Morning Rituals

Let’s get something straight up front: I am not a morning person. My son’s school and my own job conspire to get me up somewhere around stupid o’clock in the morning. My morning ritual, then, needs to be something simple that my brain can handle on autopilot. Let’s take a peek:

coffee making equipment

In the center at the back is the scale and a small press pot. I use the press pot to measure out beans, because after a lot of trial and error, I decided that pouring coffee beans into the grinder is very error-prone for me and I need something easy. Forty five grams of coffee – check. (One time, with another grinder that had a clear plastic bowl for the beans, I managed to pour beans onto the lid of the bowl, sending them all over the kitchen. Jason nearly snorted cereal through his nose.)

To the right is the grinder. Yes, I grind my beans by hand – I can get a coarser grind out of this than I do with a normal coffee grinder, and it’s gentler on the beans. We picked this up on a trip to New Orleans years ago, before Katrina, in a little shop across from the Café du Monde. It takes filling the bowl twice to get through forty five grams of coffee. It’s repetitive. Mind numbing. Perfect for the morning.

To the left of the scale is the press pot. I use this to measure out water (plus a bit more) for the kettle, then put that on to boil while I’m grinding the beans. Once the water boils, pull it off the heat and wait thirty seconds – the best temperature for making coffee is around 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit, I believe, just below a boil. Put the grounds in the press pot, pour water over, stir to make sure the grounds are evenly wet, and set a time for four minutes.

Remember that “plus a bit more” water? That’s what you see in the coffee mug at the left. Pre-warming the mug with a little of the boiling water is a bit of gilding the lily, but I swear it actually does make a difference. So, while the coffee is brewing, I pour the last of the water in the mug and dump it out when the coffee is ready.

Plunge, pour, adulterate if necessary – a little cream, a little simple syrup – and enjoy. I can handle this in the morning.