Wednesday, March 07, 2007


can foodies learn about coffee?

hi, food blogs. i heartily welcome you to the specialty coffee family.

still, every now and then, issues with foodies and coffee arise in the blogosphere. and this week has been one of those times: my inbox has been filled with links to megnut and also to the site she links to, kitchen.

even the most well-intentioned foodies don't know about coffee, just as most chefs don't; i'm unclear why this is, since they have largely managed to come to grips with wine.

perhaps that's it: with coffee there's just more to know than with wine and fewer resources to find out about it; wine is much easier than coffee.

i don't normally read these blogs, so thank you all for sending the links my way!

these bloggers are very nice, well-meaning people. i wish i could help clarify their coffee problems and straighten out their misinformation -- altho' to do the comments on the kitchen credit, most people are moving in the right direction, emphasizing grinding at home and freshness.

most americans don't know how to brew coffee at home, as surprising as that may sound. most brew too weak, for the wrong time, and with too-cool water.

then they wonder why their coffee is thin and "bitter." and why dunkin coffee tastes so much better. . .

luckily the proper procedures for brewing french press (cafetiére) coffee at home are easy. the parameters are few, once you know them.

water temperature at between 195-205. water-to-coffee ratio: 17 to 1, or about 55 grams to 1 liter water (approx. 2 oz. fresh ground coffee to 33 oz. water), as on the coffee brewing control chart.

since tablespoons and measuring cups are of different sizes and often inaccurate, it's best, like most serious cooking, to make coffee by weight. i find that if i show people how to do this once, they can then eyeball it ever after with ease.

the common advice of 1 tablespoon coffee per cup of water makes blumenkaffe, the german term i've heard in europe for weak coffee (sometimes so weak you can see the flowers painted on bottom of the china cup through the brew!)

because most americans innocently interpret a "cup" to mean 8 oz., not 5 oz. and when you say tablespoon, who knows what kind of soup object they fish outta the drawer.

long-time readers know my entire french press core dump is famously here. it is completely in the bounds of the scaa guidelines, which is how dunkin, the mermaid, and peets make their coffee.

in short, it's the pro rules of coffee scaled for home! so good luck, food bloggers!

may you learn to brew coffee properly and perhaps even cup!

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posted by fortune | 6:42 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 4 comments

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