Lorelai: Mmm. Luke, that is an exceptionally good batch of coffee.
Luke: I added a little nutmeg.
There aren’t many things held most dear to this here heart of mine, but a hot cup of coffee sure is one of them. My love of brewed magic has been a slow development over the years. I try to know more than I do, and avoid the people who actually succeed in that (no one needs your hipster elitism – just help me understand why this air needs pressing!), but until the time comes when I take an actual class in brewing I’m just going to have to content myself with at-home experimentation.
Another ardent holding? Gilmore Girls. It’s my all time favorite TV show and ever since I first saw it I’ve been dying to try a cup of Luke’s coffee. I feel pretty confident that I’m not the only fan who yearns for that. Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wake up with what feels like an insatiable thirst for some piping hot caffeine? For me, that craving is always what I associate with what Luke’s coffee must taste like. Unfortunately, Amy Sherman-Palladino never really takes you through the recipe and it’s not like Luke has his own real brand for direct purchase (someone please create that Kickstarter) so it’s all left to the imagination. Luckily I’ve got one of those and so I hereby deliver to you a diceily researched recipe for Stars Hollow’s very own Luke’s Diner Coffee.
The Coffee Base
A few fans out there on the internet did a little sleuthing via paying attention to the small details and determined that at one point in the show Luke is using Hills Bros, a San Francisco brand of coffee. Do I wonder the motivation behind that? Of course. Will I question it and look for / use another brand? Of course not. East Coasters (or maybe just Rhode Islanders) might have difficulty like I did in securing the apparently very well recognized brand so know that it’s Amazonable.
Now, as my graciously provided quote from the series (Season 1 Episode 12) has demonstrated – Luke was into experimentation with his brewing recipe. Nutmeg was added and pleased Lorelai’s taste buds so who do I think I am to remove it? That’s right, no one. The nutmeg stays.
Want to talk a little bit about preconceived notions, though? Here’s mine: Luke’s coffee is actually made with a bit of chicory too. Now, I know he’s lived all his life in Connecticut but he seems like an olden days, classically gruff kinda man and to me that equates to the famously-New Orleans roasted root. After many days spent researching what this mysterious substance is and how to find it, I went ahead and made the commitment to add chicory to this recipe of mine. Roasting and grinding it from scratch seemed to take a lot of work (definitely not a Lorelai move) so I took the easy root and ordered 16 ounces of organic roasted chicory granules from Frontier Co-op.
Let me stop right here and warn you that chicory isn’t a joke. That stuff packs a lot of taste for such a tiny granulated substance and I’m just looking out for the both of us when I say use it sparingly. It’s best known for being a type of coffee additive / flavoring down in New Orleans or as a healthier coffee substitute when steeped (although, it has no caffeine so take “substitute” for what you will). I wanted to integrate it to give the coffee a bit more of a woodsy taste because well… Connecticut has trees and Luke likes the outdoors so, logic. It took me too many tries to figure out that a little goes a very long and astringent way.
I’ll save you my experimentation narrative (which happens to be many days long) and direct you straight to the good stuff: my winning combination.
The method of choice was good ol’ drip brewing since that’s how they did it in the Diner. While the stubborn fan in me insisted that this brew had to be tried Lorelai style, that is to say – black, the chicory’s pretty powerful taste creates a none too pleasant bitterness and I found that adding a tiny bit of milk helped smooth it out. But also, coffee preferences are one of the most personal things an individual can have so feel free to add whatever you need for this to taste like what you imagine Luke’s would.
1/2 cup of Hills Bros, Original Blend ground coffee to every 2 mugs of water (Had to break out the math conversions for this one but with canister-provided instructions of 1 tbsp to every 6 oz of water, increased to every 4 oz because I like my coffee strong, with my Luke’s mug serving as approximately 14 oz of water… ouch, Charlie. Just get a moderately sized mug like mine and you’ll be fine. This gives a little over a single serving so increase accordingly.
3/4 teaspoon of Roasted Chicory Root Granules
A liberal pinch of nutmeg
Bonus: the recipe can easily be converted out of the woodsy chicory taste by… get ready for it… removing the chicory. All else remains and you’ve still got Luke’s coffee.
While I’m sure any coffee tastes better in my Luke’s mug, this recipe feels particularly at home. I’m also very excited to work chicory into my daily rotation. Now all I need is to enjoy a cup on the front porch of 37 Maple Street, watching the first snow of the year with my Girls named Gilmore.