Barista Savant

Hi. Me again.

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Scott. Scott’s the name. There won’t be a quiz or anything, I just wanted to remind you. If you’ve read previously, you know that in the world of Quality Coffee, I am what is technically known as a “Dork.” Yvette of Klekolo took pity upon me and delivered unto me salvation in a little box. In the weeks hence I have become a single-cup Brewin’ Fool (also a technical term).

Now, the path to enlightenment was not without its potholes. I stared for a little while at the lovely bags full of beans. It was intimidating, being entrusted to the care and well-being of the process to turn them beans into hot coffee goodness. Mercifully, there were instructions, but I get anal retentive when intimidated, and overly literal. I got the important info, things like 1/4-cup of beans to 8 oz. of water, or 1/3-cup to 16 oz., but, though I knew I was supposed to grind them (I’m not THAT dense!) (Hush!), Yvette didn’t say HOW MUCH! I have a nice little grinder, a Black & Decker, a good power tool for a Man-Kitchen. I suspect that these devices can be used to reduce matter to constituent atoms and beyond. I had to clean some micro-fine dust that was once coriander out before I could think to let one precious bean touch its innards. In fact, I wiped the inside of the grinder with a vinegar/water mixture to be sure the coffee wasn’t tainted with spice. Then I wiped the vinegar out with water. Three times. Anal, I’m telling you.

Now, if you press and hold this thing, there’s powdered coffee in about 30 seconds. As fine as baby powder. Didn’t seem right to me. So I ask. Sand, granular, but not too granular. Okay, I can dig it, and I think that I hit upon the secret. Pulsing. When I do this right, I can feel when the beans are broken up and if I stop at the right time, there is no powder stuck to the bottom of the grinder bowl. Kind of self-cleaning. So then my beauty grind is dumped into the filter lining the brew cone. Mmmm… craftsmanship!

Water is boiling and I know from past excursions into GoodCoffeeLand, water should be not quite at boiling temp for best results. But that’s okay, you see, I went all anal-retentive, remember? So I have a 2-cup Pyrex® measuring cup at the ready, and I’ve tested with water to make sure my chosen vessel accepts 16 oz., which it does. Said vessel is also filled with the hottest tap water to pre-warm. When I want a cup of hot coffee, “hot” is as operative a word as “coffee.” I’m a follower of the Winston Wolf school of thought, lotsa cream lotsa sugar, so after warming, in goes the half-and-half and two level teaspoons of sugar. Sue me if you wish, but I am Canadian and this it the land of the Timmies double-double (yes, this is code in Canada-speak). Let’s pause for a moment, shall we?

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Okay, I feel better now.

When the water boils, I dispense 16 oz. into the measuring cup. Then comes the stressful part.

“Barely wet the grounds, let sit about 1 minute or 2, barely wet grounds again. You will see them bloom. Wait for it. Once they bloom you can pour the water over the grounds and let it drip.”

One minute or two? No way! One moment or two, that must be it. Bloom? BLOOM? Like frikkin’ FLOWERS? What?? Geez, I’m in over my head why did I think I could take this on? How wet is barely wet? With the measuring cup going in kind of a circular motion I try to wet all the grounds – barely – but I get basically a wet curlicue in the middle of dry grounds. I pour some more, trying to get the rest of the grounds – barely – however I still don’t think I’m doing it right, so screw it, I pour the rest of the water in, swirling it around to get everything, everywhere, wet. More than barely.

As it drips through I am pretty sure I’ve botched this, Yvette is going to take all my coffee back and the one cup I make is going to taste like rancid dishwater, because of my incompetence. Maxwell House is really all I deserve. Poorly made Maxwell House.

But… then I taste it.

Clouds broke (though it was already sunny), angels sang (despite the fact they are harpists), and my taste buds danced (even though they are, well, you know, attached to my tongue). This was a kick-ass cup of coffee. Way kick-ass. Way very mondo kick-ass, if that’s not overstating in a confusing way. The anal-ity subsided. I relaxed. I sat back. I could feel new hair growing on my chest. I became more suave, more sophisticated, more… more… well more of what I expected to be at this point in my life. The feeling lasted until my coffee was done. I waited a while. I made another. I was two-for-two. Holy moly. I rock this coffee thing. And if I can do it… there is hope for all.

Drinking: Café Mam

Listening: Rose Coloured Glasses – Blue Rodeo

3 thoughts on “Barista Savant

  1. Haha you had me laughing before Coffee.
    No wonder she took pity on you. Cream and Sugar omg just ruin the Cafe Mam why don’t you.
    Cafe Mam is the most earthy essence of pleasure on ones tongue. I Love the Mam!
    I predict by the time you have made it through your coffee journey you will like it black or with barely a dash of cream.
    I thought people from Canada drank tea.

    Like

    1. I thought people from the U.S. made sweeping generalizations about people from other countries. Oh wait.. (Shush, I’m TEASING!!!) Future blogs: My views on Cafe Mam, The Elitism of Blackness, and how Canada is more immersed in coffee in some ways than the U.S. Or not. I have a short attention span.

      Like

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