“I pushed down on the plunger of my French press too fast and the coffee shot straight out the top.”
It wasn’t until the expression that that reply received that I realized I may be a bit over the top with my coffee-brewing routine, my ritual, if you will. It was less concern and more dismissal. Mind you, we were at a three-year-old’s birthday party, and the friend who asked sells wine for a living and refuses to drink it if it’s not served in a decanter—even at a three-year-old’s birthday party. This was the pot calling the kettle black, basically.
But he had a point. I felt ridiculous walking around with an ACE bandage wrapped around my lower right arm because of a French press snafu. By hipster standards, I’m not even on the radar. We’re not talking a Bialetti, or an Aeropress, or even a Chemex. A French press is about as simple as coffee-brewing gets, but it’s not a coffeemaker or a Keurig, which, I think, was his point.
Both are inexcusable. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, but they are. Brewing coffee can seem overly complicated, but, really, if it’s a simple cup of fresh-brewed coffee you’re craving, the coffeemaker and the Keurig are dropping you off two towns over.
The more I enjoyed drinking coffee, the more I tried to learn about it. And the more I learned, the more I tried to boil the brewing process down to its essence, because anything too technical wasn’t going to be sustainable, not for me. So I make sure my beans are fresh-roasted and my water’s filtered and cold. I grind the beans in a burr grinder (because it’s a more consistent grind) right as the water reaches a boil in the kettle (because every second counts). I stir them together and then I let it steep for several minutes. It’s that easy.
But I’m also keenly aware of how OCD this appears from the outside looking in. My wife is not a coffee drinker. She used to stop me and ask why I was doing certain things certain ways. She doesn’t anymore. She just sighs and curses me under her breath when I step in front of her to pour the boiling water over the freshly ground coffee, the only time there’s any real urgency. But between the carafe for the water, the kettle, the grinder, and the French press, I’m calling upon several pieces of equipment when, in her eyes, anything beyond a coffeemaker is eccentric.
I get that what I do isn’t normal. But I also know that I’m hardly alone. (What’s your ritual? I’d love to hear about it.) Either way, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing because most mornings, that ritual is the only thing capable of turning me into a functioning member of our society.