Saturday, January 3, 2009

Coffee Philosophy, or "Consider the French Press... and then try Melitta"

(Hopefully, you can appreciate this analogy, whether or not you enjoy Coffee. Certainly, I would hate to put forth a banalogy.)

Consider, I ask you, the French Press. An extremely effective, conservative of motion method to brew strong, full flavored coffee. One needs merely join the coffee with the hot water within the vessel and let nature take it's course before pressing the coffee to simultaneously extract and filter. Then one need only to pour out to take advantage of this event.

I do not own a French Press, however, though I do enjoy strong full flavored coffee. (And enjoy the end result of the FP Method, enormously. Why don't I own one...?)

I have decided, that I do not identify with my electric coffee maker. Firstly, "I drink alone". It is not efficient for that use. The space it occupies is coveted by me and my other kitchen accoutrements. It makes strange sounds which are very similar to one who is slowly drowning in their own pleura-- no believe me, it's true. That has been me and in my fevered state, just before being moved to ICU, I demanded "Who's making coffee??!" not knowing it was my own rattle I was hearing. It sits there, at the ready, ready to burn the coffee-- adding flavor but not one enjoyed by me. I know there are coffee pots "for one" (too much trouble for one cup!) and new carafes which insulate the coffee (sure, great for group coffee experience, perhaps).

Lately, I have been enjoying my vintage yellow ceramic Melitta drip cone. It has been an exercise in intent, intensity, and introspection. I does require mastery. One can do the obvious--fill the cone, as one would with an FP, and then fill again to get the desired amount. But that is not the method. The method for rich taste, strength that equals effort, requires that the water subside to just under boil. Then, the wetting, or whetting of the ground coffee-- just a few spoonfuls should make their way to the grounds--wait. Allow the coffee to get your meaning. Then pour a little more, flexing muscle as you lift the heavy kettle again. Yes, the Kettle is a Commitment. Next, when that is mostly subsided, pour about halfway full. You don't want to the coffee in it's new steamy state to get the wrong idea (you are not a hot water whore, nor one devoid of restraint, neither one who lacks appreciation of finesse and all that that implies.) Then when (did I mention you need a jumbo cup, or two cups to fully realize the maximum extent of this exercise?) that pour is mostly in submission--yielding to you the majority of what you think it will, lift the Kettle once more; tidy up the grounds left behind and rinse them back down, readying them for your last hot splash.

How do you get your coffee? Is it instant? Do you use a cumbersome machine? A French Press, retro Percolator? Or do you let someone else make it for you? Is it a group event, where volume dictates method? I have no judgement of any of these methods; I only wish to question. How do you get your world view? How do you share it? How do you gain friendships? What is the state of your Spirit?

The late Andy Kaufman once stated that he kept himself grounded by periodically taking work as a dishwasher; dishwashing has often been aligned with spiritual cleansing.

I don't like doing dishes, so for now, I'll make my own Coffee.

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