Perfect Cup of Joe

Why is it that coffee that someone else has made (and that you are paying $3.00 a cup for) is always better than coffee you make at home for yourself?  It seems like a simple enough process…  After all, you are basically just adding water and letting your machine do all of the work!  With all of the coffee education and theories available out there it can get overwhelming to know where to start!  I am not quite an expert, but I have been making coffee for a long time.  There are a few things that I find to be important when making coffee for yourself at home.  I’m going to share my tips today.

You have to have a good coffeepot.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but do your research.  My favorite brands are Cuisinart and Krups.  You want a pot that brews really hot.  Coffee should be extracted at 190-210 degrees.   I also have switched to a thermal coffeepot (one that doesn’t sit on a burner).  I will never switch back.  Traditional coffeemakers have a burner that the carafe sits on once the coffee has been brewed.  This actually “cooks” the coffee and causes it to concentrate and become bitter.

  1. You have to use good coffee.  If you have a favorite spot for coffee, like The Olive Branch, start there.  They usually sell their blends by the pound.
  2. Grinding coffee as you need it is the best way to keep your coffee fresh and will result in the best tasting coffee.  Knowing how far down to grind your coffee is tricky.  For normal drip brewers, the coffee grounds should look like course sand.
  3. Measuring coffee is the next challenge.  I have found that 1 Tablespoon of ground coffee per cup of water is perfect.  I have a coffee scoop that I purchased at a coffee shop.  It is a 2 Tablespoon scoop (most of them are).   So, for example, when my coffeepot reads that I have filled it with water to the 8 cup mark, I add 4 level scoops of grounds to the filter basket.  By the way, for those that have coffeemakers that grind coffee before brewing, you can use that same measure for the whole beans.  Just add 4 level scoops of beans to the grinder before starting your pot.
  4. Always use filtered, cold water to fill your pot.

I feel certain that if you follow these tips your coffee will turn out delicious.  Remember that we sell our coffees at The Olive Branch.  We sell them in whole bean packages, or we can grind it for you. We have 4 custom blended coffees.  I spent 2 days at our coffee roaster’s plant tasting, mixing and matching coffees to come up with the ones we now sell!  It was a fascinating and fun process.  Totally worth the work.

  • My Plantation Morning Blend is a medium bodied blend that has a lot of Costa Rican coffee in it.  It has a bright flavor, but isn’t sharp tasting.
  • Our Downtown Dark coffee gets its rich, heavy flavor from African coffee.  It is full-bodied without any biting acidity.
  • Our Bakery Blend is a flavored coffee that has notes of vanilla, hazelnut, irish cream and chocolate.  It is sweet and distinctly nutty.

I hope tomorrow morning finds you waking up to an amazing cup of joe!

THE Chocolate Martini

I am honored to be the first guest blogger for Leah’s blog and ready to share my expert skills at shaking up delicious drinks. I will admit that I am not a licensed mixologist or anything of the sort, however, I have been told my drink mixing is a notch above the rest. So without further ado let me share my chocolate martini mixing magic.

First the supplies:

  • Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • Decent bottle of Vodka (just nothing in a plastic bottle)
  • Half n Half or Whole Milk
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Ice
  • Martini glass
  • Martini shaker

Now the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Decent Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Half n Half

Take your martini shaker and fill it full of ice. Then pour in the Godiva, Vodka and Half n Half. Put a glass on top of the shaker. Then shake it like a snow globe that smacked your grandma. If you are using a metal shaker (which I’d recommend) then just shake until it feels like your hand is frozen to the shaker.

Once you’ve shaken the mix sufficiently, grab the martini glass and the chocolate syrup. Get your inner Pablo Picasso ready and swirl the chocolate syrup around the inside of the martini glass. Then using the strainer that came with your martini shaker, pour the mixed chocolate martini into the glass. If you’d like then grab a little whip cream and top off the delicious intoxicating drink.

That is how you make THE Chocolate Martini. I would like to note that there are thousands of different ways to make a chocolate martini. A few other good ways would be to replace regular vodka with a flavored vodka like espresso, vanilla or orange (Leah’s favorite). My aunt once told me “if you can’t afford the good stuff then you aren’t working hard enough to be drinking anyway”. When push comes to shove though you can make a half decent chocolate martini with just about any form of vodka and chocolate, just be creative. That’s all for now, as always drink responsibly.