Think you make a good cup of joe? This delightful e-book might have you rethinking your answer—or at least dropping some money on some new gear.
Ordinary consumers may have a jones for java, but authors Haft and Suarez take it to extremes. It’s an addiction they came by honestly as Marine infantry officers, “perpetually sleep-deprived from the training, the planning, the preparations for war.” Having graduated from coffee as a “bitter caffeine-delivery system” to a perfect blend of art and science, they here serve up several strategies for making a perfect cup of brew, and in doing so, they prove that what we once knew is all wrong. For instance, they argue, pouring boiling water on ground coffee lends it a metallic taste, whereas in numerous methods of brewing coffee, such as the French press, “you usually want the water somewhere between 196 and 204 degrees”—which, they note, is below the boiling point. If it seems that Haft and Suarez are demanding the devotion to a cup of coffee that Zen monks pay to the perfect cup of tea, then that’s by design; moreover, they bring to the table a mad scientist’s compulsion to experiment, delivering a few grand discoveries along the way. Not least of these is the fact that it’s possible to brew a delicious, complex cup without boiling water at all, so long as you don’t mind waiting 12 hours or so to drink up. The e-book is well-designed and easy to bookmark, dotted with pleasantly cheerful videos with an appropriately jazzy, jolting soundtrack.
Altogether, an excellent production. The downside: You’ll likely be investing in a burr grinder and industrial-strength Moka pot, as well as relearning the metric system. The upside: Your coffee henceforth is going to be worthy of a world-class barista.