MONICA TERESA ORTIZ + COFFEE
mónica teresa ortiz is a poet born and raised in Texas. Her first poetry collection, muted blood, is being published by Black Radish Books in summer 2018 and can be preordered here. ortiz can be found on Instagram as: @elgallosalvaje
untitled poem, from the section in muted blood called gordian knot:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GO TO COFFEE DRINK?
Like so many other parts of my life, I prefer something rather simple. So I usually just have a cup of coffee when I wake up. Nothing fancy. But if I travel to other places, I love to visit as many specialty shops as I can, and I usually order an espresso and a coffee, either a pour over or a drip, depending on the offerings - just to see what others are doing with coffee. I especially love coffees from El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala.
DESCRIBE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE ASSOCIATED WITH COFFEE?
My obsession with coffee began during childhood, with my father. He is an avid coffee drinker. Drinking coffee with him was a ritual that began during his early shifts in the morning. He would be up around 6 am, usually when I had to get ready for school or practice, and he always had a pot of coffee. We'd drink it together and watch the news. Or if I went with him anywhere, we would have a coffee. He took me camping with my grandfather and uncles and my grandfather made cowboy coffee. Or if we just went to the Town & Country for him to gossip with the other men in town, he would get me a drink and a comic book, and he'd have his coffee talking to the elders in my small town. The other memorable experience with coffee was going to Colombia and drinking a tinto with my ex-girlfriend's familia in Valle del Cauca, which is known as the Coffee Zone. They have coffee all day. So I think for me, coffee is very much a familial and social experience.
DO YOU MAKE COFFEE AT HOME? IF SO, HOW DO YOU PREPARE IT?
At my house, I have a Keurig that my mom bought me for Christmas a few years ago, and a bag of coffee that a friend bought me from Mexico City, which is a coarsely ground overroasted but super delicious coffee from Chiapas, which is my favorite kind of coffee. I alternate between that and Cafe Bustelo. I also have a Moka pot that I use. I work in specialty coffee, so when I'm not at work, I don't want to put a lot of effort or craft. I just want one small strong cup that I can enjoy.
WHAT WAS THE CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING YOUR PLAYLIST?
When it comes to music, I have a pretty eclectic taste. I like pop, electric cumbia, chicha, electronic, and country music. Of course I also grew up in the 90's so I have a special love for R&B and rock music from that era. A lot of tracks on my list have some type of specific memory. For example, there's a track from local band Maneja Beto. I saw them play right before I left Texas in 2008, and though they aren't around anymore, I still love listening to the music. Or this last time I was in New York, I spent most of time walking up and down Bowery Street in the Village, and I listened to Gabriel Faure, who I was put on by my friend Sam Rives. Most of the songs I've been listening to for years, and actually, this playlist has been my go to for the past year working on my poetry book. So its also what I've been listening to while I've been thinking and writing.
BLACK DRIP COFFEE
Medium Coarse Grind
15:1 Water to Coffee Ratio
Brew Time 4 Minutes
If your coffee tastes bitter, you are overextracting, so experiment with a coarser grind. If your coffee tastes sour, you are underextracting, so experiment with a finer grind. You'll find that as beans age you may need to make adjustments. If possible, grind your beans just before brewing.