It was once stated, quite famously, on a podcast that you can't have a successful technology blog without being into "fussy coffee". Oh how I laughed. I laughed because some of the best blogs out there do have quite a bit of fussy coffee lore on them. Marco Arment, Gridwriter and Sean Bonner have all written some excellent stuff about coffee but it has always rung hollow with me. I was always fine with cheap drip coffee of whatever type my girlfriend chose -- typically Starbucks French Roast.
I have always had the tendency to slide towards becoming a dilettante when it comes to consumables and it's something that I've tried to counter as best I could generally because it can get expensive and, in the end, what are you left with? But I have been changing some very basic things about my life lately and one of them is my relationship to food and drink. I've been trying to enjoy good food to the fullest, whether it is made at home or in a cafe or restaurant.
One way I've stretched my methods of consumption is beer. I've learned a great deal about beer in the last eight months or so, getting into homebrewing and making some extremely tasty beers in the process.
Beer-making was ideal for me. A combination of science and craft, homebrewing allowed me to experiment with different flavors and combinations while encouraging me to drink a lot, something I enjoy. My palate keeps improving as I try new beers from breweries like Brouwerij Van Steenberge, Goose Island and Brasserie St-Feuillien and I've tasted some truly monumental things in the last few months which have challenged what I think a good beer is.
The are some problem with brewing your own beer, however. Space, cost and time.
To have a good homebrew setup, you need a lot of space to make your beer. Then it needs a temperature-controlled space to sit while it ferments. Cost-wise, to get into brewing can be cheap. To do it right it will cost a few hundred dollars. You'll need a good kettle, Cornelius kegs, beer fridge and a temperature control unit. And finally, the biggest kicker of all -- time. To make beer can take from two weeks up to many months. My best brew took almost four months to complete. While the results were stellar, that kind of time doesn't suit the instant-gratification-seeker in me.
That is where coffee comes in.
Over the last week or so, I decided to invest in a few items to allow for some quality coffee brewing. The results have been great and, although I'm nowhere near the heights of experience of the aforementioned bloggers, targeted searching and some solid recommendations have resulted in some truly delicious cups of coffee.
My current setup is:
- Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle
- AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
- EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale
I've used the items listed above over the last few days and it has produced some excellent coffee. My only difficulty has been finding good single origin beans around here (I'm currently on vacation for the week), but a have a Tonx order on the way so we'll see how different it tastes from the beans we've found here in the supermarkets of North Carolina.
I'll post something over the remainder of the weekend with some pictures and the process I've been employing but, for now, I have a new hobby that is producing some tasty, drinkable results. Now if the blog takes off, as Gruber suggests all "fussy coffee tech blogs" must, I should be able to afford the beans going forward. I'm finding those things aren't cheap.