It’s International Coffee Day! Who is celebrating with a hot cup of joe? I know I am!
I personally have always been a coffee lover. Not just the caffeine high, but the delicious flavor, and the experience that comes with holding a steaming hot mug of coffee to start my day. My first memories of coffee consumption date back to high school. I would constantly be drinking the straight black, super strong brew my parents always made. However, at the time I didn’t realize the amount of variation that can come with coffee.
Origin of beans. Length of roasting. Added flavor notes to the roasting process. Gradients of grinding. Styles of brewing. Finishes such as milk, cream, sugar, etc. Holy man!
Throughout high school, college and my early years as an adult, I always reverted back to the same old coffee. Get your dark roast, pre-ground beans from the grocery store, put them in the standard paper filter of your run of the mill coffee maker, leave it black, and get ready for the caffeine hit. Or, hit up the local Caribou Coffee for a nice warm latte.
I wasn’t passive about the coffee consumption either. We are talking at least a full pot of brewed coffee at home in the morning, and on several weekly occasions a 3pm pick me up from the local barista in town. That way of life treated me well for many years until well after I got married when I found myself slowing turning into a “pseudo” coffee snob.
Being a work from home mom, I was constantly meeting clients, connecting with contractors, and networking with industry professionals at local coffee shops all over the Twin Cities. Boy, did that open my eyes to the world of coffee!
Caffe Americanos. Flat Whites. Cuban Espresso. Cold Brews. Cortados. French Press. Aeropress. Percolator. Manual Pour. Beans from Guatemala, Columbia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Uganda. Roaster Designs. Cuppings.
The more I experimented, the more I loved! I started doing a little bit of research on the origins of my coffee, figuring out the best brewing practices and roast style of beans that worked for the style of coffee I liked. All of this bringing me be back to becoming the “pseudo” coffee snob.
The reason I say “pseudo” is, although I think my newfound knowledge in the arena of coffee is decently diverse, I am nowhere near a “full on coffee snob.” One who never steps into a Starbucks, laughs at people who have never heard of a Chemex, or needs a thesaurus to describe their coffee order. I know I am not the former as the local Caribou barista in my town knows me by name and has my order, large latte please, recited before I can give her my Perks account number.
Now I know as busy mamas, we need our coffee fix. And most of the time, it doesn’t matter what type, style, or kind of coffee it is. As long as it gets the job done while there is puke on your shirt as you are playing bus driver to all of your kids’ different schools and in the end is still good as “iced” coffee because you didn’t have time to drink your cup while it was hot. I get it.
That’s why I have comprised a simple list of easy ways to really enjoy your coffee just a tiny bit more:
Find beans that you love.
This is probably the biggest thing you can do to increase your coffee enjoyability. There are many regions where coffee beans originate, and each one has a distinct flavor and taste profile. Doing a taste test of beans from different areas such as South America, Africa, Mexico, etc. can go a long way into discovering what beans you really like, and what flavor notes are your favorite! The best way I found to discover new beans is to sign up for a subscription service. My favorite so far has been Atlas Coffee Club. They source their coffee beans from coffee regions all over the world, and deliver to you once a month after they are freshly roasted. Each box comes with beans in your desired grind (either whole bean or ground), a postcard from the region/country of the beans origin, and tasting notes and brewing tips for each batch. The standard 16oz bag once a month is only $14. Also, you can increase your frequency to twice a month if you are brewing large pots daily. We currently do the once a month option, and experiment with other beans from our grocery store or local coffee shops in the downtime.
Invest in a coffee brewing apparatus that you love.
Believe me, I understand the functionality and joy of a standard coffee maker that brews your coffee on a schedule. Waking up to the sweet notes of coffee grounds first thing in the morning is heavenly. Plus, there is the added bonus of having an entire pot to enjoy while you are dealing with kid drama. If that is the what you need to go about your morning, then all the power to you, mama. Believe me, I was in the same boat as you, until my husband got the idea to try out a French Press. And it changed our coffee loving worlds! Though it may seem like the process is much longer and tedious than the standard coffee pot, the truth is it really isn’t. All you need is your coffee grounds, a stove to boil a pot of water, the patience to wait while the brew is percolating, and you will have a wonderfully strong, flavorful, delightful cup of coffee at the end of the process. Another plus side, French Presses are much cheaper than your standard coffee maker. You can get your most basic model at Target for less than $20. My recommendation is to invest in a thermo-French Press; they are typically larger and hold heat for much longer.
Grind your coffee at home on a daily basis.
This is can be key, based on your preferred brewing method. I get it, ground coffee is convenient. It’s ready to pour into your coffee maker to spill out that delicious java. That could be the best method for you if you are getting your coffee on a regular basis and storing it in an airtight container. However, ground coffee loses it freshness faster than whole beans as the surface area of the coffee beans are exposed to air quicker after grinding, causing it to lose its flavor. Plus, coffee is prone to contamination as the oils inside the coffee beans are very delicate. Take the time to learn a little bit about the best grind for your coffee brewing apparatus. Most likely, whole beans are your best bet.
This phrase can mean many things when it comes to your coffee consumption. Treat yo’self to an experimental coffee at your local barista. Try a specialty blend at the grocery store. Enjoy a cup of coffee with friends, even if it is virtually in our “Mama’s Fresh Cup Fridays” on Instagram. Treat yo’self to a mug of scalding hot coffee before any kids wake up, any spouses start looking for breakfast, or your workload starts to get on top of you. We all know that this isn’t possible all the time, or even most of the time for many of us. But mama, you deserve to treat yo’self every once in a while to a hot cup of coffee.
Now get out there and start brewing!