Friday, December 26, 2008

Coffee Talk (Mechanics)

I'm clearly a coffee addict. I'm shamed to report that my French press coffee maker broke earlier this week and I reacted with the expected horror.

I've used this model since May of 2007. My settled procedure was to use two scoops of ground coffee, fill it up to the upper black band with hot (nearly boiling) water, and wait for 3 minutes. This made two cups of coffee and rich and full-bodied coffee. I'd immediately drink one--a very enjoyable coffee experience. I would sometimes drink the second in rapid succession, but would often wait a bit and usually found that it needed to be warmed up for 45 seconds in the microwave. Other times the second cup went to waste. The French press made a superior cup of coffee, but it was a bit of a pain to clean. Many of the spent grounds ended up down the kitchen drain, a situation with unknown future consequences.

Even though it served me well during its time, I was seriously putout by the failure of my BonJour Hugo French press. The mortal wound was the failure of a plastic piece holding the filter apparatus together. As a replacement, I decided to try a simple manual drip coffee cone system. I purchased this one that comes with a mug but fits on top of any cup.

Despite its unfortunate name I purchased the Ready Set Joe single cup brewer because it was easily available (purchased at nearby convenience store) and I remembered once wanting to try out this method for coffee making (I've owned a standard drip coffee maker with carafe before, but never the single cup cone system). I like the ability to make a single cup at a time as well as the ease of cleanup (just toss the filter and grounds--you can even get filters that will decompose).

My first time I made several mistakes that are easily avoided. Here is some advice that seems obvious, but isn't so clear when you groggy and suffering withdrawal symptoms. First, be sure to fold the number 2 filters on the bottom and side as indicated. Second, don't just pour all the water in at once--even if you don't over top the filter, it will lead to an overly quick brew and weak coffee. After a few trials I've found that it works well to pour the water in agonizingly slowly, let the volume drop as it filters through, and then slowly pour in more. I try to obtain a dynamic equilibrium for several seconds (perhaps 10-20, maybe longer), then stop the pour to let the remaining water flow through the cone. It may take some trials to get the total volume right, as overflowing the cup is an unfortunate result.

I hope to get be able to compete with the quality I got out of the french press by increasing the amount of coffee used per cup (to say 1.5 scoops), and perfecting my pour rate. The ease of cleanup is a big benefit, as is the single cup brewing ability. So far, I am tentavily satisifed with this simple coffee maker.

No comments:

Post a Comment