Friday, August 6, 2010

Coffee confusion

The beauty of a blog is that that it can handle quite serious topics such as complicity of medical personnel in CIA torture, as well as the flimsiest of personal trivia. So here goes my trivial pursuit of the day: my coffee addiction.

Because I spent a lot of my time in France with friends who were generously hosting and feeding me, their meal times were my meal times, and what they purchased and prepared was what I ate and drank. Which in France is a step up from normal American fare.  Fruits especially were much tastier and juicier, because they hadn't been picked before maturity in New Zealand or some other faraway place and then force ripened in a storehouse. And the humble baguette sold at the corner boulangerie is an unheard of delicacy here in the states.

However, I did not have access to a drip coffee machine and was obliged to limit my consumption to what my friends served at breakfast and lunch, plus an occasional crème in a café.  No coffee after dinner either (which I can drink and still manage to sleep, to my husband's consternation)!  Thought I was going to go through withdrawal but, of course, there was good company, lots of activity, and splendid things to see, so my caffeine-craving cells were quickly distracted.

In addition, the coffee I was served was stronger than the brew I've been accustomed to making at home, whether my friends prepared it in an espresso percolator...

or in a cafetière à piston, which we commonly call a French press.

Net result of drinking great French coffee for 2 1/2 weeks: back at home, my daily drip tasted so weak I was desperate. I dug out my Bodum French press. I purchased it last year after staying with some friends who made delicious coffee with it, but I soon relegated it to storage as it just wasn't as convenient to use as my electric drip coffee maker. Complications immediately ensue: coarsely ground coffee beans are required for the French press. Fortunately, had some whole beans on hand.  Got out the little gizmo I use to make breadcrumbs and did some quick and dirty grinding. (sacrilege!!) Used a large quantity of ground coffee...and voilà, a reasonable facsimile of what I enjoyed in France.

The net result, hopefully, will be fewer cups of better tasting coffee consumed each day.

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