It’s time to get back into this whole writting thing..

Ok nerdlings, I know you’ve been wondering what that emptiness you’ve been feeling lately is, and I think I have it figured out…it’s me, duh…I know i’ve been major awol lately (a grand total of 2 posts in all of 2015!), but to be honest with you…

i miss you let’s get back into this whole thing, mmmkay? Great..

ok…so where do we start? how about an ice breaker post, like on something we can all admit we love…

coffee morning illustrated caffeine

(secretly I’ve been spending the whole year searching for the appropiate gifs to attach, and I think it’s obvious that I..

the office nbc office andy nailed it…)

 – hey nossi! way to still be weird!! we barely even noticed you were gone!!

aww, you guys

stop ben stiller zoolander bashful derek zoolander

ok, i’m done…moving right along

So as I’m sure you remember we’ve already covered coffee … twice…but to recap for the sake of, whatever the opposite of brevity is, the coffee that we’ve all come to love is a “bean” that’s more like the seed found in a cherry-like fruit. The bean is then dried, fermented, roasted, ground, and brewed. There are so many variables that can affect the final product, that it can get confusing, so let’s go over the stuff that actually you have control over.

1) The beans – As with any food, quality deteriorates over time, and obviously the fresher and better the bean, the better the coffee (there’s actually a caveat to that statement…coffee beans are actually not at it’s best right after it’s roasted, and that’s because after roasting there’s a lot of gases [carbon dioxide being the most abundant] that still needs time to dissipate out, and if brewed right away can give an off flavor..)… So its always best to buy whole beans, and grind yourself (more on that in a second).

What kind of bean you get, I feel like, is where it can get mostly unnecessarily confusing. Roast of said bean aside, (which we’ll also get to shortly, Dr Impatientpants, geez…), there’s the actual type of bean. For example kona bean or blue mountain, or Ethiopian yagachurra are all names of famous beans known for distinct qualities (ok, I made up that last one), and sure they might be great and all, but I’m inclined to opine that the subtle nuances that differentiate between one bean and the next are of lesser importance than freshness, roast, and brew method. That’s not to say they’re not important, but it’s not the most important thing to look for. Also a lot of times they sell these high quality beans as part of a “blend,” and there’s no way to tell what percentage is high quality bean, and what is some other random bean. That’s not to say all blends are bad, but make sure it’s from a reputable roaster.

2) The roast – in order to get the dark color which is characteristic of coffee, can we please have Monsieur Maillard come back from his long hiatus? Don’t know what/who I’m talking about? Well its time you open your eyes bruhhh, and maybe read like one other post on this here fine establishment.. (Maillard = browning {which is not the same as caramelization}..which we’re not going to get into here..)…but how long you roast it will make a difference for coffee beans. To keep this brief – light roasts are obviously roasted the least amount of time, and will allow you to taste more of the coffee notes that are unique to the individual bean. Dark roasts (also known as Italian/french/vienna/espresso roasts) are as dark and shiny as they come, and will have mainly roasted-y flavor, and very little flavor of the character of the coffee, and are great for espressos. Medium roasts try to toe the line between the two.
The roast type you want is mainly whatever your preference is. Personally I used to love medium roasts, because I’ve felt that light roasts didn’t give me enough in the way of oomph/flavor, and dark roasts were too much. But nowadays I lean towards lighter roasts (partly because of the newer way I’ve been brewing, namely an aeropress, which if moshiach doesn’t come before I’m done this “short” diatribe, I might get around to talking about!).

3) the grind – there’s two ways of grinding your beans, the wrong way and the right way. The wrong way is to put it in a “spice grinder,” which similar to a food processor has a whirring blade on the bottom of some sort of bowl, and chops up the coffee bean into random sized chunks. The issue with this method is the non-uniformity in the grind size, which since we’re doing some sort of extraction of flavor, the variables that effect that are mainly: time, temperature, and surface area. The surface area of the coffee is dependent on the size of the grind, and if when grinding the coffee the beans are not uniform in size, then some beans will be under-brewed, and some over-brewed. However, if you were to use a burr grinder, which is essentially two inverted cones on top of each other, it dictates exactly how large the grind size will be. Which brings us to the last point –

4) the brew method – as Harold McGee says in On Food and Cookin there’s no one way that will brew the perfect cup of coffee. Each different method has it’s pros and cons taking into account different variables. Like for example – a French press allows you to take advantage of the amount of brew time, and obviously the temperature, but grind size is a little tricky. A pour over (like a Chemex) can help with the grind size problem, but time will be harder to control.

Then there’s the Aeropress. The aeropress is basically a combination of a pour over and a French press, and it kinda looks like a very large syringe with a filter attached to it’s end. The nice thing that I’ve found is it allows you to control all of the things we’ve talked about. There are really two ways of brewing with an aeropress, the regular way, and the upside down way. Here’s a step-by-step rundown on how I do things in my backwards world.

I like to start my aeropress upside down, with the plunger on the bottom. I add my coffee (obviously i weigh my coffee and weigh my water…there’s absolutely no other way of having consistently good coffee every day without doing that, and I’ll range from a 15:1 water:coffee ratio [for lighter roasts] all the way up to a 22:1 [for medium roasts).  wpid-wp-1447724767602.jpg

The next step is what’s called blooming the coffee ground, and that simply means adding enough hot water to just moisten the grind by adding about double the amount of water than grind (so in our example, 48 grams), and letting it sit for about 30 seconds. This starts to pull out the remaining trapped gasses in the beans.


Once that’s done, fill the rest of the aeropress with water*, and let it seep. I usually seep the grind for around 4 minutes (but again, since time is one of the determining factors, upping or downing [??] the amount of time will affect the end results).

*can we pause for a second and talk about water temperature?? So you know how temperature is one of the factors that affect the overall extraction? Well coffee needs to be brewed no more than 190-200 degrees because it will extract too many harsh flavors; Water boils at 212 degrees, so basically water that’s just boiled is not what you want. What I do is boil water and let is sit for about 15 minutes, or if I’m in a hurry, I take a page out of Sh’miras Shabbos K’Hilchasa, and use a k’li sheni [ie – I pour the really hot water into another cup, wait about a minute, and use that water]. Along those lines, we’ve done cold brewed coffee [which again, lower temperature, means longer brew time], and I’ve even attempted “warm brewed coffee” where I brew the coffee in a sous vide machine at about 100 for a few hours…the coffee was similar to cold brewed, with a little more oomph….


Then, I’ll put the paper filter on the filter doo-hickey, and screw it on; Turn it right side up, and press the plunger down, gently…it should take about 1-2 minutes to express all that beautiful brown elixir.


Once that’s done, then you top off the brew with hot water to come to your total. So in our example, we have 24 grams of coffee grind, if we’re going to go with a 15:1 ratio, we’re going to need 360 grams of water, but the aeropress can only hold about 250 grams of water, so I add the additional water after (in this example, the additional 90 grams). Now you might be thinking, but won’t that dilute the coffee down? The answer my friend is, no. So for once in your life, just please trust me.


Now you can brew it the normal way, where you put the filter on first, put the coffee grind, pour your water, and then attach the plunger and push the brew out (and top of with water)

Hard to tell, but this is the other brew method, where the plunger goes in last

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to, pretty boring right? Sooo…yeah, this was fun…maybe, um, we can do this again sometime soon?? I’ll call the shadchan.



In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a tad awol lately. Now, it’s not because I haven’t been cooking and taking pictures, but to be brutally honest with you, I kind of forgot how to blog. You think it’s easy being a world renowned blogger? Well, it’s not. Truth is, I started feeling a lot of pressure to have these super awesome posts, that I ended up not posting anything…and that’s how I found coffee.

Ok that’s not true, but I wasn’t really sure how to end our little therapy session, and I’m still a little rusty in the intro part…gimme some time to get back into the thick of things.


Also, as I’m sure you no doubt noticed, this is part of this month’s Kosher Connection Link Up, on the Best Food I Ever Ate…I know, coffee? The best food you ever ate? Totally weak sauce, but to be honest, I’ve never had a “best” food. I always hated that question. I like everything, and I especially like coffee, so coffee it is.

Anyway, on to coffee.

I am crazy about my coffee. It’s the one thing that I consider myself a real snob about. When people start to tell me about how passionate they are about their coffee also, all I have to say is “I grind my coffee every morning, and I weigh the beans and water out, on a scale.” Now, iI’m not necessarily proud of my weird obsession, and it’s not like it’s a competition of who’s the craziest about their coffee (although if it was, I would win some weird pretentious hipster prize, like a handle-bar moustache, or maybe a gift card to urban outfitters, or something like that), but that’s how much I love my coffee. There really is a difference between bad, mediocre, good, and great coffee, and I’m here to tell you that you can learn to love your coffee too.

Let’s start from the beginning. Coffee starts out as a fruit that kind of resembles a cherry, with a “seed” on the inside. That seed is then fermented (in one particular weird example, this takes place in the stomach of a small animal known as the civet, and the seeds are then harvested from the fecal matter of the civet…yay science!), then they’re dried, and finally roasted. Depending on how long they’re roasted for, the beans go from light to medium to dark. As the beans roast, they darken with a little help from the Maillard reaction (remember Monsieur Maillard from famous applications such as Toast – a lifelong obsession with coloring bread, and of course who could forget: Browning Meat – making meat taste better, and NOT because I seal in juices!) and will start to develop it’s characteristic flavors. Generally speaking, medium roasts are the best full flavored, combining coffee and roast flavors well; Whereas with dark roasts, you only taste the roast, and not the actual coffee.

There’s also the whole thing about where your beans come from. There are a whole bunch of places that grow coffee (Fun Fact – Hawaii is the only US state that grows coffee), and it’s hard to say which one is better, but famous coffees to name just two from the many are Blue Mountain from Jamaica and Kona from Hawaii. That being said, it’s pretty rare to get these coffees without it being a blend with other varieties, or without costing a ton of money. And to be honest with you, I think it’s better to buy fresh coffee, and grind it yourself daily, than to buy a fancy pre-ground coffee…but that’s just my opinion, man.

Ok so now that you’ve procured your coffee, you want to brew it, so you can get it into your gluttonous face correct? Well, we have to talk science for just one second, k? Your cup o` joe is what it is because it extracts all of it’s super goodness out of the ground beans, and the whole process of extraction is about a few things 1) time 2) temperature 3) particle size, and each one is dependant on the other, so if we increase one we decrease the other.

To get the right particle size, we need to grind up the coffee beans. There are two ways to grind up the beans. You can either use a spice grinder, which is like a mini food processor, and has a blade whirring around on the bottom. Or you can use what’s called a burr grinder, which is like two cones inverted into one another, and you can control the amount of space in between. The main difference between the two is a burr grinder has much better control over the size of the grind.


When does this matter? Well the size of the grind is what determines the surface area of the coffee that’s in contact with the water, which will extract the goodness out of the coffee, and that gets into the two other components, time and temperature.


Let’s say you wanted to make your coffee in about 15 seconds, you would need a really small grind so there is more surface area in contact with the water, so you would need a really really small grind, and a very high temperature; so high in fact, you would need to boil the water under a lot of pressure, so the temperature of the water can be higher than a measly 212 (-ish depending on where you are), so you can really get the water hotter, and by doing all this you would have espresso (which is also why a really good espresso machine costs a lot of money). Now on the other end of the spectrum, what if you wanted to make coffee that would sit over night, and brew for a really long time. Well you have to use a really large grind, and cooler temperature; and there you have cold brewed coffee.

Ok, so now that we’ve covered the basics, and pretty much lost any semblance of an audience (Hi mom and dad!), let’s get into how I make coffee pretty much every day; The drip method. It’s a really simple way to make one cup of awesome coffee (and not a whole pot of crappy coffee).


It starts with grinding your beans, to a medium consistency (not the smallest, but also not the biggest), a scale (yes, a scale for making coffee…I know you think I’m weird, but you’re weird also), water that’s just under a boil (optimum temperature for making coffee is 195-205, and water boils at 212, so boil your water, and let it sit uncovered for a 2 minutes or so). The rest is pretty simple.

Gather your drip cone, and paper filter, and wash it out with some water (there might be dirt and particles in the paper, that if you’re going through the trouble of making awesome coffee, what’s another few seconds to make sure it really is awesome). Then place it on your cup, on the scale, and tare (zero) the scale.

Place you coffee grind, and since we’ve established I’m a certified weirdo, I have a chart that I wrote down exactly how much water correlates to how much coffee grind. (In case you’re wondering, by weight the ratio of coffee to water is 1:22.26…did y’all know I was this OCD?)


I then pour a little of the water just to moisten the beans, and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. This is called “blooming” the coffee, and starts the process of releasing the essential oils from the beans.


Then I pour the remainder of the water, stir with a spoon, and allow it to finish dripping.

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I then pour in a splash of whole milk (sometimes I even go for an even smaller splash of half and half), and that’s it. I know it sounds complicated, but it really is a simple process.

Questions? Comments? Just miss me so much, that you want to chat? Well I’m back baby, and the phone lines are open, so comment away, let’s talk food.

I know there’s a lot more to talk about in regards to coffee. Like, what’s the deal with a French press? The newfangled aero press? What about the chemex system? Well, it’s too much to get into, but ask away, and I can pretend like I know what I’m talking about.

Are you really still reading? You must be super bored at work, well since you’re so bored, as usual check out the other posts as part of the Link Up, by clicking on the funny frog guy on the bottom here.