The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee by James Freeman

Famous for its complex and flavorful coffees, Blue Bottle Coffee in New York delights its devoted patrons with exquisite pour-overs, delicious espressi, and specialized brewing methods. Yet as coffee production becomes more sophisticated with specialized extraction techniques and Japanese coffee gadgets, the new artisan coffees can seem out of reach. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee explains this new world from farm to cup, exploring the bounty of beans available and the intricate steps that go into sourcing raw coffee from around the globe.

 Blue Bottle founder James Freeman coaches you through brewing the perfect cup of coffee, using methods as diverse as French press, nel drip, siphon, and more to produce the best flavor. For coffee lovers who want to roll up their sleeves and go deeper, Freeman explains step by step how to roast beans at home using standard kitchen tools–just like he did when starting out.

Rounding out the book are more than thirty inventive recipes that incorporate coffee or just taste particularly good with coffee, such as Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles, Stout Coffee Cake with Pecan-Caraway Streusel, Affogato with Smoky Almond Ice Cream, Coffee Panna Cotta, and more.

With more than one hundred stunning photographs showing coffee’s journey from just-harvested cherry to perfect drink, this distinctive and deep guide to the new breed of amazing coffees from one of the top artisan coffee makers will change the way you think about – and drink – coffee. (description from publisher)

Frugal Librarian #5: Magic Beans

frugallibrarianThey might as well have mystical powers as much as some folks charge for them. With a little skill, it is possible to get up to five times as much coffee for what you’d pay a certain mega-chain for a vacuum-packed pound. Problem is, you’ve got to get online, buy them green and roast them yourself. This can be, for a knucklehead that shall remain nameless, an extremely smoky and odorous endeavor.

There are lots of people who have modded-up their own roasting rigs, but one of the easiest, most accurate and cost-effective methods is around 6 minutes in the old hot-air popcorn popper you’re currently doubling as a dust-collector.

Reasons to attempt:

-According to some sources, coffee is best within five days of roasting. Shelf brands have been there far longer.
-You can experiment to find your ideal mouthfeel. Go online and pick an African, Asian, or Central American nation of your choice (there are dozens)….each has their own varieties that thrive in their unique in climate, soil, moisture, etc.
-You get the satisfaction of knowing when it turned out halfway well that it occurred of your own caring hand. Might make for an impressive treat or homemade gift?
-You can “enhance” what you’ve done by adding flavoring elements. I’ve found a teaspoon of cinnamon in the drip basket masks mistakes.

Word to the wise…never do it inside, especially not with half a wok full.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to step away to enjoy a cupful of fresh-brewed cinders.