My morning coffee routine… a love letter.
#1 The Pour-over Set-up: Buying Yourself Some Time
The gas stove quick-lights with resolve. So different from how I snooze-button-delayed my way out of bed. The light catches–as they say–the air caught and transformed to blue-yellow heat. The kettle rests on the stove like a rocket balancing on top of its launch fire.
While the kettle warms up its voice,–a metallic reverb, I change clothes. I’ve got about 3 minutes to change the face of fashion, make my sartorialist fame before I’m back at the stove. I place a number two filter in the plastic cone of the Hario V60. The kettle’s handle at my palm explores the edge of how much heat I can take. I wet the filter, steam rises, water pools into the mug, pre-heating. After I discard the water, I place the whole contraption–filter, cone, cup– on a scale and tare it out to zero. I carefully tap 28 grams of freshly roasted and ground coffee into the cone.
#2 The Dry Smell: Waking Up
The smell calls from somewhere far off on the horizon of my consciousness. I am an animal hearing another animal’s cry on the wind, my face jerked up from sniffing the ground.
I make a little divet in the middle of the grounds with my index finger. Tare the scale again to zero and begin to pour.
#3 The Bloom: Anticipation
The first pour will last only 20 seconds. All the grinds receive a slight off-boil (201 degrees) hot soaking. I used to time it, but now it is all rhythm and instinct. I’m a pianist whose discarded her early metronome-dependent lessons.
The coffee blooms. Carbon releases from the heat and the water on the grinds… the coffee’s oils–full of uncountable flavor compounds bubble to a nut-brown top-foam.
The aroma expands now. The animal-me knows what is coming, its fur has perked from its skin, its face is only in the direction of the smell–roasted, caramelized, berry-musked.
#4 The Pour-over Follow-through: Precision & Agency
Overall, I’m aiming for 340 grams of water. I continue to pour, avoiding the sides, ensuring I move the water back and forth around the diameter of the cone. Slowly, I want the whole process from bloom to final drip to last around 3 and a half minutes. I used to time myself, but now it is a dance step I know by feel, a beat I hear under the roast-smell rising.
Once the cone is 3/4 full, once I’ve hit 340 grams, I take a spoon and give the grinds a bit of agitation, maybe three or four sweeps across the cone of water.
The tide goes out, the foam seeps through the sands of the cone. The final drips ripple out into the mug. I grasp its wide handle with a four-fingered clunky fist of need and gratitude.
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