I got up early today to watch the debut of the new Charlie Rose CBS morning show. The first thing I do every morning is drink a cup of coffee, but I really needed it this morning when I crawled out of bed at 6:30.
When I’m in San Francisco I usually get coffee at Philz because it’s the closest thing to perfect coffee that I’ve ever had, and it’s near where I stay when I’m there. But when I’m at home in Seattle I do it myself.
I tend to get a bit manic about certain things (like blogging, and making coffee). The last few years I’ve experimented with a dozen or so different ways to brew a perfect cup. A standard Mr. Coffee (which makes a surprisingly good cup of coffee if you do it right). The French Press (near perfect but too easy to create a bitter brew). I’ve even tried the crazier stuff out there like the AeroPress, which does make great coffee but ends up being too complicated and time consuming for me.
The last six months or so I’ve settled on what I think is the perfect brewing process. It’s easy, has very little cleanup and it’s hard to screw up.
Step one: Coffee. I like Peet’s House Blend, but there are lots of great coffees out there. I often end up buying Starbucks Breakfast blend since it’s easier to find up here in Seattle. Some people like a darker roast, but I prefer the higher caffeine kick from a lighter roast coffee.
Step two: Grind that coffee. You need a proper burr grinder if you want to avoid a bitter cup of coffee. Trust me. The problem is you can spend an almost unlimited amount of money on a good burr grinder. I chose a relatively inexpensive Bodum grinder that I’ve been very happy with. For a single cup of coffee I grind it very coarse to avoid bitterness for about 8 seconds.
Step Three: Hot water. Seems simple but I don’t like spending time with a kettle or the microwave. Instead I bought a Zojirushi Hybrid Water Boiler (Jack Dorsey talked me into this a year ago). I have hot water on tap all the time at 195 degrees, although there are three temperature settings to choose from.
Step Four: Brew. Since you’re using a burr grinder it’s going to be hard to screw the coffee up at this point. A cheap drip coffee maker is going to be just fine. But I use a Chemex glass coffee carafe. No mechanical parts, it will last as long as you don’t drop it. Just put a filter in with the coffee and add water from the Zojirushi boiler. I fill the filter up twice, using a spoon to get the coffee back into the water the second time since it sticks to the side of the filter.
Step Five: This whole procedure has taken you about 1 minute, most of that is waiting for the coffee to drip. Pour, drink, be happy.