Yes, there is such a thing as the perfect cup of coffee. We caught up with Todd Carmichael, co-founder of La Colombe Torrefaction and the first American to cross Antarctica to the South Pole alone on foot. Not surprisingly, one of the first things he did upon returning from the frigid continent was make an excellent cup of coffee.
So, what does a frostbitten and emaciated coffee roaster with every machine and a dizzying array of beans at his disposal make as his first cup of coffee? Here are the main ingredients.
The machine: In a world gone mad on elaborate contraptions, the Krupps and Cuisinart five-cup gold filter brewers still reign king. If you're embarrassed by this, don't be. Even hipsters, getting bored with the bong-looking slow-brew paraphernalia, are starting to admit it (here's how to survive the horrible hipster coffee trend). Drip brewers are wonderfully American and although they do not look exotic, they deliver.
Ladies and gents, it's now safe to order coffee in restaurants.
The coffee: If it's great coffee you're looking for, and you're not out to study the nuances of one particular single origin against another, go for a blend - the depth, the roundness and the completeness cannot be matched by a single origin - even the one purportedly harvested at the foot of Valhalla.
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The grind: Go fine. With coffee, surface area is important: the finer the grind, the more surface area. I'm not suggesting Turkish grind here, but the finest your brewer can handle is best. After all, a little "silt" in the cup never killed anyone, and the brew will seriously please you.
Find out what a lovingly prepared cuppa joe feels like.
Things to leave out: Whipped cream, sugar substitutes, flavored syrups and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. This is coffee you're making, not pumpkin pie.
A little Irish whiskey, though, is absolutely fine.
Optional additives: Real sugar if you are so inclined. Real cream, especially if you're calcium deficient. If you like these things, this is where you may need to ignore aficionado advice. Remember, in coffee, "purist" is often just another word for "fascist." This is your cup of coffee, so take ownership of it and dress it the way you wish, keeping in mind that a man's cup is his castle.
Try these delicious breakfasts to complement your coffee.
If you respect these simple tenets, it may not take walking 700 miles across Antarctica for you not to take certain things for granted, and indeed, make the best cup of coffee on the planet - every day.
PLUS: These 13 things should be in your breakfast pantry.
How do you like your coffee? Do you make it at home or buy it out?
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