How to make yourself a cup of slow and fair coffee

Before I start this post I have to say a few things:

- Chances are you will get sick of my hands holding that gorgeous Chemex. I understand.
- That rhubarb cake you see at the end? I will post the recipe soon. Like next week.
- I actually like tea much better than coffee. I even have a bag that says: "You drink coffee, I drink tea my dear." 

That being said, I've also learn to appreciate a good cup of coffee in the past years. When Fairtrade Netherlands asked me and Maura to organize a "Fair Coffee Break", my answer was of course 'yes!'. We invited a couple of enthusiastic bloggers and had a nice get together in my favorite coffee place in Utrecht: The Village. One of the guys who works there showed us how to make a delicious cup of coffee with a Chemex. I've seen this fancy pour-over glass coffee maker on Instagram many many times, and have always wanted one myself. So it was my lucky day as we all got to take one home. 

So why this coffee break, or as I like to call it a high tea without the tea and pancakes instead of pastries. :-D Well, next week it's Fairtrade Week here in The Netherlands. During those days people will hear a lot about honest products and the stories behind them. I've talked about this before on the blog: when I buy "exotic ingredients" such as bananas, chocolate, coffee, tea, or coconut milk, I choose fair trade because it makes me happy that I can help the hard workers who provide us with these products. Even if it's just a little bit. An important theme this year is climate change. A few months ago I posted a recipe for coffee chocolate muffins (here!) and I explained in detail how climate change affects coffee farmers all over the world. The coffee plant needs predictable seasons and plenty of rain, however, more and more often the harvest is lost due to drought and too high temperatures. 

If we don't act, chances are that in 10 years we cannot enjoy our daily cup(s) of coffee anymore. Even worse, those farmers in for instance Colombia or Ethiopia are out of a job and can no longer provide for their families. The good news is, is that we can support them by organizing a coffee break next week, like we did, using fair coffee. With our help they have the chance to learn more about protecting their crop in times of hardship and get to invest in special stoves that reduce CO2 emissions, just to name a few examples.

So if you decide to throw a coffee break, post a photo of your cozy gathering on social media and tag it with #fairtradechallenge. People from 20 countries are participating! Together we hope to drink a record amount of cups of coffee and support the farmers. Are you with me?

Dutchies: if you want to participate with friends or colleagues, you can sign up via this website. If you want to see pics of our coffee break, check Instagram. 

So back to the Chemex. If you own one, you know it takes a few minutes before your coffee is ready. And like Maura wrote on her blog: it does not only requires patience, but also focus and full attention. Maybe it helps you realize that coffee is not something we should take for granted. Until a month ago I had no clue how to brew this kind of pour-over coffee, but slowly I get the hang of it. However, I am not a barista, so I've borrowed these instructions from the Chemex website, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Local Milk (whose husband is a coffee genius). Also, if you want to look into buying a Chemex yourself, or want to read more about other brewing methods, I'd recommend reading this post by Jen Reviews. If you know any tips & trics, or a special recipe, please share in the comments. I'd love to know. 

How to (for a 6 cup chemex):

1. Bring to a boil 550 ml of water. 

2. Weigh out 30 grams of coffee (you can also of course grind your own beans). The grind should be about as coarse as that of a French press.

3. Unfold the filter and place it in your Chemex. The triple-fold portion should face the pour sprout. 

4. Pour some of the water over the filter, to rinse the paper flavor and to preheat the glass. Remove the water after about a minute.

5. Pour the coffee into the damped filter. 

6. Make sure the water is not too hot. Wait a few minutes after it stops boiling, that'll do it.

7. Starting at the center, gently pour 50 ml of water. Work your way outward. Allow the coffee to bloom for about 30 - 45 seconds. This will ensure even water dispersion (i.e. a perfect cup of coffee!).

8. Continue pouring, gently, in slow circles until the grinds are fully saturated and all the water has dripped through. This should take 4 minutes. 

9. Discard the filter & enjoy your perfect cup of coffee!


PS: Dutchies, this week it's also Fairtrade Week in The Netherlands, and I can offer you a discount on a box full of my favorite products here!