Emile Haddad: Seattle’s Intrepid Coffee Snob

According to Emile Haddad, Seattle coffee will likely be a disappointment to connoisseurs used to the wonders of Italian coffee culture. Here, he discusses the basics of making a decent brew at home.

The Equipment

This is job one for the coffee enthusiast—acquiring the appropriate coffee accoutrements. You will need:

  • Coffee grinder. This is essential. If you want a truly exceptional cup of coffee, you have to grind the beans right before you brew. Pre-ground just won’t cut it—not in my world.
  • Instant-read thermometer. Water temperature has to be exactly right, and there is no better way of knowing you’ve achieved the proper temperature than with an instant-read thermometer. You want your water to be no hotter than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter what your brew of choice happens to be.
  • French press. A French press is a great tool for fantastic, smooth, non-acidic brews. It is also simple to use and (relatively) easy to clean.
  • Coffee! Naturally, you’re going to want to cap off your coffee initiation by purchasing great coffee. The very best can be obtained online from reputable roasters, and you can even join a coffee bean subscription service, so you can discover new flavors every month.
  • I have suggested that you invest in an instant-read thermometer, but there are electric water kettles that will heat water up to the exact temperature. I don’t particularly need another single-use gadget, so I lean towards the thermometer, since you can use it to temp foods as well.

    I hope this gear gets you started on a fabulous coffee journey!

    To Emile Haddad, Seattle isn’t really the heart of all things coffee, but he acknowledges it has a lot of good points, too.