The Art of Coffeeby Hardy Haberman
I've been slurping down a hot brown liquid that my parents had insisted was coffee
since I was 12 years old. Since that time I labored under the misconception that I
had become a coffee drinker. (After all, Mrs. Olsen
told me I was drinking the richest kind.)
That was in 1974. For a few years I mail ordered my coffee from the Crescent
City, secure in the knowledge that I had found the ultimate cup of coffee. Later the
French Roast brands began cropping up on shelves in my local Dallas
supermarkets, and I began to experiment with different blends.
Then, in 1990, I made my first trip to Seattle, Washington. That year, the coffee craze was bubbling throughout the Pacific Northwest, poised to boil over across the nation. There were Espresso stands on almost every corner that summer. I even bought a cup of coffee from a street vendor with a big thermos strapped to his back. This was a city powered by caffeine, and not just the store bought grind, these jittery folks had made coffee brewing and drinking an art.
So who started this whole Coffee thing? Some people blame the Aztecs, who called an infusion made with
the beans the "drink of the Gods" but the history books look to the Arab world, noting that it was first
cultivated in Yemen. Needless to say, the bean is popular in Java, which is actually west of Krakatoa,
despite what the movie said. The bean is second only to cocaine as a cash crop in Colombia, and in Brazil
more people dance and in Brazil more samba dancers drink coffee than any other single drink, save water.
Coffee is grown in at least 25 countries throughout the world, although many types never make it to the
United States. (For those who are sticklers for facts, don't check these too closely.)
The bean, or coffee berry, as it appears on the tree, is dried and roasted in a variety of ways. Most
commercial coffee in the U.S. is roasted only until it turns brown. Just enough to dry it out for grinding.
There is the big problem! Unless the beans are roasted until they are fully dry, a lot of the flavor is lost.
The dark roasts are the heartiest of the coffees. Additionally, the left over moisture in the beans makes
them heavier, and so you get less coffee per pound with most brand name coffees.
Specialty houses, like the temple of caffeine, Starbuck's, roast the beans fully, leaving them slick and oily they come out of the roaster with a slight oily look, and brew a cup of coffee that really delivers the flavor of the bean. Happily, due to Mother Nature and enterprising botanists, there are hundreds of varieties of bean.
|A Gallery of Coffee Drinks|
While living in Mexico city, I found that most coffee served after a meal prepared in this way. Plain old brewed coffee, south of the border, is considered Cafe Americano.
Measure ample coffee for a strong brew into the filter basket. Break the cinnamon stick into several pieces
and place it on top of the ground coffee. Add 1/4 teaspoon of powdered cocoa to the grounds. Serve with an ample
shot of heavy cream and sugar.
As this brews, the aroma of cinnamon and cocoa is irresistible. Serve it with a couple of plain sugar cookies
and it makes a great light desert.
Orange Mist Coffee
1. Ground French roast or Viennese coffee
Brew a moderate pot of French roast coffee. In the bottom of a cup, place 1/8 teaspoon of Orange Flower Water. Pour
the hot coffee over it and garnish the edge of the cup with the orange peel spiral. My host told me to rub the
rim of the cup, much like you would with a lemon peel for espresso, before drinking.
Thai Iced Coffee
1. Ground French roast coffee
Brew the coffee TWICE to THREE TIMES as strong as normal. Mix about a half a cup of coffee with 2 tblsp. of
condensed milk and pour over lots of crushed ice.
French Press Coffee
Cowboy Boiled Coffee
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