I had an interview with the famous Dr Soc of island92 radio last Monday. We talked about coffee in general and what you can do on the island of St Maarten make a better “cup ‘o joe” in the morning.
No matter what ground coffee you are using on Sint Maarten, use a filter coffee maker and
- use Volvic (bottled) water
- boil the water and let it cool a minute or two
- pick a spoon to measure the ground coffee and always use the same exact one!
- use between 50 and 65 gram ground coffee per liter of water.
I recommend starting with 30 gr for 500 ml and see how that tastes.
- If too bitter: use less coffee, for instance 27.5 gram for 500 ml
- If too bland: use more coffee, for instance 32.5 gram per 500 ml
- pour a little bit of the water onto the grounds and let the coffee “bloom” for 30 sec
- pour the rest of the coffee not taking more than 3 minutes for all the water to seep through
- let it cool a little bit before drinking
So happy to finally have received my Baratza coffee grinder and Bonavita water kettle!
With the grinder, I can finally start grinding my own beans for brewing with my Aeropress or Hario V60. I’ve had these beans for months already so I’m glad I can use them at last. Most fresh roasted beans are beyond their peak after 3 months, so sadly they won’t be as good as they could have been.
I’m starting with Ethiopian beans from Nordkappcoffee.com in Utrecht, my friend Jasper also supplies coffee to the Koffieschool where I got my training and Jasper is a King in roasting. Ethiopian coffee is fresh with citric notes and green flavors, so that is something completely different from the dark roasted Ethiopian coffee I get from the local supermarket!
Next in line is the beans from Man met bril in Rotterdam! Can’t wait!
If you are serious about coffee and want to learn and experiment more, I’ve put together a list of items on Amazon that will help you getting started.
You basically have a choice to make about which brewing method to start with:
- Hario V60
If you prefer an espresso-style (stronger) cup of coffee, then choose Aeropress. If you prefer a more smooth, rich bodied cup of coffee.
Next, you will need to get a coffee bean grinder,a scale to measure the grinds with a precision of 0.1 grams, a water kettle with precise control of the water temperature and ideally also a thermometer to check the water temperature. But if you choose one of the kettles I’ve listed, they have a built-in thermometer so you can forgo that.
If you’re the only person drinking coffee at home (I sympathize with you) then you might want to get a great hand grinder and skip the more expensive Baratza grinder for now. You always get them later and then use the hand grinder for your travel needs!
Ideal coffee water is fresh and pure in taste and has no discernible odors. It should be mineral-rich, yet have a balanced mineral content. A total hardness of 7–12° EH, a carbonate hardness of 3–4° EH and a pH value of 6.5–7.5 are ideal. Only then can coffee develop its full aroma.
Source: Deutscher Kaffeeverband
Read more about the meaning of EH or Eh, as chemical literature calls it, here.
What does this mean for anyone on a small island making coffee?
- Don’t use tap water!
- Don’t use water that has been desalinated!
- Don’t use Reverse Osmosis (RO) water!
- Don’t use just any mineral water but pay attention to pH and “dissolved minerals” per liter
If you do get RO water, get some tablets from Third Wave Water and you are fine!
Update: Chemists at MIT and 2 UK baristas have made a deep dive on this subject and analysed why soft water is particularly bad for making coffee.
I’m about ready to try out different recipes for making filter coffee and sampling various coffees. But I could use your help with this! I simply can’t drink all the coffee myself.
On Friday 24th, Sunday 26th and Monday 27th of November from 10 AM – 1 PM, I will host small coffee tastings at my home. Only 4 seats are available each day, so make sure you sign up if you’re interested!
You will taste coffee made by a coffee maker (OXO on), the espresso-style Aeropress and the ultimate filter brewing method Hario V60.
Go to the No Pressure Coffee Facebook page, like it (if you haven’t already) and sign up for one of the sessions using the Events section.
There is no cost for this. I will supply the coffee, tea, water and juice that day and will also bake one or two cakes so you can keep your blood sugar levels at a reasonable level.
I have WiFi at home, so you can work from my home instead of yours that day and enjoy the company of other coffee lovers, good conversations on coffee making and what goes into a great cup of coffee! You’ll learn something about coffee, I’m sure of that.
Hope to see you!