I do not like the thought of going through a day without coffee. I love drinking it, but I have also become infatuated with making it. Weighing out the coffee beans, grinding them, weighing out the water, and slowly pouring water in a circular motion from the inside out have all made for a ritual I have come to love over the last year.
Learning to make coffee and learning to enjoy it has been a very long process. I did my compulsory stint at Starbucks, but I did not enjoy coffee then. Years later, I only drank the stuff as an energy boost and took very little delight in its flavor. I consumed more and more of the stuff through grad school. After graduation, the consumption declined, but it did not stop. When my wife and I bought our first house, I finally had some room to let my coffee wings spread out some and I took to cold brewing, modifying a method my father-in-law was using. In December, after I received my first Chemex and coffee grinder I transitioned to following this recipe from Counter Culture Coffee for Japanese style iced coffee and I have not looked back.
I have learned a lot about coffee in the last year, but then last week I picked up an issue of the New Yorker from 2011 and read a fascinating article. I learned that I still have a lot to learn about coffee. For example, for best results when the cherry is picked from the tree, it is twisted off, not plucked. (I’ll remember that next time I am picking cherries in El Salvador.) And, we are in what is called the third wave of coffee consumption. Furthermore, the coffee snobs of the third wave lament the ancient ways of making coffee, which originated in Ethiopia. Only now, in this era, is coffee growing and brewing coming close to the true potential of the fruit.
The article is “Sacred Grounds” and it was wonderfully written by Kelefa Sanneh. I highly recommend reading it, even if you are not obsessed. Maybe you will be once you finish.