For the past month — since returning from my Arctic cruise — I’ve been on a quest to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Too often, my coffee tastes like muddy water. I know that coffee can taste great because I sometimes get great-tasting coffee when I buy it elsewhere. But my own coffee has always been mediocre at best.
I use quality beans, so I know that’s not the issue. Corvallis has several places to buy good coffee beans, whole or ground. I tend to get mine from Oregon Coffee and Tea. My go-to is their Ethiopian yirgacheffe. And I’ve been using James Hoffman’s “ultimate French press technique”, so you’d think I’d get good results.
All too often, though, my coffee tastes bland. Or too intense. It’s never Just Right.
Well, last week I re-watched that Hoffman video and I realized that in the two years since I last viewed it, I’ve allowed my technique to drift. Hoffman’s method is:
- Grind ~30 grams of beans.
- Pour in ~500 grams of boiled water.
- Let sit for four minutes.
- Stir grounds (then spoon out anything that floats).
- Allow coffee to rest for six more minutes.
I’d bastardized these instructions over the past 24 months. I wasn’t measuring my coffee or my water. And, worst of all, I was stopping at step three. I let the coffee brew for four minutes, and then I’d pour it straight away.
Last week, I adhered to these instructions. My coffee improved drastically, but it still wasn’t what I wanted. Yesterday while Kim and I were downtown, I bought a bag of Vietnamese central highland light roast coffee beans. That seems to have been the final piece of the puzzle.
This morning, I brewed a perfect cup of coffee. It was delicious: mild and fruity and smooth. Yum.