Having had a conversation with a friend this morning, regarding Christmas dining and preparation, it got me a little bit into the spirit.
Well, not really. But, that’s beside the point.
Anyhow, after wracking our brains on choices for antipasto (sorry, couldn’t spell the French term for it), turkey spices, and all that good stuff, we eventually arrived at the topic of dessert. Now, I’m not very particular about desserts. I’ll eat pretty much anything with sugar and/or dairy in it. So, I didn’t have much to say on the topic. But, dessert beverages are a different story. For me, anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggnog (spiked or otherwise), hot cider, or whatever. But, I’m simple, and I usually just opt for a good cup of joe, instead.
Well, we went on and bickered about how it is/it is not boring to simply use the beat up, old coffee-drip brewer. But, come on, it’s Christmas. Do something special, for Jesus’ sake! 🙂 So, I recommended, if only for the occasion, what I’ve been using for the past fifteen years to brew my own coffee in… the lowly and humble French Press (Bodum only. No skimping, please)!
Maybe, I’ve been living in the wrong century but, I realize that, to this day, the press is still not a very popular way of brewing one’s favorite java beans. Perhaps, it’s just a meager low-tech device lost in a crowd of auto-ultra-super-cyber-futuristic devices we’re so used to trusting with our very lives, these days. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it in kitchens, just gathering dust up in the cabinets, for years. Although, I will take a guess, that the most popular way to do it, in this day and age, is to stand in line at the nearest Starbucks counter. Every single morning!
A very expensive shortcut, indeed. Thanks, but no, thanks.
Most coffee houses brew their coffee, espresso style. As far as I know, anyway. So, if you wish to replicate that same coffee house cocktail (latte, macchiato, etc.), don’t think you can get away, easily, with an el-cheapo espresso machine. I’m no coffee nerd, by any stretch, but I have virtually travelled a big part of the coffee-making world to get a clue on what’s good, what’s bad and what’s ugly. I love espresso. But, to make it at home, the way it’s supposed to be made, I would have to sell my car. Hey, if you’re going to get one, go for the glory. Or, better keep your hands off your pocket.
This brings me back to what I was talking about, earlier. The French Press. A simple person just wants a good cup of joe. Now, simple and good doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, all the time. I told my friend, that it’s way cheaper than an espresso machine, and much simpler to use, but still, not quite that simple. You still have to have a good, yet expensive conical burr grinder. Now, I don’t have one, because I’d rather not miss payments on my monthly bills. I still use a blade grinder, but I don’t mind the sludge it causes to lay at the bottom of my cup. I still get an excellent flavor as long as I coarse-grind only when I need to; and the grounds/water ratio, water temp and brewing times are correct. Now, I’m not going to elaborate on the details. There are enough connoisseurs out there blogging about their own method, already. Go, do a search. But, I would recommend brewing your beans using this old-fashioned method. And, discover what flavors you’ve been missing, all this time.
Okay, if you’re really into espresso, a good, yet cheap way, is to use one of those stove-top percolators. I used to have one, but I accidentally left it in the stove to burn, a few months ago. So…
Oh yeah… use whole bean French Roast. None of them bag o’ Christmas Blends, please! Let your dessert do the sweetening.
Merry Christmas, everyone. 🙂