Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Coffee Crazed

For those of you who think I'm a wee bit obsessive about those roasted beans and the beverages they produce, I want you to read the following bits and pieces of my thoughts on coffee, as my aim is to further my claim that I'm not just a wee bit obsessive about coffee, but that I'm incredibly and ridiculously in love with coffee.

In its purest and best forms, coffee should not need additives, such as milk or sugar, in order to be enjoyed. If anything, such additives mask the naturally-occurring sugars which are present in a high-quality, well-roasted bean, and were originally used to hide defects in lesser-quality beans or bad roasts. In the end, a good cup of coffee ought to be able to stand on its own, without the aid of additives, and will have flavors that are downright enjoyable.

Get a good grinder. If anyone is serious about good coffee, they'll pay attention to their ability to grind freshly-roasted coffee to an even grind that is appropriate for whatever brewing method is being employed. The reason for this is that over or under-extraction will occur if coffee is not evenly ground, which can result in sour or bitter flavors being extracted out of an otherwise perfectly good bean. What does a good grinder consist of? At the very least, start with a conical burr grinder. Be warned, however, as they can be pricey!

Chew your coffee. I'm serious. No, not the beans or the grounds, though this would be acceptable, too. When you sip your coffee, make sure it's cool enough to rest on your tongue, then actually chew on the coffee with your molars. As you do this, be sure to breathe in and out through your nose, paying particular attention to the scents you'll pick up as you breathe out. If what you're drinking is any good, you'll take notice. Trust me. If it's not, well, I didn't tell you to drink anything from the folks in the green aprons. Woops...low blow.

A good barista cares about what he or she is serving you, and he or she wants feedback. Tell the person behind the counter if the drink isn't up to snuff. Are the shots sour? Bitter? Did they nail the pull so perfectly that they can hang up their apron for the day and go home? Tell them, and they'll appreciate it. If they don't, they don't belong behind the counter.

A cup of coffee is best when hot, right? Not necessarily. Various flavors emerge as the cup cools, and quite frankly, many of the most vivid and pleasant flavors will be present once the cup proceeds from warm to lukewarm to downright cool. Seriously. Think of it this way: different temperatures bring out different flavors.

posted by Bolo | 1:05 AM
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