As you emerge from your dream, your senses start warming up; first you hear that familiar hiss, snap burble, then that sweet aroma reaches into your nasal cavity, pulling open the shutters of your eyelids and the sheets lose just enough softness to allow you to pry your legs over the edge as you say a blessing for your spouse/partner/roommate/guy-who-invented-the-timer-on-your-coffee-machine.
Ah, yes, dear reader, as you may have guessed, this article is about brewing coffee.
Methods will vary, some from elaborate devices precariously balanced between heaven and hell and some simply caffeine delivery devices (CDD).
The other kinds? Well let’s just say there’s one or two that had to be developed from pure need.
Some poor Scandinavian soul had to use his own sock to filter the coffee through (probably one of those Finns, I have good intel that things get pretty wacky in the dark of the winters there).
And then there’s my buddy, Tim, crowned “The most Caffeinated Man in Canada” for having to bash his coffee beans (that we forgot to grind for him) into submission with the stock of his rifle on a hunting trip to make “Cowboy Coffee”.
Now that’s “True Grit”!
Let me take a moment to wax philosophical about camp coffee: for while boiling is undeniably the technically worst thing you can do to coffee beans, we all know that there is no better taste than that first cup of Joe straight from the Billy Pot, waking on a crisp morning in fresh mountain air.
My point is that while there are numerous ways of extracting the flavour from the bean, the best way is the one that does it for you.
The reason that your coffee bean provider will ask you relentlessly which method you use is, despite what all the cans said in the 50s, there is not a universal grind.
The flavour (and the caffeine) is extracted as the water flows past the coffee grounds. The faster the water goes by, the finer the grinds need to be to express their qualities.
No one likes to get past by and, when they do, they tend to be weak or bitter.
And I know some of you think we sit in judgement when we ask if you use a paper or permanent filter but, really, we just don’t want to see you have your filter plugging up with fine grinds and flowing out the top all over your counter in the morning.
We are compassionate to the need for ease of CDD in the mornings and realize that some people’s favourite brewing method is, yes, the café down the street on the way to work.
We see you bleary eyed and know that when you are ready to take that step, you will ask us for advice on how to get that same experience at home.
This consists of two major factors: good (de-chlorinated) water and using enough coffee (ground properly, if I haven’t made that point clear enough yet) for your brewing method.
Even the best coffee will taste like swill if these rules aren’t followed.
And for those who need to know, my preferred method is, after all these years, anyone who makes it for me!
Here’s mud in y’ur cup.
Zola Doré is the owner/roaster of Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters in Whitehorse. Comments and questions about coffee are welcome. Or you and your friends can join her in a coffee-tasting session. Find out more at www.yukoncoffee.com.