This was one topic that I did not have to do any major prior research on in order to have my facts straight. I already knew that coffee brewing is a Science. (Seriously so!) Coffee drinkers are passionate about their coffee, as are tea drinkers. In fact, some in each category can be down right smug. I don't believe that either one of us go to that degree, which is probably a good thing.
Brewing a proper cuppa tea takes skill, just ask a Brit. The first time that I attempted to make my love a cup of tea, I thought that he was going to fall out on the floor when he witnessed me placing the mug of water in the microwave. It was at this time, that I received my first lesson on how to brew a proper cup of tea.
I do know that all of our equipment must be properly cleaned or else the tea or coffee will have a bitter taste. Just as steeping it too long will cause the same problem. Making a large pot of coffee and then drinking from it all day will make each cup taste more bitter than the one before. This problem can be solved by brewing more often in smaller amounts, using the new one cup at a time coffee maker, or being very careful of how I grind the beans. Grinding the beans too coursely causes under extraction, just as grinding them too finely causes over extraction. For perfect tasting coffee, I prefer the grinder to be right in the middle.
Were you aware that the perfect water temperature is 195 - 205 degrees? Boiling is at 212 degrees and this is just too hot for extracting the coffee. Another similarity between coffee making and tea making is the temperature of the water. Tea kettles must have boiling water. Do believe the old saying that a watched kettle will not boil faster. (This is why I always used the microwave before receiving my education in tea making.) Tea kettles seem to take forever. Then it is important to put the tea in a warm tea pot with the cozy over it. Let it steep for one to three minutes and depending on who you talk to, the milk goes in the teacup first or last. Both sides have their arguments for why. I am not convinced that it really matters.
The other amusing similarity between tea and coffee connoisseurs is concerning straining your loose tea vs using a tea bag and using a coffee maker rather than a French Press. To me, the French Press just seems a bit too archaic, plus it leaves a bit of grittiness to the taste. Straining your tea also usually leaves a few bits of the tea, no matter how careful you are.
Maybe if I were a well-trained barista, these things would not be a problem. I just really enjoy making a good cup of coffee. If I want a specialty coffee or tea then it is worth it to me to just go where there are trained baristas to work their magic. I am sure that you are aware that a good barista can make or break a coffee shop.
Going back to the opening picture of the coffee mug, it is true that my days of writing consist of having a freshly brewed cup of coffee whenever I want, all day long. If I want a specialty skinny vanilla latte, then it is a hop in the car just a couple of miles down the road. Life is good!
One thing that has changed since my retirement from a stressful job is that my coffee drinking has not only dropped in the number of cups I drink in a day, but also the strength. I used to be accused of making coffee at work that could get up and walk on its own. I happen to have a very loving husband who knows that I do need my coffee first thing in the morning and he not only makes it for me each night, but then brings my first cup to me. That is true love, even though he says it is for survival. (He is saying that in jest, I think!)
The one really good news item is that it is now proven that coffee drinking is actually good for you. As with all things, this must be done in moderation and without spoonfuls of sugar and flavored creams put in with the coffee. For me, not a problem since I tend to love my coffee black...no cream, no sugar. Fancy lattes or frappuccinos are with nonfat milks.
Go ahead and enjoy your coffee or tea to start your day. It is the poor souls who must start off their day with a half gallon of soda, whether regular or diet. Google what a soda does to your stomach. Pour one can into a dirty pot or pan, let it soak overnight and by morning it has eaten through everything. The question then comes to my mind, "So what is it doing to my insides?" Just a question for you to think about. I believe that I will just hang on to my coffee habit. Let's just shake, be friends and to each their own beverage! CHEERS!
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