Jumat, 14 September 2012

5 Benefits of the Pour Over Coffee Method

Have you ever heard of the pour over coffee method for brewing coffee? Well, it has certainly gained a lot of attention and notoriety in recent years. They are even using this method in coffee shops but the real draw is for the individual consumer who may not have direct access to a coffee maker, but wants to brew a great cup of coffee.

This method of brewing coffee involves a pour over coffee cone into which you insert a regular coffee filter. The cone rests on top of your favorite coffee cup. Into the coffee filter you add your favorite ground coffee. Then you boil up some water with a microwave, stove top, electric tea kettle, or a campfire. After the water comes to a boil, let it rest for about a minute so that the temperature of the water, which at boiling is 212 degrees Fahrenheit, drops to roughly 200 degrees Fahrenheit. That will take roughly a minute or two. Then you simply pour the water into the cone and the coffee will drip into the mug beneath it.

So, what are the benefits of using the pour over coffee method?

1. Low Tech 
These days all you have to do is look on Amazon or in any kitchen store and you can find a huge assortment of various coffee makers available for purchase. You can find coffee makers that grind your beans automatically and brew the coffee before you wake up each morning. You can buy custom restaurant-grade espresso and cappuccino coffee makers. You can buy a Keurig coffee maker for your home that uses the ever-popular K-cup.

With pour over coffee, all you need to purchase is a ceramic or a plastic cone. As long as you have ground coffee and water and a way to heat up that water, you can have a great cup of coffee.

2. Portability 
My wife and I always bring our ceramic pour over coffee cone with us when we travel. At most hotels and motels, you typically find Keurig coffee makers which force you into using whatever brand is in the K-cup. We are very particular about our brand of coffee that we drink each day so, when we travel, there usually is a microwave in the room to heat up water. That's all we need to make a great cup of pour over coffee with the brand of coffee that we love!

3. Don't Need Electricity 
If you are an outdoorsman and love to camp, you can have a great cup of pour over coffee as long as you can heat up water over a campfire or a propane camping stove. Also, if you own a propane grill and the power goes off at your house, you can always heat up water in a pot on the grill or on a side burner if you have one. You don't need electricity to brew yourself up a great cup of Joe!

4. Price is Right 
The ceramic cones are a little more expensive than the plastic but you don't have to pay more than $10 for a ceramic cone and the plastic will be half the price. My daughter bought a plastic Melitta pour over coffee cone for $5 and she loves it. We love our Hario ceramic cone but, to be honest, if we dropped it on our ceramic tile kitchen floor, we could end up with a broken tile in the floor as well as a smashed ceramic pour over coffee cone. With the plastic cone, there would be no harm done at all and it costs half the price and makes coffee just as well.

5. Great for Making Coffee for One 
I leave for work early in the morning on a daily basis. I usually wait until I get to work to have my first cup of coffee. My wife, on the other hand, wakes up a bit later. Instead of using the electric automatic drip coffee maker at home, she will use the pour over coffee method. It takes about 3 minutes to heat a cup of water in the microwave and about a minute for it to drain into her awaiting coffee mug from the cone. So, within about 5 minutes she is enjoying a great cup of coffee and the only cleanup needed is to rinse out the ceramic cone and toss out the grounds in the garbage.

If you haven't yet explored the pour over coffee method, you may want to do so. Even if you only use it every now and then, you will always have a method to satisfy your caffeinated desires at home or on the road!

Bob Bessette is the owner of Totally Unique Life, a site geared toward practical solutions, tips, and advice for your life. This site covers everything from financial and time management tips, college advice for parents and students, and solutions to everyday life issues.

Kamis, 13 September 2012

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee 101

You know a product is good when tons of companies are trying to sell cheap imitations with subtly misleading packaging. This is what has been happening with one of the world's finest coffees, Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. Though it is fairly simple to package convincing imitations, the taste-smooth, complex, and without a trace of bitterness-is not something that can be replicated. Here are all the basics that you should know about Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.

Where It Grows

The Blue Mountains of Jamaica run in a range from north to south, with the southernmost parts in Kingston, stretching up towards Port Antonio. At the highest points of these majestic mountains, at elevations of over 5,500, no coffee is cultivated. This is because the land there is strictly preserved forestland where farming is prohibited in order to protect the natural beauty of the landscape. Just below these precious reserves, between elevations of 3,000 and 5,500 feet, on small, sloping fields, coffee trees dot the landscape. Here lies the region where true Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is grown.

What It's Like

The most notable characteristic of this delicacy is its absence of bitterness. It is mild and smooth, yet incredibly complex in flavor. Even without milk or sugar, seasoned coffee drinkers and rookies alike find it particularly easy to drink.

How It Gets Here

Traveling to you is the most complicated part of this coffee's life cycle. Because it is such a high-demand item, all Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee must be inspected and certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica prior to exportation. The inspection process is surprisingly rigorous; though grades of the beans can vary, each grade selected as good enough to wear the label must have beans with any noticeable defects numbering less than 2 percent. In addition, anyone who would like to import the stuff needs to be an approved importer; these importers, like the coffee itself, also need the approval of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. You can be sure you are getting the real thing by checking to make sure the importer of your beans has their approval.

How to Take Care of It

Once you have gotten your hands on this special treat, be sure to care for it well so you can taste it as it was meant to be tasted. This means you should buy whole beans, if you can, and only grind them just as you are about to brew. Before you brew, keep them stored in a cool, dry, and dark location in a container that is air tight. Another tip to prolong freshness is to purchase from a source that holds off from roasting them until just before they are shipped.