Thursday, July 17, 2008
Coffee - No Froth, No Fun
I’m as fussy about my coffee as I am about…well, everything. But you might be surprised at HOW I’m fussy. It’s actually not about the coffee itself…exactly. I have quite precise foaming requirements and if those are met, I can be quite happy.
Plus I was pleased to read recently that coffee may protect us from certain diseases and can actually be good for us...at least until the next study completely disproves it.
It’s being reported in this new study that coffee drinkers have a smaller rate of early death and they appear to have an elevated protection from heart disease compared with those who don’t drink it. Drinking caffeinated or decaf doesn’t matter. This would seem to fly in the face of those who believe that coffee belongs on the list of substances which should be banned. H, who gave up coffee years ago, are you reading this?
It’s hard to know what to believe, but for the moment I choose to believe that 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day is just fine. I do have a rebellious streak, though, and coffee-philes may be appalled by how I proceed every morning.
I don’t grind my own beans. I go through it quickly enough that I feel okay with that.
I store my coffee in the freezer. I don’t care what Juan Valdez says. I think it stays fresher there.
I don’t really care what kind of coffee it is, as long as it’s a premiere dark roast. I’m currently going through many bags (stored in the freezer) that H brought back from Colombia. Funnily, the brand is Juan Valdez.
I claim to hate Starbucks, because I find their coffee tastes burned rather than dark roasted, but I’ll buy it in the supermarket, if I've run out of the good stuff.
If I’m buying coffee from a fancy place, my customary blend is two thirds French Roast and one third Italian roast.
Foamed Milk is the whole point of my coffee. If I can’t have the foam, I drink tea.
The recipe: I use one and two third cups of cold water to five scant tablespoons of coffee in my coffee maker. I don't always drink quite that much every day, but it's too complicated to change my perfect ratio of coffee to water.
Oh wait, I haven’t finished with my dictums. I do occasionally make coffee on the stove in my cute espresso maker. It’s so good! BUT no matter how I make coffee, I always strain it through paper (NOT a gold filter). Filters seem to remove most of the cholesterol-boosting substances found in coffee.
Oh, one more thing…which may shock you. I turn off the coffee pot the second the pot has finished and, when I remember, I remove the grounds, BUT my second cup (NEVER after 3 pm) is from that same morning pot. Don’t judge me. I never reheat the coffee, I only heat the milk.
Okay, the coffee is made. Then I heat one cup of milk in the microwave for 3 minutes on high. (I have an old microwave, you may not need that much time.) I remove the skin from the top of the milk. THAT is a pain to clean off the frother. I pour the milk into my 15 oz mug, which gets too hot to put in the microwave for so long. I poured it in a glass so you could see how much I started with.
I use this foamer (which I keep in the stand of an old foamer, which was a different brand.) Unfortunately the Aerolatte doesn't come with a stand.
I foam the milk until it won’t get any foamier. See how much air I get in there.
The trick is to hold the foamer JUST under the top surface of the milk to incorporate as much air as you can. (You may not see it too well, because it's hard to do that and take the picture at the same time.) THIS is how much milk foam I end up with:
I don’t add sugar, but I swear the milk tastes sweeter after being foamed and the coffee tastes richer. Incidentally the more fat the milk has the less it foams (I use 1%) and the colder it is (see PS) the better it foams.
Then I pour the coffee right into the center of the foam. No stirring, ever. And that’s it...Mmmmm, good, really good.
Feel free to invite me over for coffee anytime. I’m easy, I always bring my own.
PS Iced coffee is really wild to make, because COLD milk foams so much more than hot milk. I put the milk in the bottom of the glass, often with a bit of crushed ice or a few cubes. I let the foamer rip and I get an entire glass of foam. This is what happens when I pour in the room temperature coffee. See?