Jake Uys, co-owner of YUM Eat Cafe, loves his coffees. He creates the tasteful coffee creations; preferable slow-brewed and sometimes with a time-consuming manual finishing touch. The beans are on his specification roasted at the Beanery in Hermanus and per coffee-order ground on the spot. Every speciality coffee needs its own ground, exact weight, water temperature, etc. Weekly, every Tuesday, Jake writes his coffee post for this blog. Starting with the history and ending with the perfect ‘Latte’. The first four postings were excerpts from Wikipedia about history, cultivation, processing and brewing.
‘Moerkoffie’, as we know it today in South Africa, has its origins in the late 1700 and early 1800 in Europe. The “trekboere” and settlers were the first people in South Africa to make use of the “coffee biggin method “, a predecessor of the filter system. In this device ground coffee was placed in a flannel or muslin bag suspended from the rim of a metal or aluminium pot. Because of the bag, the coffee stays in contact with the water longer, producing a different type of brew. The same method was used by many generations of Afrikaners as well as my predecessors on the Highveld of the Eastern Escarpment of South Africa. The families all adapted the method of making coffee whatever suited them best. The description (‘recipe’ if you like) that follows is the one my family used.
My mother used to buy green Arabica beans from a supplier near Volksrust. She would roast the beans in a pan, turning them often to get an even roast on the top of a very hot coal stove. I can still remember the beans being almost a milk chocolate colour. She usually roasted just enough beans to last for a week! We had a wall mounted coffee grinder that had been in use in the family for many years. We would grind just enough coffee for one pot of coffee. We used two heaped tablespoons of coffee (+ 60 g) that went into the muslin bag hanging into the coffee pot. The pot gets filled with boiling water (at altitude + 96 degree C). The capacity of the pot we still use today is 1 litre.
Now comes the tricky part! Bring the water to the boil, turn the heat down immediately and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Take the coffee off the stove and pour into cups.
The coffee is usually enjoyed black with a little bit of sugar – a bit of cream will not do the coffee any harm! We never left the coffee on the stove to become bitter! The whole process was repeated when more coffee was needed. Sometimes people left the pot on the cooler part of the AGA stove, but the coffee usually became so strong that nobody would drink it.