Let’s talk about soda…

Frequently I get asked the question, ” Brad, how do you make the perfect cup of coffee.”  What a challenging question!!  The answer to this one is extremely complex, yet frustratingly simple, “By making the one you like best.”

Let me ask this question, ‘What is  your favorite soda, beer or wine?’

I don’t drink alcohol, but I have had my fair share of soda, so lets talk soda.  If I were to answer that question honestly it would depend on my mood.  Sometimes I enjoy the rich dark flavor of a Dr. Pepper, the spicy Ginger Ale, the sweet Cream Soda, the bite of a Barqs, or the fruitiness of a Cherry Pepsi(or Coca-Cola…we don’t need to get into that debate here).  Do you see where I am going?

Just like the complexity of a soda selection, we have the complexity of coffee selection even more so!  Not only would we be determining which coffee to brew but then the choice of how we brew it that accents each coffee differently.  Just as no two sodas are created equal, no two coffee’s are equal.  I would argue that no two coffee farms, in the same country at the same elevation on the same mountainside would be identical in flavor…that is assuming they are the same varietals!  We won’t go to much further down this road now, but I think you are starting to get the picture.

Let me answer the initial question a second time, “Practice and Patience.”  If you don’t practice and you are not patient, I suggest you trust your coffee ritual and time to the local Barista.  For myself, the perfect cup requires farmers, processors, transporters, roasters, and Baristas to play their part in the big picture of coffee.  It only takes one mistake, at any level to transform this sweet nectar into dirty water (also known as instant coffee).

If you enjoy the cup of coffee that you make in the morning, by all means keep enjoying!  I cannot promise that you will enjoy any cup that I make you more, though a majority do.  I can give you specifics on measurements, methods, and coffees, but unless you are doing the exact same steps with the same coffee, you probably wont match it…unless you practice and have loads of patience.

When I was practicing for the Polish AeroPress Championship, I would use the same base formula for making my AeroPress: 14grams of Ethiopia from Java, 2 clicks coarser than medium on my Concept, 80 C water temp (175 F), 18 seconds pour time for 205g of water, let it sit for 1:10, then flip and 30 second press at most(ending around 1:40).  No matter how many times I made the coffee, it seemed to change in flavor each time.  I discovered that if I poured to fast or to slow, poured over or under the amount of water, or pressed to slowly or too quickly it would affect the taste of the coffee.  Even the water temperature being off by a few degrees drastically changed the outcome!  The joy of the perfect cup outweighs the challenge to brew it.

Coffee, Soda, and Food all are a preference of our pallet.  You may never like coffee, no matter how I make it or until we add a little bit of milk.  I do not call myself a purist, connoisseur, or snob; I just enjoy good coffee.  I, like you, have my favorite way to enjoy coffee.  Let us begin to understand this journey together.