Till COVID-19 emerged into our lives, I would buy a cup of coffee at a coffee shop every single day. I had some instant coffee at home, which I would, on occasion, drink. My thoughts about coffee or more specifically, becoming more ethical and sustainable when it came to coffee, were finding the best third wave cafes in my vicinity and using a keep cup when I wasn’t sitting in.
Then lockdown hit, coffee shops all closed down and I quickly went through my jar of instant coffee. Right when I was about to hit the store and get another one, I paused and decided that perhaps I should try and find a better solution. A lot of the specialty cafes in Edinburgh delivered coffee bags and I decided I would try it out. I chose a roast I knew I liked, but when I was ready to order I was puzzled by the fact I was asked to choose the way I wanted my beans. I had to google it, and found out that the way I wanted my beans was cafetiere, which is obviously a grind size that fits your cafetiere. As I had no espresso machine or filters, this allowed me to treat my beans just like I would a loose leaf tea. I scooped two tea spoons of the grind, put them into the cafetiere, boiled water, allowed it to sit for four minutes before I then poured it into a mug and added my (oat) milk. It was a little bit of trial and error as for the amount of coffee/water/milk, but I finally managed to find the perfect formula for me.
Even when cafes opened up again, I decided to keep buying my bags of coffee. First of all, I did drink coffee at home, and I preferred to remain more sustainable while doing so. Second, because I had travelled recently, I had been in self-isolation for 28 days in total, and hence needed coffee at home. And on top of all of that, as my income has somewhat decreased in these past couple of moths, I decided it was a good idea do downsize my expenses by only having coffee out 3-4 times a week.
Then, I had made the mistake of buying my beans whole instead of grinded. As I didn’t have a coffee grinder and didn’t want to buy one, I didn’t really know what to do. I went online and found that you could brew your beans by placing 3-4oz of beans into a mason jar, filling it with boiled water to cover the beans, placing the mason jar in a small pot on the stove, filling the pot with boiled water to match the water level in the mason jar, and let the coffee brew for an hour. This method had two problem for me – the first one was that it didn’t taste that good. It was slightly too strong, but even worse, the coffee somehow came out acidic, while this roast is otherwise quite sweet and earthy. The second one was that I knew I couldn’t keep doing that for long. As I am now working outside of the house again, taking classes in the studio etc., I don’t always have time to prepare my coffee for an hour. And this is definitely not sustainable if you drink more than one cup of coffee per day. Then my partner tried to help out by grinding the beans in our blender. Don’t try that at home, it literally ruined out blender! I was on the fence of whether I should just not use this bag of beans, buy a coffee grinder after all or… And then it occurred to me that there must be a manual way to grind your beans. And the way I found was by placing a small amount of beans inside a sealed bag, and used a rolling pin over them (by rolling) to crush them. Go over the bag a few times to make sure you your beans are thin enough, and then your beans are ready to use!