The Perfect Cup of Coffee
It’s a little after 7am. Outside, the wintry scene that began unfolding yesterday evening is slowly awakening with the sun’s first illuminating rays, yet here in the comfort of my artificially lit office, the day is already underway with a punctual start. There’s a small, white cup carefully placed atop a decorative coaster on my desk, & the beverage that fills it to the brim is a strong, deep black liquid cloaked with a golden caramel-colored foam, otherwise known as crema. A creature of habit, the steaming ceramic of Americano that stands before me will be the first of two, & while I’m almost always able to function pre-caffeine when the alarm sounds at 5am, I can & will confess that there’s nothing quite like those initial sips of my first cup of joe. This is my morning ritual & it gives me life.
A large-scale commodity enjoyed all over the world, it is thought that the combined global population consumes over 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day. With over 81% of America’s coffee enthusiasts drinking their java at breakfast in 2018, the world’s second most traded good by volume is undeniably an integral part of the nation’s morning tradition. Proven to temporarily increase wakefulness & leave coffee consumers feeling more alert, it’s no guarded secret as to why millions of Americans choose to begin their day with this highly caffeinated beverage. For many, the effects of caffeine are a necessity to jumpstart their routine & a crucial step in arriving for work bright-eyed & bushy-tailed. For some, sourcing their breakfast brew from a nearby coffee shop is a weekday custom & the very act of visiting the barista before the real daily grind commences is uplifting in itself. For others, popping a brightly-hued plastic pod inside the whirring machine set upon the kitchen counter is paramount, followed by racing out the front door clutching a travel mug filled with society’s favorite pick-me-up. Coffee culture manifests itself in numerous ways all over the United States & despite sharing a unanimous love for the roasted seed of the coffee fruit, it’s consumption is widely diverse.
In our coffee-appreciative domiciliary, we have firmly adopted the great American custom of starting each day with a cup or two of the good stuff. Once upon a time, our combined British & Turkish roots meant morning’s began with piping hot breakfast tea, & although my husband & I typically opt for tradition when visiting England or Istanbul, here in the United States we’re undeniably passionate about coffee. Home brewers without hesitation, we invested in an all bells & whistles coffee machine six years ago when we first moved into our Virginian townhouse. Since then, barely a day goes by where our Breville Espresso Machine remains silent. It’s a permanent fixture of our morning routine, brewing on average three bold, hot, strong cups of Americano before 9am. More recently, my coffee-devoted husband took his enthusiasm one step further, investing in a home roaster after several intriguing conversations with a friend who began purchasing raw beans several years ago. It’s a relatively new venture that’s most certainly added variety to our coffee ritual, as well as a distinctly unmistakable aroma to emanate from our garage every weekend. (I’m convinced the nearby residents now wonder where the new neighborhood coffee shop is). Keen to appreciate the characteristics & individual nuances of the raw coffee beans he roasts, we now turn to our Chemex carafe for a slower, more appreciative brew on Sundays. With all that being said, however, when time & patience simply don’t allow for a more refined brew, I’m quite content satisfying my need for caffeine with a cup of joe from one of America’s much-loved & splendidly convenient coffee chains. In fact, it’s admittedly a guilty pleasure I intentionally fulfill every once in a while.
Despite the many ways we enjoy our coffee, the truth of the matter is simple; my husband & I are very much a part of the 81% of American coffee consumers sipping their caffeine at breakfast. Whether it’s beans from Brazil thoughtfully roasted, bloomed, & poured over to perfection, or a daily cup of engine oil from Dunkin’ Donuts, coffee is America’s morning ritual, keeping us fueled & fired on a daily basis.
A Perfect Pour Over
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: Yields two cups of coffee
40g coffee beans
Heat fresh water to 200°F / 93°C. To reach the correct temperature, allow water to boil then let stand for 30 seconds.
Place the paper filter into the carafe cone & rinse with hot water. This step not only warms up the carafe, but helps to eliminate any paper residue that may affect the end result of your pour over.
Measure 40g of roasted coffee beans & grind to the coarseness of sand. Grinding the beans right before you brew is important as fresh coffee begins to oxidize soon after it is ground. Keep in mind the coffee grinds will continue to lose their distinct aroma & flavor the longer you wait to brew them.
Discard the hot water used to rinse the paper filter & place the carafe on a scale with the damp filter inside the cone. Add the ground coffee to the filter, then zero out or “tare” the scale. Pour just enough hot water to saturate the ground coffee in a spiral motion (approximately 80g), then wait 30 seconds. This step is known as the bloom pour, which helps with even extraction.
After waiting 30 seconds, resume pouring the hot water over the ground coffee until the scale reaches 640g. Pour in a spiral motion to begin with & then straight down, keeping the coffee saturated from start to finish.
Remove the paper filter from the carafe, swirl gently then pour into cups & enjoy!