”I drink instant coffee all the time” cafe owner tells us, then shows us how.

Recently, our ace reporter Mr. Sato has been thinking about coffee a lot. He can’t spend every day trying to get drunk at home for just 1,000 yen, so he needs to mix some non-alcoholic beverages into his drink schedule, and a nice cup of coffee really is comforting once the crisp autumn weather sets in.

The problem, though, is that Mr. Sato is too lazy to bother with grinding his own beans or setting up an apparatus to make drip coffee at home. When he’s really jonesing for a cup of Joe, he’ll just make do with a cup of the instant stuff and delay his true coffee bliss until the next time he can predict his cravings far enough in advance to satisfy them with a trip to a proper cafe.

So on a recent afternoon of foresight, Mr. Sato walked through the door of Mafumi Coffee, a coffeehouse in Tokyo’s Jinbocho neighborhood, and took a seat at the counter in front of owner Mafumi Oyama.

The cafe just celebrated the fifth anniversary of its opening, so Oyama has proven his credentials as a true coffee pro, and sure enough, he had some extremely useful knowledge to share with our reporter.

Mr. Sato: “So I bet you never drink instant coffee, right?”

Oyama: “I drink it all the time! Sometimes it’s to keep up on what the current coffee trends are, but there are just some really tasty instant coffees out there. Personally Nescafe’s Gold Blend is my favorite.”

Mr. Sato: “Oh, wow, that’s the same brand I buy! But I thought you wouldn’t touch the stuff.”

Oyama: “Naw I drink instant coffee a lot when I’m at home. It’s nice to be able to make a quick simple cup when you want one, and actually I’ve got a method to make instant coffee taste better. You want me to tell you?

Mr. Sato: “You bet I do!”

So Mr. Sato made a quick run to the grocery store to pick up some Gold Blend, and when he got back to the cafe, Oyama showed him his secret.

“You’ll need two pots, but two coffee cups will work too, if you’re careful” Oyama began the lesson with. “Pour the coffee crystals into one pot, and then add the hot water and stir it with a spoon to help the crystals melt.”

“The next part takes a little more effort than the regular way of making instant coffee,” Oyama explained, but assured us it’s worth the trouble. “Pour the coffee from one pot into the other.”

“Then pour the coffee back and forth two more times.”

“After you do that, you should notice some residue on the surface, kind of like the soup scum that forms when you’re cooking hot pot. Use a strainer and skim it off.”

“Do the whole thing once, or maybe twice, more, and you’re all set.”

▼ The thrice-skimmed cup of instant coffee Oyama made for Mr. Sato

The cafe owner sure seemed confident, but could those simple steps really make such a difference?

Yes, they could, and they did!

▼ “Is, is this really instant coffee!?”

Mr. Sato could hardly believe it, but the sloshing and skimming had transformed the passable but unspectacular instant coffee he’d drunk so many times before into something much more delicious.

Mr. Sato: “It’s got such a clean finish! The flavor is rich and full, but it’s super-smooth, and there’s no sloppy aftertaste at all! What’s the reason?”

Oyama: “Haha I’m not sure what the scientific principals behind it are myself. It’s just a technique I stumbled on when I was first researching how to make coffee and was trying out all sorts of different things to make the instant stuff taste better. I figure it’s got to have something to do with the skimming and removing taste impurities in the residue.”

As soon as he got home, Mr. Sato tried out the technique himself and was able to produce the exact same results, and as an extra bonus, he realized that the few moments the process takes also gives the coffee time to cool just enough so that he could start drinking it right away once he was done skimming. Granted, his refined palate still appreciates a professionally brewed coffee from a cafe, but at those times when he’s making a cup for himself, this trick definitely helps shrink the flavor gap.

Cafe information
Mafumi Coffee / 眞踏珈琲店
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Ogawacho 3-1-7
Open noon-8 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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