Sunday, March 25, 2007

A different type of brew

Alkaloids are cool!!!!

My favorite is:

I've enjoyed it when delivered via a fine cigar, but I've never really gotten into:

I've never used or needed to use:

And I'm very glad I have never used:

And I'm very, very glad I have never ingested:

Of all of these, caffeine is my favorite, and in my opinion, the only proper caffeine delivery system is coffee. I love coffee. As far as I am concerned, the lasting legacy of the 1990's will be what I call the Starbuck's effect. The consistent and far reaching proliferation of coffee shops around the world has been a fascinating event.

Along with this ready source of a latte, the ultimate coffee drink, the availability of high quality coffee beans is 100% awesome. Even here in Minnesota, I can get some of the best coffee beans around... almost. In my opinion, the best coffee beans in the world (based on my survey which probably covers 0.0027% of all coffee beans in the world) is Peet's Coffee.

I was introduced to Peet's coffee in 1994 when I was a graduate student at The University of Nebraska. My advisor had done a post-doc in Berkeley. One of his best discoveries was Peet's Coffee. Peet's coffee + internet + UPS = excellent coffee anywhere. Try it sometime. It truly is the best.

Of all of the many ways to perform an aqueous extraction of the coffee beans, my favorite is the French press pot. Very simply, course ground coffee is steeped with hot water and a strainer pushes and holds the grounds on the bottom of the pot. Bottom line: it makes the best coffee.

Here's my press pot:

Today I'm drinking French roast from Caribou coffee, a local coffee venture. Here is 4 scoops of coffee ready to be extracted:

After adding hot (not boiling) water, the concoction is mixed and allowed to steep for 4 minutes (usually this is more like 1 or 2 minutes):

After 4 minutes, the plunger is pushed down and the grinds are sequestered to the bottom:

Then, time to pour and drink:

oooooooo, that's a good cup of joe!!!!


Ψ*Ψ said...

I looooove Peet's Coffee. The last guy I worked for had it shipped in every six weeks. There's only one store in town that sells it here. Worth the trip, though.

markmier said...

Peets is great stuff. I'm not a coffee connoisseur (despite being from Seattle), but I *FULLY* agree on the French Press as the One True Coffee Brewing Method.

Have you ever tried roasting your own? See
for one (of many) examples of folks that'll sell you home roasting apparati. Kinda goes along with the homebrewing, too. I'm an avid all-grain homebrewer, myself.

Matt Jenks said...

I'm going to have to look up this Peet's stuff. In fact, I think I smell a worthy assignment for the conscierge service.

I know it's pig-headed and narrow-minded, but I had a bad, gritty cup of coffee once from a French Press and swore off it for good. Plus, I can't just set it up and head off to the shower and then come back and immerse myself in the glory of alkaloids.

Matt Jenks said...

Oh, and morphine + O2 ---> really crazy dreams.

Chemgeek said...

I suspect the coffee was ground to finely. I used to grind my own at home but the grinder would pulverize some beans and leave others intact. The result, gritty coffee. That last swallow was unpleasant. Now, I have my bean supplier grind the beans for me. They make a nice consistent course grind that stays trapped (mostly) in the pot. It is a little labor intensive, but for lazy days with the kids, it is perfect.

Was the morphine +O2 part of the gall bladder deal? (I think it was gall bladder, or kidney stones or something).

Matt Jenks said...

Yes, actually, it was. They gave me the O2 feed the night after my surgery because most people are pansies and won't breathe deeply due to the abdominal pain.

It was actually during those blissful morphine and oxygen highs that I thought "I should record this entire ordeal for others to enjoy."

Chemgeek said...

I scanned a bit of part V first and then got sucked in. I spent the better part of an afternoon, working and reading the ordeal from part one all the way through. OK, I mostly pretended to work while I was reading. In fact, that's what I'm doing right now.

Matt Jenks said...

See, I'm working hard right now...and by that I mean I'm trying to rotovap down 20 mL of POCl3.

Success with the Peet's, though. I'm heading over to get some for this weekend.

pilotwannabe2727 said...

Peet's is def where its at! and I am drinking Caribou right now because starbucks is disgusting and those are my options here in pittsburgh. Ironically enough, I stumbled upon your blog while looking for pictures of a simple sublimation apparatus using a cold finger for my college ochem lab . . . just thought you should know :p