Jun 4, 2009

A Good Cuppa Joe. Pay Attention.

Years and years and blah blah blah ago, I worked as a customer service drone for certain products' 800 phone lines; to include coffee that was Good to the Last Drop, the Champagne of Bottle Beers, and Sure-Gel pectins.

You should have seen me talk and type and race through AS400 screens faster than a politician denying paternity. I was freshly returned from five years in Mexico City and employed as the only bi-lingual member of the team. (Side note: that meant that ANYone with an accent was transferred to my extension, no matter if they were from Uzbekistan or Uruguay.) But we learned much about coffee, beer, jams and jellies.

Anyhoo, when we weren't uncovering blue-hair-coupon-scammer rings in the 212 area code *ahem* we were fielding calls from prisoners threatening lawsuits about caffeine and college kids wondering why, if beer has no fat, then why were they gaining weight. Not too long after taking that job, Bill Clinton was running for office. My fresh perspective from living out of country and then being tossed into the mainstream of U.S. consumer idiots with nothing better to do than call and complain about their coffee gave me sagacious political insights: "OMG. This man will be elected." And then, after his first SOTU speech: "OMG. This man will be re-elected."

But I digress.

BTW, there is NOT a mouse in your beer. It's just yeasty slough from the filling nozzles. Do you see whiskers? No. Do you see its eyes? No. But we're sorry about the dismay it caused you and here ya go, you get a free case of beer! Still wanna press your point? We got a whole suite of lawyers who've been there and done that. Bring it.

Oh, I digressed again.

So then. A good cup of coffee or a good urn of coffee depends on following the recipe and measuring accurately. Yes, Virginia, coffee has a recipe. The "official" recommendation for most drip makers is, get this, ONE LEVEL TABLESPOON of grounds for each 6 oz. of water. You keep thinking, cup=8 oz.

Now here's the problem: Your coffee mug is more than 6 ounces and is usually 8 or more. You're making weak coffee and that's why it tastes like canal water. If you're making four MUGS of coffee with four tablespoons of grounds, you're disappointing yourself and your guests by diluting the coffee by 25%. It goes back to tea cups being only 6 ounces before everyone needed mugs, don't blame your coffee maker.

Measure out the water in your coffee maker carafe and see if it is marking off teacups or mugs and adjust accordingly. Thank me in the morning.

Making a huge urn of coffee for the luncheon? You know it's gonna taste like sour dish water from the Waffle House if you don't do it right and most of you don't. A whole freaking vac-pac of coffee for the large urns is usually what you'll need. Did you know that the urn usually has a fill line in the basket for grounds? Use it in concert with the water line in the urn. It actually works best that way, just be sure to get a perc grind blend and you're good to go. Your guests will thank you.

Meanwhile, beer has no fat. If it did, it would be cloudy and yucky. It makes you fat because you drink too much of it and sit around scratching your keister while watching Al Bundy.

You're welcome.

Thank you for calling.


15 comments:

Ricky Raccoon said...

It’s not 6 tablespoons to one ounce of water? Rats.
But it tase soooo good.
Sooooooo, as in syrupy.

Hammer said...

I use 6 heaping tablespoons per 10 cups and it comes out good. I can't imagine less.

julie said...

I saw the Tweet earlier, and was wondering what your coffee secret was. It's good to know I seem to be eyeballing it about right ;)

PeggyU said...

Did you have a bad cup of coffee recently?

Joan of Argghh! said...

Ricky, that sounds like my coffee! But not everyone wants to mainline their caffeine.

Hammer, that still sounds better than most. I think Starbucks has been a good influence on folks' taste for coffee.

No, Peggy, I think it was Lileks that had a bad cup of joe. I forget where the tweet started.

Julie, I'm gonna keep you around to help me keep track.

The Maximum Leader said...

I don't drink coffee. But I do make it for guests at my house. I'll remember your tips. I always worry that I am making it too strong or too weak.

Sam said...

If you spill the coffee I make, It'll walk away. Strong...and home ground.

LauraB said...

Mmmm...coffeeeee...I was actually thinking of sneaking in a short pot this morning. Btwn me and hubs, that 10 cup decanter is empty in short order.

For me, it's fresh ground at brew time. As much as the grinder can hold is a good measurement. LOL

Have you seen that wacky Alton Brown's coffee making process? 2 tbl per 6 oz. Well, it's as you say - use ENOUGH coffee and it isn't BAD coffee!

GUYK said...

Don't how many tablespoons sweetthing uses..just know that if it will not float the spoon it is not strong enough

Jim - PRS said...

You've had some amazing jobs.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Yes, Jim, but the last 18 months has just about killed me! So today I landed a permanent job working for a national wine and spirits store chain. i'm thinking job security!

Skully said...

"Years and years and blah blah blah ago, I worked as a customer service drone for certain products' 800 phone lines; to include coffee that was Good to the Last Drop, the Champagne of Bottle Beers, and Sure-Gel pectins."

Whew! That's good to hear, lady Joan!
Not that I ever called them 1-800 numbers ($1.99 per minute) numbers. I, um heard about 'em though.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Anyhoo, when we weren't uncovering blue-hair-coupon-scammer rings in the 212 area code *ahem* we were fielding calls from prisoners threatening lawsuits about caffeine and college kids wondering why, if beer has no fat, then why were they gaining weight."

Apparently, they don't teach college kids anything about somethin' called "carbs."

Teresa said...

Well, I must thank you! I don't drink "real" coffee - only the frou-frou variety made for me at Starbucks (yes I like it and very much dislike plain coffee)... so I never learned how to make coffee. I shall have to commit this to memory in case I need it some time. My husband uses a press pot and makes coffee strong enough to hold a spoon upright - don't think most peeps would like it. Heh.

Bou said...

My grandmother taught me how to make coffee and I make it like you described. People always way to me, 'You make such good coffee...' I always think at their home, 'Why does your coffee taste like brown rancid water?'

Now I know...