A Word On Coffee

Today, I realized how much money there was to be made in coffee. Before your eyes roll a complete 360 at me: I’m not naive, I know Starbucks coffee shops don’t keep popping up because people like the banana bread. Although in all seriousness, banana bread is amazing. It just never occurred to me before. I digress.

After making about 70 coffees in what was probably an hour and half all up, at $4.00 a pop, that is some nice extra cash flow for the not coffee orientated business I work for. Why is it that people are so addicted to coffee that they are willing to spend that much money on one (of presumably multiple) hits per day. And secondly, why don’t they just make it at home?

I was curious and did some digging around:

Drinking 1 cup of coffee each work day at $3.50 a piece, that amounts to $840 per year (5 day/week, 48 working weeks to a year). That figure may be conservative as a 2008 study found that Australians on average drink about 2.4kg of coffee per year, your average coffee containing about 8 grams. That’s 300 coffees, although culturally I think Australians have been drinking more coffee in recent years. Is your daily hit worth that much? After looking a bit further into coffee, its addictive properties and effects on the body I found some interesting new research.

A British study found that as little as one cup of coffee a day can be enough to create an addiction. Even worse is that after a while, that morning latte won’t have any effect on you. “Bollocks!” you say, “I feel perked up after my morning macchiato!” Unfortunately it’s not so much you being perked up as it is the caffeine reversing the withdrawal effects (lethargy, dizziness, irritability etc) of the previous dose. It seems that coffee is only a true stimulant for those that have the occasional dose.

Finally, for those interested in inexpensively making their own (good) coffee at home, using quality beans. Not the horrible robusta beans used in instant coffee. I’ll tell you how:

  1. Make a visit to your Grandma or Mother’s house and borrow their plunger/french press. If they don’t have one, frankly I don’t believe you, and secondly, you know it’s been too long since you last visited.
  2. Visit any local roasting house as it will definitely be better than supermarket bought. Personally, I’m a fan of Bar Merlo and Campos Coffee.  For the best results with a plunger, make sure that you buy a coarsely ground bean. If you are unsure, just ask the attendant.
  3. Boil the kettle and rinse the plunger with a little bit of the hot water to warm it up. Discard the water.
  4. Wait about a minute for the water to cool slightly as boiling water will burn the beans. Then, add enough water for the desired number of cups and then an extra 100mls or so for the plunger.
  5. Add the coffee. As a general rule of thumb, one heaped tablespoon per person and one for the plunger.
  6. Slightly stir the beans and water for a few seconds making sure no beans have shot up the side of the plunger and then place a saucer on top or the plunger lid back on (make sure you don’t plunge!)
  7. Let it brew for around 4 minutes. Experiment with this as the longer it sits the stronger the coffee. Take this opportunity to put the toast on, feed the dog or other morning essentials. When you come back you should notice a nice crema has formed on top.
  8. Lastly, slowly plunge the coffee down and you will hopefully see something like this.

As for the milk: if you aren’t committed enough to spend the time texturing it, just nuke it.

If, however you realize that you’ve just committed 5 minutes to this cup so you may as well do it properly, here is how to do the milk:

Either buy a separate and smaller plunger or milk frother, or rinse out the plunger and re use it. Add the desired amount of milk at 70-ish degrees Celsius and plunge up and down until its nice and foamy. Interesting side fact: full cream tastes better and skim milk foams better.

Finally, for those of you who haven’t been turned off their morning ritual completely, at least you’ve got some new found facts for trivia night and an easy way to make quality coffee at home. Now, I’m off to start a coffee shop.

Sources: http://www.themoneytimes.com/featured/20100603/too-much-coffee-makes-you-immune-its-effects-id-10115987.html

http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/does_coffee_work/

http://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au/articles/articles-news/australian-coffee-machine-sales-1391.html

Update: Fixed spelling of ‘banana’, thanks Megan!

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4 thoughts on “A Word On Coffee

  1. First of all, as it happens, skim milk has a higher concentrate of everything in it (obviously, because there’s extra room without all the fat), and when heated above a certain degree it sweetens more than full cream milk so it actually tastes better.

    2nd, if i don’t mind paying $4 for a cup of coffee out somewhere if it comes with a nice conversation.

    3rd, you need to learn to spell ‘banana’.

    4th, please write more. You write so nicely. i never realised. You should take photos with that camera of yours to go with your posts.

    🙂

    1. Thanks for picking up the spelling! Can’t believe I read it through as many times as I did and not notice it.

      As for the milk: From the few comparisons I’ve done between skim, no fat and full cream milk I can only really conclude that people are disillusioned as to the benefits of skim. What you save in fat per 250ml is usually between 2 – 8 grams. And, like you said, the reduction in fat is always made up with extra sugar. So I suppose it comes down to a creaminess vs sweetness and personal preference?

      I was actually considering writing something about my frustration with the perception that anything 98% fat free is good for you. Namely the 98% fat free stamp I’ve seen on Allen’s lolly bags recently. But until I decide, I’ll keep working on my latte art and maybe get a photo up for you 😛

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