Morning Ritual

I have the type of job that varies day-to-day. Most days, I’m fighting my way on the Q train with the rest of the Astoria commuters. Other days? I work from home, prepping for a dinner party gig, writing or devising client menus. It’s a funny existence, but somehow I make it work. Despite of the inconsistency, one thing that remains constant is my morning routine. Of course, I’m talking about coffee. I’ve gone through many phases when it comes to my morning cup, from my college Dunkin’ Donuts runs, Park Slope Keurig days, midtown Starbucks addiction and now, freshly-ground / pour-over / cold brew / almond milk…thing. It’s trendy to complicate coffee. Latte and cappuccino drinks are great, but day-to-day, I keep it pretty simple.

Here are the basics to get you started:

  • Purchase a coffee grinder. This is the one I have. There are ones that are probably better, but this one costs $20 and does the job. Full disclosure: Christmas gift from Santa.
  • Invest in good coffee. You are already saving money by brewing at home, so buy a good freshly-roasted coffee (whole bean, of course). I like beans from Cafe Grumpy, Stumptown and Dallis Bros. I’m working my way through some from Trader Joe’s right now; I wanted to experiment to see if there was a difference. There is.
  • Grind your beans right before you make your coffee. Essential step.

I brew hot coffee without a coffee machine. I do this because I have one power outlet and limited counter space in my kitchen, and only drink one cup at a time. My trick? The single-cup coffee filter. I bought this drip cup at The Brooklyn Kitchen for $3.50. Life. Changing. Here’s how you do it:

  • Place a coffee filter lined drip cup over your mug. My coffee liners are a little too big; you can get ones that fit perfectly. Add a good amount of freshly-ground coffee (I use about a heaping quarter-cup)
  • Pour boiling water over your coffee (pros suggest using filtered water and a gooseneck kettle but, yeah, I don’t do that). I pour the water in about 4 installments, peeking under the drip cup to check.
  • Remove the drip cup and throw out the liner and grounds. Enjoy your piping hot, perfect cup of coffee.

Multiple coffee-drinkers in the house (or you just really need a full pot)? Here’s a great description of the Chemex method.

Oh and when I feel fancy, I like to hang out at Sweetleaf – get their lemon-basil sugar cookie – and The Queens Kickshaw – coffee AND craft beer AND grilled cheese. Mind = blown.

Tomorrow, it’s all about cold-brew. Let’s get jittery!

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