Montreal Standard, 28 October 1911, page 17
Coffee and How to Make it
By Mrs Stanley Wrench
Coffee should be freshly ground at home if possible, if not procure it from a grocer who will get it roasted and ground for each customer.
There are two or three little coffee shops in Soho where most delicious coffee is sold thus, and one may rest assured that the powder is unadulterated but absolutely fresh from the bean. If liked, the best French chicory will be mixed with it, but one should be careful to remember the proportions and to add only two teaspoonfuls of it to a pound of pure coffee.
It must also be remembered that a perfectly made coffee should have generous proportions allowed for it; in fact, there is little doubt but that a too niggardly allowance to the pot is often the reason why the coveted cup of fragrant coffee turns out to be a failure.
A Frenchwoman whose café au lait was the most exquisite I have ever tasted , confided to me that she allowed a generous tablespoonful of ground coffee to every person, so that the proportions ran – a tablespoon of coffee for every large breakfast-cupful of coffee made.
Freshly boiled water should be used when making coffee. As in making tea, the water should be used in the instant that it becomes to the boil. If it has been boiling even for a few minutes, it should not be used, as it will have lost some of its gases, and the coffee made with such water will taste flat and insipid. It is such a little thing; and many housewives may deem it unimportant yet really it makes a veritable world of difference.
First make the coffee pot very hot, by pouring in some of the boiling water, and if possible, put the powder in the oven or before the fire, so that it may get hot too. Another minor point, maybe, but this serves to bring out all the flavour and aroma of the berries. Place the hot powder in the upper part of the coffee pot, together with a pinch of salt, the latter also serving to bring out the full flavor.
Press the coffee down rather than tightly, and pour over the required quantity of boiling water very slowly. A saucepan or bain-marie containing boiling water should be at hand, and the coffee pot should be stood in this whilst the process of filtration is going on. This keeps the coffee at the right heat, and as tepid coffee is not a pleasant drink, therefore try to achieve the more perfect condition.
Coffee roasting machines may be bought, but the homely frying pan will quite well serve the purpose. Very great care must be taken; however, that the berries do not burn as one burnt berry will spoil a whole brew of coffee. Hence, it is wiser to roast only a few at a time. Three tablespoonfuls of berries will be found amply sufficient for the amateur to cook. A tiny piece of butter should be placed in the pan, which must be held over a clear but slow fire, and the berries should be shaken about. The butter tends to lubricate the beans and prevents the escape of much of their fragrance, so that before the roasting is complete this is absorbed. The berries should be of a rich dark brown, when the roasting process is complete.
Hot milk should always accompany coffee, and this too, needs delicate preparation. First-rinse out the milk saucepan with cold water, as this tends to prevent the milk from burning, of course making sure that the pan is perfectly clean. Pour in the milk, and slowly heat it until it reaches the boiling point.
Milk which comes to a boil very rapidly is never so good as the casein or albumen of milk hardens, mixes with the cream, forms a skin, which thus carries off the best products of the milk, leaving the remainder poor and thin instead of rich and creamy. Milk which comes slowly to the boil has a far more delicious flavour.
Heat the cups by rinsing them with hot water before the coffee is poured out. The milk jug should also be heated before the hot milk is poured in.