Avoid "Poppy raking with snakes" ...err... "Coffee making mistakes."
23 November 2009
This is my chair. I sit here and food magically appears in front of
me. That's good because I am helpless in the kitchen. I know
that big cold box is called a refrigerator and usually has food in it but
it's beyond me how to get that food onto my plate in a form that is
palatable. I'm very grateful for my wife and daughters because I'm
pretty sure they're the ones responsible for making the food magically
appear on my plate.
I don't know if it's related but I'm also not a big fan of cooking
shows. When channel surfing I usually skip right past the Food
Network. There is one show however that I will occasionally watch
and enjoy. That's Alton Brown's "Good Eats." I think he
does an excellent job of being both informative and entertaining.
I was extra pleased to discover that Alton has an entire episode about
coffee. Of course I'd prefer if he concentrated on Kona coffee,
specifically Kona Earth coffee, but you can't have everything.
Nevertheless, the show and accompanying recipe article, both titled
are entertaining and informative in typical Alton Brown style.
The very first sentence of the recipe article is "Buy quality whole
beans from a reliable purveyor." Of course I couldn't agree
more! Is there any better purveyance than buying directly from
the coffee farmer? Especially a farmer as charming, honest,
intelligent, hard-working and modest as myself? Ok, maybe I'm
lost in the kitchen but I do know a thing or two about growing Kona
Alton's next point is all about freshness. Again, a great reason to
purchase directly from the coffee farm. He advocates purchasing in
small, sealed foil bags with one way valves. At this point in the
video, Alton held up a bag just like ours (too bad it didn't have a Kona
Earth logo on it.) I've always claimed those bags keep the coffee
fresh for at least two months. Alton says three months so who am I
Alton also says:
"Grind coffee as close to brewing time as possible. For drip
method, grind in blade style grinder for 15 to 20 seconds. For French
presses, grind for only 10 to 12 seconds."
Yup. A fancy burr grinder can give you more accurate grinding but
a cheap blade grinder is fine for most of us.
"Regardless of method, brew using 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee
for each 6 ounces of clean (filtered or bottled), cool water. If you prefer
a milder cup, brew to full strength, and then dilute with hot water.
Brewing with too little coffee will result in over-extraction, and that
Exactly! What he said.
"When purchasing a coffee maker (either manual or electric), look
for a model that brews into a thermal carafe rather than a glass pot designed
to sit on a heating element. Continuous heating of coffee leads to
See, I'm not totally helpless in the kitchen, I already knew all that
stuff. Although I would have also added a bit about how most coffees
are over roasted. Many large corporate "coffee purveyors" roast the
heck out of their beans to hide the bitterness and inferior quality of their
low cost coffee beans. Hence, most Americans are used to over-roasted
coffee. It would be like eating nothing but burnt toast. A dark
roast can be good but a milder roast lets you taste the underlying coffee
better. Of course tasting the underlying coffee means you need
to start with good coffee.
Now where could you possibly find a reliable coffee purveyor with good
Kona coffee beans? Hmm, let me think for a second... <BAM!>
I know Alton Brown doesn't do that "<BAM>" thing, that's the other
cooking show dude. I wonder if he's ever done an entire episode on