Archival Coffee

Coffee service in On The Beach (Kramer 1959)

People who know me know that I’m obsessed with coffee. I’m not a bean snob or a machine snob. I only visit this site when I need to read consumer reviews or check the fair market price for coffee related appliances. What I do do with ritualized obsession is prepare coffee according to the fixed laws of the Time Life Beverages book. Following the advice of the book, I use a Chemex glass carafe brewer and Chemex bonded filters (cheaper to purchase as unfolded filter circles). And these are some of the rules, in condensed form, I follow: always preheat mugs and carafe, grind one more scoop of beans than recommended, wet grounds in 15 second intervals, wait until grounds “bloom” before pouring in large amounts of water, keep swilling coffee in bottom of carafe to avoid “bottom brew”, preheat milk, add small pinch of sea salt and or cracked pepper to final brew (it’s in the book!). Friend Hilary brought me back a reversible Harris tweed tea (now coffee) cozy from England. Wrapping the Chemex carafe in this cozy is my first sartorial act of the day.

My Technivorm Moccamaster ended up as a craigslist sale to someone in Kansas City, Kansas. I spent so much time applying manual brewing rules to the machine (making sure the grounds were evenly damp, turning machine on and off to retard the brewing process, etc.) that I lost whatever automated convenience the on-off button was providing me. Nevertheless, Technivorm remains a brand I admire since they still make their amazingly high quality brewing appliances by hand in Holland. For a coffee themed field trip, I’d recommend visiting Boyds Coffee Company, the US distributor for Technivorm (located near the Danner Factory store in Portland, Oregon, though I doubt Boyds sells factory seconds or Japan only models).

7 thoughts on “Archival Coffee”

  1. Not decades behind! You just need to shore up your practices a little bit. Start by pre-heating that mug and making sure you’re using a nice, uniform grind for your brew.

    Now, I need your help finding a decent pair of classic denim (501s, but higher quality with that old timey, high wasted, box legged, non slimmy slim fit).

  2. My first round of espresso “preheats” both my machine and my mug for rounds 2 and following.

    The salt trick is not really recommended for:
    -highly acidic coffee
    -really nutted coffee
    -really cheap can coffee your boss gets for free in trade and provides you as a “job perk”

  3. In the second picture from the top, what is that on the platter between the cream pitcher and the coffee cup? A coffee treat? Sweetener for the coffee?

  4. Salt and pepper really only recommended with coffee prepared with milk (as a super small scale addendum). You can also add a bit of Penseys cinnamon or vanilla paste to breakfast coffee, if needed (a break from coffee purists–like the folks at Stumptown–who do not serve tasting room brews with milk or sweetener).

    Brown shape in second photo is some sort of dessert cookie/italian biscotti on top of cubes of white and brown sugar.

    Canned coffee should never cross the threshold of an archival household.

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