out a recipe for my other, smaller French press. It is a 12oz size and can easily be two solid full cups of coffee. At least, I’m pretty sure it can. I will have to experiment, but I have a good starting point. This should hopefully provide better results as it is much more appropriate to the situation. Plus, it will be good to have a solid recipe for this smaller French press anyways.

In the end really, this can all be taken care of if I just get a good travel situation going for bringing coffee to work, so that I can continue to enjoy the stuff I make in the morning. But, that will have to be another blog post. Feel free to leave your coffee making experiences in the comments!

Huzzah!