Original Pilot House Coffees
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We, the coffee fanatics here at OPHC, are often asked this loaded question.
In a world of a thousand different ways to brew (ok, that *may be* an exaggeration…), we have a few favorites. Honestly, our morning mud (get it?) is served up by Mr. OPHC, who uses the old drip coffee pot each and every week day. But he brews it STRONG. It’s … an experience. That happy, gurgling noise of our coffee maker tells us all is well with the world and it’s time to get up and Get Stuff Done.
The favored way of Mrs. OPHC is usually the French press. I think this is the friendliest way, done right at the table, with enough to share. Never done it? Here’s the basics:
1) Put your grounds in the bottom of the empty carafe (I usually use 2 heaping Tablespoons per 8 ounces of water)
2) Pour in hot water (just less than boiling temperature). I pour it slowly enough to use the water to drown the floating grounds.
3) Put your lid on to trap the heat and wait 4 minutes.
4) Give it a little swirl to break up the crust of coffee grounds (some people stir it, but these are probably the same people who use a spatula to turn over a pancake instead of the tried-and-true toss/flip method… Whatever. Your choice.)
5) Press the plunger. Slowly, it’s not a race. Figure about a 20-second process. If it takes too long, or you’re thinking you’re going to break it, back it up a little and press again. And try a coarser grind next time. Pour and enjoy!
As the weather here in our hometown displays hints of Spring, and the “heat” turns up, we eventually turn to our new favorite, the ever-versatile Cold Brew method. This is just genius. It brings out so many beautiful aspects of your favorite OPHC blend. You’re going to need some new equipment for this one, but it won’t set you back too much, and you’ll be ever-so-grateful. The nitty-gritty of this method is soaking. This is how we do it:
1) Put the cork in the bottom of your cold brewer.
2) Place your ginormous filter into the brewer and add a pound of coarsely ground Bangin’ Beans. Okay, okay, you can use Mornin’ Mudd, too, or Mr. OPHC’s favorite, Bachelor’s Blend (still named as such “for ALL the bachelors of the world!”).
3) Now the water needs to be added slowly, to combat the natural floating tendencies of the coffee grounds. Your cold-brewer should’ve come with some sort of container to place on top which you fill with water, and it slowly drips into the grounds. This dripping part may take as much as 45 minutes. No biggie. Just fill the top and walk away.
4) Remove your empty dripping device, cover it with a plate or something and… Set. It. Aside. That’s right, ignore it. For about 12 hours. We actually don’t get back to it until the next day.
5) Place your cold-brewer over a carafe, or a quart jar, a big bowl, what-have-you, and pull the cork. That dark, lovely goodness can now be used in a variety of ways. It’s basically a coffee concentrate. Mix a bit with some hot water and you’ve got some quality “instant coffee”, or throw it in with cold milk and ice and you’ll be making all sorts of indecent yummy noises.
While we’re at it, let’s discuss another family favorite—the Ibrik! What is it? A lovely little brass pot, with a skinny neck and a long handle off the side that makes some absolutely delicious Turkish coffee. Here you go:
1) Place a Tablespoon of sugar into the ibrik, add water up to the neck, and a couple Tablespoons of extra-fine ground coffee. The coffee goes on top, and there it will float until step 3. Trust me.
2) Set your beautiful ibrik on your stove top, on medium heat. Do not walk away. When it starts to boil up around the grounds remove it from the heat.
3) Stir in the grounds (see? it’s okay) and put it back on the heat, where it will boil up again, this time making a nice foam. Do it once or twice more, if you feel the need. Then let it cool a bit, at which time the grounds will settle.
4) Pour it off into the little cup you’ve been saving for just this occasion. Add cream if you want, and enjoy your itty bitty mug of joe. You can count on some grounds at the bottom, so don’t drink it to the last drop.
A few other brew methods being explored around here are the Aeropress, Vietnamese coffee, and Pour-over. The Aeropress is a great invention, sort of the love-child of the French press and the espresso shot. The basic idea is to pour hot water into the chamber of the press, let it sit for a bit, 15 seconds, then use the top attachment to press the water thru the grounds, giving you a quick equivalent to an espresso shot. Vietnamese coffee is made in a little silver pot placed on the top of your cup, where a screen is holding down the grounds. You add your hot water which stays just long enough to make your tiny bit of strong coffee. This is traditionally stirred into an equal helping of sweetened condensed milk. The pour-over is a work of art, in which you pour hot water into a cone filter on top of your cup or carafe. But it’s not that simple. First, you “bloom” your grounds, by giving them just enough hot water to swell the grounds, which enables them to give you full flavor when you finally pour over the pre-measured amount of hot water. It really IS quite delicious, and worth the education. I recommend snooping around on YouTube.
However you brew, be sure to treat yourself to some good grounds. Life is too short to drink bad coffee. Lift your cup and enjoy!