Friday, September 30, 2011

Small coffee secrets: how to prepare a good one

When I drink a coffee in the morning, I need at least two newspapers; once said Umberto Eco in an interview. I completely agree with him, and that’s lovely during weekend to spend time comfortably sitting in a bar drinking from a cup and reading newspapers or magazines.
During the week I can only rely on sad caffeine dispenser of coffee machines of the floor, and then I’ll have two hours of active meetings and brilliant work. I think I prefer newspapers.
Anyway, I would like to drink a toast to everybody here in this room, especially to those who love coffee like I do.

Today I woke up and fell out of bed; the first thing coming to my mouth was “Oh, my God”.
The second thing was a sip of coffee. Then, sitting comfortable in my armchair with my cup of coffee, I was staring at the sky from the window. I started thinking some seconds and everything connected; ideas and stories brought up and sewed together by that supreme smell coming from the cup between my hands.

I prepare it following ancient rules, family heritage of “how to prepare a good coffee”. Then I would like to share some secrets with you to prepare an unforgettable moment.

  1.  I will start from the conclusion: after serving a coffee, do not wash the mocha. Yes, I know it sounds natural and obvious to most of us, poor men in domestic affairs, mainly. In order to conserve the natural environment for an improved taste it is known that coffee residuals should be left in the mocha. Then, when it’s time to have another coffee, unscrew it and wash it under the water using no detergent.
  2. Although it might sound a little weird, coffee powder should be stored in the fridge, in a hermetic pot. This will help you save its taste easily along the time.
    If think Italian blending is the best, brands like Illy, Lavazza, Segafredo, probably known all around the world, are probably the best quality ones. You can find them in almost all great shops and commercial centre.
  3. Fill the base of the mocha with water; the right level would be until you reach the valve. If you are purist, you could use mineral water, I do use tap water (unless city water is undrinkable, of course, in that case you will agree with me that coffee tasting as bleach is not the best).
  4. Then, using a spoon, fill the filter with the powder, until you form a small mountain with that.
    The most important thing is not to push at all with the spoon the coffee you have just added: this will not help water find its path through it, acting like a bottleneck. This is often the main reason for your coffee tastes burnt. Another reason for your coffee tasting burnt is due to filter holes blocked by dirt. I suggest you use a needle to open holes again; it’s an operation that takes about ten minutes, and will assure lots of months free of problems.
  5. Then, another important step: use a light fire in the burner, I know it will take more time than pushing fire to the top, but temperature gently warming water is really fundamental. If you are in a hurry, you can increment the temperature a bit, but take care, as soon as coffee starts to show, lower the temperature again.
  6. After all the coffee has come out, normally indicated by the typical bubbling noise (music for my ears, though!), mix the precious liquid with a spoon before serving. Mixing is very important; the first coffee to come out is denser, then it’s heavier and tends to stay at the bottom of the mocha.
I recommend you serve coffee in a nice cup. It is very important for the eye to be delighted. Otherwise it would be like drinking an expensive wine in a plastic glass, undoubtedly a bad idea.

I love coffee and all the expressions of its personality. Snap your fingers and you’re walking along the 5th avenue in New York, with half a liter of Starbucks beverage in your hand, or maybe flying above Irish highlands with a typical Irish coffee. Be nervous like an authentic Italian with the most concentrated Espresso ever or just sit outside a bar in the sunny Retiro park in Madrid enjoying an iced cappuccino.

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