My coffee habit

Posted by Aarti on January 30th, 2013 . Filed under: Uncategorized .

(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”?

Oh dear.

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?


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12 Responses to My coffee habit

  1. Lisa D.

    I am such a nerd about my morning routine.

    I get up at 6am, start my kettle, load my tea ball with lovely Taj Mahal brand tea (Must be Taj Mahal) and plop it in my mug.

    While the water is comming to a proper temp (185, and yes your barista friend is correct about water temp. I am a barista myself) I fire up. The old iPad and start checking my Facebook.

    Once the water comes to temp I fill my mug and allow it to steep for exactly 3 minutes. I even use a tea timer for this.

    After my 3 minutes I add a touch of milk and a pinch of sugar and settle down in my LivingRoom for some time in God’s word.

    Proof that I am a nerd about this. A few weeks ago my husband had a week off and I forbade him from getting out of bed until 7am.

  2. Heidi

    Your ritual sounds about the same as mine minus the fancy burr grinder. There is something about it.. taking some time for yourself at the start of the day. It’s the simple things, ya know? Especially on a snowy day like today!

  3. Carol Suzuki

    Aarti, is this the tea kettle you selected when you asked all of us for recommendations a year or two ago? I thought it sounded as if you were going to go with a Chantal at that time. Yours sure is aesthetically pleasing but, for me, function sometimes has to trump form. I tried to think about rituals I’m a nerd about, but then I realized they qualify more as neuroses than rituals…LOL!

  4. Melanie

    My coffee routine is not as involved as yours….I simply load a pod and press brew on my keurig, lol! But, I do take my morning coffee just as seriously. A good cup (or a bad cup for that matter) in the morning can have a huge impact on the day. By the way, I have the same sparkly gold placemat in the center of my dining table ~ love it! Wish your shows were on Food Network too.

  5. Denise

    I don’t have a coffee ritual, because I am a tea drinker! And since I am mostly down to one cup (well two because that one cup is so big!) I look forward to it every morning. My favorite loose tea Special International blend by Wagh Bakri, introduced to me by a former coworker who is from Gujarat. Milk, no sugar. And you aren’t nerdish at all! Routines are good things. :)

  6. jamie

    Hey! I stir with a chopstick too! Not just my cofee, but also any mixed drinks.

  7. Kara Hurt

    Your routine sounds about like my husband’s. He even has the same burr grinder!! He drinks his coffee black so he can taste it – we call him a coffee snob (in a good way). If you’re going to drink good coffee, you should taste and appreciate it! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Leanne

    Agree 100% on the four minutes in the french press rule. Perfect every time. The mug completes the experience. Favorites are one my best friend gave me about thirty years ago and one from my alma mater.

  9. Ambra Sancin

    My coffee ritual is pretty much the same except I use an Italian-type coffee pot called a ‘Napolitana’, which is a stovetop machine but is then inverted once the coffee boils. I feel very strongly about all the disposable cups being used by coffee drinkers and wrote so on my latest post on ‘The Good the Bad and the Italian’.

  10. Patty Noonan Knox

    Ah, bananas! How I hate to waste them. But if I’m not in the mood for banana bread when they are starting to get too ripe to eat raw, I get out my little pan, melt a knob of butter with brown sugar, grate in some nutmeg and add some fresh cardamom, slice the banana into the caramely goodness and splash in some Bacardi Gold rum. Then flame, which is not only for ambiance, but it adds finish to the effect of the caramel-banana marriage. Let the flame fade. Over vanilla ice cream or by itself, it soothes.

  11. Facebook Oven Mitt

    I used to drink a lot of cofee, both instant and real. For some reason i just lost interest to it, and for many years I drink coffee only occasionally. However, when I do, I prefer the turkish method.

  12. Sara

    I have the same kettle and discovered that if I tilt the handle to one side while it’s heating up, it’s perfectly fine to touch without an oven mitt when it’s done! Still haven’t found a trick for the cacophonous screeching, unfortunately.

    Just discovering you and your blog through Shauna at Gluten Free Girl… glad you exist!

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