weekend hammerhead caffeine fix

For the last few weeks, I’ve been making a “hammerhead” on weekend mornings. It’s probably the best cup of coffee I’ve had. Anywhere. Here’s how…

Basically, a hammerhead (or High Test, or Shot in the Dark) is just a good, strong cup of coffee, with a shot or two of espresso added for good measure.

Start by getting the espresso going. I got a little 2-cup Moka Express1. It ain’t no fancy schmancy push-a-button-and-insert-disposable-plastic-pod thing. It was designed in the 1930’s, is made of solid aluminum, and goes on your stove top. It takes about 10 minutes to make, so get that started first. I’ve been using illy medium roast espresso, pre-ground. 1 big scoop into the hopper of the Moka Express, and it’s set.

moka express brewing

You’ve now got almost 10 minutes, so get the water for your french press boiling.

Now, grind the coffee beans you’ll put in the french press. I use 2 big scoops of medium- or light-roast beans. How they’re ground makes a big difference. I used to think that was pretentious hoo-ha. But if I grind the beans in my electric rotary mill, there is noticeably less flavour in the coffee. So I pull out the old-timey German Trösser manual mill.

IMG 9193

Give the beans a good grind, and you wind up with this:

IMG 9196

It’s a coarse grind, which works perfectly for a french press. Dump the ground coffee into the empty french press. Make sure to get all of the dregs…

By now, the water’s probably boiling for the french press, and the Moka Express is starting to get a head of steam going. Put the ground coffee into the french press, and pour the boiling water in. It should foam up nicely:

IMG 9197

All that yummy foam? It’s usually not there if I use my electric rotary grinder.

Give it a stir with a plastic or wooden spoon. Set a timer for 4 minutes. Go relax, or start a blog post about making coffee or something.

Beep. 4 minutes. If you haven’t already, turn off the heat to the Moka Express. It’ll be done.

Stir the french press again. Let it sit for a few seconds and then slowly press the plunger down. Let it sit for a few more seconds.

Grab a nice big mug, and fill it about 3/4 full from the french press. Then, pour the espresso shots into the centre of the mug.

IMG 9198

It doesn’t get much better than that. Drink it black. It’s good coffee, so won’t need any foo-foo crap in it. So good…

It’s a little strong, though. Some internet searching suggests that by the time you’ve finished the whole thing, you’re looking at up to 450mg of caffeine. A typical cup of coffee has something like 80-135mg of caffeine.

  1. technically, not officially “espresso” because the steam pressure doesn’t get quite high enough. whatever. it’s espresso-ish, and is fracking good stuff []

2 thoughts on “weekend hammerhead caffeine fix”

  1. I’ve been grinding my coffee too fine and had all but forgotten about the cafetiere / French press foam – thank you for the visual reminder, I’ve subsequently toned down my grind and am loving the change. I’ll need to replace my stovetop ‘espresso’ maker which broke about a year ago before I try a DIY Redeye / hammerhead / shot in the dark. Thank you for the post!

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