The Art of Making Coffee…And Why You Don’t Need Milk

In this week’s Wednesday edition of the New York Times, I devoured the front page article about learning to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

I am certainly not a trained barista, however, I will say I can pull a damned good doppio.  My husband and I, being the devout daily coffee drinkers that we are, invested in a lovely Rancilio a few years ago, along with a matching grinder.  We learned the basics on grind selection based, tamping pressure and length of time the water should pour through the coffee and as a result, we’re quite happy with the resulting nectar, as I like to call it, with a beautiful head of crema, leaving neither of us wanting for any sort of dairy cream or sugar.  To add anything would spoil the experience.

In particular, I appreciated this piece as so often, clients ask about whether or not they can drink coffee as part of the Paleoista lifestyle, and if so, what can they put in it if sugar and milk are no longer part of the deal?

First of all, yes, I do stand behind my contention that one can partake of the java each day and here’s how I justify it:

  • If one follows the Paleo diet, which is extremely alkaline, to offset any potential acidity of the coffee and
  • If one stays hydrated by drinking plenty of water and
  • If one has a single cup each day and puts nothing in it, then…

I do think it seems to be the deal maker vs. breaker for so many people who would otherwise fear giving a Paleo inspired lifestyle a chance.   Similar to a glass of red wine, coffee has many health benefits and when it’s not misused (as in drinking it all day long in place of sleeping properly or as a futile attempt to ‘fight’ one’s hunger), it can have a place in the balanced Paleo diet.   In The Paleo Diet, Dr. Cordain refers to coffee in moderation being acceptable. “Coffee- use in moderation.  Excessive caffeine is associated with a number of illnesses and health problems”, he states.  So, there you have it. One cup  is fine.  Don’t have eight.

If you fall into the category of feeling bewildered about how to go from drinking your morning latte and afternoon mocha to a black espresso in the morning, have a look at the article and consider what coffee you’re using, what machinery you have, what grind you use and how long you’re brewing.  “A mistake in seconds or grams is the difference between something wonderful and something awful”, read the piece.

Finally, consider this analogy that I found to be quite effective with clients:  if you ordered a glass of wine and didn’t care for it, what would you put in it to ‘fix’ it?  Hopefully nothing!  You’d send it back and choose something you liked- as is. Well, the same goes for a cuppa!