There’s nothing quite like that first cup of coffee in the morning. Probably since the Boston Tea Party, coffee has ingrained in the American psyche the idea that “I’ll wake up/All will be right with the world, once I have my coffee”.
Coffee isn’t just the spark we need to get going every day, though. It has evolved into a ritual that comforts us before the day’s unknowns. It is a culture that connects humans the world over; a culture of cultures, if you will.
For many, these rituals behind coffee making are part of what makes that first sip so satisfying. The mere act of preparing coffee the way we learned from our Italian Nona, or on Abuelito’s ranch, is a comfort in a day and age when comfort is harder to come by.
How incredible that Coffee, this tiny roasted bean, ground and steeped in water, does that.
Café Kawakami – fitting that “kawa” is the Arabic language’s term for coffee – aims to utilize coffee’s unifying capabilities as a means to invite everyone everywhere into the world of crypto. Regardless of creed, gender, or affinity for the complexities of cryptocurrency, or whether you prefer half-caff to espresso, Café Kawakami would like to welcome you to a warm cup of java — or a nicely iced cold brew. So take a load off, peruse our selection of offered roasts and recipes, and stay awhile; we’re really glad you’re here.
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Speaking of creeds; I’ve never been a devout coffee drinker. I know *gasp!* “How can you write about coffee if you’re not even a serious coffee drinker?!” Here’s the thing, coffee is a comfort to me. The work/life balance is increasingly less balanced for many, to include myself. But coffee is my weekend morning hug to myself for getting through the week mostly unscathed. It is a routine comfort that I allow myself to indulge in every Saturday morning before everyone else in my home, even the dogs, have gotten up for the day. My favorite part, aside from the second it hits my tastebuds, is the preparation.
Looking back at the coffee ritual’s ability to provide us with comfort, to ground us, if you will, I’d like to point out that every one of our senses is engaged in the coffee making process. Sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch– all are active whilst brewing a cup of java.
It was after a particularly rough week that I was in need of some grounding. Nothing had gone exactly to plan at work and I was incredibly homesick – even FaceTime calls to my momma weren’t doing the trick in the way they used to. And so, on one Saturday morning not long ago, I was inspired to brew a cup of home.
Cafe de Olla, or “pot coffee” is a method of coffee preparation used throughout Mexico where an earthen pot is used to boil water, sugar, spices, and coffee. From the cosmopolitan households of Mexico City to the rural haciendas throughout Mexico’s highlands, there are no strangers to Cafe de Olla.
Growing up in South Texas, my mother often treated me to a small cup of this drink – what a better way to cure some of that homesickness I’d been grappling with?
So, I grabbed my mac-n-cheese-making-pot, a bundle of piloncillo (a Mexican cane sugar bought in the shape of a cone), some cinnamon sticks, and my coffee of choice for the morning. There are regions in Mexico where citrus peel, star anise, or other spices are also added, but for my simple tastes, these three ingredients did just the trick.
Before I get too excited though, I have a confession to make: I don’t drink caffeinated coffee. *GASP!* I know! But here’s the thing: There are many reasons one may be unable to enjoy caffeinated drinks. It may be that your physician has advised against coffee or that you don’t particularly enjoy feeling sluggish in the afternoons after that “coffee high”. In my case, there’s currently a small human growing in my belly, and caffeine doesn’t agree with me the way it did when it was just me inhabiting my own body. However, if you’re like me, you really enjoy the flavor of coffee, and let’s face it, decaf coffee doesn’t taste quite like that full bodied cup we love to sip over the morning news or on the morning commute.
Enter Café Kawakami’s Mirage Decaf coffee. I’ve never tasted, not even at that trendy/expensive coffee place with their delicious drinks, decaf coffee that is so close to, if not almost mistakable for, regular coffee. Kawa’s Mirage blend did that. I have yet to be missing anything from any of the cups of joe I’ve prepared with this coffee, and that makes this writer v happy. It’s balanced, toasty, and it never comes across as anything other than coffee. Brewed rich, or regular, the flavor is never lacking in that “watered down” or “weak” way that many decafs do, and this coffee is incredibly user friendly. Whether you enjoy the deeper coffee brewing processes or only have the time to toss some into your trusty coffeemaker, Mirage is consistently pleasant, if not delicious when prepared in your favorite style.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get back to this pot of coffee. The method is simple: I filled my pot with 4 cups of water, plopped my piloncillo temple into the center of the pot, and tossed in two cinnamon sticks. With your burner on medium/high, give her a stir, and let your sugar melt completely into your water. If you prefer your coffee less sweet, cut your piloncillo temple in half or by ⅓.
I know what some of you are thinking. “I don’t have that sugar nor do I know where to find it, so…thanks for nothing!” Wait! Come back! If you don’t have piloncillo sugar, I’d recommend using 1 cup of dark brown sugar for 1 whole temple. But please, don’t base your critique of this rich drink on this method. If you can, I’d get out to your grocery store where you’d likely be able to find this sugar in the Latin foods section. It’s a little bit of extra work, but it’s so worth it, I promise! Plus, if you want to justify the extra work, prepare coffee this way for your next breakfast or brunch get-together, or even as the evening coffee special at your next Fiesta!
Once your sugar has melted and your concoction is boiling, add 4 tablespoons of your favorite ground coffee, cover the pot, and turn off the heat and steep for 5 minutes. Here, I’d recommend Kawa’s Mirage or their Frontier roast — a dark, sturdy roast perfect for standing up to the cane sugar and spices. After steeping, ladle into mugs (strain if you’d like, however traditionally the grounds are left in the pot since they sink to the bottom – and nobody has time on the ranch to strain coffee!).
There you have it, friends. The cup of home that offered me all the comfort in the world on a recent weekend when the urge for breakfast tacos and my mama’s tortillas was almost too strong to bear. The warm, caramel aromas, the deep mahogany of the simmering liquid in my pot, the gentle rolling sound of the water as it boiled, and the comforting gravelly sensation of scooping out my coffee made the experience almost therapeutic. Preparing my coffee in this fashion catered to a part of me long asleep. In just 10 minutes, this simple ritual of coffee preparation cherished by my culture and known to my ancestors grounded me in much the same way a big hug from a loved one would. I knew, in that tender moment of that first sip, that everything was actually a-o-k, the stressors of work and family life slipped away and I was suddenly in my mother’s kitchen – if only for a precious moment.
Coffee did that.