brew me!

The coffee I bought from the co-op last week came in a bag with instructions printed on the side. Six bullet points for making a perfect cup of coffee:

– Rinse your paper filter.
– Grind 15 grams of coffee.
– Heat water to 205 degrees.
– Pre-wet the coffee grounds, pouring water in a circular motion.
– Allow the coffee to ‘bloom’ for 30 seconds.
– Slowly pour 8 ounces of water over the coffee grounds

I *suppose* you could do it that way. I do it slightly differently, naturally.

For instance, “rinse your paper filter.” Who does that? How? I’m pretty sure it would fall apart like tissue paper. And why? I guess they want you to end up with the most refined cuppa possible, untainted by whatever contaminants might have become part of the filter during manufacture & packaging, but wouldn’t rinsing the filter in anything but distilled water result in further contamination? Tap water would certainly introduce chlorine, fluoride, minerals, and might even introduce lead and a host of other toxic metals, although if that’s one of the problems in your city, then brewing a perfect cup of gourmet coffee is probably not high on your list of concerns.

Are people measuring their ground coffee in *grams* now? That’s really a thing? Who has a scale that measures in grams? (Coffee snobs, that’s who.) I had to google it to find out that 15 grams is about a half-ounce. That doesn’t sound like a lot of coffee grounds to me but, honestly, I don’t know for sure because I make coffee by the pot, and I measure it by the tablespoon. Five tablespoons of beans go into the grinder and whatever comes out, that’s what gets brewed. It’s probably all wrong, but that’s the way I like my coffee.

The funny thing about heating water to 205 degrees is – and I hate to admit this – I went to a short presentation a couple years ago where a couple of guys who roast coffee beans for a living told us how to brew a perfect cup of coffee, and they swore that getting the water any hotter than 190 degrees would only bring out the bitter acids, or something. I forget exactly. I think it was acids. But I remembered the 190 because I’ve been brewing with water heated to 190 degrees ever since. And yet here are directions from another coffee roaster who says it should be 205 degrees. So now I don’t know who to believe. Maybe I should just go back to boiling the water. Or maybe I should try cold-brewing. I’m so confused!

What’s the difference between wetting coffee grounds and “pre-wetting” them? Anybody? Anybody? What are you doing when you “pre-wet” the grounds? Are you wetting them before you get them wet? What does that even mean? How are you saying that without hurting yourself? I want to explode when I hear people use language this way.

That said, I do wet the coffee grounds before I fill the cone with hot water. It’s something I learned from brewing beer: I want the grounds to form a bed in the bottom of the cone (the pour-over cone at the top of the pot, lined with a filter) instead of floating on top of the water, which they tend to do if you fill up the cone all the way up from the get-go. That way, the water extracts maximum coffee goodness from the grounds on its way out through the bottom of the cone. So: wet them down, wait a minute or so (that’s the “bloom” in the next bullet point), and then when you fill the cone up, the grounds (most of them) will sink to the bottom, forming a bed. MAXIMUM COFFEE GOODNESS!

I admit, I do use a circular motion when I’m wetting the coffee grounds. I also use a back-and-forth motion. Whatever it takes to make sure the grounds are thoroughly waterlogged so they’ll sink to the bottom of the cone. I circle in a counter-clockwise direction (“anti-clockwise,” if you speak British English). If you live in the southern hemisphere, maybe you’d have to use a clockwise motion? I’m not sure; I’m just throwing it out there.

And then I fill up the cone as many times as it takes to fill the pot. Usually twice. Sometimes three times, if it’s the weekend and I’m pouring coffee into cups as I’m brewing. My Darling B won’t wait long for her morning cuppa and if I dawdle, she stumbles around the kitchen blindly searching for it, threatening to hurt herself, so I sometimes sneak the cone off the pot after filling it twice, pour a couple of cups, then restore it to top off the pot with the second runnings (see beer brewing again) once B has been satisfied.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s