A Better Cup

Some Observations On Making Good Coffee

My daughter starts school an hour later now. Also, the last box that I received from Bespoke Post was coffee related and included a lovely French Press. These two events have given me the excuse to try to make better coffee in the morning. I’ve found the results OK so far but have come to realize that good coffee is an art that I need to work at. Which I’m fine with, actually. I’ve been open to suggestions and done some research on this but have come to realize that it is highly subjective and I just have to find the right process, measurements, and ingredients for me. That "good coffee" is a matter of personal taste and there is no right way.

For instance, despite my wife’s graciousness in giving my attempts at making a better cup of coffee this weekend a fair shot, it was discovered (by me at least) that she just plain likes coffee made in our old drip machine. And that is fine. As I said, the best lesson I have learned through this is that people like what they like.

I have found for myself that I never add sugar to good coffee. With coffee I make in the drip maker I almost always do. It’s too bitter otherwise. Because of this, my standard has become "Would sugar make this better?". I’ll know that I have reached a better cup for me when the answer is consistently "no".

This morning, I dug out my Aeropress. I have likely not used it in a couple of years. Yet, inspired by my coffee research and new found time, I decided to give it a spin. Yesterday, I purchased some Honduran beans recommend by the coffee shop I frequent. The results were excellent. A really good cup of coffee. Smooth, rich, and flavorful. No sugar needed.

My friend Garrick once interviewed Twin Cities coffee expert Jeremy Raths of The Roastery for his podcast on the subject of brewing the prefect cup. I find it interesting that, right off the bat, he pretty much summed up the subjective nature of the perfect cup. That one can only judge what seems best to them. That it is not for others to say.

One of the other things mentioned in that podcast is that most coffee is touched by over 80 people before it gets to you. From the planting, to the growing, to the picking, etc. At any point along the way, any one of those people could screw the whole thing up. When it reaches you, you are holding the work of 80 people who did their best. They didn’t screw it up.

That’s all I want from a better cup of coffee. To do my best and not screw it up. I’m getting there.

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