Morning coffee ceremony

So far I’ve asked those of you that want to start to raise your industry profile to:

1. Read a paper: Unique, Great and Visible.

2. Start thinking about what you want to be known for.

Two pretty big requests. You probably need more time.

So how about something else work related, like coffee! If you want to break the ‘Bucks habit but don’t want to give up your Americano, here’s how to make the stuff at home. Without having to purchase and host yet another obtrusive new appliance on your counter top. Additionally, you can use this little ritual as a waking meditation, a way to consciously ease into the new day.

You will need:

  1. Stove top espresso maker, about $40. Check out
  2. Can of  ground espresso. Example: Illy (Note: Technically, you’re supposed to use “Moka” ground for a stovetop coffee maker, but few if any grocery stores carries that. The Illy (or other type) ground espresso is pretty readily available and it works fine. It averages $10-$14 a can. This sounds expensive until you do the math. Making coffee this way will cost you 60 cents a cup as opposed to $1.75 or more at the ‘Bucks.  Start with medium (red label). If you really like the burnt taste of ‘Bucks though, you can try the dark (black label).
  3. Small teaspoon (optimally small enough to leave in the can).
  4. Big mug
  5. Hot water

To use all this stuff to make your coffee, follow these 10 steps:

  1. Coffee maker in hand, unscrew the carafe from the bottom. You will see a basket. Take the basket out and fill the bottom cup with water up to the little hole on the side.
  2. Put the basket back in. Put 2-3 teaspoons of ground espresso in the basket. Europeans tend to tamp it down and add more. Most American’s don’t like their coffee that robust. After all, we’re making an Americano, which by definition is watered down espresso. Experiment.
  3. Making sure there are no grounds on the side, screw the carafe onto the bottom cup. Screw it on very, very tight.
  4. Put it on the stove and turn up the heat to medium high. If you’re using a gas stove make sure the handle is clear of the flame or it could melt.
  5. Hang around the kitchen. DO NOT LEAVE and go do something else “real quick.”
  6. Heat up some water, if you don’t already have hot water at the ready.
  7. After about 4-5  minutes you’ll hear bubbling. You may also hear a slight whine as the water is forced up through the basket of coffee. This is normal.
  8. IMPORTANT: Let it bubble for about 2 minutes or so then turn off the heat.
  9. Grab a towel or napkin and grab the handle. The pot and its contents are HOT. Pour all the coffee in your mug (about 4 shots).
  10. Pour 1-2 shots worth of hot water on top of the coffee. You may like more, or less. You may decide you like the water in first, then the coffee. It’s a mad coffee science thing.

Anyway, voila! You’ve got your Americano. And a great little morning coffee ceremony to boot.


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