Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sweet Mama Jane's Morning Brew

This one is for you, Trent!
Before I began my sordid love affair with the espresso machine, there was the good old grind-and-brew coffeemaker.  I have been a devoted coffee drinker since the tender age of 15.  There have been stints in my life where I have tried in vain to convince myself that green tea or the like was somehow an acceptable substitute, but I always end up coming back to the dark bean.  I am not a person who drinks cup after cup of coffee all day long.  I like one incredibly strong mug to start my day, and that's that, so said cup needs to be delicious and totally worthwhile.  Over the years, I've honed my brewing strategy to perfection, and enough of our overnight guests have commented on my brew, that I promised to share the recipe here.  It all started at my high school job, at a little hippie shop called Traprock Suite. The owner, Susanne, was legendary; an eccentric and no-bull woman who taught me more than a few life lessons, one of which was the secret to perfect coffee.  Here it is: sprinkle just a tad of cinnamon and nutmeg over the beans before you grind them.  When I say sprinkle, I literally mean shake your wrist for the count of one over the the beans, that is it.  Even people who hate any sort of flavored coffee seem to love coffee this way.  I am asked again and again what that special flavor is when I serve this cofee to our guests.  My other secrets?  The best organic beans, cold filtered water, and brewing my pots double-strong (a heaping tablespoon of beans per cup).  A great coffee maker helps as well, but you could just as easily use the cinnamon/nutmeg trick in a French press.  For this chronically sleep-deprived mama, there is no better way to start the day (other than a latte, of course).

Super-strong coffee helps me keep up with this guy! He's getting speedy!


  1. I am a yoga teacher and I have also tried to convince myself of the virtues of tea, but I secretly don't really trust people who don't like coffee. One really good cup of coffee is the only proper way to start the day, in my opinion. Early influence is key here, I think, since I love coffee in part becuase it smells like my grandmother's kitchen, and my blog is dedicated, in part, to her. Thanks for the many fine recipes, and interesting thoughts.

  2. Thanks standononehand, I love a yogini who totally backs the coffee habit. I appreciate you reading and trying the recipes!

  3. Oh, Mama! Coffee trick worked! I even fooled myself; travelling toward my computer with my mongo mug of java, (five minutes after sprinkling the spices myself) a took a sip and said to myself, "What is that exceptionally lovely aroma?" In my defense, I had not had my coffee yet. Your son is adorable! Do you worry about posting his pix on the internet? I am writing about my daughter on my blog and am really struggling with the privacy/safety vs. the benefits of making the blog richer with visuals. I am at standononehand.wordpress.com, and I have been having trouble leaving comments from my different host, so I made up a gmail account. If you have time to check out my blog and let me know your thoughts on privacy for children I would be most grateful. Keep the recipes coming!

  4. OK- vt coffee company is my absolute favorite and although nutmeg is not my fave spice i am going to take your word and give it a try! My only problem is quantity- i am at 3 cups (before 6am!!) each day and know i need to cut back (it just tastes SO good!)

  5. Thanks Jane!
    I have been experimenting with many different brands for my french press. Sometimes I feel like trying the many different brands and places that they come from is half the fun. The way you make your coffee gives a subtle hint of cinnamon and nutmeg that really enhances the flavor without distorting it. Looking forward to the next time we can all share a cup.