Monday, September 19, 2011

Coffee Chemistry

Before today's rain, I cut up a large fallen tree limb into Beulah fuel. After filling the tractor's front end loader with the stove wood, it was neatly stacked on the front porch away from the moisture moving in. This evening, I loaded the stove to test the quality of the seasoned bounty and see how many BTUs could be generated. I was surprised how well the wood burned and how much heat was generated. A constant, steady rain was falling which was so very peaceful on the cabin's metal roof. Once the stove was up to temperature, I loaded the percolator in an effort to replicate the body and flavor of the coffee my mom taught me to make years ago. As a young boy, one of my 'chores' was to put the coffee on the stove before mom and dad came home from work. Mom was careful to make sure I understood all aspects of the procedure to ensure repeatable, predictable results each and every time.  My best recollection was to percolate the pot 10-15 minutes. However, timing is dependent on the size of pot, amount of coffee added, coarseness of grounds and heat of the stove so nothing is really the same as it was back then. Today, I came close but still not quite there. I percolated the pot for about 12 minutes and although the coffee wasn't weak or bitter, it still didn't have that rich, full body flavor I remember from the 60s before drip coffee makers took over. Comparing a cup of coffee percolated on a wood stove to coffee brewed in a drip coffee maker is like comparing a hamburger prepared on a charcoal grill to a burger off a gas grill. They try to tell you there is no difference but your taste buds know better.  Before the first frost, Beulah, this Paula Deen percolator and I will master this goal.

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