Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Art of Coffee Plunging

You don't need an expensive coffee maker to make a really good coffee. A plunger ( also called a Press pot) will do just fine if you follow some rules.
Over a latte at Columbus Coffee in Albany (run by Danny and Tracey Wrigley) I learnt some of the finer points.   
“One rule is non-negotiable,” said Danny “The beans must be freshly ground."
 “Try this experiment and you’ll see why. Leave some ground coffee out for a few hours. Especially in Auckland’ humid summer weather the moist air will react with the delicate oils in the coffee (which give coffee its distinct aroma and taste) and draws out the flavour.
Smell it after a few hours and you’ll notice how much of the aroma has gone. To get the best result you should use freshly ground coffee within 15-20 minutes.”
Where your beans come from also makes a big difference. A café which is proud of the coffee it serves will be happy to tell you where it was sourced
Coffee beans should always be freshly roasted. After roasting they will start to lose their flavour quite quickly so you should purchase only as many beans as you will use in a short period of time.
If you are storing coffee at home it’s not a good idea to put it in the freezer. The condensation that forms on the beans as they defrost will react with the oils and spoil their flavour. Instead, store them away from the sunlight in an airtight container in your pantry."
I always grind my own coffee beans in a small electric coffee grinder which I have had for ages. It only takes seconds and I love the fresh coffee smell when I open the lid. For a plunger coffee the beans should not be ground too finely as finer grounds are likely to clog the filter.


It’s important to measure carefully. I use one scoop/ 1 rounded tablespoon of ground coffee per coffee mug.
Once the kettle has boiled I leave it to stand for a moment until it is just off the boil. This is important. Too high a temperature can burn your coffee and make it taste bitter. Too low will result in a weak cup.

Just before making the coffee I swirl a little hot water around in it to prewarm it. Then I add the ground coffee.
I pour the water over the coffee and give it a stir to allow the flavours to saturate the liquid. Next the plunger lid is put on and the coffee is left for 4 minutes before plunging gently.If you do it too soon the coffee will be underextracted and this will make it taste weak.

If you make more than you need do not heat it up again later in the microwave , keep it hot in a thermos or freeze it in ice cube trays for your next iced latte.
Unwanted oily residue can taint your next cup so it pays to clean the plunger well after use. My Bodum plunger does not come to any harm in the dishwasher.


 The coffee making equipment shown in the photographs came from the Ark Coffee Company in Takapuna. 


No comments:

Post a Comment