I have been reading a couple of blogs of late, and yesterday I was inspired by a small wardrobe to actually take some photos and start adding them to my blog.
When I started principia minimalista, I wanted a clean design inspired by Leo Babauta’s beautiful blog, zenhabits, so I purposefully didn’t add pictures. So all the photos I use on this site will be my own work unless I otherwise state. I’m not about to crowd out and distract from the content with stock photos. And I’m not about to start adding pictures to the site ad nauseum.
However, I have been looking for a reason to do more photography since stopping last year to work on my PhD and spend time with my son, so my first thought this morning when making a post-run coffee was to get the camera out and share how I make coffee.
I used to drink instant coffee. Not any more. I have seen the error of my ways. I now only drink nice coffee, or tea.
My quest for good coffee started about two years ago when I was trying to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my diet. My usual coffee recipe then was two teaspoons of instant freeze-dried coffee, teaspoon of sugar, dash of milk and hot water.
The problem is, when you remove sugar from this equation, the coffee tastes bad. And there’s a reason for that: instant, freeze-dried coffee is a poor substitute for actual, real coffee.
Now at work, unless I want to bankrupt myself in coffee bills each month, I’m not going to pay to use the machine. So I have a rule now: I’d rather drink tea than bad coffee. There are some really nice teas out there, I can recommend Earl Grey Green Tea.
But at home, when I have the time to make my own coffee, I want it to be the best coffee I can possibly make. Ideally with minimal waste, which means not using an espresso machine with the waste of capsules and the like. Also, I try to use locally roasted coffee beans when I can.
First of all, I grind my own beans. I bought a hand grinder very cheaply and have not looked back.
It takes about 2-3 minutes of a morning to grind enough beans for my 3 espresso cafetière. When travelling in 2016 I visited Cafes Ortega in Almería, and the lady there said you want the ground coffee to have the texture of sand. She very proudly said that they have been roasting coffee in Almería for 75 years. My mother-in-law very kindly bought me two half kilo bags as a gift which I can’t wait to open and drink.
I put the cafetière on the hob, on the smallest ring on the lowest heat possible. I want the extraction to be as slow as possible. It takes about 5 minutes for the water to boil, extract the coffee and appear at the top.
Once the liquid coffee stops coming through, I try to switch off the heat as soon as possible, to not boil the coffee. If you’re not sitting in the kitchen waiting, you can usually smell when the coffee appears at the top, and I can hear now when the air starts bubbling through, indicating that the extraction is complete.
Then I pour. I often warm the mug first with a little boiled water just to keep the heat in the coffee.
I don’t add anything else. Good coffee needs no additives. It tastes great, the bitter notes, the smokiness, the body, the smooth texture.
Want something to relax with over your coffee this morning? I said I used to take photographs; how about looking at my pictures on 500px?