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BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

Easy Tips for Brewing a Good French Press Coffee

brew french press pot tips

brew french press pot tips

I always start my day of work by brewing a pot of French Press coffee. I am picky about which coffee beans I buy. It has to taste fresh and strong. If it is not, I will throw it away. I will take extra steps to ensure a great cup of joe but I am not a coffee snob. Although I grind my own beans right before brewing my coffee, I won’t make a fuss if some grounded beans from yesterday are in the pot.

coffee french press pot

Here are the few essential steps to brew a robust French Press pot.

1. A coarse grind

The larger particules eliminate the unpleasant sludge caused by the fine grit. I take that with caution. The coarser setting of my old entry-level grinder does produce some powder and tiny coffee bits. But the metal filter of my Bodum pot doesn’t a decent job at keeping them out. I found that pouring the coffee into a carafe as soon as it is ready diminishes the effect.

If you are on the market for a coffee grinder, go for a burr grinder instead of a blade one. Be prepared to invest $300 or more for a grinder that will produce an even grind time after time. Remember that an entry-level burr coffee grinder will always beat the best blade coffee grinder. Fopr the moment, I will continue to use my 25 years old grinder.

2. The right amount of coffee

Personally, I put 2 rounded tablespoons for 2 mugs and a half of coffee. I have an 8-cup model but I don’t fill it up. Find what works for you and for the coffee beans that you use.

3. The water temperature

Water should be about 200ºF (anything between 195-205ºF is fine). I don’t need a thermometer since my Breville electric kettle has a French Press setting. Otherwise, know that the right temperature is slightly lower than boiling temperature. It is because you don’t want to burn your coffee.

4. Pour a Little, Stir and Set the Timer

I initially pour a third of the total water that I will use to make a press pot. I stir with chopsticks until I create a small foam. I set my stove the timer to 3:40 minutes. Since I aim for a total  brewing time of 4 minutes, I offset the stirring time and the time it will take me to cancel the timer and reach the pot.

5. Fill the Pot

Pour the hot water. Add the filter assembly. I put down the filter a little, just enough to make sure that the coffee is fully immersed.

french press coffee pour in mason jar

6. Pour into a Carafe

As soon as the timer rings, I pour me a cup and pour the rest into a Mason jar. To avoid the sludge, don’t pour every sip of liquid. I also throw away the bottom of every mug. Maybe, it is time that I invest in a better coffee grinder after all.

 

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

Must-Have this Easter: Euphoria by Kusmi Tea

euphoria tea

euphoria tea

Here is a perfect Easter gift idea since it will please even people who count their calories. To be safe I suggest that instead of showing up at the Easter brunch where you are invited with a chocolate Easter bunny this year, you show up with a box of Euphoria, the latest addition to Kusmi Tea’s Wellness collection. Personally, I plan to end my Easter brunch with a cup of Euphoria tea.

Their Quebec PR agency sent me a box of Euphoria this week. My husband made us a tea pot after dinner yesterday night. We both like it. Euphoria is made with roasted maté, orange peel and chocolate. The chocolate taste is just present enough to appreciate it.

Euphoria is sold at Kusmi’s Montreal store and online. They operate a Canadian online shop and an American online store.

SOURCING:
+ For Canadians:  Euphoria Wellness Teas by Kusmi Tea
125g tins $22.90 CAD, 250g tins $37.60 CAD, pack of 20 sachets $17 CAD
+ For Americans:  Euphoria Wellness Teas by Kusmi Tea
125g tins $22.90 CAD, 250g tins $37.60 CAD, pack of 20 sachets $17 CAD

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

Happy New Year 2012 with a Delicious Chocolate Caffè Latte

my chocolate latte

my chocolate latte

Who can resist a good cup of hot chocolate this time of the year? Not me! I found the next best thing, after a true hot chocolate made from melted dark chocolate is the dark chocolate Variation 2011 coffee from Nespresso. I usually dislike flavored coffee. Now, I am in love. It makes a latte that almost tastes like my favorite hot chocolate. I wish that we bought more capsules since we are running low.

I quietly celebrated New Year’s Eve at home this year. But it suited me. I hope that you had fun with your celebrations. I wish you all the best for 2012: health, peace, love, success and happiness. What are your resolutions? I do not take resolutions per se. Instead, I set overall goals.

With the birth of my son last spring, 2011 was a big year both emotionally and physically. I needed a break, which is why I blogged less over the last two months. I took this time to rest, but also to analyze what I did so far, how to balance life/work and to explore what I want to accomplish next. I still have to figure out the details, but I have a better idea of what’s next for me on a professional level. And it involves blogging, curating and inspiring people. Let’s chat more often in 2012! In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of the Holiday season with your loved on. This is what I will be doing.

 

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

The Brita Slim Pitcher | Being a First-Time Mom

brita slim pitcher

brita slim pitcher

Although my baby was old enough to drink water from the faucet, I continued to boil the water to prepare his infant formula because of the poor condition of the city water pipes. Montreal is slowing replacing our water system but the process will take a long time. But I wanted to make it easier on me. This is why I bought a Brita water filter pitcher. I am happy that I did.

I selected the Slim pitcher (5-cups) since it contains more than what I need to feed my baby. What I did not expect was that my husband and I would also use it. We found that it improves the taste of our water. And the fact that it is their smaller pitcher is not a problem since it roughly takes half a minute to filter the entire pitcher. Plus, having a small pitcher leaves more room in my fridge.

SOURCING:
+ Brita Slim Water Filter Pitcher $12.59 CAD at Canadian Tire
+ Brita Slim Water Filter Pitcher $9.54 USD at Lowe’s

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

Mason-Style Drinking Jars

latte served in drinking jar at griffintown cafe

latte served in drinking jar at griffintown cafe

I wanted to get my own drinking jars ever since I drank a latte served in a drinking jar at Griffintown Cafe. I have been so busy since the start of the year that I did not had the time to shop for them. It just happened that I found them while I passed the kitchen aisles of the Canadian Tire.

mason style drinking jars

I bought a pair to see if they work nicely with our Nespresso machine. As I arrived home, I noticed it is written on the jar that it is not for hot beverages. But they look exactly the same. I guess that means that I am due for a delicious brunch at Griffintown Cafe soon to see if they are exactly the same. This time, I will try one of their eggs Benedict.

eggs benedict at griffintown cafe

BEVERAGE FOOD + DRINK

Hot Chocolate Products at the Ticket Kitchen

ticket kitchen chocolate spoon

ticket kitchen entertaining pack

Tea and coffee connoisseurs don’t usually have to look too far to find a gourmet fix. But for those of us who prefer a cup of something sweeter, San Francisco-based Ticket Kitchen has elevated hot chocolate with refined ingredients and party-perfect packaging – and you don’t have to travel all the way to California to get it.

Handmade with fine French chocolate, their Ticket Sticks are cleverly designed as individual indulgences:  just swirl a block into 6-8 ounces of steaming milk and start sipping. In addition to a signature French dark chocolate, be sure to try the Three-Chili Ticket Stick, which features a three-pepper blend of chipotle, ancho and cayenne California chili peppers for a sweet and spicy flavour.

ticket kitchen chili hot chocolate

Both varieties are available in “entertaining packs” (shown at top) with enough chocolate blocks for twelve servings. This is a perfect dessert alternative for winter parties or afternoon get-togethers. Check out their Parties & Printables section for adorable labels you can customize for your gathering and creative party ideas.

ticket kitchen baby shower

ticket kitchen chocolate spoon

If you’re planning a slightly smaller gathering, the personalized silverplate spoon is a thoughtful gesture. The spoon can be stamped with a special message that reveals itself when the chocolate melts. You could also personalize the spoons as a thoughtful bridal shower or wedding gift.

SOURCING:
+ Three-Chili Hot Chocolate on a Stick, Service for 4$15 USD at Ticket Kitchen
+ French Dark Hot Chocolate on a Stick, Entertaining 12 Pack $43 USD
+ French Dark Hot Chocolate on a Stick, Service for 2$7.50 USD
+ Personalized Hot Chocolate Silverplate Spoon $37 USD
+ via Creature Comforts