Sunday, December 18, 2011

7 Ways to Make Coffee at Home

Photo by Lotzman Katzman
Caffeine is a drug that often gets a bad wrap.  Hey, I give coffee a bad wrap!  But today I'd like to celebrate the benefits of coffee.

First, some fun facts I've heard recently:

I've been hiding the following gem of information from my caffeine addicted, instant coffee loving hubby. According to "Nutrition Diva", Monica Reinagel, M.S.,L.D./N...
It turns out that caffeine has a lot of positive health benefits and, despite what you may have heard, relatively few drawbacks.  People who drink coffee every day, for example, have a significantly lower risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s, colon cancer, gallstones, and Alzheimer’s disease. Now, that may not all be due to caffeine. Coffee contains a lot of volatile compounds and antioxidants that may have beneficial effects by themselves, or in combination with caffeine. Read or listen to the full article "Is Caffeine Bad for You? March 3, 2009"

In the November 26 episode of KCRW's Good Food (29 minutes in), Evan Kleiman interviews author Kevin Sinnott about the terms and implications of fair trade, direct trade, shade grown and organic coffees. Most of us have heard of "fair trade," but did you know "direct trade" benefits the farmers more? Did you know that coffee from many countries is organic for all practical purposes, but the farmers don't pay for certification?  Listen to the episode or check out the Kevin Sinnott's book to learn more.

Mike of Daily Shot of Coffee shares lovely pictures of coffee making devices and how they work in "10 Ways to Make Coffee."  The article "The 7 Ways to Brew Coffee" lists different grinds recommended for different methods - course to Extra fine.

In a celebration of coffee, I'd like to present a compilation of video tutorials of different coffee making techniques.  How do you like your coffee?

Swedish Coffee (AKA Egg or Lutheran Coffee) is great when you need to make coffee for a crowd or don't have a filter.  By boiling the coffee with a mashed up egg, shell and all, you get a clarified coffee with reduced acid. The protein binds to the coffee grounds as it cooks and the egg shells reduces the acid.  This traditionally makes a weak coffee that can be enjoyed cup after cup.  The video below shows the coffee made for a crowd, this video (click link) shows a single serving at home.  Both use the same technique.



Turkish Coffee (AKA Arab Style) and instant or NESCAFÉ are the most common ways coffee is enjoyed here in Israel, and probably throughout the Middle East.  Turkish coffee uses an extra fine grind and relies on the grounds settling to the bottom with the coffee poured from the top into small cups.  I like the method in this tutorial where the sugar is allowed to caramelize.  The pot is also pretty.  Turkish coffee is usually sweet and enjoyed for longer than a "shot" of espresso, which was designed for speed of caffeine delivery.




I recently purchased a French Press/Plunger.  They are inexpensive multi-taskers that take up little space in the kitchen.  This is a good way to make about two cups of quality coffee with some control over the strength of the brew.



My favorite methods are French Press and Pour-Over Drip Method.  I've made a pour-over dripper out of aluminum foil, making it the cheapest device for brewing.  In the pour-over method, it's best to pour boiling water through the empty filter to rinse it and warm the mug.  By the time you get the coffee in the filter, your water will be a more appropriate temperature.

Another device is a Neapolitan Flip Drip pot (pictured right).  It uses the same theory as the pour-over drip method, but uses an all-in-one device where the water can be heated over a burner.  After the water boils, the pot is flipped and the water drips through the coffee in the middle.  With both drip methods a finer grind produces a stronger brew.

If you like to watch science in action while waiting for your morning cup, you might like the Vacuum method.  The pots (left) are rather attractive, though I don't think they do anything besides make coffee.  They are too fragile and have to many pieces for my taste, but for the serious coffee connoisseur, it is a good choice.  It makes a clear cup that some say brings out the sweetness in the coffee.  The whole set up goes directly on the burner.  The water rises through the coffee as steam, then comes back down through the coffee grounds as the pot cools.  One benefit over  the simpler drip or French Press methods is that a separate pot to boil the water is not required.

The Good Eats episode "True Brew" (below) discusses how to make a GOOD pot or cup of American Style Drip Brew Black.  Another interesting episode is "Espress Yourself," about Espresso.



Other post you might enjoy:

Any coffee lovers on your gift list this season?  Below are some recommendations related to this post.


3 comments:

  1. That egg coffee method sure is weird! Have you tried it? Mazal tov and welcome back to blogging :-D

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't tried it, but I heard about it on the "Road Food" segment of The Splendid Table podcast. http://www.roadfood.com/Digest/377/swedish-egg-coffee

    ReplyDelete
  3. What's wrong with a good old percolator?

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