Thursday, March 5, 2015

Towards A Consistent Grind

Oh no, I'm probably working myself towards a metaphor. It's a sensation not unlike feeling a particularly satisfying dump building up. Everybody else in the room ranges from indifferent to horrified, but it's still something which must be announced.

Onwards and downwards.

I've decided to retire my cheap and cheery $10 Mr. Coffee electric coffee grinder. It's one of those blade-powered dealies which you fill with beans, push down upon and eventually you wind up with a pile of coffee-themed dirt.

It works and does the job, but I think it's time to move on.

The main problem I've had over the last couple years is consistency. Sometimes you grind for 3 seconds and that's enough. Sometimes you grind for 3 and you wind up with dust, which is too fine for proper brewing. Sometimes it comes out too coarse, which causes the steeping to happen too quickly. And sometimes, you just get a hot mess. Some coarse grounds, some grounds which are too fine.

On top of that, you have to go by feel and that's never a good thing at six in the morning. I get distracted, suddenly I'm drinking a pot of dirt-themed vinegar.

So I've decided to upgrade to a manual ceramic burr grinder, a Porlex to be exact, because that's what the hipsters currently recommend and if there's anything that's a little anachronistic and not mainstream, there's sure to be a hipster with an opinion about it and, it's also a truism that hipsters, as a general rule, should be listened to on certain topics. Coffee is one of them.

I'm told there's two benefits to a burr grinder:

One. The beans grind with less friction-induced heat, which has a tendency to smoke some of the aromatics.

Two. Consistent grind. Dial it in and your beans come out the same every time. Over the course of a few days of tweaking the settings, I'll have a more predictable brew, although the brew I wind up with usually tends to be pretty decent ever since I gave up precision and just went with my gut.

There's also a certain appeal to getting rid of another one of my electrical devices. I've mentioned it before, but working in IT has turned me into something of a technophobe in my private life. Yes, I have gadgets: a laptop, a television, stereo, etc, but if one of them dies these days, I just sort of shake my head and ask myself if I need it or if it can be replaced by a simpler alternative.

At this rate, I'll be living in a cave on top of a mountain by the end of the decade.

And I'm mostly to the end of the blog entry without having a metaphor to squeeze out. I suppose I could throw something arbitrary in here about "refining your process", but sometimes a damn good cup of coffee is just a damn good cup of coffee.

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