Sunday, September 29, 2013

Coffee Fix

My favorite cup of joe in my favorite mug

Happy International Coffee Day!

Have you heard of it? I hadn't, but being the coffee lover that I am, I just had to look into this phenomenon, which I suspected might just be a ploy by the Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leafs of the world to get more people to partake of a jolly cup o' joe. Actually, there really is an origin story, dating back to 1983 in Japan; you can read about it at Wikipedia. And yes, there's a promotional aspect, but also a humanitarian goal--to focus attention on fair trade coffee growers. But back to my personal love affair with coffee. For me, every day is Coffee Day, international or not. I can't seem to do without it, although two or three, possibly four cups a day is about my limit--and usually imbibed no later than 2 or 3 p.m. Insomnia is not my friend.

This morning, on the way back from a morning walk, my husband and I stopped in to Peet's Coffee in Manhattan Beach.

"Their coffee's usually too strong," I told my husband, thinking I might toddle next door to Noah's.

"Too strong?" snorted the man in bike shorts sitting at the table next to ours, looking at me like I must be an alien from outer space. I launched into a spiel about how ultra-strong coffee--the kind that makes me pour in large amounts of milk to dilute it, making the coffee too cold to drink--disagrees with me. That started a discussion on the relative merits of strong, weak and in-between coffee. I like mine "normal." For me, that means smooth, with not too much of an edge, which is also the way I like my wine, without much astringency--i.e., tannin. However, my Peet's table neighbor liked his java straight and strong. For him that's normal. My cup of Peet's, which I eventually ordered, diluted with some hot water and a generous amount of skim milk, wasn't bad.

Still, I must admit, my favorite cup of joe is my own home brew. At the risk of sounding like an ad for the devices I use, here's how I make it: single-cup cone filter  (brown if you can get it) in my Hario v60 ceramic coffee dripper, a scoop of Peet's Major Dickinson's Blend, ground for a few seconds in my faithful Krups electric grinder, with boiling water splashed over the grounds until the mug is filled. Hmm, it's 2:41--think I'll have another cup!

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