Turning Into a Coffee Snob

I am so turning into a coffee snob. It started a few months ago… It was innocent at first. I just wanted to try out a “real” coffee house. You know, the kind where the barista knows what they are doing, why they are doing it, and they even make a pretty picture in your frothed milk. This probably started as a result of seeing a video online explaining how to make cappuccino, and it just looked so delicious. Starbucks has never made anything that looked as good.

Maybe it even started a couple years ago when I began to tire of the syrupy drinks at Starbucks. At first I just got less syrup. Then no syrup. Then I started getting an extra shot of espresso in my lattes because they tasted more like milk than coffee. Then I switched to cappuccino because it had less milk.

This lead up to a month or so ago, when we found Jubala at Lafayette Village. We both got cappuccinos and were hooked immediately. I think we went back three times that same week, which is saying something considering it is nearly a 30 minute drive. Then a few weeks later we decided to give New World a try, which is much much closer to home. It wasn’t long before we were completely ruined.

I honestly can’t drink Starbucks or Caribou anymore. I try sometimes, but it just makes me sad. And I have tried, really I have. I even tried getting extra shots of espresso in a short cappuccino so that the ratios would be closer to what they should be. It just isn’t good to me anymore.

But that is only appreciating a good cappuccino you say? No, it goes further than that. We also started making pour-over coffee at home. And we have been buying Counter Culture (local) beans that have been roasted the day before, or even the same day, that we buy them. And I have a manual burr grinder… as in when I have the time I actually hand grind the coffee.

I know. I have a problem.

So why do I go through that trouble for a cup of coffee? Our automatic drip coffee maker’s carafe broke months ago, and we couldn’t find a replacement locally so we ended up just tossing the whole thing. Since then we have been relying only on our espresso machine at home, but I wanted drip coffee sometimes too, and decided to go low tech and see how it was. The answer is that it is great! And doing the pour-over is actually not that much trouble… especially since we already have a hot water dispenser. It is just grinding the beans that is a pain.

I don’t want to hand-grind the coffee. But a good electric burr grinder is $200! That is ridiculous. I am not that far gone yet. We have our old reasonably-priced electric burr grinder that I can use when I don’t feel like expending the time or effort to use the Skerton grinder… but it honestly doesn’t do as good a job and, surprisingly, you can actually taste the difference.

It just occurred to me that you might be saying, “What is pour-over coffee?” Well, basically it is the same thing an automatic drip coffee maker does except your pour the water yourself and have more control over the process. It really only takes a few minutes and you can brew directly into your cup. If you want to watch some really boring videos, just search youtube for the Hario V60 and/or Chemex. We have both, I prefer the Hario.

You see, if the water is too hot or if it brews too long you can over-extract the coffee, which makes it bitter. Keeping coffee on a hot plate destroys flavor as well. The amount of time since it was roasted also matters, as it begins to lose flavor after about 2 weeks… and most of the stuff you find in the grocery store was roasted months ago. This is why a lot of people don’t like coffee, or they have to put so much sugar and cream in it. They are just drinking bad coffee! If you do the pour-over right you end up with a much better cup of coffee.

I am so lucky at work. Not only do they buy 8th Sin, which is my favorite locally roasted coffee, but they also brew it into vacuum canisters rather than keeping it on a hot plate. And people drink it so fast that a new pot is constantly brewing. This has probably also added to my new coffee-snobbery… I can drink coffee black at work and it tastes great! So I guess I am just spoiled.