I can’t quite tell you when I became a full-blown coffee addict. I was one of those folks who occasionally wanted coffee – I liked the taste of it. I drank it the way my Sner drank it – slightly sweet. Just a little Sweet N’ Low back in the day but otherwise black. No cream, no flavor. Just some sweetness. Perhaps it was sometime in my second year of teaching – when my insomnia was at its worst, cycling between weeks of 1-2 hours of sleep a night and then 3-4 hours of sleep a night. These days, waking at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, I can easily consume a pot of coffee by myself before I head to work in the morning.
I’ve made my way through several iterations of preferred brewing methods – starting with a regular cheap Black and Decker coffee pot and then developing an affinity for the French press, perhaps because I could boil water at work and have fresh coffee in my classroom easily. Lately, though, I’ve come to love my Chemex pot and the slow brewing process. When I stay with my in-laws, I use their old-school coffee pot. Last year when I was doing this commute thing, I bought a Keurig simply for the convenience of it, but I haven’t brought it out yet this year. It’s a mini, which means I’m going through about 6 K-cups in a morning. Not exactly an economical option.
I like the time it takes to make coffee. Particularly when I use my Chemex. I’ve long said that it takes me awhile to wake up – I need that time to slowly come to life, to acclimate, to be bleary, to move on auto-pilot.
…and it all begins with the best gift my husband ever gave me – a burr coffee grinder.
It’s loud. If we have company, I hit the button and grind the beans the night before so I don’t wake people up. But Sweet Husband can sleep through anything, so I let my beans be as fresh as possible every morning. I think SH bought me this thing for Christmas six years ago? I use it most mornings. It was $50 well spent, I’d say.
I’ve gotten into the habit of getting my shower in the evening so I have more time for my morning routine – the slow coffee brewing wake-up, catching up on social media, the almost hour of writing – but if I happen to not get that done in the evening, putting the kettle on to boil gives me the opportunity to multi-task. Usually while the water is boiling, I am scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, or reading and deleting email, but there are times like this morning when I just run to the shower.
I’ve recently learned that the preferred kettle for pour-over brewing isn’t what I’ve been using. Now that I know better, I’m going to have to do better. Since my SH loves to get me practical gifts that I’m going to use repeatedly and often, I’m going to have to put one of these on my Christmas list for him.
Once the water is hot, the magic begins. I’ve almost gotten it perfectly timed – pour water over coffee grounds, head to bathroom and fiddle with hair or make-up, come back in 4 minutes and do it all over again. Or – pour water over coffee grounds, pick up phone and browse, look up in approximately 4 minutes and do it all over again. The slow process allows me to come to my morning pages mostly clear, unencumbered by the previous day and its debris.
In about 20 minutes, it’s all done, and I’m rewarded with a gorgeous pot of coffee that fuels my writing, frequently my hour-hour and a half drive, and my day. I don’t usually drink it just sweet anymore. These days I like some flavored creamer in it instead of cream and sugar, but there are mornings (like this morning) when I forget to stock up on the coffee creamer and my only option was to take it old-school.
I occasionally wonder if the time I spend making coffee isn’t some of the best time of my day. Those mornings when I don’t have the opportunity – like this past weekend when we were in Dallas and I was stuck with hotel room coffee in a tiny styrofoam cup – things feel a bit short-circuited and just a little off. I am so totally a creature of habit.
Are you a coffee connoisseur? What’s your preferred brewing method and how do you take it? Right now I’m enjoying a Texas Pecan coffee from Costco (picking up more this weekend) and I’m using a vanilla caramel creamer, although I think it might be time to switch over to the lovely salted caramel mocha for a little change. Let’s share a cup!