Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

I used to be a night owl. Well, that is before I had kids. Now I get up at 5:30 a.m. just to do the one simple thing, all alone, no interruptions, no requests, no questions, just me, and well, the dog. I drink my perfect cup of coffee or two or three. My coffee ritual is the same every morning and well worth it.

6 steps to the perfect cup of coffee
Fresh beans: start with fresh roasted coffee beans. There are different varieties and places where you can buy fresh beans*. It really is a matter of taste so explore and find your favorite locally roasted beans. Air, light, heat and moisture are the enemies of coffee freshness, so store your coffee where it will not be exposed to these elements. Coffee beans oxidize and begin to deteriorate after two weeks, so only purchase enough for a 2-3 week period max. Only buy fresh roasted whole bean coffee for your perfect cup of coffee. Buying ground coffee is out of the question as it deteriorates after only a few days.
Grind: Be sure to use the correct grind for your brewing method.
Coffee Press: 6 seconds in blade grinder
Drip (basket filter): 10 seconds in blade grinder
Cone filter and steam espresso: 25 seconds in blade grinder
Espresso: best achieved with a burr grinder
Proportion: 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for each 6 ounces of water used. For espresso 7 grams of coffee for every 1 ounce shot of water.
Water: Always brew with freshly drawn water, heated to just below boiling. Do not trust the water level marking on your coffee machine. Use a measuring cup to get the exact 6 ounces of water for each cup you will brew until you get a feel for where the proper marking should be.
The Coffee Maker: 
 a good electric drip coffee machine is perfect for everyday use. A French press is better when you have more time to devote to your perfect cup of coffee, like on the weekends. Espresso lovers now have many choices from the simple on the stovetop version, to the $3500 fully automated counter top machine.
The Finishing Touches: 
 Pour your perfect coffee into your favorite ceramic coffee mug. Add cream and sugar to taste, keeping in mind that anything you add to your coffee alters the natural taste. Artificial sweeteners almost always leave a bitter taste. A better choice is Stevia or raw sugar. Also, do not expose the brewed coffee to a heat source for more than 20 minutes. If you would like to keep the coffee hot for more than 20 minutes, I recommend that you use a thermal carafe or thermos.

My family is coming to my house this year for Thanksgiving and I know the coffee will be flowing. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve coffee to make my holiday breakfast special. Have a peaceful Thanksgiving celebration.

Mexican Mocha Coffee
4 servings

4-6 cups coffee
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup fresh whipped cream
Cinnamon-sugar in a salt shaker

Add ingredients, coffee through sugar in a decorative thermal carafe. Swirl around just to mix ingredients. Pour into 4 warmed mugs*. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
Top with whipped cream mixture.
*To warm mugs, fill with boiling water while you are mixing the ingredients.

Spice Coffee
8 servings

8-12 brewed coffee
Peel from one large orange
Peel from one large lemon
30 whole cloves

Place hot coffee and spices in thermal carafe. Allow the mixture to steep for 20-30 minutes. Place a strainer on each mug and pour 6-8 ounces of the spiced coffee in each. Serve with sugar and cream on the side.

Irish Coffee
1 serving

1 cup of hot coffee

1 tablespoon of Irish whiskey

1 tablespoon of cream

1 tablespoon of sugar
Mix together top with fresh whipped cream

Jamaican Coffee
1 serving

1 cup of hot coffee

¼ shot of Tia Maria

¼ shot of Myers Rum

¼ shot of Dark Crème de Cacao
Mix together the top with whipped cream

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
by Penny Rich
Serves 12

1 cup pecans, chopped finely in a food processor
¼ cup whole pecans
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup white sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350•F. Butter and flour a 10-12 cup Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl combine topping ingredients, set aside.
For the batter, cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer using the paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla, mix for 2-3 minutes scraping down the bowl as needed. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix just until combined.
Place the whole pecans on the bottom of the bundt pan. Evenly sprinkle ¼ cup of the topping on the whole pecans. Fold the remaining topping into the batter. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Cool for 30 minutes in the pan then flip over onto your serving platter. Let the cake cool for 5-10 minutes more. Top with powdered sugar and serve with your perfect cup of coffee.

*My Favorite Local Coffee Beans


Marcy said...

can you tell me how to make "The Perfect Cup of Tea"?

penny rich said...

Use loose tea from India, Sri Lanka, or China
Warm a ceramic teapot by adding boiling water to it for a few minutes
Pour water out and add six teaspoons of tea leaves per 4 cups of water
Let the leaves move around the pot - no bags or strainers
Add boiling water to teapot
Swirl the pot – allow to step for 2 minutes
Strain into a teacup
Add milk or cream