Sunday, May 10, 2009
You might be like me. Someone who can’t leave what’s good enough alone. Coffee is one of those things for me. Rarely can I drink it plain black, and rarely plain warm. Want to teach your coffee to jump through hoops? Here are some ideas.
- Salt your coffee. Either as you are grinding it, or the dairy that accompanies it. Salt enhances sweetness and cloys bitter flavors.
- Rethink the sweet. When you take your coffee sweet, consider an alternative to standard white sugar. This can be as simple as using brown sugar, a raw sugar, agave nectar, or honey instead. Or as complex as adding maple syrup, bitter caramel sauce, Nước Màu or fruit jam.
- Give the beans some friends. Next time you grind up coffee beans, consider tossing in one or all of these flavor additions: half a vanilla bean pod, some cocoa nibs, a small sliver of whole nutmeg, orange zest, a cardamom pod, a couple black peppercorns or a nub of cinnamon stick.
- Steep when you heat. Steeping aromatics in either your pre-brew coffee water or your dairy is a way to get a touch of flavor that is different from grinding flavors with the beans. This could be as simple as making your coffee with peppermint tea or lemon water, or warming your milk with sticks of cinnamon and whole cloves. Who says you have to use plain water to brew your coffee?
- Bloom your coffee grounds. As one blooms dry gelatin before use, moisten your coffee grounds to help prep them for brewing. How to: Shake out your freshly ground coffee into a mixing bowl and stir in 1-3 Tbs of water. Let sit for ~5 minutes and then scrape into your brewing apparatus. It is thought that premoistening coffee grounds results in a stronger or more flavored brew. Have you wondered about using brandy or bourbon instead of water for this step yet?
- Take your time. How about a 12 hour brew? Do those words give you caffeine withdrawal? If you add time and subtract the heat, you will have a new coffee experience in your cup. Check out the Smitten’s cold brew procedure and you’ll be looking forward to tomorrow’s coffee.
- Keep it simple. Sometimes you owe it to your taste buds to take a vacation from your habits and resort to the easiest path: straight black coffee. With the amazing amount of coffee bean varieties and roasts we have access too, there is no excuse for calling straight black coffee boring.