Chef’s Corner: The best cup of coffee ever | Arts & Entertainment

Chef’s Corner: The best cup of coffee ever | Arts & Entertainment

Coffee, Americas favorite breakfast drink.

Who would have ever thought two goats running around would be responsible for the coffee we drink today? Well, that’s the legend! A goat herder in Ethiopia discovered his goats eating the beans from an ancient fruit-bearing shrub, and he noticed after eating the beans they would run around full of energy.

He tried the red bean himself and had the same reaction. He shared this information with a local monastery. The monks shared with other monks and the knowledge of coffee spread around the world.

In America, the Boston Tea party helped to make the colonists revolt on tea and switch to coffee. At the end of the 18th century, coffee replaced rum and brandy in the military, creating a major effect on soldiers during the Civil War.

So, now we have the coffee, but how was it brewed? Early brewing methods used roasted beans ground with a mortar very fine and boiled in a pot. Today you can buy Turkish, Greek and Cuban coffee ground very fine and brewed in the same manner, which I love.

In Early America, pans of water would be boiled and ground coffee would be added. Then it would be strained through a sock. Yes, the taste was not that great.

By the 1800s, things started to change with the advent of the espresso machine and percolators. In 1908, Militta Bentz developed the drip coffee maker, using blotted paper as a filter, thank goodness.

But coffee was still not being brewed correctly. Percolator and coffee pots would boil water and then it would drip over the coffee. It wasn’t until the Mr. Coffee pot and pod coffee makers came along that you could make a good cup of coffee.

The key to great coffee is water, temperature and, of course, fresh coffee beans. All restaurants use filtered water, and the machines are set at 195-205 degrees F just below boiling for a good brew. Home coffee makers are set at the correct temperature, but make sure to use filtered water.

My favorite coffee maker is the French Press. It is a glass pot that comes in different cup sizes. It has a top with a built-in metal filter plunger. I grind my beans around medium, not real fine, then I place the coffee in the pot. I heat water to just below boiling and add to pot. I let it steep for 3 minutes and then I push the plunger down, which forces and holds the grounds to the bottom of the pot. Mmmm, great coffee. This is the same method used by coffee plantations to test their beans. They must know something.

Here is a spicy steak recipe using coffee grounds; it is very good.

Coffee Steak

Ingredients

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon hot smoked Spanish paprika

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon finely ground red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more

Steaks of your choice (about 1 inch thick)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Mix ancho chile powder, ground coffee, brown sugar, paprika, dried oregano, pepper, coriander, mustard, red pepper flakes, ginger and 1 tablespoon salt in a small bowl. Season steaks with salt, then coat with 5 teaspoons of spice rub per steak (save any extra rub for your next steak).

Let steaks sit 1 hour to come to room temperature, which will help them cook quickly and more evenly. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet (oven safe) over medium-high. Cook steaks 2 minutes or so on each side to create a nice crust. Transfer skillet to oven; cook steaks until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130 degrees for medium-rare. Enjoy!

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or costa_magoulas@daytonastate.edu.


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