Friday, May 7, 2010

Coffee -- It Does A Body Good

There is nothing in the world more wonderful than the perfect cup of coffee. When my friend Fiona and I were chatting at dinner last night, she said she remembered the delicious coffee my father used to make. Oh, indeed it was. She remembered the first cup of coffee she ever had was on a sunny, Saturday morning at my house. She remembers we had toast and peanut butter, hot coffee and the colored comics from the newspaper, and she said it was one of the most relaxing Saturday mornings she had ever spent. From that day on, she was hooked on good coffee.

My father's coffee spoiled me for anything but the perfect cup of coffee. My dad used to put eggshells into his ground coffee beans, and it turns out there is a scientific reason for this. The calcium in the eggshells cuts the bitter flavor, and makes the coffee smooth and mellow. This is a trick Barstucks should learn, because their coffee is -- as my father would call it -- rot gut. My father made his coffee in a siphon brewer. These were invented in Germany in 1830s, and folks stopped using them in the 1970s but siphon brewers are now making a comeback in 21st century.  And no wonder, because they make the best coffee.

And the good news is, coffee is actually good for you.  Yes!  According to Tomas DePaulis, Phd, a research scientist at Vanderbilt University, "For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good." "At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk. Other research shows that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones."

Apparently coffee contains oodles of antioxidants.  Well, who knew?  I just know that if it's made well, it's delicious, but if it's poorly made, it's tastes foul.  If all you're used to drinking is Barstucks coffee, do yourself a favor and invest in some really good roasted beans, a good coffee maker, and learn how to make the perfect cup of coffee.  You won't regret it.  Then all you'll need is a Saturday morning, and the colored comics from the newspaper.  Enjoy!


Sam Liu said...

As a coffee addict, I hold this wonderful post in the utmost reverence. I love a good cup of coffee, there really is nothing better. And your father's method of adding eggshells in the ground beans sounds fascinating, I must try it. And as for coffee being good for you, well that's just marvelous news! My guilt at drinking so much coffee is somewhat weaker now :)

On a personal note, the best cup of coffee I ever had was in a small cafe in Paris. It was truly delicious, the embodiment of pure perfection.

Susie Hemingway said...

Oh yes ! I can smell the delicious aroma from here. I love a good expresso, my treat of the day and sure it does my body good. x

Katy said...

I had my first cup of coffee in a cafe in New Orleans. I was in high school and traveling with an orchestra. I was the youngest in our group and was desperately trying to be grown up. I will never forget it because it was so good I don't think I have ever found anything to top it.

I didn't make a habbit of drinking the stuff until I went to work for a law firm. That lowered my standereds for what I will drink, but nothing bets a really good cup of joe.

I agree with you about Starbucks. Worst ever.

DUTA said...

I like to drink coffee. I used to drink black turkish coffee as they drink in the Balkans and in the Middle East- prepared according to tradition on a low fire.

Some ten yers ago, I switched to agglomerated instant coffee. Last year I started drinking the decaff version of this very aromatic coffee , and I'm glad to say I don't feel any difference in taste.

When I'm out, I like to drink a good capucino in a cosy cafe.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Yummmm, good coffee. What kind of coffee maker do you use/recommend? Now I am curious. It seems people's preference of coffee makers varies as much as their preference of coffees!

Love your Barstucks nomenclature!! I think I will brew me a nice cup of joe while I read. Thank you!

DJan said...

I'm with Sam here: the best cup of coffee I ever had was in Paris. We don't make coffee here at home, but we do occasionally threaten to buy a drip coffee maker. I like buying espresso drinks the best, but I also have a cup of coffee on top of two shots in my latte almost every day. Addict! I never heard of this method of making coffee that you mention, I'll check it out.

JoMo said...

Hi Jo,

The smell of coffee is wonderful. I really really love it. I'm a tea drinker but everyone else needs the morning java hit so I get to smell the goodness while I opt for tea!

And of course for us Canucks there is always the Tim Horton's-Starbucks debate (which in my household is not debate at all, Timmy's wins).

Fantastic of you to mention the eggshells. My father in law used to do that too, something from the depression era that stuck.

Cheers & Happy Mother's Day!

Pamela Kieffer said...

Eggshells in coffee? My mom always did that.
The coffee in restaurants, gas stations and fast food places is much better today than it was in the past. I think we can thank Starbucks for that


Your grandpa and my grandpa taught us the same way. I don't drink a lot of coffee, but when I do, I want it to be good.

I like grinding my own fresh as well; keep the coffee in the freezer, and use filtered water that is chilled - it all adds to the quality I think.

Elise said...

Oh I love coffee... those pictures have made me salivate. Off to the kettle!!

Rosaria Williams said...

Fascinating story of eggshells and coffee in a special perculator. Where does one get good roasted beans?

PinkPanthress said...

Coffee is not my cup of Tea! ;)

But I agree, my mother use a siphon brewer until the laste 80'ties & she said that it tastes better made like that. :)

Amy said...

Well, Jo, I just have to jump in and recommend Stumptown coffee to you. Yes, even though my son in law is a roaster with this fine company (based in Portland), I've learned to appreciate the finer cups lately.

When I was a girl, my father would make coffee in a Chemex (drip) with Yuban coffee. Now I can appreciate the fresh ground style, usually French pressed.

There is a Stumptown roastery/cafe in Seattle, but I'm not sure if it's reached your area yet. I don't mean to be pushy - this was a great post for us coffee lovers and I'm happy you're one too!

Vanessa said...

I mysel am a tea drinker, but I do appreciate coffee every once in a while! I'll remember your words when I'm making coffee for my mum!

Jo said...

Sam, according to my research :-) coffee is actually good for you. Just don't drink it at night, if you want to have a good night's sleep. *heh* And yes, the coffee in Paris is out of this world...!

Susie, I love expresso too. That reminds me, I have to buy a new expresso maker this weekend. Thank you. :-)

Katy, my goodness, your first coffee experience sounds wonderful...! And yes, there is nothing like a good cuppa joe. :-)

Duta, I have always wanted to try Turkish coffee -- prepared the real way just as you describe it. I don't think there is anywhere in Vancouver we can get it, but my Turkish friends say it is out of this world delicious!

Brenda, I use Melitta European Dark Roast, and a single Melitta filter, so I can make one cup of coffee at a time. And sometimes I use my Bodum and make two cups. Melitta costs a bit more, but it's worth it. Yum!

DJan, I think the best cup of coffee I ever had was in Paris too. And the cream that was served with it was served hot! Omigoodness...!

Hi, Jo! How are you? And yes, Tim Horton's is far better than Starbucks, by a country mile. And, apparently the egg shells neutralize any bitterness in the coffee. I guess they were on to something. :-)

Blue Ridge, yes, I have noticed coffee seems to be improving generally too, and there are lots of good baristas around. I have found a good one near where I work, and the coffee is delicious.

Diane, I was grinding my own coffee beans for a while too, but I find Melitta European Dark Roast is almost as good, and I don't have to keep washing out the coffee grinder. *heh*

Elise, yes...! I am having a coffee as we speak. Yum!

Lakeviewer, I think you have to experiment, but just don't buy beans from Starbucks. Go to a specialty coffee store, and ask them what they recommend, and then just try different ones. It's worth it!

PinkPanthress, there is nothing like the coffee made with the siphon. I don't know why it's so much better, it just is. It's wonderful!

Amy, I have never heard of Stumpdown, but I'm going to look for it. We have "Seattle's Best" here, and of course Starbucks, but I haven't seen Stumpdown yet. I'm going to do some investigating. Thank you!

Nes, oh, gosh, how sweet of you to make coffee for your Mom. Omigoodness! I think she might like Melitta European Dark Roast. It's very mellow and very "coffee flavored". :-)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Couldn't make it without my coffee. I savor that first cup as I wake up and get going.... I will even drink leftover coffee reheated in the microwave!

Marguerite said...

Good coffee is like "nectar of the gods". Nothing in the world like my freshly ground, Community French Roast! And I'm so glad that it's good for me, because I drink a lot of it! Have a great weekend, Jo!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm about to go to bed but I'm already looking forward to my morning coffee. I grind my excellent beans fresh for every pot, and it's a lovely way to begin the day. I have never used a siphon brewer, but am very fond of my Cuisinart coffee maker. The egg shells are a wonderful idea, and btw, egg shells and coffee grounds are both very good fertilizers for your garden. Do you know what else is full of antioxidants? Chocolate. Cheers!

divineGirl said...

wow.. can smell the delicioous aroma from here!

Susan said...

Coffee is the universe's bribe to keep us on the planet.
I was taught to drink it black with no sugar, and now anything else tastes like dessert.
I had no idea how bad my addiction was until I went to Rome.
I realize that the gourmets will tell you that espresso is coffee in its essential form, and therefore superior.
I will admit to being a total lowbrow because I suffered every single day that I had to drink a teeny little espresso instead of a big honking ceramic mug of coffee.
Fortunately, there was a coffeemaker in our little apartment.
But really - I think it may be too late for me to learn to love again.

Laurie said...

Coffee is Food of the Gods, no doubt about it. I think I love ALL coffee (except Starbucks which does awful things to my tummy). I have a friend who use to run a coffee shop - she makes the very best coffee, and everyone knows it. Last year, she tried having a cocktail party...but everyone kept asking her to make coffee!

Land of shimp said...

Yes, the experts go back and forth on the benefits of coffee, do they not? This is part of the reason that I tend to not listen to experts. They are a fickle lot.

I hope my love of coffee does me more good than harm but even if it didn't, I suspect I'd still drink it regardless. I'm with you on Starbuck's coffee, by the way, what a bitter, over-roasted, over-hyped brew that is.

It makes me wonder what god awful concoctions people must have been imbibing at home if Starbuck's represented an improvement for them. Yipes.

A good cup of coffee is one of those small pleasures I need to have daily. It's just such a nice little reminder of the joys of sensation. It's delightful on so many levels.

Admittedly, I shudder to think what would happen to me if I couldn't get my coffee fix. If I ever had to enact a plan for world domination, I'd steal all the coffee and tea first. A grumpy and groggy civilization must be easier to overthrow, right? Right.

However, we'll never know by my hand, as I have a decidedly peaceful approach to people in general. Unless you take my coffee, in which case, all bets are off. Well poo, now I've discovered the flaw in my theoretical world overthrow plan.

Clearly more coffee and brainstorming is in order. Well, at least more coffee.

Kathryn said...

I don't usually drink coffee, but we used to have one of these siphon coffee brewers - from about 1940. New in box. My first husband's grandmother had it squirreled away in her garage. It worked great, until he left it on the burner empty & exploded the bottom pot. :(

Cloudia said...

I had to get up and make some, Jo :)
Thanks for the tips!

Glad to be back, Missed Ya!

Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral

Canarybird said...

I love the Spanish coffee here, especially the small 'cafe cortado', which is a strong espresso served in a little glass with no handle, and with just a drop of hot milk.

Another local coffee favourite is called 'cafe cortado leche leche' in which a short stream of sweetened condensed milk is carefully poured into a cafe cortado so that it settles on the bottom of the cup without mixing in, then as you sip this little coffee the sweetness of the milk gradually reaches your lips. Mmmm it is heavenly....but oh so rich.

Another version also adds some brandy with the sweet condensed milk, a tiny slice of lemon peel and a few grains of cinnamon. Called cafe Barraquito it is another Canary Island specialty and a great finish to a meal.

Paula Slade said...

When I was a teenager, my girlfriend's mother made coffee with egg shells - it was indeed the best coffee ever! Every afternoon when school was over several of us would congregate in her kitchen to enjoy a magnificent boost of java.