Those five little words I love to hearNot sure that I’m speaking for everyone, but one of my favorite phrases is “would you like a coffee?” I wonder if it’s just because it’s Friday, but I felt a real need to post about coffee today. Maybe it’s because I’m only just having my second coffee for the day, or possibly it’s just because I have been on a real go-slow all day, but I feel like I’m really NEEDING it today, the brain just doesn’t seem to be functioning right.
Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.~Stephanie Piro
We are so spoilt for choice for places to go out for coffee in Wellington, but if you are a coffee snob like me, you’ll probably be pretty fussy as to who you’ll give your patronage to. Lets be honest, there are some places in Wellington (& for that matter around the country) that really aren’t up to scratch, and obviously haven’t trained their staff right, and should most definitely NOT be serving coffee (ok – rant over).
I know there is an art to making coffee, I have had a home grade espresso machine for the last 10 years, it takes practice to get it right, believe me I have had a LOT of practice. There are a few things that you need. A GREAT conical burr grinder, the right blend of beans (this is totally down to your personal taste) and patience.
One needs to make sure they don’t over-extract the coffee, that’s when you get that horrible bitter taste. One also needs to get the milk to that perfect temperature where the jug is too hot to touch on the bottom, but once you pour it into your cup to drink, you can drink it straight away without burning your tastebuds on your tongue or blistering the roof of your mouth. Don’t rush the pour of the milk, go slowly and jiggle the jug as you go. If you are heating soy, don’t burn it, yuck!
If you have your coffee white, the shot goes in first then the milk. If it’s a long black the water goes in first and the shot is floated on top. The longer the shot is extracted the more cafine is extruded, but don’t forget that fine line between the perfect amount of caffiene and the over-extracted coffee. Depending on how you like it you need to stop the extraction either as or just before the pour goes blonde. It’s best to tamp the coffee once so you don’t get layers, but also enough so it just drips out rather than streaming out of the group handle. You may also need to adjust the grind of your coffee depending on he humidity.
Decaffeinated coffee is kind of like kissing your sister.~Bob Irwin
A lot to think about and a lot of factors to go wrong/right, but eventually you get the hang of it. Trust me, I’m by no means perfect, I’ve had my epic fails when it comes to making coffee, but most of the time it’s fairly decent.
So all this reinforces the point that yes I am fussy when it comes to coffee. When my husband and I went on our honeymoon around the South Island, we went two weeks without a decent coffee, not for the lack of trying. It was torture!! Eventually we found this amazing little cafe in Takaka of all places, great coffee, great food, the company was pretty decent, equilibrium restored. These days when we go camping, we take our stovetop coffee maker, to ward off those nasty coffee headaches that seem to start around lunchtime if some of that delicious magic in a cup hasn’t been consumed.
Interestingly enough, if you go into different supermarkets around the country to by beans or grinds, you’ll more than likely bump into the local brands, always nice for a change. In our house we tend to stick to one of three brands, all Wellington brands of course , Havana, Mojo or Coffee Surpreme, and all either fair-trade or real-trade.
The Italians are big on their coffee, I believe the coffee etiquette is order cappuccinos before 11 and then after that its espresso all the way. I have my own rule. I’m a flat white/latte girl depending on the time of the day, however if I’m somewhere new and I need a coffee, it’s a mocha (the chocolate distracts the possible badly extracted brew). Snob much?
Here is the machine that I have been wanting to purchase for the last five years. Unfortunately every year that goes by the price seems to increase, and I just can’t justify it. However when I go back to work, it may just have to be one of the toys that we buy.
Have I made my point? I LOVE coffee, and am reasonably passionate about it. It’s up there with food and wine for me. And why not combine them? I quite enjoy my coffee flavored food. Coffee desserts, coffee cakes, chocolate coated coffee beans, coffee liquors.
There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be posting more about coffee in some shape or form at some stage soon, but for now I’ll leave you with the following;
The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.~Oliver Wendall Holmes, Sr.