Cafe Noir

Cafe NoirAs I think I mentioned in an earlier post, I found an old French/Creole cookbook a couple of weeks ago. When I say old, I mean 1905, turn of the previous century, old!! We're talking culinary archeology here.

Anyway, the book is really interesting in that many of the terms used in the book are completely extinct from the contemporary culinary lexicon. For example, it uses the measure of "gill" which is equivalent to 1/2 cup. The book also has a recipe for a bird called an Upland Sandpiper which is now on the endangered species list.

I really liked some of the dishes described because they talk about how things were made the old way, without pre-made anything and without the aid of machines, devices, etc. Just the basics!!

One recipe that I tried instructs the reader how to make the perfect cup of cafe noir. I tried this process last night and the result was the best cup of coffee that I've ever made. I think that the day that Joe DiMaggio started hocking Mr. Coffees back in the 70s marked the beginning of the end of making coffee this way. It's a lost art.

As far as making good cafe noir, you need to do three things. First, use a pot that you can clean really well. A ceramic container is better than metal because the coffee reacts with metal that creates a residue that will affect the flavor of future cups. Second, use the best quality beans that you can find. In most communities, there is usually at least one mom and pop establishment that roasts their own beans. Be sure to grind the beans yourself, right before you want to use them. Finally, make sure that the water is boiling before you pour it over the coffee grounds as this will release the maximum flavor from the beans. You want to do this gradually over several pours so that you extract the maximum flavor from the beans.

Recommended Equipment:
ceramic coffee pot
small strainer
coffee filter

4 1/2 cups water, boiling
1 cup coffee beans (I used French/Colombian)

  1. Boil water in a sauce pan or small pot.
  2. Put the small strainer on top of the coffee/tea pot.
    put strainer over a coffee pot
  3. Form a cone out of a piece of coffee filter paper.
    Form a cone out of a piece of coffee filter paper

    continue to make a cone out of a piece of coffee filter

  4. Put the cone in the strainer.
    Put the cone in the strainer
  5. Put 1/2 cup of the coffee beans in clean coffee grinder and grind up the beans.
    put coffee beans in clean coffee grinder and grind
  6. When water is boiling, add the coffee to the filter cone.
    add the coffee to the filter cone
  7. Pour about 1/4 cup of the boiling water over the coffee to wet down the grinds.
  8. After the water has filtered down into the pot, continue to add another 1 and 3/4 cups of boiling water in small 1/2 cup portions. Wait for each to filter through the coffee into the pot before adding more.
    Wait for water to filter through the coffee
  9. Empty coffee from filter and repeat steps 4 through 8 again.
This recipe makes about 4 cups of cafe noir coffee.

Related Posts:
5 reasons to not give up coffee

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