Monday, February 23, 2004

my first impressions of the French press

The coffee I had from the press was better than the Filterfresh machine, but not even close to the Starbucks/drip quality to which I was becoming accustomed. I did get a small amount of sludge in the bottom of my cup, which is nothing new since the FF machine gives me the same thing. I think I used too much water for the initial brew, and too much milk in my cup (since the kitchen is down the hall and I didn't want to keep walking the hallways carrying mugs and coffeepots, I put the milk in first). But it was my first attempt with the press, so I'm trying to be forgiving and resisting the temptation to drop the whole idea and go back to Starbucks. I read the press pot guide on and found out right away that I'm not using the right kind of grinder for press pot coffee. Apparently a blade grinder like the one I have makes excellent fine grounds perfect for drip coffeemakers, but can't produce a uniform coarse grind suitable for a press. Hence the omnipresent sludge at the bottom of the mug. Since the alternative to the blade grinder (a wedding gift from a good friend) is a large and expensive burr grinder, I think I'll work with what I have. And my beans are several months old and not freshly ground by the time I make the coffee in the afternoons. Again, unless I start buying fresh beans in my office neighborhood and grinding them at my desk, I'm stuck with these limitations. If I go any further with this obsession, I'll have to start selling coffee at my desk to cover the costs. At least I'll go through the beans quicker if I'm using them every day. There is an empty cube in our space for the next few weeks. Maybe I could turn that into a coffee stand and make some extra cash.

The whole reason I have this problem in the first place is that I don't like to drink coffee with breakfast. I usually have a bowl of cereal and some OJ, and I've found that coffee doesn't sit well with that combination. The last time I did that, I was wired and vaguely nauseous until lunch. If I ate a full breakfast of eggs, sausage, muffins, etc., then I'd happily make drip coffee at home. But I don't have that kind of time or appetite in the mornings, so cereal it shall be. Besides, a cup of coffee around 2:30 PM is a great way to wake up for the rest of the afternoon.

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