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Do you make a coffee to drink it or drink it so you can make it?

May 21, 2012

Is it the coffee or the process of making the coffee that is so enjoyable? I am sure there are those out there who go to coffee shops daily for a great cup of single origin coffee or fantastic cappuccino. In fact, when I visit Chicago I tend to go to Intelligentsia at least once a day for a drink. I enjoy the atmosphere. I like watching my drink being made and I love the outcome of the process. But often times as I watch my espresso being pulled or wait for the drip to finish I wonder how the coffee would taste if I did something different than what the barista was doing.

At home I alternate between espresso on my vintage La Peppina or coffee in a Clever Coffee Dripper, a Hario V60 or an Eva Solo.  For the espresso it’s usually sip and dump or sip and finish for the really good shots. This isn’t too surprising since I tend to pull 20ml shots of espresso with the Peppina. With the drip coffee I will rarely drink more than 5oz of anything I make. I’ll make the coffee in whatever vessel is most appropriate and then fill a 6oz cappuccino cup with my drink. The rest goes down the drain. This is usually enough to enjoy the taste of a good cup of coffee or enough time to think about what went wrong.

When it comes to the espresso I think the answer is easy. I enjoy the process. There are so many variables that go into making a great tasting shot. Any one of those variables could be thrown off on any given day and alter the taste that you are expecting with that first sip. Countless times I’ve looked at the counter full of empty espresso cups and thought to myself “If the third one was so good, why are there seven dirty cups here?”  And the answer to that question is because the next one could be even better. Even though most times it isn’t

With drip coffee I think I drink for the taste.  Although the steps required to make a cup of coffee are just as important as for making espresso there aren’t nearly as many and I don’t think I’ve ever had the equivalent of a spritzing gusher with a drip.

Whenever I want to sit and enjoy a relaxing drink, I make a coffee.  Whenever I want an espresso, I’m in the mood to tinker.

What do you do? 






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