Fussy Coffee

Over the years I've read or listened to some of the fussy drinking habbits of people I respect and follow. I've been meaning to write about what I do for coffee for a while. A coworker of mine has asked and a recent post by my friend Sam kicked me to sit down and write it.

Sam talks about Coffee Nerdery and it made me stop and think about how much I get into it. When I was younger, "nerd" had a negative connotation. I learned to not let it bother me a long time ago. Nerds are passionate about many things. For me it was comics, computers, books. Now, add a liiiitle bit of coffee into that.

Don't get me wrong, regular coffee is just fine. Half the time, at work, I just have a cup from the pot. (Granted, that's good coffee). But, as I've written about previously, rituals are important. Some of what I do with coffee is for the taste. Some of it is the ritual of preparing it and the comfort that it brings. Some of it is feeling included in a club, even if that club exists only online in the form of twitter, slack, and blog posts. Because of a few of the gadgets I use, I thought I was a little nerdier. But, the gadgets is where it ends. I don't fiddle with temperature or what I use to stir. I just get good beans and prep them with what I have.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter. If you are passionate about something, want to throw all of your energy into it, are just curious, or just want to fiddle. Do it. If it entertains you, it scratches an itch, or you get something else out of it. Do it. Nerdism is starting to feel like a post within itself. Back to coffee.

Here's what I do: I start up the kettle. When it hisses, I pour it in

The beans I use are usually from the Blue Bottle Coffee mail service. (<-- referral link. help me out!) I'll do a review of the service at some point in the future. For now, check out Marco's

I grind the beans by hand using a Porlex JP-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder

Next is brewing. I use an AeroPress and LOVE it. Even if you use coffee grinds from the supermarket, the Aeropress make brewing so darned easy. Both brewing and cleaning. It makes one cup at a time. Add the coffee, the water, let it sit and then pump it out. Cleaning is just popping the "puck" of spent coffee into the garbage, rinsing everything with water, and throwing it in the drainboard. I use the "inverted method" as I find it the easiest. Check out this 1 min Blue Bottle video that explains it. Sometimes, I also use the AeroPress Timer app on my phone that, in theory, gets a better tasting brew. I stir it with the handle of the AeroPress scoop

Most of the time, I have the coffee exactly as it comes out of the press. This is a little closer to espresso than coffee. The instructions say "add water to taste". I've been home with Charlie the past few weeks and have been trying this. I like both, I'm not sure which method I'll end up with. Either way, I add my 2 ice cubes

Now. Bulletproof Coffee. I've done this on and off over the past few years. Gizmodo debunked it earlier this year. What do I think? For the most part. It works. For the first few months, you feel like you've had rocket fuel and can do anything. Then, it tapers off. I do it a few times a year, usually close to the release of a website for a little boost. I eyeball a tablespoon or so of Kerry Gold Butter and add a tablespoon of MCT Oil. If you are going to try it, don't buy the bulletproof brand. It's not any better and amazon can save you money.

However you take your coffee; whether you are super fussy, love your starbucks, or dabble a little bit at home: It doesn’t matter. ENJOY your coffee

On Morning Rituals

Rituals are important. I’m a creature of habit. But, I had never characterized some of the things I do as rituals.  I read some posts by Casey Liss and David Smith that were not unlike some of the things I do.  I like repetition. I like not having to think about a decision or even make one to begin with.  Similar things for breakfast each day. If I cook a big meal I’ll have the leftovers for subsequent meals until they are gone.

Having these rituals help me get my day going. They let me know that all is right in the world.

My morning ritual is something of a decision tree:

Gym

I used to go to my gym a lot more often; 4-6 days a week. Adding in runs on top of that if I was training for a race. Lately 3 days a week seems to be my norm. I’ve grown to be ok with this. Personal and work stress are adding up, and that’s what I can do right now. Which is funny because the gym is a huge stress relief for me. But, I digress.  If I go to the gym, I shower at the gym after my workout, then walk to work.  I either have breakfast with me or I pick it up on the way to the office. If I have it with me, it means I cooked it the night before: 3-4 eggs fried in coconut oil, seasoning, maybe some sourcraut (It’s a lot better than you think it is). If I pick it up it’s some kind of veggie omelet or scrambled eggs with a vegetable. This has been my morning gym ritual for about 5 years now.  I started drinking coffee about a year ago. I have a half cup from the pot of work if I eat breakfast there.  I add 2 cubes of ice to it from work’s freezer.  I want to drink it immediately and this brings it to the right temperature for my taste. Having this repetition helps me start my day. I usually eat my food at the cafe table, with my laptop, doing a quick pass of email.  I’m trying to shift this into doing something with the first hour of my day, not just drowning in email.

Wakeup time: 5:35am. Catch 6:07 train into the city. My clothes are laid out the night before. Wakeup, chug protein shake so I’m not starving, wash face, brush teeth, do inhaler, run to train.

Home

If I sleep in, I eat and have coffee at home.  I’ll wakeup and jump in the shower to wake up a little. Breakfast will be 3 eggs and sometimes a few strips of bacon.  I put the frying pan on high. While it’s heating up I put the kettle on.  I crack a few eggs into the pan. While they are sitting, I start getting the Aeropress ready.  I love the Aeropress. It’s perfect for a single cup, or even 2 if I’m making one for Laura. I get my coffee from Tonx. If you aren’t familiar with them, I highly recommend. You get your coffee every 2 weeks for a monthly fee. The beans are roasted fresh, which apparently augments the taste.  I don’t have to worry about running out, or remembering to pick some up from the store. It just shows up. Less stress.  The amount of coffee I drink is perfect for their lowest plan. At most I end up with an extra cup and a half of beans. It’s very, very rare that I run out. I also tried Drifwaway coffee which I really liked. They send you a sample pack of 4 types of coffee. You rate each one and this effects what your shipments are in the future. I consistently got something I really enjoyed. I occasionally get something I’m not a big fan of with Tonx.  You might wonder why I don’t just pick 1 thing and stick with it. That would be less stress, actually. But, I’m still getting into coffee and exploring what I like. I can’t tell you right now what type of coffee I like using the right terminology. But, Driftaway’s shipment size was too big for me, I ended up having a decent amount leftover.

Wakeup time: in between 7 and 8, depending on what my morning for work looks like

Run

I may, like I did this morning, get up 30-60 mins before my sleep in time and get a run in.  If it’s going to be raining I’ll opt for this. I love running in the rain.  The amount of running I’ve been doing recently has dropped drastically. I’m trying to get back into it. I really do love it. After the run, I fall into what I normally do at home.

I use an alarm for all of these. For the gym, I’ll set the Sony clock radio I’ve had since I was 6. I’m amazed it still works, though it took me a while to find a link to it online. I wake up at the same time for the gym, no matter the day. I just flip on the alarm. Laura keeps it tuned to NPR, so I wake up to that.  The other days I’ll use my phone. Siri sets alarms for whatever time I need.

I never snooze. Never have, don’t think I ever will.  If I’m not going to get up until 20 mins later, I’d rather just get that as real sleep time.  My alarm clock has always been in a place where I have to get up to turn it off. (This was particularly helpful in college. I woke up at 4:40 for practice. Sleep was very valuable)

If you are frazzled in the morning or feel stressed out getting ready for work, think about repetition. What would you want to do every morning? What of your routine can be ritualized?

If you did a few things the night before (pick clothes) would that lessen your stress in the morning? Think about it. I love it. If you have any rituals that help you start your day, or lower your stress, let me below in the comments or on