When Paul returned home last summer, he was even more inspired to up our morning coffee game. To celebrate his return we bought a fancy KitchenAid grinder and started paying more attention to where the beans come from and how they are roasted.
Our favorite places of origin are Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. It turns out once we started using the appropriate amount of water for the beans we enjoy the flavor of the medium/lighter roasted beans more than the darker roasts we used to purchase (they tend to have a more citrus/berry taste). We have learned that oily coffee beans (they look shiny in the packaging) have usually been over-roasted (which is what can give coffee that burnt taste). We also learned that beans that have a "roasted on" date are fresh (and will taste noticeably better if they are drank within 5-10 days of that date).
For Christmas, my parents got Paul a six-month coffee subscription so once a month we get beans from three different roasters in the US. We also purchase at our local grocery store and from a few great San Diego roasters (West Bean, Dark Horse and Bird Rock are three of our favorites).
The "higher quality" bean roast has made a huge difference in taste, for sure. But Paul has also made a few changes to his brewing technique that makes our morning coffee closer to perfection.
To start, he weighs the beans (using my postal scale!) each morning. We generally use about 75 grams of beans for a not quite full Chemex. (This is much more than we were using pre-measuring and is giving our coffee a better, fuller flavor).
Like before, we boil water in our tea kettle on the stove, but then Paul pours a bit of water into the Chemex and swirls it around to heat things up. The water then goes into our mugs to warm them as well. (See how fancy?! It's just not fancy when you're me and forget there is warm water in your mug and so you pour coffee in as well. Wop, wop.)
We have started using fabric filters by CoffeeSock and are big fans. Yes, it's a hassle to wash them out instead of just dropping in the bin, but they work great and the taste has been excellent. The filter fits into the Chemex with the seam facing the spout and the grounds go into the filter.
The first bit of water is poured slowly and we give the grounds time to "bloom." With really freshly roasted beans this is a dramatic process and the grounds really expand.
Then its just pour some water, wait a bit, pour some water, wait a bit. The goal is to not overfill, to pour in a circle covering all the grounds and to be consistent. Paul usually sets the Chemex on the scale and pours about 855 grams of water to get a perfect ratio.
And then (after dumping out the "pre-warming" water) we pour into our mugs and drink. This is "real deal" coffee and so good I cannot imagine adding extras (and I used to be a die-hard "extras" girl). The transition to black coffee took a bit of time (much like the transition into loving red wine) but now I appreciate the taste so much.
Hilariously, switching to black coffee made me feel more adult than having a baby did. (I know, that's crazy.)
Since I know folks will be curious, Paul says this process takes about 15 minutes + water boiling time. He wakes up very early for work and makes the coffee each day. For him, it's how he adjusts to the morning and follows the steps while eating cereal and catching up on email, etc on his phone.
*this post is NOT sponsored but links throughout are affiliate because if you love good coffee have 15 minutes each morning I highly recommend the Chemex and I am happy to share the tools that helps us brew.