Spark Inspiration

The Perfect Cup

Instead of having a holiday season full of fun boisterous activity, I caught the flu. For three weeks (and counting), I could barely talk without being overcome by a coughing fit. Although my usual protocol when sick is to pretend I’m not until it goes away, I decided to do it differently this time—so I’ve been laying low and resting as much as I can.

Since inactivity is not usually my friend, I decided one morning to keep my mind occupied by “geeking out” on coffee. I was inspired by a pot of coffee I made in my French press that was—in a word—terrible. First, I blamed Peet’s Coffee & Tea who I thought had over roasted my beans. Then, I threw out the offensive pound of beans and asked them to send another batch. Finally, because I didn’t have anything better to do, I started researching how to make the “perfect cup.”

Coffee cup After perusing one website after another, I learned a lot of things. I learned that the best temperature at which to brew coffee is not boiling (212°F at sea level) but just below (between 195 and 205°F). Though living at about 5,000 feet above sea level, this is something I don’t need to worry about since water boils around 202°F anyway. I also learned that the optimal steeping time in a French press is between 3-4 minutes, depending upon the quality of your grinder. I found out that the coffee to water ratio should be about 1 gram of coffee to every 16 milliliters (or 16 grams) of water, which translates into about 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. It’s also important to use good tasting water—something we have an abundant supply of in Fort Collins.

Armed with this knowledge, I put it to the test. Using the same Peet’s French roast coffee, thermometer, kitchen scale, French press and, of course, good ole’ Fort Collins water. I made the “perfect cup” (Peet’s – sorry I wrongly maligned you and thanks for sending more coffee).

Although my search for the “perfect cup” didn’t make my illness go away, I was distracted and mentally engaged with a subject of interest to me. I learned some new things that I can share with others. And, perhaps most importantly, I gave myself the opportunity to be mindful while savoring a warm delicious beverage with someone I love.

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