This method requires that ground coffee be added to cold or room temperature
water, then heated in the microwave. The coffee should be ground finer than
drip so that there will be no floaters at the end of brewing. I use a grind
in the espresso range. The amount of brew is limited by the power of the
microwave so that heating time is between 3 and 5 minutes.
This is my procedure for a 10 ounce mug. Put 10 ounces of cold water in a
suitable glass container (french press pot, pyrex measuring cup, etc.).
Grind one heaping tablespoon of beans, add to the water, and stir to wet the
grounds. I know this does not seem to be enough coffee, but try it before
you add more. My microwave is about 700 watts so reduce the times if using
Heat for 1 1/2 minutes, remove, stir to mix and dislodge bubbles from
grounds, return to microwave.
Heat for 1 3/4 to 2 minutes, remove, stir, return to microwave. Here is
where you should observe the behavior of the foam. Some beans or styles of
roast may require you to stop the heat when a dark spot appears in the
center, or continue allowing the foam to rise about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Also
observe the size of the darker foam spot and when large bubbles form.
Heat for the last time about 15 to 45 seconds, again stopping at a
particular foam behavior, not necessarily the same as the second heat.
Steep for 1 full minute with frequent stirring, allow to settle for 30
seconds then pour slowly into cup until the mass of grounds approaches the
spout. You may see some grounds and bits of chaff going into the cup, but
this will settle.
I have developed the procedure for about 1 year, and have decided that the
above times are best for my standard 10 ounce brew. Try it exactly as
described for a wide range of beans, then feel free to experiment and brew
to your taste. To brew larger amounts, extend the times proportionally. I
have brewed 16 ounces successfully in a 2 cup pyrex measure. But 20 ounces
was not very good due to the long heating time in my 700 watt oven.
It is necessary to break up the heating time so that the floating grounds do
not overheat and "burn" producing the characteristic reheated coffee taste.
Stovetop heating and a small percolator pot were tried, but resulted nearly
always with the foul reheated taste. The microwave distributes the heat more
evenly, but will still overheat the surface layer, so multiple heats with
stirring are necessary.
I have a theory that adding grounds to extremely hot water prevents full
extraction by melting fats which then plug up the pore structure. This came
from some earlier experiments on brewing at low temps like 150F.
I also believe that volatile substances are immediately vaporized into the
air when grounds are added to hot water, producing huge amounts of foam. A
cold start brew allows the volatiles to enter the water where they are more
likely to remain when the brew is heated.
Whatever the explanation for my results (I could be wrong on all counts), I
feel that the coffee tastes much sweeter and has more body, mouthfeel, and
complexity than if the grounds are added to already hot water.
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