Thursday, January 27, 2005

An ode to a cup o' joe

This morning I made the best cup of coffee I've had in a while. Normally, I don't have coffee in the morning, mostly because my coffee-making ritual involves a lot of song-and-dance kind of things that I just don't have time to do before work. But this morning I was tired and needed the jolt.

(Thanks to Julie* and her ex-boyfriend, I'm something of a coffee snob. I have my own "blend" - a combo of Continental Dark, Huehuetenago (pronounced "way-way-ten-an-go"), and Paradiso, all from the Second Cup - that I grind myself in a fancy schmancy coffee grinder. I must use fresh, cold water and let it sit for a few seconds after it boils because boiling water will burn the coffee and change the flavour. (Water for tea, on the other hand, must reach a rolling boil, meaning it's been boiling for a short time, to be the optimum temperature.) I also have a French press coffee pot, which I like better than pretty much all coffee makers on the market. Besides, it's easier to brew half a pot with it.)

The key is using enough coffee ground at the right coarseness for your coffee maker. For example, a coffee maker uses a medium grind, while a French press requires a coarse grind. I also like my coffee (and tea, for that matter) to be strong. Like, really strong. Strong enough to stand up and fight against a sea of weaker beverages and give them such a beating that they crawl away thinking to themselves, "Well, that wasn't fun. I don't think I'm going to be doing that again anytime soon."

(Which, to get sidetracked for a second, is why I don't like chamomile or chai or most green teas. They aren't strong enough, and there's no way to get them strong enough. Besides, they tend to get really harsh if you let them steep for too long.)

What you put in the beverage is just as important. Most people make a funny face when you tell them you like evaporated milk in your coffee, but that's how my parents drank it when I was growing up, and that's how I'll take it if I can get it. Otherwise, I like to take it with homogenized milk. No sugar, but I will occasionally use raw sugar if it's been sitting around for a while.

(Another side note, I absolutely refuse to use honey in my tea unless I'm sick, and then I'll use it with lemon. Honey is waaaay too sweet and I find that it weakens the flavour of the tea. Part of the reason I don't like chai tea is because the first time I had it, the person making it put honey in it without asking me if I wanted any. If that's the way it's supposed to be made, then I probably won't be going out of my way to try it again.)

So, the coffee I had this morning was heavenly, and it really did the trick. Too well, I'm afraid. The strong coffee, coupled with the cup of tea I had after lunch, meant that I had the attention span of a hummingbird all day long. I couldn't focus for more than 30 seconds on one task before I'd get distracted by something else.

Gee, I think I'll go make myself another cup...

*No Julie, this isn't a hint that you need to update your blog. I understand that becoming a member of the OLA and signing up to go to the conference next week took a lot out of you, so you're off the hook. For now... (I'm kidding!)