Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

How to Make Coffee 2: Revenge of the Nerds

There’s no better way to learn a few things than to tell the internet that you know a few things. Case in point: A couple weeks ago I was having a low self-esteem day. So instead of focusing on what I was bad at, I focused on what I was good at. Coffee. So I posted my little recipe for how I make coffee. And then the coffee nerds found me.

So now I’m sitting here, listening to the CoffeeGeek Podcast, and hearing myself as the topic of conversation. Is this what it’s like to live in the future?

Turns out my recipe required some, uh, modification.

First, let’s talk freezers. Some have said that you can store the coffee in the freezer so long as it’s sealed, but I still say don’t do it. I swear I can taste it. But I said the fridge was fine. Turns out, not so much.

The issue is that the beans pick up errant tastes from moisture, and the fridge is chock full o’ moisture. So keep your beans in a cool, dark place, in a totally sealed container. And only buy as much coffee as you’re going to drink in a week. The good folks at Blue Bottle only sell half pounds for this reason, and I generally go through that in a week. This makes for a nice excuse to visit them every weekend.

My other affront to the coffee snobs of the world was that I said the kind of grinder didn’t matter. And, really, it’s a matter of degrees. If you’ve never done anything but buy ground coffee in a can and keep it in the fridge, moving to freshly ground beans is such a huge leap forward that, really, it’ll be like discovering tastebuds you didn’t know you had.

But if that’s old hat to you, then yeah. Time to upgrade. So after realizing that I was a dumbass (remember how this started on a low self-esteem day), I bought myself a burr grinder and gave it a whirl.

Yeah, it’s better. The grind is more even, so it’s easier to be more consistent about my coffee. Plus, the grinder holds beans in its hopper (and I’ve been told that it’s okay to leave them there). It also times itself, so no more counting Mississippis. All in all, an improvement.

Coffee nerds of the world, I salute you! Thanks for making me an even bigger coffee snob.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.