New adventures in coffee brewing.

Pic of a Proctor-Silex Coffee Grinder

The new coffee toy.

I’ve been drinking coffee since I was a teenager and over those 30 or so years I’ve kept my coffee preferences pretty simple. While I will occasionally dabble with the concoctions at Starbucks, at home I tend to use your traditional drip coffee maker with plain old Folgers medium blend coffee and a little cream and sugar. When I’m feeling fancy I’ll use one of the flavored creamers from Nestle or International Delight, but I can get by just fine with a touch of milk. I’ve never cared for taking it straight black.

And while I consider myself a fairly serious coffee drinker, it’s true that I don’t drink it every day of the week. I tend to drink it more during the fall/winter than I do in the spring/summer and with the coming autumn breezes my coffee intake has gone up considerably. I also don’t own any French Presses or my own home Espresso machine or any of the stuff the really hardcore coffee drinkers tend to swear by. This includes, until just the other day, a coffee grinder.

Now if you listen to the hardcore coffee fans they’ll tell you that grinding your own beans just prior to brewing is the only proper way to truly enjoy coffee — you may as well serve them a cup of arsenic than a cup of joe brewed from pre-ground beans — and I’ve heard this repeated enough times over the years that I’ve had the intent to buy a grinder rolling around in the back of my mind for some time now. Being ADHD, however, meant that I never remembered that intent until I was someplace other than a store where I might buy one. It was the perpetual next-time-I’m-buying-coffee-I-should-look-at-a-grinder thing.

So you can imagine my surprise when I went to my mailbox on Monday and found a couple of packages waiting for me. I hadn’t ordered anything recently and I didn’t recall anyone saying they were sending me something so I had no idea what it could be. Turns out one was a Proctor Silex Coffee Grinder (pictured on the left) and the other was a bag of Aloha Island Surf’s Up Breakfast Blend coffee beans. They were gifts from my parents, who had come down the weekend previously for a visit. My dad is something of a kitchen geek and has a lot of cool cooking related toys so when we got on the subject of coffee I brought up the fact that I’ve been meaning to buy a grinder but have never gotten around to it. I should have realized that would have been like waving a red cape in front of a bull, but I honestly hadn’t expected him to go out and buy us a coffee grinder and some starter beans.

And now that I have the damned thing it occurs to me that I haven’t the faintest clue how to use it. Wait, let me be more specific: I know how to use the grinder itself as it just has a single button to press. What I don’t know is how many beans to put in it to equal out to what I would normally scoop out of my plastic can of Folgers. I’m assuming that I don’t want to put in too much otherwise I’m storing unused coffee grounds which would defeat the purpose of freshly grinding before brewing a pot, but I also don’t want to use too little for fear of ending up with brown water.

So I’m going to have to sit down and do some research. I’m sure there’s plenty of coffee snob websites out there with reams of info on how to properly grind your beans so it shouldn’t be too difficult to learn what I need to know, but as long as I have your attention leave a comment with your suggestions and/or links to your favorite coffee snob blogs. I’m also up for suggestions on various gourmet beans I should try if you have any you’d like to share.