Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hand Pouring a Great Cup of Coffee

 Several months ago our electric coffee pot died. Not having the money to replace it and not being able to decide on a machine anyway, I dug around the kitchen and found a ceramic cone and a tea pot and set out to brew some coffee at home. This was purely out of survival. I did some quick research online to see what the ratio was supposed to be. It sounded easy enough, so I made my first pot of hand poured (or brewed) coffee. What I found was I had brewed the best cup of coffee I had ever had. I was elated! I could actually drink this stuff BLACK! No sugar, no cream, AND I could enjoy it! There was so much flavor, so many subtleties that I never knew outside of an espresso. It is now 6 months later and we are still hand brewing our coffee.
Well, I am. My spouse can't seem to work a kettle.

Below I have outlined the steps I follow to brew my "hand poured" (said in a snooty voice) coffee:

You will need: Coffee pot, coffee cone, coffee filter, kettle for boiling water, COFFEE, glass measure (not pictured). A tea pot is fine, that is what I used, but remember, it will stain, so try to find something that is already dark. Not white.

We use a gold mesh cone filter. Its washable, reuseable, love it. Start by warming your pot. Fill it with the hottest tap water you can. This will keep the finish on your pot from cracking when you pour in hot water from the kettle. You will be dumping this tap water OUT before brewing your coffee.
Grind and measure 60g of coffee for every liter of coffee you plan to drink.  That's 6 "coffee spoons", about 1 heaping tablespoon, of beans (pre-grind) for my 4 measuring cups of water. I used a scale to figure this out the first time by grinding a scoop and weighing it. Don't forget to zero your scale after placing a dish on it for weighing. Then add your beans. I know, you probably don't need that instruction, but someone might.

Heat your water. Do NOT boil it. Bring it up to near boil. 160-180F is perfect. If you accidentally boil, no worries, proceed. Pour 1 cup of water over grounds. This is where the grounds "bloom". They soak up water and start to release oils and all those yummy coffee flavors. Did you roll your eyes? You did? This is the same thing that we do with tea - we steep it to get the dried greens to expand and release all their tasty, beneficial oils and flavors too. Skip this step and you will end up with coffee flavored water or worse - something that a machine could make! hee hee

Now you can add more water. Pour in 1 cup or less at a time, don't over fill. We don't want grounds in the coffee.Try to keep the water from draining out completely. Keep adding water as it drips away and keep the level up.

See it go? Almost done. When it is all done, set the cone aside on a cup or something. Then STIR your coffee before pouring. Coffee brews in layers, so it needs to be mixed up to get a good pour for every cup.

Now, if you are like me, this will take a bit of working out. Once you know how much coffee you need to brew enough to fill your pot, then you can get a routine going. I now fill my kettle with water (reverse osmosis, always use the best water you can), put it on to boil, fill my pot with hot water to warm it, dump the grounds from yesterday (gasp! I know, I'm lazy) and rinse the fatty cholesterol from the cone (yes, coffee has cholesterol), and grind my beans. All in the time it takes to heat the water. I should also note that I usually set my pot on a square oven mit while brewing and also use one to handle my kettle. I did not picture that here.
My biggest problem now is keeping the coffee hot while I drink it. I think I need a cozy for my coffee pot. I have tried putting it in the oven at 200F (ouch), putting on the gas cook top vent while I cook breakfast (which does work), but I usually resort to pouring it out into travel cups. My pot fills 2 travel cups and a mug, about 40 oz. The travel mugs keep the coffee hot for my spouse, who tends to roll out of bed hours after me and walk out the door 15 minutes later.

There you have it. Simple, cheap and WAY more enjoyable than any drip cup of coffee that you have ever had. Go buy those Yirgacheffe beans now - they won't be a waste of money. You will taste the difference now. Folgers if for your drip machine, though I wonder what they would be like through the cone....

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