Advanced Wall Modifications
February 26, 2013
The English Tea Kettle–It’s for Coffee
March 11, 2013

The Elixir of Design

coffee_beansWell, one of them. Scotch is required as well, but the day starts and the creative juices of set and lighting designers begin to flow with the application of coffee. Good coffee, not that crap from a national chain or a diner. With all due respect to diners.

Now, we’re coffee snobs, we travel with a ‘coffee kit’ in order to prepare our own. If we’re on location or visiting a regional theatre, our coffee is often in high demand. Rightly so.

Gear Patrol recently ran a series about coffee that inspired this piece. This is how we make coffee, your methods may vary, but we hope your results are as satisfying to you as ours are to us.

First, the bean. A critical choice. For many years, I used the Fairway Vienna Roast. That bean we introduced to me by Peter Wexler. When I worked for him, he first showed me the way to hang up my coat and then he taught me to make coffee. Peter used a set of Braun gear; burr grinder and drip maker; this was when these items were rare in the States.

Over the years, we have switched to the French/Italian Espresso bean roasted by the Porto Rico Coffee Company in NYC. We have it shipped 20 pounds at a time to our studio. We freeze the beans except for the pound kept in the fridge. That’s the active pound.

We use a simple blade grinder to grind the beans for each pot. We have tried many burr grinders, but they all seem to die before their time.

french-pressThen, it’s all about the brew and ours is strong. We have several different sizes French Press pots. For travel, there is an eight-cup model that we can pack in a case with an electric kettle. At home, we have a 12 cup Bodum and a six cup Melior. Bodum has long since bought the Melior Company, but I remain convinced that this small pot makes the best coffee. All of them have gold filters added. These are all high quality and the Melior has especially thick glass, as was always the case until they began to market to the masses.

We don’t quite boil the water, then stir the grounds, top off the water and let it brew, covered, for at least three minutes. Enjoy. Really, you can travel with this set-up (although we do usually pre-grind the beans) and you can create great coffee near the tech table. Just not on the tech table, spilling on the board would be bad.

Of course some, afternoons, we also enjoy an espresso, but that’s a different brewing technology and a different blog post.

On a related note, Lifehacker has a piece here about the health benefits of coffee, as with all things really, in moderation.



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