How to Brew The Perfect Cup of Coffee

12 May 2013

Here's my current coffee brewing process.

Essentials

  • One French press. (Mine is a Bodum 34 oz. model.)
  • Some French Roast coffee, coarsely ground. (This must be top-quality organic coffee! My preferred brand at the moment is Javatopia, available at Freddie's in PDX.)
  • One coffee altar.

The Process

  1. Add exactly 5 level tablespoons of coffee to the press.
  2. Boil 32+ ounces of water (I use self-harvested spring water, straight from the ground, stored in glass.)
  3. When the water has boiled, waft the steaming kettle in a circular motion three times slowly in front of the official coffee altar -- once for Saraswati, once for Lakshmi, once for Ganesha.
  4. Ring the ceremonial coffee bells by clinking the caraffe against the bells.
  5. Fill press to about 1" from top.
  6. Stir 54 times clockwise.
  7. Stir 54 times counter-clockwise.
  8. Wait 4 minutes.
  9. Plunge and pour.

Notes

  • It's important to note that experimentation is necessary to arrive at the perfect amount of coffee to add. For me, it is 5 tablespoons, but only when using my preferred coffee. At times when my preferred roast is unavailable, I've had to make adjustments.
  • The stirring numbers took me a while to devise. The total number of stirs is 108, which holds great significance. Obviously 54 is half that and also, alone, bears some interesting properties. 54 is also 27 (one of my favorite numbers) times 2, another pleasing aspect of this. However, my rationale for stirring one direction and then another ultimately relates to biodynamic theories (think Rudolph Steiner) about vortices. I learned about these when my wife took me to a Carl Jung seminar a couple years ago. For example, this page includes the satisfactory description: "...the fundamental part is the chaos, when you reverse stirring: that is the moment when the water [or, one hopes, coffee] comes alive ... ". The chaos interests me more than the vortices.
  • The incorporation of an altar and various deities in this recipe should be considered optional. However, for full effect, I recommend the inclusion of some sort of ritualistic aspect in order to impart a revered or sacred emotional state into the experience of the beverage. In constructing such an altar, one might opt to include a representation (e.g., a statue or photo) of a deity, a respected person, a cause, a meaningful symbol, or perhaps a personal vision board.
  • Someday, I'd like to try roasting my own beans. I think that would be a natural direction for this recipe. But for now, it'll have to be store-bought.
  • The pic atop this post is from Coava Coffee Roasters. I snapped it one day while at their location on SE Grand here in PDX.

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