All Writing and Photography © Alex Livingstone/Owner's Closet

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Getting Started

I have no idea where I left off and I didn't bother to look.

I do know that it's 7:40am and all I have to do is write, listen to Leatherbag, and drink the wonderful coffee sitting next to me. I purchased some beans roasted by Independence Coffee Co. and I have been quite pleased with them. I had been buying Ruta Maya beans for awhile and have been satisfied with them too, but I noticed they're kinda expensive and started to look for something else to try. So I went for another local brand and I recommend it. Two others I also want to enjoy at home are Cuvee and Owl Tree, both of which I've tasted and enjoyed outside of my control environment (home).

My most recent coffee-related mind melt was when I had a cup of Intelligentsia coffee at Frank. This coffee isn't roasted in Austin but it is incredibly delicious and I've been thinking about it everyday for a week. While extremely impressed with what I tasted, I think I'm onto what Frank's got going on. The quality of the beans, how they're roasted, which village they come from, whether the poor Columbian dude gets paid well or not for his crop, and other related farm-to-market efforts are factors that I believe are important when it comes to a cup of Joe. However, in the past 17 months of working on my album at Jim Fredley's house, I witnessed and executed one of the most important aspects of the cup of coffee: the brewing.

For a long time, I believed that the French press method created a superior cup of coffee. This is after I realized that regular drip coffee, while convenient and often tasty, had limitations to the beauty it can yield. But after dabbling in the world of French pressing, laziness soon led me back to drip and was soon unsatisfied by what I was drinking. When I again accepted that drip coffee has some major flaws, I started ordering the Americano (and still often do) and this turned my world on its ear. I started appreciating the espresso roast in a way I hadn't ever before (lattes, mocha lattes, etc...) and I started to appreciate a single cup versus a bottomless cup of drip. Because of the many variables of a coffeeshop's drip-delivery system, I have my doubts that any of them can deliver a crisper, hotter, tastier cup of drip than they can a cup of Americano.

Anyway, what I learned at Fredley's was a more labor intensive method of brewing yet one that yields a damn fine cup of joe. And like much of the finer things in life, Rome wasn't built in a day. So I went to Frank and they brew their coffee the same way we had been doing it at Jim's for over a year. And when I tasted that coffee, I knew that I had the answer. So now I have to go find the correct tools so I can make such wonder cups at home. I'm not gonna describe the simple process... you're gonna have to go to Frank and check it out for yourself. And grab some great food while you're there.

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