For years, I was a coffee snob. Grinding whole beans with a burr grinder was my morning ritual. I would brew coffee in a drip coffee maker or use a French press. Then I bought an espresso machine. I was very particular about my coffee and preferred dark roasted beans. My all-time favorite was a coffee bean called Harrar which came from Ethiopia. It became scarce around 2005 and now I haven’t seen these beans for years.
When we were living in Michigan, Donna did spokesperson work for Keurig. They sent her a few of their one-cup coffee makers and several boxes of K-cups. We started brewing individual cups of coffee with the Keurig machine. It was fast, easy and convenient. Back in the workday world, I would rise from bed at 6am, have coffee with my breakfast and head out before Donna woke up. So, brewing one cup at a time worked out. I also took a Keurig machine to work and would brew my own coffee at the office.
My employer provided coffee, but it wasn’t fresh and the drip coffee makers there used a heating element to keep the pot of coffee hot. Keeping a pot of coffee on a heat source for more than 40 minutes or so changes the coffee. It becomes bitter and some of the water evaporates, changing the strength of the brew. When I retired, I gave the office Keurig to one of the guys that worked for me.
When we hit the road, we brought a Keurig with us. We liked the convenience. We bought Kirkland Signature Pacific Bold K-cups at Costco. The hard water here in Arizona and in southern California meant frequent de-scaling of the Keurig was necessary or else it wouldn’t brew the coffee correctly. This was becoming tiresome. We decided to go back to our old method.
Donna ordered a Mr Coffee 10 cup thermal coffee brewer. A thermal brewer heats the water, then drips it through the coffee grounds and into an insulated carafe. There’s no heating element for the carafe, it keeps the coffee hot through its insulation, therefore the coffee doesn’t get over-cooked. The carafe will keep the coffee hot for a few hours. I also ordered an electric coffee bean burr grinder. I prefer a burr grinder over the blade type because you get more consistent results.
Yesterday, Mike Hall let me use his truck for a Costco run. I stocked up on a few things we’ll be needing in the coming months on the road. I also bought a three-pound bag of whole French roast coffee beans that were grown in Sumatra.
I’d forgotten how good a cup of coffee made with fresh ground coffee beans was. It takes a little longer for me to get the coffee on – the Keurig was fast and easy. But, I think this is worth five minutes or so to brew an excellent cup of coffee. I need to experiment a bit with the coarseness of the grind and the water/coffee ratio, but I’m sure I’ll get it perfected in no time. The counter space foot print is about the same as the Keurig machine, but we do have an extra component with the grinder.
While I was at Costco, I decided to try another Kirkland Signature branded product. They had a Speyside Scotch whisky that looked interesting. It’s aged for 18 years in oak ex-bourbon barrels, then transfered to an Olorosso Sherry cask for six months to finish it. The price was $54 – I haven’t seen 18-year-old single malt Scotch whisky for under $90 for a 750ml bottle before. I thought it was worth a try.
After dinner, I poured myself a dram. It was fantastic. Complex flavors with hints of honey, vanilla and spices. I think I’ll pick up another while it’s available. Kirkland Signature branded Scotch whisky is bottled by Alexander Murray. Alexander Murray is an independent bottler that buys Scotch whisky from a dozen or more distilleries and re-brands them. They bottle for Costco, Trader Joe’s, Total Wine and others.
Alexander Murray was founded by Steve Lipp. He grew up in Scotland although he lives in California now. The name Alexander Murray was his uncle’s name. His uncle taught him about Scotch whiskey and he used his name for the company. I read that they bottled over 180,000 cases of whisky in 2016. Some of the Alexander Murray branded whiskys reveal which distillery it came from. However, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Total Wine keep the source a secret. I’ll never know who actually distilled this 18-year-old Scotch, but they made a good one!
Speaking of dinner, Donna sometimes keeps it simple. Last night she grilled chicken feta spinach sausage with Southern fried cabbage and bacon. A simple and delicious meal.
The weather has been near perfect. We hit the low 70s yesterday with a few clouds. Today there isn’t a cloud in the sky and we should see 75 degrees. By the end of the week it’ll be warmer – maybe 90 degrees by the weekend.
*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to purchase anything, you pay the same price as usual and I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!