Friday, June 30, 2006Friday Coffeehouse: Blends, Brewing and Cream
So often folks have asked me about tea and coffee: "Where do you get good tea and coffee? What is your favorite?" These people are interested in more than what we see every day at the store: Starbuck's, Folgers and Columbia coffees; Tetley and Lipton brand teas. So through these coffeehouse posts I'll try to share some other companies I've discovered. One of my favorite coffee companies is Peet's Coffee. There are many good coffee companies, but this one is truly a gem. Every member of any store has to go through intensive training in specific roasting methods, tasting and more. They roast all of their coffees by hand. They also make incredible loose-leaf black teas which have been a favorite in our house for some time now.
Teas: Try their Scottish Breakfast tea: "...Evocative of warm hearths and rugged Scottish countrysides, this is a rich, hearty brew..." They have a wonderful Black Currant tea, perfect after dinner with a chocolate dessert. It is a sweet and fruity tea-- the name says it all! Coffees: They have a wonderful Sierra Dorada blend and Major Dickason's blend, but they have ample choices worth browsing through, as we all have our own taste in coffee flavors and textures.
There are different brewing methods when making coffee. The French Press method is our favorite. It is really nice for presentation reasons, too, as it looks classy on the table along with your favorite mugs. Major Dickason's blend is perfect for the French Press method of brewing. If you love coffee and are always looking to try something new, try this method and you may be surprised at how good it is. A couple practical tips though: If you have never used a French Press before, be sure not to pour boiling water over the ground coffee. The coffee will be burnt. Bring the water to a boil, then let it sit for about 15 seconds or until the whistling stops. THEN pour it slowly into the coffee grinds and stir well. Also, don't grind your beans too fine, as you won't be able to press them very well. Grind them more coarsely so that it is easy for the press to make it's way through the water to the bottom of the press.
These days a popular way to "cream" your coffee is to use "creamer": this is not pure cream from a cow! It has so many other ingredients that it scares me. Half and Half is dairy and is far healthier and than the conventional "International Delight" that's on the shelves in the stores. Personally, I find half and half to be the most delicious choice. If you like flavors in your coffee you can buy the Italian flavored syrups and put a teaspoon or two into your mug before pouring your coffee. For those of you who like soymilk, you may want to try the silk creamers! They're more creamy than half and half and come in Vanilla and Hazelnut flovors. To this day one of my favorite ways to have coffee is french-pressed with silk vanilla creamer, although lately every morning I've been having weak Folgers with Half and Half. Budget does not always allow for gourmet coffees or cream options. We are lucky to have cheap coffee and creamers at all. But for those times when you do have that extra money and your pallette craves more gourmet adventures, try something new. I will try to, on other weeks, post some ideas on good coffee for lower budgets.