(Note: I already wrote this post once. And set it to publish in a couple of days. And then it disappeared. SO ANNOYED. In any case, here I go again.)
In some ways, I am a creature of habit. I wasn’t always this way. But I suppose that since my life has changed now, and every day is different from the one before it, I cling to ritual more than ever before. There is something about the rhythm of it, the familiarity of it… it’s comforting, something like the sound of waves crashing… it makes me feel like everything is under control.
One of my rituals is making myself a pot of coffee every morning. But Lord, do I like to get caught up in the details. And while some of you may think my coffee-nerdiness a tad extreme, let me assure you that I am nothing, NOTHING, compared to some of the coffee nerds I’ve met. You know who you are. You carry beans, a grinder and a French press when you travel. Uh-huh. Now I’ve got your number.
Anyway, here’s a little walk through my morning bliss (read: madness), along with a new addition to the ritual. Which has of course taken my madness to a new level.
1) First, I boil the water. This is my Le Creuset kettle.
While I love most everything Le Creuset makes, this is not a favourite. I love how she looks — that colour, that curvaceous bod — but that whistle? It screeches. Anemically. It’s not a good sound. And the handle gets so hot that you have to use an oven mitt to grab the thing once the water has boiled.
Apart from that, she’s great. Hmph.
And here’s the first point of pedantic-ness: I don’t let the water come to a full boil. A friend of mine, Mandi, a professional barista, told me that the temperature of boiled water is a touch too hot for most coffee beans. So I do as she does: as soon as I hear the bubbles rattling against the bottom of the kettle, and a few wisps of steam floating out of the spout, I turn off the heat.
2) By this point, I’ve ground the beans in my burr grinder, which apparently grinds the coffee more evenly and without heating up the precious oils thereby compromising the coffee’s delicate flavours. I know.
I do 1/2 cup of beans (in rotation now, the beans roasted by my favourite coffee shop in the neighbourhood, Paper or Plastik) for a 34 ounce French Press. Coarse grind.
3) Next, I pour the grinds into the French press (which I sometimes warm with hot water so the coffee stays nice and hot). Then I cover with a little water, and stir with a chopstick. I don’t know why I do this.
I just do. Just call me Rain Man.
4) Now it’s time to add the rest of the water, pop the lid on and wait for exactly 4 minutes. Yes 4. It’s perfect.
You know what’s not perfect? The way this excruciatingly-crafted pot of coffee is just standing there, all by ‘er lonesome, exposed to the elements with nary a petticoat to her name.
5) Which is why, over the Christmas holiday, I knitted her a little sweater! Isn’t it cute? It took hardly any time, and given that I’m hardly a strong knitter, I loved that the design was essentially… a rectangle. I can wrap my minds around that.
Did I just say “minds”?
The original design calls for using buttons to hold the sweater together, but I can’t be bothered. So I’m using a particularly festive bedazzled safety pin, a remnant from my bellydancing days.
6) And that’s it! Now I just pour myself a cuppa, in a carefully-chosen mug (more on that in a couple of days!), no sugar, no milk — a relatively new development. Until just last year, I have always doctored my coffee to about my skin colour with a little sugar. But then the kind folks at Paper or Plastik pointed out that if I was going through the trouble of ordering such fine coffee, I should drink it black in order to truly taste all the notes. And so, this is now how I drink it.
It’s an awful lot of fuss I know. But I don’t buy designer handbags or shoes. This is my luxury, and given that I only have one cup of coffee a day, why not make it count, eh?
What rituals do you nerd out about?