Liquid gold

August 21, 2019

by Tao Geoghegan Hart

I’ve written (and spoken about on Mitch’s podcast) about my ‘on the road’ coffee before. It’s something that I have travelled with incarnations-of since 2011, but have never felt was interesting enough to share. However after so many questions and comments from listeners of the podcast, I took two minutes to lay it out here at the Vuelta. I’m no self-professed coffee snob. It is a simple bag of bits, but it works for me and more importantly, allows me to consistently control one key element of my mornings, no matter where in the world I find myself.

From bottom left to top right:

-Beans: Obviously with the Vuelta being 3 weeks, quite some stock is needed. Here I have a bag of Ethiopian Cafe De Finca that I bought about ten days ago, a repurposed bag of theirs with some beans from Allpress in London inside and a bag of Five Elephants Aeropress World Championships blend that our team-chef just gave me. I really enjoy variety and trying new beans, but my staple whilst at home is Cafe De Finca or Hasbean. I will have some more beans delivered on the first rest day.

-Paper filters: Aeropress (circular) filters and v60 style large filters. I was tempted a few years ago to try the reusable aeropress metal filter, however I didnt find the taste quite as good, and I’ve seen the mess of taking it out go wrong, which isn’t something I’d want to inflict on myself or a hotel-room cleaner.

-Hario scales: simple no nonsense with timer and ability to weigh to .1g, this covers all my needs. Also durable. I’ve had this set for atleast three years and no issues or battery replacements.

-Grinder: Perhaps the most important part. For about seven years I used a Porlex JP-30. It was a gift from my friend James back in 2011 and I still have it at home. The plastic handle (old style that has since been updated) snapped off, but otherwise it still works perfectly as new to this day, it is light and it is also fairly cheap. However last year I bought this KNOCK feldgrind from Scotland. I picked it up in their new year sale for about double what you can buy a Porlex. It is much heavier and a little taller, but really gets the job done. I’d say it’s half the effort of a JP-30, which really makes the difference if you are grinding 2×25/30g a morning, as I often do at races. It is also far more precise for adjusting the grind and generally more solid. My main issue with the Porlex was always the handle flying off when trying to grind at speed, with the feldgrind this is not an issue.

-Travel mug: On tight mornings where we are in a rush I use this to take my coffee on the bus or to breakfast. However I definitely prefer to drink from a mug in the serenity of a room, or even better balcony, where possible.

-Aeropress: This aeropress is almost ten years old! So definitely don’t be put off by the price, not that they are that expensive. I’ve bought filters all over the world for the Aeropress and even cut out my own from larger supermarket paper filters when in a pinch. I have typically traveled with the Cleverdripper the last few years, however for this three weeks brought both along. The size, simplicity and ease of the aeropress are it’s best attributes.

-Cleverdripper: For a long time I used a china v60, however the clever dripper is much more convenient for travel. It is a lot lighter and I really like the brewing method. 99% of the time when on the road I use the cleverdripper.

-Pitcher: To pour with and then batch-brew into.

-Travel kettle: with the all important plug adapter!

-And finally below, a mug and ofcourse, the end product. This mug was a christmas present from a good friend a year or two ago. It’s is really nice to have small mementos that make you think of those at home, when on the road.

All that to make a small mug of liquid gold. Somehow I’ve written over 700 words about it. But the set-up has evolved and progressed over the last decade. And with it, the experience and recognition of the importance of a few minutes of precision and control in an otherwise often chaotic day.

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