You know how I love coffee, right? Well, this former “barista” is now back into loving, making real coffee for the first time since I left the “coffee” business.

I joined a Discord server a while back, and for Christmas we did secret Santa. Well…when the return address on one of the packages is from a coffee shop, you already knew what the other part of the present was going to be…

The fact the return address was from a coffee shop gave away that the other part of my present was a manual burr grinder. That little guy involves more work than I realized, but it only increases my appreciation for those before me who had to make their coffee by hand, in the era before industrialization.

So in the last couple of days—I opened up my presents early because the aroma of the coffee finally weakened my resolve to wait till Yule to open and enjoy—I got to open her up and get over-caffeinated. The coffee blend definitely had hints of a nutty, chocolate-y taste.

My second time with a vac-pot. I broke her in with my usually, stale coffee from my local grocery. When the shops open again this weekend, I’m hitting up my local roaster for the first time since COVID hit for the good stuff.

Aeropress coffee doesn’t replicate espresso per se, but I do not want to go back to the mindset or lifestyle. While all these other manual methods to making a damn good cup of coffee are just as labor intensive, they’re manual and allow me to fine-tune to my tastes, without the costs of a manual espresso machine. I also know I’m sounding like a hipster with this, and convenience has its place—I still have my automatic drip for the long days I work each rotation (which is 4 days on, 4 days off)—but this is what I long wanted to be about.

This Aeropress gadget (not an endorsement!) is going to take me a bit longer to play around with. I’m waiting in the mail for a steel mesh filter, to avoid using paper filters, to both reduce waste and to make a better cup of coffee.

I’m not about to buy a “coffee passport” to detail my “coffee journey” and become an amateur cupper. Right now, I just want to enjoy my freshly roasted coffee once more, with methods I have tried on and off, but have long since fallen away from. Upgrading from my pod system to at least a drip machine was a good start, and I still use her. My new burr grinder will make those pre-shift coffees taste so much better.

I’m waiting in the mail for an old-fashioned percolator (not endorsed). I know the history they’ve left behind, but that’s because users were too lazy to take off the stove, or made too much and just let the water constantly circulate, whatever. Old-school souls say when done right, it makes the best damn cup of coffee still. To keep costs down I bought one without a heating element attached, but I have portable electric stove top that I can heat it upon instead.

Now I need to get a kitchen scale. Measuring by weight, instead of by scoop, will reproduce that cup coffee time after time, way more easily than by scoop.

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