Have you ever wondered what drove acclaimed writers, philosophers and musicians like Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre and Glenn Gould? After reading Slate's excellent series on the daily rituals of great artists, I suspect it might be coffee — although a comprehensive list would also need to include alcohol, amphetamines and very little food.
Latte art is nothing new, but the designs that NYC barista Mike Breach does certainly are. He paints portraits and other intricate pictures (like the New York City skyline!) right into the foamy latte surface. He finds the whole process a little more meaningful and personal: "This doesn't last forever," he says. "I think that's what makes it special...I just painted it for that person to see."
When I decided to throw a weekend brunch for my book club, the one aspect of the party that was a big question mark was the coffee. Ever since I ditched my drip coffee maker for a Chemex, making coffee for more than four people has meant a lot of me standing around in the kitchen slowly pouring hot water over coffee grounds while everyone else is having fun in the other room. I didn't want that to happen at this party.
Instead I experimented with using a coffee concentrate — the same type I had used in the past to make stellar iced coffee — and discovered the process turns out a cup of hot coffee that is just as good: rich, flavorful and mellow. Even better, making a pot of coffee for a crowd of people with this method is literally as easy as boiling water.
Item: Espro Press Price: $79.95 from Amazon Overall Impression: An elegant way to make an excellent cup of coffee.
An Aeropress has long been the preferred coffee maker in our household, but it's not the best choice for brewing multiple servings. Many a dinner party has ended with one of us stuck in the kitchen, pressing cup after cup for each guest. So we like the idea of having a large Espro press, which is sort of a new-and-improved French press. Not only does it make an excellent cup (or cups!) of coffee, but it looks quite elegant on the table.
As we close off Breakfast Week here on The Kitchn, I couldn't help but share this brilliant setup for all you morning espresso lovers. Elsie (of the blog A Beautiful Mess) has a much-loved espresso machine and a tiny kitchen. But when she could no longer afford to give up precious counter space to her beloved machine, she came up with pretty swell solution. Move over, cocktail carts. She just stole your idea and made it better!
At my house we have a sleek little Nespresso machine and an older, heavy Italian model that belongs to my boyfriend, Sam. Both have prime real estate on the counter: Sam uses his almost exclusively; I use mine almost exclusively. He calls my espresso "faux'spresso," insisting it doesn't taste as good and lamenting the fact that the pods are so wasteful. In a way, I agree. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've been thinking about coffee (drip coffee, not espresso drinks) a great deal lately and about how much we love it in comparison to how much we pay for it. Many folks make drip coffee at home and others like to grab a cup on their way to work or as a mid-afternoon break. And as you've likely noticed, the price varies from cafe to cafe, from bean to bean, from city to city. So I began to wonder: where do you draw the line between an acceptable price for drip coffee and an over-the-top expenditure?
If you live up north, you may not be craving a cold brew this time of year. Down south in Texas, though, I'll tell you that things are quite different. Temperatures are already hitting 80 degrees! But when I want to hang onto that January cool for just a bit longer, I make a French pressed cold brew coffee with a little sea salt and caramel.