Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coffee in a Tea Bag

Some time this morning I was struck by a sense of adventure; the kind of adventure that can only be pursued within the confines of a mug. I knew I wanted to drink more coffee, and for some reason I wanted to brew it in a strange new way. If not a new way, it should at least be a way I was either unfamiliar with, or something I hadn't used for years. The first plan was to use a french press (or plunger, for those who don't automatically associate that word with unblocking drains and toilets) for the first time in years. But our french presses are dedicated to tea duties, and we all know that tea is absolutely vomitous if there's just a hint of old coffee taste in there.
Then I looked at the stovetop, or moka pot, or bialetti, or whatever you want to call it. We have two of those. A two-cup and a six-cup. But they have been sitting on the shelf growing mould for so many years that, I surmised, the cleaning job would be far more annoying than the coffee would be rewarding.
So I moved on to the Aeropress, of which I am a huge fan. But then I remembered that I took that on holidays in June, with exactly the same beans I currently have in the grinder. Fine results, but it was well-trodden territory. And that's not the name of the game today.
And then, finally, I remembered Cafe Grendel's post from last week about brewing coffee in a tea bag. LLL has a pretty serious stash of empty tea bags: as Grendel says, the only tea bag worth drinking is the one you fill yourself. This makes T2's "loose leaf in a bag" concept slightly less-confusing; tea bags often have much crappier tea in them, and so "loose leaf in a bag" implies the same level of quality as the rest of their products. Anyway, I set the grinder to "much coarser than usual" (I'll Mythbust the importance of this later), got an empty tea bag, boiled some water, let it sit around a while, pre-heated my favourite mug, then struggled with fitting all the ground coffee into the tiny tea bag.

The first problem I encountered was that it really wanted to float. So I mashed it with a teaspoon a bit to coax the water towards the dry grounds in the centre. I steeped for three minutes, then wrestled the gross soggy brown thing into the bin. It ended up tasting great. Very smooth, and similar to the Aeropress in that it's probably a nice way to check out coffees that won't reveal all their special powers in espresso format. I'm going to need two grinders soon.
So this was a very intriguing departure from my usual home espresso shenanigans. I think that generally the coffee grounds didn't have enough room to move in that tiny tea bag. I've got a few more plans for other tea brewing methods.

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