AAfter years of drinking coffee regularly, brewing a cup of coffee a day often becomes a deeply personal (and, honestly, spiritual) experience. Whether you like your coffee black, spiked with cinnamon, or served with a little cream, making the perfect morning brew varies from person to person. One thing we can all agree on, though, is that few things compare to that soul-soothing first sip of coffee in the morning:ahhh.
For Monserrat Prado Flores, a Costa Rican coffee producer at the fourth-generation, family-owned, women-run Ditsö Café, making coffee is indeed a sacred daily routine. And while innovation in the coffee industry has threatened this centuries-old method, Flores says that using a Costa Rican coffee blaster It is one of the most special ways to make a perfect cup. Here, she shares how to use this simple tool, why it’s so important to native Costa Ricans, and some of the most important things to keep in mind when brewing with a blaster.
what is a blaster?
Home to the Blue Zone region of the Nicoya Peninsula and some of the longest-living people on the planet, Costa Rica is also a major global exporter of coffee, accounting for more than one percent of global production. Coffee, one of the best antioxidant-rich beverages linked to increased longevity, is a common beverage consumed in this country throughout the day.
According to Flores, who is in León Cortés, Costa Rica in a coffee zone known as Tarrazúmaking, coffee requires special care and attention. His specialty is producing high-quality, small-batch, sustainably sourced coffee, and he partners with roasters like New York-based Bean & Bean to sell products like Costa Rica’s Tarrazu Ditsö Honey coffee beans. Delicious.
One way of making coffee that is particularly special to Flores is by using a blaster. “This method always takes me back to my Costa Rican roots,” she says. A blaster—which comes from the Spanish word squirtwhich means to drip or drip, is a Costa Rican device for making coffee that has been part of the culture and tradition of this Central American country since ancient times.
The non-electronic coffee maker has a wooden base with a small suspended receptacle that holds a cotton cloth filter or a bag secured with a metal ring and filled with coffee, like this one sold on Amazon. Water is poured into the bag, which slowly drips into a container or cup to make fresh coffee. “It’s a very basic, crafty tool, but it works super efficiently and always gives delicious results,” says Flores.
The cultural meaning of a blaster
Although Flores says that the use of this traditional method of making coffee has slowly been disappearing in some Costa Rican households due to innovation in the coffee industry, such as the rise of electronic machines that may be more convenient on a day-to-day basis. blaster It has a special meaning for most natives. “The blaster has a sentimental connotation ticos [an endearing term for Costa Rican locals] and it is a memory of childhood and, for me, of my grandmother’s love,” says Flores. “She takes us back to visit family still living in the country, special celebration gatherings and rainy afternoons with bread to calm the cold weather. My grandmother heated the water for the coffee over firewood and assembled the blaster with patience and care. It would fill the room with so many warm scents.”
Making coffee using this traditional method is not only a nostalgic experience, but Flores also explains that this is how some like to prepare the drink to take with them on the trip to work (no need for a cable, which makes the blaster It is very useful for traveling). Additionally, he explains that Costa Ricans tend to make extra batches in the blaster throughout the day, not just in the morning. According to Flores, although coffee is usually made for breakfast to start the day, it is also common in Costa Rica to make another cup after lunch to help digest a heavy meal. And in the afternoon, a cup is often paired with a snack to give a little boost of energy to finish the day.
Using a blaster it’s also better for the environment
In recent years, Flores says there has been a resurgence in the use of this useful device in homes and cafes, as it is easy to use, portable and eco-friendly. “It’s a great way to make a super flavorful cup of coffee that’s the perfect balance between the bean’s natural, sweet, and tart flavor profile without single-use materials like paper coffee filters,” she says.
Unlike a paper filter, the blaster’s Cloth filters can be used over and over again if they are washed and kept clean between snacks. To best clean them, Flores recommends avoiding soaps that leave residue: boiling them in clean water will remove any traces of oil, she says. They should also be dried and stored in a bacteria-free environment, such as the refrigerator in a sealed airtight bag.
How to use a blaster
Some things to consider, according to Flores:
- Avoid boiling water when making coffee; the ideal temperature is between 197 and 206 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure the cloth bag is completely clean when brewing the coffee.
- The ideal strength ratio should be 1:15 or 1:16, which means that 16 grams of coffee would need 240 milliliters of water. However, please know that this may vary depending on the taste preferences of the individual.
- Make sure you pour the water over the soil slowly. The cloth bag is more porous than a paper filter, so adding water too quickly will not produce the most flavorful extraction. However, do not brew for more than five minutes, as a longer time can produce coffee that is too acidic.
- Use medium ground coffee.
- Using a scale and timer will help you achieve the perfect pour, draw time, and weight every time.
Flores says there is no exact way to use a blaster. Instead, each home has its own special method of making coffee with this tool. However, he says the most important ingredient, no matter the method, is the patience, love, and care it takes to brew a quality cup of coffee.
Yet another reason to drink coffee. As if we really needed it:
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