A consistent cup of coffee

Dec 2, 2019 7:23 AM

A consistent cup of coffee

Has coffee gotten too fancy?


Survey of coffee drinkers

  • Majority - the experience of making your own coffee
  • Minority - how to experiment with any recipe

Help you make a consistent coffee with a little problem solving

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On the second floor kitchenette of my office, the answer is spelled out in bold sharpie. Yes. As someone who lives in ignorance about the true size of a venti and grande at starbucks, this comes at no surprise. The coffee subculture runs deep. These connoisseurs are like those who strongly prefer a particular vintage of wine or varieties of strongly hopped beer. Local coffee roasters are sprouting up all around us, sourcing directly from coffee plantations and roasting in their garages or repurposed airplane hangars.

But for me, coffee is a simpler pleasure. There’s something about the taste, the caffeine, and the morning ritual that I can’t quite shake off. My favorite mornings are the ones where I can peacefully relax in front of my computer with my favorite mug — my least favorite evenings are the ones where I’ve had maybe a cup too many before a strict deadline.

For most of my adult life, I took the availability of coffee for granted. At a previous job, there was always someone who made the batch at 7:45 that I would gladly drink. In my college days, there would often be a pot sitting out, made by someone else. Eventually, it became my turn to make the pot. And even with the guidance of a friend, it came out tasting like coffee-flavored water.

If you’re like me, doing something for the first time can be intimidating. But today, I’d like to distill the process of making a consistent cup of coffee. All it takes it takes are coffee grinds, a coffee maker, and some trial and error.

In my office alone, there are at least 4 different ways of making coffee. You can pop a pod in the keurig machine if you’re a fan of automation. You can try your hand as a barista at the espresso machine. There’s a pour-over rig that makes great drip coffee. And finally, there’s this thing. An aeropress.

Introducing the Aeropress

It was a birthday gift.

The first cup was sour, here’s how I solved it.

Read the instructions

Demonstrate how all the pieces go together.

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Espresso is made by forcing nearly boiling water through finely ground coffee beans under pressure.

Making a cup of coffee

Filter on, pour fine grain coffee in, fill with water, stir for 10 seconds, press for 20-40 seconds.

Eye-contact with the whole room, move after each step

How you screwed up the coffee

It turned out sour, I’ve condense the research on google for you

Under-extraction makes coffee sour

Grind can be too fine or too coarse, the water too hot or too cold, and the brew time too short to too long

Controlling the coffee making process

Try it again, but change a single element of the process

Making a consistent cup of coffee

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I’ve made at coffee at least 100 times with this things, and I’d say only 5-10 of those were a failure. There was once a time where the bottom came off, and got the grounds in the coffee. And many of those failures were sour because of water temperature, mostly.

Once you start doing something enough times, you build the muscle memory so you can start to try new things.

The process of doing and observing has been key for me to make coffee that doesn’t taste like an unripe berry. If you find yourself in my shoes, I hope I’ve encouraged you to try making that pot of coffee. I appreciate the cup of consistent coffee, and I hope you can brew one too.

See the original slides here.