If there’s a simple way of brewing coffee, probably manual pourover drip brewers are the simplest. And the cheapest. Just pour hot water into the grinds, which sit on a cone filter, then let it drip into the cup and, voila! Great coffee using the simplest of process, the cheapest of equipment.
Well, maybe using socks would be cheaper. Hehe…
I’ve heard and read a lot about pourovers, but they weren’t easy to find around here. Melitta is a popular brand, especially its porcelain cone filter, but the Melittas I could find in neighboring Cagayan de Oro are the plastic drippers for travellers, the Ready Set Joe Travel Mug. I almost got one about a year ago from Robinson’s, but backed out. Then forgot about it.
These past months, I’ve been working hard converting fellow coffee lovers to homeroast their own beans for guaranteed freshness.
Only yesterday, I had eight guests who came for a coffee party as I brewed Sumatra Lintong Blue Batak, Kenya AA Nyeri Tambaya, Yemen Mokha Ismaili, Ethiopia Harrar. I roasted two more coffees for the occasion — Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe and Guatemala Huehuetenango — but could not serve it anymore as everybody was already drunk with coffee.
Part of the party was the roasting tutorial, using the most primitive, and least expensive, of roasters — a modified aluminum rice pot with a handle attached, and an egg whisk. (I’ve been using the rice pot these past few weeks coz the motor of my oven toaster with rotisserie broke down. The replacement motor, which isn’t designed to withstand high heat, just couldn’t do the job as it stops in mid-roast as the heat builds up. So until I can have the motor replaced, it’s the rice pot for me, or maybe the Whirley Pop popcorn popper for bigger batches.)
I’m a changed man.
It’s been nearly three weeks since I last put sugar in my coffee. So it appears I’m a changed man. Hopefully for good.
But I have to confess that a couple of times since then, when I had to drink coffee in some cafes outside home, I had to put sugar and cream in my coffee. Those were a few times that I just had to force myself to drink coffee for the caffeine.
Since reading a lot about coffee about three years ago, I learned that coffee snobs — the coffee drinkers who roast their own beans usually from the world’s best coffee growing regions — drink their coffee black. No sugar, no cream. For them, putting anything on their coffee is sacrilege.
Got lucky once more with Brockenhaus, that surplus shop selling items from Switzerland and other European countries, with branches in Cagayan de Oro and Ozamiz.
We dropped by their Cagayan de Oro branch last Tuesday, and I found these three items.
Left, is a, um, pink 8-cup Bodum French press. I already got enough French presses, and I’m no fan of the color pink (I can guess my coffee will taste differently, hehe), but I got it just the same. I’m only after the glass carafe, just in case mine breaks. A friend wants the pink, so I’d trade that if she can get me another Bodum, we’ll just trade the pink case. Notice that there are also 2 Bodum coffee scoops. Not that I need them, coz I use a digital scale to measure my coffee to be brewed in a French press. But nice to have. It was priced at P168.
Time to celebrate, as my city is celebrating its fiesta in honor of its patron, St. Michael the Archangel. Just timely that I have one great blend for the occasion — SweetMaria’s Moka Kadir Blend. Courtesy of Michelle, my cousin Tipoy’s wife, who asked me to give her a one-on-one tutorial on basic photography. They’re from California, on vacation for the fiesta and to celebrate the first birthday of their daughter Ariana.
The big day is tomorrow, and there’s a lot of reasons to celebrate — Dad just came home from the hospital, our daughter Kara also came home from college, after dealing with the floods in Manila.
I’ve played around with various coffee roasters. But my roaster of choice now is the oven toaster with rotisserie.
Because I could not buy a drum for it, I had the drum made by a local tinsmith. But I wasn’t happy with the workmanship — too heavy, looks ugly, some damage on the screen that some holes are too big. It’s so difficult to close the lid to pour the green beans in, and difficult to open to pour the roasted beans into the colander, especially with hot temperatures. So aside from the rotisserie, I also use my old Whirley Pop popcorn popper for smaller beans from Ethiopia and Yemen.
My first time ever to try Chinese coffee!
China, we all know, is a H-U-G-E country. Some of its parts are in the colder part of the globe with snow during winter. So coffee just can’t grow there. I’ve been to Beijing once, towards the end of winter, and I still remember our guide saying, “It’s a beautiful morning. It’s warm.” And it’s something like 5 degrees Celsius! In the evening we were like -5 Celsius, we had to run from the bus to the auditorium where they hold those acrobat shows.
But on China’s southern part, it’s warm there, so coffee can grow in that tropical part. The province of Yunnan, in particular, has been known for its coffee. But China, like my beloved Philippines, is just not in the world coffee map yet. Maybe they’re not exporting yet, or maybe they’re not producing good enough coffee yet.
So I was so excited when my high school classmate Linda L. sent me a kilo of Yunnan beans, which she said she liked when she roasted it herself. (The package, sent via post office, actually also contained a smaller bag with supposedly Hawaiian Kona beans. But I doubt it’s true Kona, coz it was sold at a much cheaper price. I’ll test the “Kona” later …)
I’m now on the third week of a month-long photographic assignment all over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), all five provinces of them — Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.
I may be on the road for so long a time, and it’s tiring work with frequent travel on the worst roads and on the worst boats. But coffee helps me along the way, and I’m still enjoying my specialty coffee. How? I brought with me my coffee gear!
Aside from my clothes in a big travel bag and my camera gear in a LowePro backpack, I brought along another backpack containing my coffee paraphernalia.
What’s in the bag?
On a business trip in Davao City last week, I had the chance to drop by Mindanao Bob‘s place, and had another coffee party with friends!
BobM roasted Rwanda COE, Kenya Gethumbwini, Sumatra Aceh, Ethiopia Yirgacheffee, Tanzania Blackburn Estate and I brought some Kalinga beans.
I slept pretty well after that.
I felt I was in France during the coffee party I hosted this afternoon, what with four French speakers in the house. Mathieu (rightmost), after leaving Iligan only last December with the end of his term as a volunteer helping farmers in the mountains, came back for a short vacation. His replacement is Jean-Baptiste (2nd from left). Fr. Henri (2nd from right) is from Cameroon, a French-speaking country. Beside him is Marc, a French-American. And the three of us BisDaks (with Mabel and Sharon). Hmm … looks like someone is missing here, some guy that should be seated beside the girl on the left. We could only have Ethiopia Harrar and Kenya Gethumbwini, then we got drunk.