Weeds In the Field and In My Brain

We’ve still been getting almost daily rain, usually in the late afternoon or night. Sometimes it comes down pretty hard, but the land takes it in. No mud or puddles in the morning. We swear the weeds seem to grow inches with each rain, though. That’s mostly what’s going on on the farm now … weeding, while we wait for more berries to turn red.

I didn’t get the good photo of hubby, who looked like a porcupine yesterday, with needle seeds sticking out everywhere. He said the weeding wasn’t as bad as trying to get the needles out. He spent an hour just with his t-shirt and didn’t even finish. Other clothing items would be groomed out another day.

On a completely other note, here are two articles essentially sharing the same news about research into acidity and antioxidants in cold brew versus hot coffee. A friend recently shared that one, and I filed it away to share with you all, and rediscovered the same news I had filed away half a year ago. I thought the news sounded familiar. Ha ha.

Cupping to Improve Your Palate

With COVID-19 and being more home bound, almost everyone’s routines have been profoundly shaken up. I keep hearing of friends picking up new hobbies and activities. One friend has gotten into daily latte art — I posted one of his nice hearts on our Instagram account the other day.

Do you have any interest in trying to cup coffee? According to Ted Lingle, “Coffee cupping is a method used to systematically evaluate the aroma and taste quality characteristics of a sample of coffee beans.” 

I’ve written about cupping a couple of times. We’ve taken a class. Months later we had our coffee professionally cupped, and then tried to cup at home with the leftover beans.

A while back I read “A Beginner’s Guide to Cupping Coffee,” which you might enjoy.

Or maybe this article is a little more approachable, “Coffee Tasting Exercises That Will Improve Your Palate.” The first step seems easy enough: drink coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Step 2 seems pleasant enough: Add fruit and candies to your diet. But what the article asks of you has a steep incline. By step 6, you’re being asked to add malic, tartaric, phosphoric, and lactic acid to different cups!

I’ll share again the coffee descriptors of Bea’s Knees Farm coffee from the two professionals:

Professional #1: (+) Dark Chocolate, Toasted spices, Bittersweet Chocolate, Hint red fruit, Compote, Nutty, Malic Acid

Professional #2: (+) Nutty, Chocolate, Hint red fruit, Dark Chocolate, Sweet cream, Toasted almond, Brown Sugar

What do you taste in our coffee?

Adventures with Coffee

Short post today. Just sharing some articles you may find interesting. One is about How to Become More Adventurous With The Coffee You Drink. It segues nicely with an article about Why You Should Be Adding Salt to Your Coffee. There are some interesting things to try. I was going to wait to share the article until I tried some things and could report my own experiences, but I seem to be procrastinating. You go for it. And report back.

Adventures, for some reason, made me think of yak butter. And then I did a little detour in the internet rathole of the old butter coffee trend. This guy describes his experimentation with Bulletproof coffee, in this older article. It was an amusing skim. I’ll probably try salt before butter.

Alternative Milks

Do you drink coffee with milk? Cow milk or an alternative milk?

I didn’t start drinking coffee until college. I could drink three cups in the evening and still fall asleep over my books. But when I woke up from the evening nap … zing!! I was wired. I could get some concentrated studying in. I always drank my coffee with half & half, or at least milk, and milk tasted so meager in comparison. I only used sugar very early on and taught my tastebuds to go without; milk actually has a sweetening effect.

It wasn’t until learning more about coffee and trying to pay more attention to the actual coffee’s taste that I gave up adding milk. I still sometimes add half & half if I get a cup of, e.g., Starbucks coffee. I’m not recommending you learn to drink coffee without milk. When we do coffee tastings, we do ask that you try and really taste a sip without milk, but then drink it however you enjoy and usually drink it.

I’ve discovered that oat milk with cold coffee and ice can really hit the spot. I just think of cold coffee as a different beverage than hot coffee. I’m not a morning cold coffee drinker though. So, for me, a cold coffee or a coffee cocktail would be an afternoon or later treat.

I’ve found these articles interesting for covering alternative milks. I often try alternative milks, usually for cereal more than coffee, just out of curiosity and for variety. One article is about oat milk — the recent trendy darling of the alternative milks. I think oat milk has a nice neutral flavor and texture, but nutrition-wise, I miss the protein that’s in cow and soy milk. The other two older articles are geared towards baristas, but with sheltering, many of us are now home baristas, right?

How to Measure Coffee

From last week’s post, “Which roast has more caffeine?” if you read the linked article, the comprehensive answer given was:

A 12 oz. brewed cup of dark-roasted Arabica coffee will contain more caffeine if it has been weighed prior to brewing as opposed to a lighter roasted Arabica coffee taken to the same weight.

The darker you roast, the more volume the beans require. You can hold the image of beans puffing up more, the longer/darker you roast. For fixed volume, like when we ship in a flat rate box, we can fit slightly less medium-dark than medium beans. For the same weight, if you’re a bean counter, there will be more beans in the medium-dark roast bag than in the medium-roast. And if you buy green beans, a pound looks like a similar volume to our half-pound roasted coffee. Is your head spinning?

This article from Home Grounds goes into detail about why you should measure your coffee according to weight. Once you’ve dialed it in to what you like, though, you can note the volume (X tablespoons or scoops, whatever), and you can just measure by volume.

I’m sure Bea would find this all incredibly fastidious and fussy. She often makes instant coffee, and it serves her needs and taste. Do any of you use recipes from Cook’s Illustrated? I’m very appreciative that they fuss over every last detail, explain as much as possible, but then give you the conclusion, the recipe that works. So if you feel like it, you can read the backstory to any recipe. Or you can just use the recipe, and tweak it for your own needs/requirements.

That’s what I’m trying to provide you … some details if you care about them. There’s a lot that goes into coffee. Myself, I make notes about my brewing recipes and results. Sometimes I use the machine drip brewer, sometimes the Chemex or AeroPress, etc. It depends how many people I’m serving and whatever constraints. When I do something different, I just try and jot down what I do. That way, whatever the result is, I remember what I did. I write it down by brewing method, weight, grind size, water amount, and anything else involved (bloom time, stirring, etc.). I still manage to frequently mess up a fairly simple task (my recent Chemex brews come to mind).

It has become my business to understand what goes into a good cup of home brewed coffee, and I’d like to know how to eke out the best, even if I don’t do it all the time. But I’ve found that as I’ve learned more about coffee, friends are more afraid to serve me or apologize for their brewed coffee. Don’t worry! It’s all good. It should be about more enjoyment (a pause and enjoying time together, or maybe just waking up) and less stress (doing it “right”). That could hold for everything we do — more enjoyment, less stress.