June 16, 2007

Pre-Electric Coffee

The removable parts of our coffee maker were all in the dishwasher this morning, awaiting a thorough washing this evening. But The Wife and I want coffee for our breakfast. This is especially complex because we only have whole beans, and the coffee maker integrates the grinder into the unit. (It also grinds the beans too fine for my absolute preference, although for convenience's sake it really can't be beat.) So, no coffee grinder, no coffee maker? No probalo! Here's how you make coffee without using electricity:

1. Put the desired amount of coffee beans in a ceramic mortar and pestle. Grind them up, about 4 tablespoons at a time. For two big American-style coffee mugs, you'll use 8 tablespoons total. Don't worry about it if the grind you get with the mortar and pestle is coarse.

2. In the meantime, boil some water in a teakettle. Take the water off heat just as the teakettle starts to make any noise at all -- you want the water to be just at boiling temperature but not actually bubbling. If you've got a roaring (or in this case, whistling) boil, the next step becomes somewhat dangerous because you run a risk of shattering glass and spilling boiling water all over the place, and we all know the dangers of spilling hot coffee.

3. Put coffee beans and scalding-hot water in a French press. Stir with something that isn't metal, like a plastic soda straw or a clean chopstick (the heated glass will shatter easily with a metal spoon). Let the mixture brew for several minutes before pressing.

Enjoy! Yes, it's more work than usual in that grinding the beans takes a modicum of exertion. Not a problem, though, for anyone of average strength who does not suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Now, I too would normally use the convenience of modern, electric-powered coffee makers. Unless you're a huge coffee snob, the resulting product is pretty much the same. But it show that coffee can be made without use of that modern convenience without a tremendous amount of work.

1 comment:

zzi said...

Just chew on the beans.