This is a really quick article- it won't take up much of your time- I promise!
Coffee is the drug of choice for many people around the world, and quite a necessity for some people.
It's a unique culture for real lovers of it.
In celebration of this culture (which admittedly I am a part of) and to raise some awareness about its intricacies, let's list some interesting coffee trivia and tips:
- Coffee is the national drink of Ethiopia!
- Press is one of the best ways to make coffee on so many ways. (There are many types of press pots. Choose one that is convenient for you.)
- For stronger yet smoother tasting coffee, don't be afraid to use more coffee and less brew time. The shorter the time the extracting medium (typically water or steam) is exposed to the beans, the greater the ratio of aromatic oils (the stuff we want) to the bitter-tasting parts of it.
- The darker the roast, the less the caffeine.
- A "stovetop espresso maker" is really a moka pot. Yes, it is still delicious.
- Espresso is a way to make coffee, not a type of roast.
- Espresso Rule of Thumb: For a single shot, use 7 grams of fine ground coffee (texture of table salt), which should yield about 1 to 1.5 fl oz of espresso in about 20 to 25 seconds. For a double shot, use twice the coffee. To speed up the shot, use a coarser grind and/or less tamp pressure. To slow it down, use a finer grind and/or more tamp pressure.
- For cold coffee drinks with less planning, try keeping making some ice cubes of espresso or black coffee to quickly cool down your coffee without watering it down.
- The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is extremely variable. The generally used number is 55mg per cup, but the ballpark is rather large.
- It's a good idea to invest in a quality burr grinder. Consistently ground whole beans make a whole world of difference over pre-ground coffee.
- Press - Coarse ground beans are soaked in hot water (ideally around 180 degrees) for some time (typically 4-5 minutes). Press is extremely effective at extracting aromatic oils and one of the preferred ways to make coffee.
- Cold Brew - Coarse ground beans are soaked in cold water for an extended period of time. Very strong, but low on caffeine and less bitter.
- Espresso - Steam pushed through coffee beans to extract the aromatic oils. See espresso rule of thumb above.
- Demitasse - a 2-3 oz cup. Literally means "half cup."
- Doppio/doubleshot: 2 oz of espresso.
- Steamed milk - To steam milk, put the steamer at the bottom of the milk cup until milk is hot.
- Froth - To froth, simply put the steamer close to the surface so it starts bubbling vigorously.
- Ristretto- Like Espresso, but with a shorter "pull" (about half the amount of water). Extremely strong taste.
Common Coffee Drinks
- Americano - one part espresso to 6 parts hot water. About the same strength as drip coffee, but sweeter and with a different aroma
- Cappuccino - equal parts espresso, steamed milk, frothed milk
- Cafe Latte (Latte for short) - 1 part espresso to 2 parts steamed milk
- Cafe Breve - 1 part espresso to 2 parts steamed half and half
- Cafe Macchiato - In a demitasse, use a single shot of Espresso and spoon just enough frothed milk on top to cover.
Hope you enjoy coffee in your own way. Have you tried these ways?
- Guillermo - Pour a doubleshot over a few thin slices of lime.
- Affogato - Pour some espresso over gelato (similar to pouring coffee liqueur over ice cream)
- Medici - Put a tsp of chocolate syrup and orange zest in the bottom of a cup. Add a doubleshot.
- Enjoy your coffee with some biscotti.
- Irish coffee is extremely easy to make at home or at a party: in a 6 oz cup, put 1-3 teaspoons of sugar, pour about 4 oz of hot coffee, give it a quick stir, then top it off with some whipped cream (no, not from a can, I mean cream that you have whipped). Drink responsibly!
- One little demonstration I would give to students is with a jar, some walnuts, and some peanuts. First, I show them that if you try to put the peanuts in first and then the walnuts, it won't fit, but it works the other way around. So I say, "You have to first put in the big and important things in your life first, then you can fit in the small things." Then I ask, "Is there any room to put anything else in here?" They usually say no. Then I take some sand and pour it in there. I ask again, "Now is there room for anything else in here?" They will say no as well. Then I take some coffee and pour it in. Then I say, "This just comes to show you, no matter how full you think your life is, you always have room for coffee with a friend."