This blog was originally published on October 1, 2020 on www.courtneyhilley.com in partnership with Chaleur Coffee.
If nothing else good has come from it, this year at least has slowed us down, making those of us who were once bustling and frantic, become quieter, and less staccato. In the past, I had to make an intentional attempt to “live slowly”, and though I didn’t always succeed, I thought I did pretty well at it. This year, time seems to stand still with no effort at all, and there are things I hope we learn from this era in our homes, to bring into our future lives.
One thing I’ve always loved about living in the South, is how many people still live comparatively slow. Recently, people all over are trying to slow back down and return to simpler things, like growing their own food or throwing pottery, but the South never stopped having a hands-on approach to life. Here, honey is from local beekeepers, firewood is from a neighbor’s tree just down the road, and everyone shells their own peas and shucks their own corn. Sometimes, having a faster option for something—like a coffee pot in the morning— can be very useful, but by allowing it to become so readily available to make our day faster, it can take away our appreciation for the drink, and take away valuable time that we could be spending with others, or by ourselves as self care.
As some of you may know, to say that I am a coffee enjoyer is a little modest. Before deciding to restructure our coffee business, Chaleur (est. 2017), from a cafe/bakery/roastery into only a coffee roasting facility earlier this year, I had twelve years of working in coffee hospitality under my belt. Now I’m older, and all of those years drinking so much coffee has made my body into “more of a tea person”. One thing I am incredibly thankful for with my body’s switch to only 12oz of coffee a day, is that I have erased coffee from my mind as a necessity, allowing it to become seen as it should be: a ritual. Sure, our whole business was built around teaching people to appreciate coffee, and make it slowly and methodically with their hands, but I was still drinking multiple-multiple-espressos a day. I believe the purpose of coffee, and the reason it is still (along with tea) such a cornerstone in so many cultures, is fellowship. It’s ceremonial and people centered. Allowing it to become an addiction takes away coffee’s focus from community and bringing people together, and makes it all about us and our individual needs. In this blog, I’d like to challenge you to turn coffee into a morning or afternoon ritual for yourself instead of a thoughtless cup, and spend some quiet time alone, creating something meaningful with your hands to begin your day. I’ll also share with you our favorite no-stress recipe and method of hand brewing coffee for 2-4 people, featuring Chaleur Coffee.
Coffee for two using a Chemex.
First, heat a kettle of water to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wet filter in Chemex, and pour out excess water.
Based on the number of persons being served, measure out beans. In this recipe, we use a 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio, so to serve two people, we will use 46 grams of coffee, and 700 grams of water, giving each person a 350g, or 12 oz, coffee each.
Grind coffee at a medium coarseness, or about how you would grind coffee for a drip machine. (For us, it’s 7.5 on a Mahlkonig burr grinder.)
Pour ground coffee into wet filter in top of Chemex. Set on scale, and tare.
Make sure ground coffee is level, and pour 205 degree water in a circular motion on top of grounds (working from outer edge into the middle) until reaching 92g. This process, the “bloom”, should be allowed to sit for thirty seconds. This initial short pour allows all coffee particles to become equally saturated before actual “brewing” begins, and creates a beautiful burst of the coffee’s unique aroma.
After 30 seconds has passed, pour 202g of water over the top in a circular motion until coffee is evenly submerged, making 294g on the scale. Wait until water seems to have drained from surface of coffee, and keep pouring in 202g doses until 700g of water has been poured. This should be completed in one bloom and three pours.
Allow coffee to drain from filter, toss out filter, and serve.
This process from the bloom to the final drip should last between 4-5 minutes for two cups of coffee, and about one minute could be added to that time for every 350g cup added. The original Chemex carafe design holds four 350g cups of coffee.
Think about the hands who planted, grew, picked, processed, and roasted the coffee as you drink it. So many people are involved, from plant to cup.
For more information on coffee brewing, roasting, and ethical practices, visit www.chaleur.coffee.