Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blowing hot and cold

Bro1 has been on a bit of a coffee kick lately. By "coffee kick", I mean sampling long blacks (hur hur hur) at non-conglomerate coffee houses* and declaring that they're "meh". I'm not sure what he's looking for, but it's safe to say that when/if he finds the rapture-inducing brew, it will be expensive and hard to get, leaving him bitter (HAHA) to the end of his days.

Domestic coffee-making things
Personally, I'm all for egalitarianism when it comes to caffeinated beverages. I may brew my own coffee in a French press** each morning, or dust off my Vietnamese drip brewer if the grounds happen to be coarser, but it doesn't mean that I would turn down a cup of instant if I were offered one, much less heap scorn on offering/offerer. This is because: 

1. It's rude.
2. It doesn't matter how it happens as long as you get buzzed.

For those reasons, I find the coffee vs. tea thing inexplicable as well. I don't know how much of it is marketing and to what extent avowed coffee and tea drinkers actually believe that their beverage of choice should be the only beverage ever.

I like tea. It's mellow and mind-clearing and invigorating in a way that coffee can never be. Apparently though, you have to get the perfect tea leaves or else you might as well just fill your cup with ditch water. And you mustn't ever wash your teapot because you will destroy the flavours so painstakingly developed over 5 days.

Fortunately, I have had the privilege of brewing tea in clay teapots, copper pots, and my trusty French press***, and can safely tell you that it's usually down to brewing time and leaf quantity. That is, if you want stronger tea, use more leaves. If you want a mellower flavour, use cool water and steep it overnight, or steep the leaves in hot water over a shorter time. 

There's nothing wrong with bagged tea either, because what's the point of having a chill-out moment if you can't do it your way?

* It seems like one opens every week here, which is both exciting and a little worrying.
** For some reason, people here consider this an esoteric method and get wide-eyed over it. What's so mysterious about leaving coffee grounds in hot water for 4 minutes?
*** I buy into the idea that using an infuser is counterproductive to the steeping process.


Snuze said...

I wish caffeine would keep me going, but I'd fall asleep after a few espressos anyway.

The tea thing I don't get. I was taught in my ERT (living skills, natch) that you gotta prewarm your pot, put in enough etc.

Fuck that.

Boiling hot water to your leaves. That does the job and then some. Or if I want to go the spiced tea route, I'd dump tea leaves/dust, cinnamon stick, cardamom, star anise and cengkih (I don't know the English word to it) and boil the hell out of 'em. Milk and sugar and you're done.

Angela Gripesalot said...

Clearly you need more espressos!

I don't get the pot-warming thing so much either, but would disagree with you on using boiling hot water: I imagine scalding the leaves produces a different flavor.

OTOH, it's also down to personal taste, so why not (unless the tea is really expensive, then I'd go the textbook route), eh wot?

That said, cengkih = cloves, I think.