More Coffee Love

Yesterday, I posted on coffee brewing methods.  Because the post was running long, I didn’t talk about the coffee itself.  Here is the continuation of that story.

The national brands you buy in the grocery store are ground from beans from many locations and perhaps several countries.  This results in a mostly consistent flavor.  It also washes out the subtleties of beans from each individual farm.

I buy my beans from Sozo, a local coffee shop (also on FaceBook)  that engages in direct trade.  That is they buy directly from the farmer/producer.  With a batch of beans all from the same place, those subtleties and nuances are preserved.  However, it is an agricultural product so it may not be the same next year.

For a few years I had been enjoying La Flor del Café from Guatemala.  I like the earthy tones that characterize Central American coffees.  This year’s crop has changed.  Perhaps it results from a change in their weather?

I decided to try something different.  I went with Oaxaca from Mexico.  I enjoy this product very much.

As I mentioned yesterday, the secret to good coffee is to use water at 197 F.  Brewing is an extraction process and that temperature is important.  Cooler and you won’t extract all the goodness.  Hotter and you also extract some bitterness.  Which explains some of the nasty coffee I’ve had in the past.

Brewing time is also important.  For my AeroPress, 30 to 60 seconds is about right.  I’ve turned the process into a ritual.  That way I don’t have to time the brewing.  By just going through the ritual motions, it times itself.

I use an insulated mug.  That way I can enjoy my favorite beverage over two or three hours.  Never leave coffee on a heating pad.  That will cook out the flavor and leave you with an inferior product in your cup.

Do you have a secret for brewing good coffee?

I Love Coffee

Our friend, Ratty, left a comment on my last post.  He mentioned that he had given up instant coffee and was doing his own brew.  That was a wise move my friend.

Here is a re-post of a piece from January 7, 2013.  I hope you enjoy it.

I had signed up for coffee tasting and brewing classes last fall. The tasting (cupping) class taught me how to evaluate coffee and identify flavors and subtleties in various coffees.

In brewing class, I discovered that rinsing the paper filter helped remove that terrible taste from the cup.  In the class we watched our teacher brew coffee using various methods and then evaluated the final product.

The vacuum pot looked like a high-school science project.  The results were just about that good.  We were told that this could produce the finest or the worst results and you could never be 100% sure which you’d end up with.

Then we tried a couple of pour-over methods.  They weren’t bad, but failed to impress.

Some were enamored of the French Press.  I wasn’t.

Then we tried the AeroPress.  Aha!  That produced excellent results.  Cleanup would be relatively easy.  The only catch?  How can you consistently heat water to 197 F?  All of these methods rely on that.

The answer is a cordless electric kettle with a temperature control.  I bought this:

I use it for my coffee and Sylvia uses it for her tea.  How handy that Sylvia has a birthday this week.  Happy birthday honey!   Thanks for letting me use it too.

The rest of the equipment (AeroPress) looks like this:

I don’t use the paper filters.  A stainless steel filter (purchased separately) keeps the grounds out of the brew.  I only have used grounds to dispose of.  These I keep to use on the garden.  The grounds help protect root crops from bugs.  Neat, huh?

I’ll not bother you with the details, but this takes no longer (may be shorter) than brewing with Mr Coffee.  There is less waste and the coffee is incredibly better!

WARNING: Use of this method can turn you into a coffee snob.  Therefore, exercise discretion before purchasing anything like this.

I have one final thought to share with you today.  The coffee beans make a huge difference.  I’ll write about that for tomorrow’s post.

To Start the Day

Adam@Home by Rob Harrel

Adam@Home by Rob Harrell

As I sat here sipping on my morning cup of brew, I came across this cartoon.  It spoke to me, as you might guess it would.

Ahh . . . morning coffee
In the cup that’s in my hand
Right way to start day

My foot is mending nicely.  When I woke there was no feeling of pain whatsoever in that foot.  I frequently have the “pinched” feeling of wearing a tight sock.  Color me one happy camper for today.  (Any day for that matter.)

Been doing e-mail exchanges with my two sons this morning.  In the words of Tony, “It’s going to be a great day!”  I hope it is for you too.

After Math?

The title for this post doesn’t really fit, but I like it.  I was going to write, “Aftermath.”  This to introduce a report on the first post-op trip to the surgeon.

As we entered the podiatrist’s office, we were met by a pair of friends that live in the neighborhood.  They were leaving as we came in.  How cool is that?  It was a very happy surprise.

When the doctor speaks, I listen.

When my doctor speaks, I listen.

The surgery went well.  The bones are perfectly aligned.  Swelling is less than expected.  Also I’m experiencing less pain than expected.  Hooray!  On Friday, I can shower and I’m already counting minutes.  Okay, hours.

I go back in two weeks to have stitches removed.  That will be nice.

What?

In his Sunday sermon, Pastor Mark talked about planning.  He told of rehearsing a conversation in youe own mind before talking with someone.  As he said, you think about what you will say.  You imagine their response.  You plan your followup.  Only one problem.  It doesn’t work out that way.

I’m thinking that we’ve all experienced an encounter that didn’t go to plan.  Maybe that will help you understand the plight of this poor fellow.

SheSaysNO

Perhaps he was presumptuous.  I’m sure he didn’t envision this reaction.  Sunday sermon topic: Self Control.

Today’s Task

Five AM and the alarm sounds.  Haven’t heard that in a long time.  Shower.  Take my morning (BP) meds with just enough water to wash them down.  Sylvia and I head out the door.  Next stop Pennock Hospital in Hastings.

Paper work and preliminaries to go through.  Then relax and wait.

My mission?  To get my foot screwed up.

Not really my surgeon.

Not really my surgeon.

Mission accomplished!  The big toe joint has been fused and held in place with a plate and a handful of screws.

We were back home in time for lunch.  I was ready.

Now I wait six weeks for it to heal.

Surviving a Bad Day

Driver, Brad Keselowski, had a brake problem (self inflicted?).  He didn’t stop in the pit box.  The crew can cross the wall when the driver is one box away from entering his pit box.  The results were not very nice–ugly, I’d say.

Car2Pocono

Hats off to the two crew!  They got up and completed the pit stop.

Because a tire bounced off the hood and went rolling away, Brad was penalized and the number 2 car went a lap down.

Ugly day, right?  Yes it was.

No further mishaps and Brad drove the car to a second-place finish.  Looks like this team made a great comeback.

Independence Day

Today, we observe a federal holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.  All over this land people will be celebration our nation’s 239th birthday party.  How great is that?

Do take time to review the reasons for this day and why our forefathers approved the Declaration of Independence 239 years ago today.  You can review the document here.

Yesterday, something seemed different.  I was walking down the driveway toward the mailbox, but my usual escort, the killdeer, was nowhere to be seen.  What’s going on?

They've hatched!

They’ve hatched!

The day before, four eggs filled the leaf-lined depression (center frame).  They must have hatched.  Hooray!

The chicks have come out of their shells and are now learning about independence.  I see young people who are going through a process of learning about it too.  It’s a beautiful thing, but it’s neither easy nor cheap.

Paul, in his letter to the Galatians (5:1) wrote: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  He goes on to warn them not to abuse their freedom.  Those are words to live by.  Consider reading that fifth chapter of Galatians.

Finally, I hope you are celebrating Independence Day and not In Dependence Day.

A Flair For Flowers

While I was mowing yesterday, Sylvia was weeding in the flower beds.  She worked until dark.  She had been out there the day before and is back at it again today.

Sylvia has been working hard

Sylvia has been working hard

Note to self:  Don’t get between Sylvia and her goal.

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

While she was doing that, I spent a few minutes pulling weeds in the garden.  There were a lot of baby maple trees.  I hope I got them all.  Also, I discovered some purslane.  I harvested some for our evening meal.  We steamed it this time and drizzled a little bit of salad dressing on it.  Yum!  Next time, I’ll use raw leaves and tender stems in a salad. :food: