Filter Coffee - A New Dawn.
- and is so under-rated!
No doubt, like many of you, I’ve been making copious amounts of coffee as both a revival tool and for sheer pleasure over the holiday period. Usually on an average working day, I’ll be drinking a selection of espresso-based drinks from our trusty La Marzocco machine at our Halkett Place, Jersey shop where my office is also located. I’ve become so acclimatised to the punch that my double shot espresso-based beverage delivers that anything less would, you might think, be barely worthy of comment. However, over the Christmas period, I’ve been re-discovering the delight that is filter coffee.
Over the years filter coffee has got a bad name which it has struggled to recover from in the mainstream market as little attention was paid to how the coffee was brewed. In the foodservice market, the coffee could sit for hours on hot plates prior to being consumed. The resultant thick burnt black liquid was enough to put you off coffee for life. At the speciality end of the market though a huge amount of effort now goes into its preparation. From using the correct amount of coffee, to correct water temperatures and careful brewing, filter coffee is definitely making a come- back.
And so my experiences over the holiday period. I had 3 coffees at home: Colombian Excelso, Indian Gems of Araku that had been naturally processed and finally, luxurious Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. All, I have to say, distinguished themselves.
The rules for making great filter coffee are simple. For electric machines always flush with water before making the coffee. Whilst doing this allow the filter paper to be washed as you flush. This will get rid of any odours that might reside in the paper.
Use the correct amount of grounds for the volume of liquid you are making. 2 heaped dessert spoons of fresh coffee per 10 oz mug works for me and gives a nice depth of coffee for the water to filter through which delivers a great full flavour. Once brewed, let the coffee stand for a few minutes. Again, it’s a personal thing but I sense that the coffee needs to settle a little post brewing so that those light, sweet notes have time to shine through.
So what of the coffees? My favourite was the ever-popular Colombian. There’s something beautifully balanced and mellow about this coffee that keeps on giving; it’s also great value and is very ‘gluggable’.
Now to the natural processed Indian Gems. It has a wonderful fruity note (see my previous blog) and is truly distinctive. It’s a feature of filter coffee that the true nature of the coffee really comes through much more than via the espresso method.
Finally, to the most sought after coffee of them all, the Jamaican Blue Mountain. There’s no doubt that it is extremely good, but whereas once upon a time it was distinctively better than the rest, today it’s simply another high quality coffee, as all the coffees we offer are. As a filter coffee it was delicious and there’s something special about drinking a coffee you only get to see for such a short period each year and which is mind bogglingly expensive.
Overall, these coffees were an absolute pleasure to drink whether with a full English or a Continental breakfast. It was also a pleasure to actually have the time to contemplate what I was consuming. Therein lies one of the tragedies of our fast paced modern lifestyle.
It reminded me of that wonderful poem, “Leisure” by WH Davies:
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.