Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How do you do coffee?

Since moving to Switzerland about 2 years ago I have gone through different phases of coffee brewing, drinking, enjoying. When I first arrived I fell in love with the strong Swiss coffee, and having an inexpensive manual espresso machine in our temporary apartment, and found myself drinking quite a bit more coffee than usual. As part of the process, I became infatuated with the idea of owning my own countertop espresso/cappuccino machine. A friend knew someone selling her Jura for a great price and so I jumped on a tram to areas unknown to check out this opportunity. When I arrived I saw a large machine that would take up lots of room on my counter in my small Swiss kitchen, and one that was still quite an investment. When I heard about maintenance, like tuneups for a car, I decided to think it over a bit more, to do some more research.

That was a fun process, wandering around to find coffee makers from 100 CHF to 4000 CHF, hearing about the features in good English, broken English, or German, which I didn't know at all then. Amazing how much you can communicate with hand signals and facial expressions though, especially regarding something involving taste. At this point I became overwhelmed, and decided postpone my decision again. I wanted to let the information settle, and find out how much counter space I would have once we moved out of our temporary location. As I continued meeting people, I asked about their coffee experience and got many varied responses.

It seemed that many were using Nespresso at home (perhaps influenced by the large black and white posters of George Clooney that were sprinkled throughout Basel at the time, no wonder!), while others had the well known Swiss Jura. I asked around more, and of course I drank more coffee. I found I enjoyed my manual Trisa machine, not just the coffee at the end, but the whole process of making the coffee by hand. Perhaps leftovers from my days of working at PJ's Coffee in New Orleans when in college. And I began to find that while sometimes that strong cup of cafe creme was great, I began to miss just a good strong cup of joe, American style.

Fast forward - we moved to our "permanent" apartment (whatever that means) complete with very little counter space. As I unpacked, I found my old Chemex pour over drip coffee maker, and a one cup Melitta plastic filter cone. Since I am the only coffee drinker in my family, the one cup seemed perfect.

And so that is where I landed. No beautiful Swiss machine, just a one cup filter cone that makes me a lovely cup of coffee each morning, and takes up less space than a coffee mug. I get my cafe creme at one of many fabulous cafés, and love that Switzerland is very much a café culture. Meanwhile I am happy brewing up a bit of home in my one cup of American style coffee each morning.

What about you? Did you fall in love with the coffee in Europe after a visit or a move here? Did that result in a change in how you make coffee? What did you buy if anything, and how is it working for you? We would love to hear your stories and share with others who may be considering coffee anew. Perhaps you have let go of that drip coffee maker that won't work easily in your new environs, and that spurred you onto new adventures in coffee making. Or did you just have a cup of coffee on that special trip that you must recreate? Let us know.

Did you know that people paint with coffee? Also, recently while listening to The Splendid Table I heard Tom Owens of Sweet Maria's talking about making a great cup of coffee using a one cup coffee cone. Listen or check out one of his youtube videos.

1 comment:

Pandex said...

Hey :) great Blog. I live in Switzerland too and to be honest, I've got my Tassimo machine :P specially because I could make my lattes, hot chocolate and I love it. Not such a big fan of the caffe creme though. I prefer the "american" style, like we do it normally in Perú, where I come from.

I just found out thanks to your blog about this coffee brewer - plastic- and I think it's the right thing for me, not much space taken :D and I can enjoy my delicious coffee made in Perú.