Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Ways to Take Your Coffee to the Next Level!

Are you ready for a better cup of joe? Here are 7 ways to take your coffee to the next level:

1. Don't microwave; re-brew.

You reach for your mug, only to find that the cup of piping hot java you poured four hours ago has mysteriously grown cold! Before you put that mug in the microwave, consider pouring the coffee back into the machine and running it through again - you'll trade that awful, microwavey taste for genuine, fresh brewed goodness.

2. The refrigerator method.

It's a borderline cliche: ice cubes made of coffee will keep your iced coffee tasting fresh. That's all good and well for iced coffee amateurs, but iced coffee pros know that brewing the coffee in the fridge is the real way to go. BONUS: Store your pre-ground coffee in an open container in the back of the fridge to let it absorb that cool and refreshing refrigerator je ne sais quoi.

3. Stop wasting perfectly good coffee grounds.

You know what really irks me? Whenever I see people throwing away grounds after only one or two brew cycles! If they only knew all that coffee went through to get from the farm to the cup - what a waste of such a precious commodity! Most experts agree that coffee can hold its flavor for anywhere from 4-8 brew cycles. There is still flavor in there, people! In fact, the more you brew the same coffee grounds, the wider the range of flavors you begin to extract, not to mention that Mother Earth will thank you for cutting back on paper filter waste.

4. Slice and dice.

Everyone knows that fresh ground coffee is the best way to take your coffee to the next level; that is why I grind my coffee for the week fresh every Monday! Now, I realize that not everyone can afford one of those fancy, highfalutin blade grinders. But hey, guess what? You probably have a drawer full of blades in your kitchen already! Bust out the knife and start chopping! The downside is that this will take a little longer, but the upside is that your coffee beans will be more precisely diced to the size you prefer.

5. Do the Dew.

One thing I just don't understand is decaf. What's the point? I like my caffeine buzz. If you're with me, then try boosting the caffeine content by replacing water with a caffeinated liquid. You will be flying high in no time!

6. More oven = more lovin'.

We all love a dark roast from time to time, but we don't always want to buy all different kinds of coffee. That's why I suggest only buying blonde roast! Then you can just finish roasting it yourself in the oven (if you are in a "dark" kind of mood) or leave it as is (if you are feeling "blonde"). TIP: Bake on a lower temp for longer (e.g. 350 F for 30 minutes) to get a subtle, "French Roast" taste. Bake on a higher temp for shorter (e.g. 450 F for 15 minutes) to get a bolder, "Italian Roast" taste.

7.  Brew up a three-course meal.

This last one is a bit out of the box, but hang with me. I got to a point where I was sick of the same old flavors in my coffee: French Vanilla, Hazelnut, blah, blah, blah. So I thought, why not add some unique flavors by putting actual food items in the brew basket? The possibilities are truly endless; you can have a trip to the ballpark for a hot dog or a Chicago-style pizza or a Thanksgiving dinner right in your mug! My theory is that one day, drinking coffee will replace eating altogether.

What are your secrets to better coffee?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

If Churches Were Coffee Brands

If churches were coffee brands, you might see churches like this:

First Folger's Independent King Java Only Church

They've been drinking the same coffee since 1950 and if it was good enough then, it's good enough now.

Dunkin Donuts Fresh Brewed Church

They have a blend of different coffees, but they're all a little stale-tasting.

Starbucks Church

Pretty much everyone in  town goes there. They've got the "cool" music and the "relevant" atmosphere, but they have to write your name on your cup in order to remember it.

The Pour

They only meet in locally-owned and operated cafes. They would never dream of putting syrup in a latte just to make it more appealing.

All-Beans Church

They just want to drink coffee the way the early church drank coffee. They believe that we are all baristas, whether that's our vocation or not.

So which brand would your church be?

Shout out to Jeff Bethke for his article that inspired me to write this one.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Life of the Body, pt. 1

In the first part of Ephesians 4, we see an anatomy of the body of Christ (aka the Church). In the second
part of Ephesians 4, we see a glimpse of what the life of this body looks like.

In verses 17-24, believers are collectively called to a new way of life. There are three key aspects to this new way of life...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

That's Me.

The parable of the unforgiving debtor: a man is forgiven a debt of millions upon millions of dollars. But he can't forgive a fellow servant a debt of a few thousand bucks.

That's me.