So for many of us coffee is a part of our life whether we think about it or not!
The question do you want a coffee has probably already been said to you or by you today, even if only in your mind to yourself!
However, to start to pay more attention to what your cup of coffee contains can be the beginnings of a journey that gradually increases in intensity.
There was a point when – rather than using drip-filter by accident (i.e. without realising) or french press because it sat there (thinking it was just a cafetiere: which of course it is!) – the idea of hand-brewing coffee became more than a means to an end, it became an enjoyment in itself!
This is a slow coffee making process to savour: not perhaps the best method to use if you’re in a rush!
But this is where a real enjoyment in coffee making started for me and my wife. The process of thinking about the coffee and what it was doing as you were making it became interesting, and the time taken in the pour-over coffee making started to be a relaxing routine.
Starting with the same ground coffee we were using from the supermarket, we enjoyed “blooming” the coffee by pouring a small amount of hot water for about 15 seconds to let the Coffee grounds swell; then pouring hot water gradually over the coffee for another 2 to 3 minutes whilst seeing gasses from the coffee bubble up a little.
The aroma from the coffee when making it, as the coffee interacts with the hot water and then drips though, adds to the pleasure – and this is heightened because of the slow process of the pour-over coffee making. We found that the coffee was much more pleasurable as black coffee than we had ever experienced before: which then took us to a new place in coffee appreciation.
My weekend coffees in the noughties facilitated then by supermarket bought ground coffee – of such better quality than my weekday ones facilitated by instant coffee – were also made to a better method than I realised at the time.
Actually it was a fairly simple and very plasticy mechanism, but one where hot water dropped slowly through a plastic container with holes in it onto the ground coffee below, and then through a mesh into the cup at the bottom. So even though I never described it as such this was genuinely a Drip Filter coffee which gave a good chance of getting the best out of the coffee that I had bought.
Oh how I now wish I had paid a little more attention – attention to the coffee I bought, the different blends I tried, the way the device made the coffee. Had I done that I might have progressed through the coffee journey more quickly, and appreciated the views along the way a bit more too.
Coffee this way was surprisingly straightforward to make – it kind of made itself while getting breakfast ready, or seeing what the kids were getting upto. Pop the grounds in, pour the water into the top container, put the lid on – then pick up the coffee in a couple of minutes. The little device still sees the light of day occasionally!
Easy for a busy Saturday morning before taking our youngest son to music school. Or now and again with the luxury of breakfast in bed on Sunday before heading off to church.
At the time the fact that the coffee tasted better than during the week seemed good enough.
Only more recently have I really appreciated how much more it’s possible to learn about coffee – and realised that if you’re interested enough you may never run out of things to learn – and that its a bit like wine: the more you know, the more you discern, the more you appreciate, the more you realise that there is still more to learn.
So journey fast or journey slowly, journey a short way or a long way – but enjoy your coffee journey.
As the coffee journey continued from that very naive early years experience of mainly instant coffee – when freeze dried Gold Blend was posh! – there came a realisation that coffee came in more than just 3 or 4 options.
I suppose that I ought to have known more – because my foreign relatives in my fathers homeland of Denmark used to have a very different kind of coffee than I’d ever experienced elsewhere. Looking back I now know that it was properly brewed filter coffee – but wayback then it was just strong and different.
Eventually progressing to ground coffee at weekends – maInly using a 1 cup cafetiere – there was now a bigger task of making sure we always had some available. And so comes the task of buying coffee more seriously (certainly trying a bit harder than just picking up the best value jar from whichever supermarket we happened to be in).
So where do you start when essentially youre considering a new product that you have very little experience of ? Start with the colours, or strength numbers, or the price, or the origin? [That’s an official coffee word now – just means what you think it should …. where does it come from?!]
I dont thinknthat there’s a right and a wrong on this. Even starting with the colours can be sensible – cause it’s more likely that you’ll remember what you had next time you’re buying! The important thing is maybe just that – remember what you try and remember what you like. Maybe take some notes about what you’ve tried and what you liked, and why.
If you do the remembering, you’ll journey on in coffee terms much more quickly and generate an appreciation for and knowledge of coffee perhaps far more speedily than being directed by someone else at what you should like and how you should like it.
Experiencing the journey of discovery of coffee is part of the joy. There’s no shame in being on a learning curve but plenty of interest and fun in the exploration!
There are so many coffees out there, and so much to discover!
At the start of what was the real coffee journey – somewhere between my brother moving from London to Seattle (10 years ago) and now – was the awareness of the difference in the taste and quality of filter coffee vs instant. It seems like such a basic discovery, but it’s a fairly key step!
Once you have some quite different reference points there will start to be comparisons in your head – an appreciation that some coffee is far better than others. It’s not just about a strong/weak scale depending on whether someone has put half a teaspoonful of granuals or a heaped one into a cup.
Having had the instant coffee starting point – I think there’s an even greater appreciation of the variation in coffee experiences that can be available.
For long enough my experience was to have the occasional treat of buying a packet of ground coffee at the supermarket to enjoy on Saturday or Sunday when there was more time to savour. I do wonder now though just how long the coffee takes to get to the supermarket shelves, how long it stays there, and just how old it is generally by the time it gets consumed.
However, making ‘real’ coffee from grounds is a good step to take in pushing along the rewarding journey of discovering coffee.
More and more people seem to be getting into coffee – because we’re all starting to know that it can be better than pouring boiling water on a sprinkling of freeze dried granules.
Of course that’s mainly the coffee shops that have taught us to raise our sights on coffee – but the experience at home has been slower to follow.
Every Saturday & Sunday morning for years I used to make the time to use ‘real’ coffee rather than turning to the granuals: and always appreciated making the effort. For a long time I never really understood why it tasted so much better, but certainly knew that it did!
However instant coffee was the predominant source of coffee for the week as a whole, until more recent years. There are of course some better quality instant offerings these days, and there was a phase of ‘upgrading’ via those!
But having taken some time to learn about different ways that are available to make coffee by hand at home – there’s a realisation that you don’t even need to take much longer to make a much better cup of coffee.
Of course it can be very theraputic and rewarding to take your time with a slow pour of coffee – with a Chemex or a V60. There are other ways that are very straightforward too – which either make themselves while you sort something else out: like the Clever Dripper or the French Press; or are so ‘Quick & Easy’ like the amazing AeroPress.
There’s much to enjoy about the process of learning more, and of making coffee in a more enjoyable way – long before you become a coffee geek (not sure when anyone attains that status if you want it ).
We’ve found some brilliant ways of enjoying coffee, without bulky or crazily expensive machines.
We’ve brought this together in Artistry Coffee and have a great range of products to help you hand-craft delicious coffee at home!
It strikes me that sometimes only when you are actually on the journey do you realise that you have started out.
Certainly that’s my experience of the coffee journey.
There can be a lot of steps to in learning about the art of coffee making – unless you discover coffee part-way down the line.
I can’t remember my first cup of coffee, but it was probably as a young boy. Not sure whether I liked it or not, but possibly not. I do remember at Uni hopping between Mellow Birds and Nescafe, so hardly an auspicious start!
I think we mainly had Gold Blend at home – and for many years have puzzled at how seemingly the same process of making coffee can result in different tastes. At that stage down to scalding the granuals or not, how much milk, and how big a spoonful you put in in the first place. Also Nescafe did taste different from Gold Blend and Mellow Birds etc. But no real idea why in those days!
But further down the line, here we are now considering the origin of the beans, the quality of the water, the coarseness of the grind, the brew method, the timing and style of the pour or the push, and much else too……
But how much have we already learned, and how much still to learn? No doubt very much further along the road, and fascinated with where we have got to, but realising that were definitely on a coffee journey – but not totally sure when it started or where it will lead.
However, very happy to have discovered all that we have so far, and to share it here and at www.artistrycoffee.co.uk where we feature some great products that we have found along the way.