Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Confessions from the KPCC Coffee Klatsch


(Credit: Josh Berman)

A few days ago, Off-Ramp held its first program at the Crawford Family Forum here at KPCC’s Mohn Broadcast Center. Kyle and Geoff from Intelligentsia Coffee brought bags and bags of coffee, their special equipment, and showed Off-Ramp fans how to brew a better cup of coffee.

We handed out Off-Ramp/Intelligentsia coffee degrees, which turned shy coffee drinkers into emboldened coffee THINKERS.


(Credit: Josh Berman)

And now that they’re empowered to improve their own coffee, some of the attendees have been writing in to report. Like Chris Murray. …

Dear John,

The coffee event at the Mohn this week was amazing, and the most edifying educational experience I've had since Biology 101. But, the result has been sheer catastrophe for my morning routine, and has elevated the alert level on the Murray Household Stress Scale to bright red.

It's bad enough that my spouse is engaged in the following during the School Week: wake up at 5am, start the Cream of Wheat®, shower, prepare lunch for the children, prepare breakfast for same, change the rabbit litter, consume said Cream of Wheat®, feed rabbit, dress said offspring (“Zelda! You can't wear that!”), pack them in the car, and haul them off to school by 7:15. All this while maintaining an air of skepticism that I have any productive function at all, due first to the fact that my customary morning appearance has been to fill my coffee cup, and second her scornful view that an actor's career is trivial compared to hers as a Public School Teacher... about which she's right.

But now, she has had to perform her routine in the company of a miscreant husband who has discovered a new role and plunged into it with the dedication and discipline of Robert De Niro prepping for a role. Call me “Raging Barista.”

Keep in mind that our kitchen has barely enough room to change your mind, but now she has to work around a Mad Scientist who, although he declined the $300 in startup costs for the proper equipment recommended by my mentors from Intelligentsia, has occupied the only available counter space with his Weapons of Mass Javation.


(Credit: Josh Berman)

I drilled new holes in my plastic Melitta filter to increase the flow. I boil the water in a Russell-Hobbs kettle, soak the filter (which also heats up the cup), reheat the water, calibrate the temp in a Pyrex measuring cup with a meat thermometer, pour 3 ounces of the water over the freshly ground Organic Serra De Boné Brazilian coffee beans to release the gasses, reheat and re-calibrate the remaining water with the meat thermometer ("Bye Zelda! Bye Chester! I love you!"), pour the remaining 7 ounces of hot water over the beans. Drip, drink and enjoy!

You'd think my Spouse, daughter of an inorganic chemistry prof, would appreciate my new métier. But her disgust lingers in the kitchen, even though she is now halfway to Los Feliz, so I have to savor my creation in the garage. By the time I get to the last drop, the next batch is already in the works and, of course, this brand new morning workout leaves me exhausted, so I have to take a nap. Worse, filing this blog post made me miss taking out the garbage.

See you in the doghouse.

-- Chris


(Credit: John Rabe)

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