With all the senses employed, making real coffee provides the opportunity to escape the rush and hurry of life and enter a short time of appreciating simplicity.
A Brief History
The history of coffee extends back a long way into the realms of legend and lore. It is said that a 6th century goat herder in Ethiopia, by the name of Kaldi, struggled to keep his hyped up flock in order due to them grazing on coffee cherries. After trying the beans himself and experiencing the stimulating effects of caffeine, Kaldi introduced others to the beans, eventually leading to a market now second only to oil in its magnitude.
In 1652, coffee made it to the shores of England and the first coffeehouse opened in Oxford. The trend grew, giving rise to other coffeehouses, each attracting its own particular clientele from aristocrats to scoundrels - not that the two differ much.
Fast forward to the modern day and every village, town and city in England hosts coffeehouses, from giants like Starbucks to small independent venues serving uniquely sourced speciality coffees.
No Excuses for Bad Coffee
The popularity of coffee has also resulted in scores of independent coffee roasters springing up across the country. With so many small businesses roasting and supplying coffee and brewing equipment it’s easier than ever to make great tasting real coffee in your own home.
My personal coffee brewing preference is the Hario V60 as shown in the header image, also known as the drip method. This method uses a very simple conical contraption and paper filter that sits on top of the cup. Coffee grounds are put into the cone and hot water is poured over the grounds.
Making real coffee at home might seem an unnecessary faff to some, and reaching for the jar of instant coffee might be their thing. However, comparing instant coffee to real coffee is like comparing tinned salmon to a salmon fillet.
Making Real Coffee is Therapy
When making real coffee in a V60, all the senses are engaged. From the moment the packet is opened to the first sip of the liquor, the feel, appearance, smell, sound and taste of the coffee all contribute to the overall experience. With all the senses employed, making real coffee provides the opportunity to escape the rush and hurry of life and enter a short time of appreciating simplicity.
Making and appreciating real coffee requires an unhurried state of being. It can’t be rushed any more than a good haircut. Few men come to my barbershop in the hope of getting through the haircut as soon as possible to leave only with shorter hair than they came in with. For most men, a visit to my shop is an opportunity to tune out of the noise, relax and feel better about themselves. The same applies to coffee, it’s not something to be brewed in haste, rather a time of order and composure.
Returning again to why I like the V60 drip method, this brewing process affords the simplicity of seeing the freshly ground dark coffee against the clean white of the filter paper, the initial frothy bloom as the grounds give off CO2, the capillary action as the liquor rises up the filter paper, the correct water volume over time and, of course, the final result of great coffee. It’s a holistic process, which engages our being to produce something of quality and satisfaction. Even grinding the beans in a hand grinder, such as the Hario Skerton mill, introduces a valuable human element to the whole brewing process.
Routine has far reaching psychological benefits, and whether you brew coffee daily, or only at the weekend, the evocative rich aromas and taste cement a routine of good things.
How to Brew Coffee in a V60
To make 200ml
1. Use 12g coffee to 200ml water. Use digital scales.
2. Use whole beans and grind to medium. Grind fresh.
3. Place filter paper in the V60 and rinse with hot water. This will prevent the first moment of extraction being absorbed by the paper instead of going into the cup.
4. Wet the coffee grounds evenly with twice the weight of hot water to coffee, e.g. 28g water to 14g coffee.
5. Swirl it about to make sure all the grounds are wet. Leave to bloom for minimum 30-40 seconds.
6. Initially pour in water until a 2/3 total volume (120ml) has gone over the grounds in 30 seconds.
7. Use a gentler pour rate for the remaining 1/3 of water (80ml) for a further 30 seconds.
8. Let it drain a bit and give it a final swirl to catch any grounds stuck to the filter.
9. It’s ready to drink.
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