Making coffee is not a difficult task –people it do every
single day – but it is a task neither of us had mastered. Once, when I needed coffee
for a recipe, I actually went to 7-11 and bought a cup. Turk has done the same
(but at Starbucks, because she’s fancier). And so it was that we decided to make coffee for
our first BLK adventure. We like setting the bar low for ourselves.
One of the rules of Brave Little Kitchen is that no one is allowed to make fun of anyone’s kitchen fears, no matter how silly. So we were a little disheartened when we were mocked – mocked! – for being afraid to make coffee. I had only made it once before; my mom had come over to help out when my son, Jackson, was a few weeks old. She wanted some coffee, so in my baby-induced haze, she walked me through it step by step so that she could have a fresh pot. I totally forgot what she told me, though – I blame extreme maternal exhaustion. Turk’s father also walked her through making a pot once when he was visiting, but she forgot what he taught her as well. I’m not sure what her excuse is. [My excuse is that I never needed to know how to make coffee. That’s why coffee shops exist! - Turk]
We decided to try two methods: the regular coffee pot method, and the French press. My husband actually drinks coffee every day, so we had both a coffee maker and a French press pot; Turk bought a coffee grinder [not for future coffee endeavors mind you, but so I could grind spices - Turk], and I made sure we had coffee. We were ready. First up: the coffee machine (coffee maker? coffee pot? we don’t even know the lingo). According to our vigorous research, a/k/a asking our parents, we went with the recommended ratio of one rounded tablespoon of coffee to one cup of hot water. Turk dumped the coffee into the filter, then poured the water, pushed the pot in and turned on the machine. And then this happened:
Apparently we did not set the bar low
My mom, my aunt, my brother, and his girlfriend were
visiting at the time, and they all had their own “helpful” ideas about what
happened. “Too much water!” “You’re supposed to put the water in first, then
the coffee!” “Maybe the pot wasn’t in all the way!” Thanks, unwelcome
commentators! Maybe if there hadn’t been so many people distracting us, we
would have made it right the first time. We soldiered on, though, making a
fresh pot after noticing the first spilled pot was rather – gritty. It came out
fine. Or so we were told; neither of us actually drink coffee (wait . . . is that why we never learned how to make it?).
Next up was the French press. [The brand new French press that Court and Tom already owned but had never taken out of the box. How long had you had that thing, Court? The dust was amazing. Not that we really cleaned before we started. The point is, it had been sitting in a box for awhile and no one had used it. So, maybe Tom was as afraid of the French press as we were of coffee in general! Take that! - Turk] This was a little trickier: first, you boil water. Then you scoop coffee into the little pot (one heaping tablespoon per cup, just like with a machine, except this coffee should be coarsely ground [this Court learned from a website, like she did actual research - Turk]. Pour the hot water into the pot and let it sit for four to five minutes to brew, then push the plunger down so that it traps all the beans at the bottom. It was a little more labor intensive, but I think we both liked this method a little better. You could be more precise with it, and even make just one cup at a time; with a coffee maker you have to make a minimum of four. The coffee was good – we actually tried it! Plus, it just seems fancier and fancier is always better.We knew we would have a lot of leftover coffee, so we planned (and I use that term loosely) to make this chocolate whiskey bundt cake. The recipe states that you have to wait for two hours after the cake comes out before turning it out of the pan. It also recommends waiting a day before eating the cake because it will taste better. We took the advice under advisement, and promptly ignored it, because we did not plan ahead. We turned it out after about half an hour and ate it immediately. It was delicious.
Mise en place –
Part of why we got so flustered making that first pot was that there were TOO
MANY PEOPLE visiting. And we are anti-social. But also, it would have helped if
we had set out everything we needed beforehand.
Clean kitchen first
– for better pictures.
Start earlier, prep more – this goes hand in hand with mise en place. If we had read the recipe ahead of time, we might have seen how long it took to make the cake and let it sit and started at a more reasonable hour instead of rushing at the end and having a possibly less than perfect cake.
Water first, then coffee; push pot all the way in – uh, just in case.