Posted on February 19, 2015 by Viji
Whoever said “a picture is worth thousand words” is so right! I don’t need to write one word about our lives in the northeast these days. It’s “all about that snow”.
With no school for kids and Manoj working from home, there was no rush in the morning. I finally got some time to roast the green coffee beans we had gotten a while ago. Grinding the roasted beans at home and making fresh coffee has been our ritual for a long time, but today we made the brew starting with roasting the raw green coffee beans. The whole house was filled with the wonderful aroma of coffee… is there anything more satisfying than making a fresh cup?
My love of coffee started way back, when I was a little five year old (or may be even before that). I remember running to my grandpa’s lap on my way back from school, only to have the last few sips of his coffee, every single day. Sitting on his lap sipping my share of his coffee always made me feel very happy, and this didn’t change even when I was in college, except that it didn’t happen every day. However late I reached, he had waited for me and there was always that ‘my share of coffee’ next to him. Now, he is not there to wait for me but the smell of coffee instantly transforms me to that same five year old who felt so secure in her grandpa’s arms.
I also remember that one coffee plant we had, and all those white flowers it used to get covered with. They were so fragrant. I still remember my grandma picking those beans, roasting them and grinding them at home. I always wished I could make coffee the very same way as she did. At last, today I am one step closer!
My coffee-holism is well known among family and friends, and I think my kids feel that is the most favorite thing in my life. Two years back they wanted to spend all the money they had, to buy me the best coffee as my birthday gift, and most of it was what Maanas had earned by shovelling the snow for neighbors when he was 10 years old.
Every morning, Manoj and I have our coffee together. We use the ‘south indian style’ filter to make the brew. But our coffee doesn’t resemble the traditional south indian coffee, which is made just with brew and milk. We like it quite strong, but with more water and less milk. A plain black coffee is also one of my favorites!
Light Roast & Dark Roast
Roasting the beans is a very simple process. Keep the raw green coffee beans in an iron pan over medium heat, stirring it very often. Within the first five minutes or so, you can start seeing the color changing to brown. At this stage, they are light roasted and are great for making black coffee. If you prefer your coffee with milk, roast for another few minutes. You will start hearing the popping sound and the beans will be quite brown. This is the dark roast stage. Take care not to roast them too dark, as they will smell quite unpleasant (just like burnt rubber). Once the beans are roasted to the desired stage, remove it from the heat, transfer it to another plate, and allow it to cool. Please note: Roasting will produce a good amount of smoke.
Grinding the roasted beans
A simple manual grinder is all you need to grind beans enough to make 3-4 cups of coffee.
3 Tablespoons of ground coffee powder
2 cups of water
Boil water, add the ground coffee powder, stir it, and boil for a few seconds. Switch the heat off and keep it covered for 4-5 minutes. Then, without disturbing the mixture, pour the brewed coffee into another pot. If you would prefer, you can use a thin piece of white cloth as a filter.
Brewing – south indian style
The south indian style of brewing coffee uses a different kind of filter. It is made of four pieces; two cylindrical cups – the top cup to which the coffee powder is added has a lot of tiny holes at the bottom acting as the filter. The bottom cup is for collecting the brewed and filtered coffee. The two pieces left are the plunger and the lid.
The quantity of water needed to make the brew depends on the size of the top cup. For a filter that can hold one cup of water, use about 2 Tablespoons of ground coffee powder.
Boil water for a minute. Place the top cup on the bottom cup. Add the coffee powder to the top cup. Insert the plunger and press it down. Fill it with the boiling water. Close it with the lid. Within 4-5 minutes, the brewed and filtered coffee will be ready in the bottom cup. The brew made this way is called “decoction” and will be quite strong.
The few minutes it takes for the water to extract the flavor from the beans, using either method, make the brew quite cold when ready to drink. So it’s always good to boil the brew just before making the coffee. At this point, you can also add hot water to the brew to adjust the strength of the coffee. The black coffee is ready!
If you like the coffee with milk, froth the milk, but do not boil. Pour just enough milk to the cup. Add sugar, if using and stir well. From a good height (a foot or more), pour the boiling black coffee into the milk. You will have a perfect cup of coffee, with a lot of froth.
I think there is nothing more personal than how we want our coffee to be. Once the brew is made, try out various combinations for the amount of milk, water, and sugar until you find the one to your liking.
Once again, it’s snowing! A hot cup of coffee in one hand, and your favorite book in the other, snuggle up inside a blanket (until it’s time to clean up the snow ).
To all the coffee lovers… and to the ones to be!