The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Did you know that coffee beans are green? (And turn shades of brown once they’re roasted.)

I learned that this weekend while playing at-home barista.  The following is a little anecdote about my inspiration…

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Generally, I don’t like to use over-used quotes, but I’ve been pondering a lot about work-life balances, purpose, and roots of happiness of late, so I’m going to make this exception for that one Confucius jammie: 

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

I’m a very fortunate person in that I have found a job that I really do love. Though since my early years in college, I’ve always asked myself, “But maybe I’d be really happy if I was a barista…” I love coffee (caffeine is probably my greatest vice), although, I have never worked in the industry. There is something that has always drawn me to the idea of being a person who provides a carefully crafted, artisanal dose of enjoyment and daily ritual to a local ecosystem of regular patrons.  Really though, how many people ever make it into being a part of your daily ritual?  To me it seems so simple and powerful, and I’m into that.

In the last three years, there have been three men who’ve made an effect on my simple, mundane daily ritual with the products they’ve crafted: Mike Kreiger & Kevin Systrom (who created this little mobile application called Instagram), and of course my rat-tail barista.  I never knew his name, but he always remembered my order – it was our ritual, “TK USA” in Sharpie on paper cup.

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Since my rat-tailed barista long ago moved on to a new daily ritual, I thought of him this past weekend and wanted to make the perfect cup of coffee. Here are a few things I learned:

i. LEARN SOME ROAST BASICS (mostly will depend on how long and at what temperature you roast your beans at; the following is from Sweet Maria‘s – an Oakland, CA based home green coffee bean purveyor):

For this cup, I chose a Zimbabwe Chipinge.

ii. DON’T OVERFILL YOUR ROASTER; your beans will become aerated and increase in volume when roasting (see before and after below):

Fresh Roast SR500 Home Coffee Roaster

iii. LEARN HOW TO GRIND FOR YOUR BREW METHOD; I like this guide with photos from I Need Coffee:

Porlex Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder

iv. TAKE TIME TO ENJOY your creation! You don’t even need cream or sweetener for a perfect cup of joe like this (though I’ll admit, on indulgent days, I will add a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk to my coffee…#sorrynotsorry)

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