French Press coffee Mah way

It’s not difficult to find tutorials online for making French press coffee. I’ve tried a few, and settled on this method. It makes a cup that I enjoy black, or with a splash of cream.

My French press comes from IKEA, a 16 oz press (or a 32 oz press, depending on how caffeinated I want/need to be). You can find fancier ones out there, but these were reasonably inexpensive and do a perfectly good job.

Small (16 oz) on the left and Biggie (32 oz) on the right
Small (16 oz) on the left and Biggie (32 oz) on the right
New 16 oz Clemson alumni mug for scale.
New 16 oz Clemson alumni mug for scale.

I like to use an electric kettle to cook my water. Cooks the water quickly, pours nicely, and the one we have holds just enough water to fill the big press. Get one with an automatic shut off feature.

Electric kettle for cooking the water.
Electric kettle for cooking the water.

Most French press recipes call for very coarsely ground coffee and long brewing times. Since I don’t want to deal with having to adjust my grinder whenever I want to brew with the French press or Aeropress, I go with the same medium-ish grind that I use with the Aeropress. The grind size is pretty close to what you’d use for a regular drip coffee machine. I’ve found that one very heaping Aeropress scoop (17 grams or about 3 tablespoons) of coffee (double that if I’m using the big press) makes a cup of coffee that I like.

17 grams of ground coffee (about 3 tablespoons)
17 grams of ground coffee (about 3 tablespoons)

Dump the coffee into the press and add a tiny dash of salt (something I picked up from a Good Eats episode). I find it helps enhance the coffee flavour but doesn’t make it salty (unless you add too much).

Coffee into the press with a dash of salt.
Coffee into the press with a dash of salt.

Add water to about the top of the metal band, give it a bit of a stir, and put the press part on. I like to push the press down a bit so that all the grounds are submerged. Let it sit for about 3 minutes. Set a timer if you like.

After the brewing time, press the grounds all the way to the bottom, and gently pour into your coffee receptacle of choice.

Press the grounds and pour.
Press the grounds and pour.

The press uses a fine metal mesh to filter out the grounds, but really fine particles will still get through. Towards the end, I slow down the pouring and leave a bit in the press so that I’m not pouring all the fine stuff into my cup. That will help reduce the amount of sludge at the bottom of your cup. If you pour too quickly, the grounds get stirred up and you’ll end up with a bunch of sludge at the bottom of your cup. If you like sludge, then pour however you like.

Enjoy your coffee!
Enjoy your coffee!

Drink straight up, or doctor it up however you like.

Charleston Eats: Coastal Coffee Roasters

My favourite coffee bean dealer shop, Coastal Coffee Roasters, has grown quite a bit over the years, and has been offering tasty baked goods in the cafe part for a while now.

Stopped by today to grab some more coffee, and thought I’d grab one of their giant cinnamon rolls while I was there. These things are seriously huge, like the size of your head. They also had similarly sized scones today, but I’ll try those another day.

Giant cinnamon roll. The size of your head!

Here it is with a banana for scale.

Giant cinnamon roll. Banana for scale.

Charleston Eats: Thai East Fusion

Over by the Tanger Outlet Mall in North Charleston, just a few doors down from Mr. K’s Used Bookstore on International Blvd is a new Thai restaurant, Thai East Fusion.  I learned about it from a recent article in the Post & Courier and we decided to check it out this afternoon.

Rows of benches line the side of the strip mall space, with a row of tables running down the middle.  Inside is comfortable, brightly lit and not overly decorated.

We started off with a dish of kimchi and the ginger salad.  The salad that came out was larger than expected with a nice amount of sweet ginger dressing that wasn’t too gingery.

Thai East Fusion Salad and Kimchi
Thai East Fusion Salad and Kimchi

The kimchi, according to the P&C article, is made in-house using the family’s secret recipe.  Crisp, pungent, spicy, and delicious.  Probably some of the best kimchi I’ve had in the area.

Thai East Fusion Kimchi
Thai East Fusion Kimchi

Entrees come in 5 levels of spiciness: No spice, mild, medium, spicy, and Thai spicy.  For dinner, I chose the  Pad Thai with beef (Thai spicy), and Connie got the Basil Chicken (medium).  Generously laden plates came out, each enough for three or four people (two or three if everybody is really hungry). 

The Pad Thai was pretty tasty with the good flavourful kind of spicy.  A few squirts of Sriracha sauce can be used to bump up the spice level even more.

Thai East Fusion Pad Thai
Thai East Fusion Pad Thai

The Basil Chicken was quite good with a nice coconut-y curry sauce.  The chicken was nicely cooked and very tasty.  The medium spicy-ness was perfect for Connie.  For fellow anti-cilantro types, the cilantro on the Basil was just a garnish and is easily removed (or just ask to leave off the cilantro).

Thai East Fusion Basil Chicken
Thai East Fusion Basil Chicken

Everything we had was delicious.  We quite enjoyed the meal, and are looking forward to going back to try the mango sticky rice, which they unfortunately didn’t have when we were there.

Charleston Eats: Nimbo Pizza

A new pizza place near MUSC opened up yesterday, owned by the same people that own Halo. It adds some much needed variety to the eating scene near the hospital that’s also within a reasonable walking distance.

Just down the block from Halo is Nimbo Pizza (not much of a website yet, but they only just opened). It’s got a fun space theme going on inside the place, with framed NASA Space Tourism posters and other sci-fi movie posters hung on the walls.

Nimbo Pizza space wall
Nimbo Pizza space wall

Nimbo Pizza posters
Nimbo Pizza posters

Nimbo Pizza posters
Nimbo Pizza posters

Nimbo Pizza sticker pole
Nimbo Pizza sticker pole

There’s a pretty extensive menu of pizzas, sandwiches and salads with creative space names like the Interstellar Italian, Total Eclipse of the Parm, Meaty Meteor, Mars Margherita and the like. You can see them all on a couple of very colourful chalkboards above the ordering counter.

Nimbo Pizza menu board
Nimbo Pizza menu board

Nimbo Pizza menu board
Nimbo Pizza menu board

I went for the 10″ Meaty Meteor pizza today. Pretty good pizza. Thin, crispy crust that’s not too floppy and not too chewy.

Nimbo Pizza Meaty Meteor
Nimbo Pizza Meaty Meteor

Half of it made for a decent sized lunch portion, although I could have easily finished off the whole thing. Didn’t want to have to fight off a food coma while sitting at my desk for the rest of the afternoon though.

Good pizza and a nice short walk from work. If you’re on a tight schedule, you can call in an order so that it will be ready when  you get there. There’s also an option on the website to put in an order online too.

Will definitely be going back on those days when I don’t feel like cafeteria food.