Bagels, Brews, and Best Friends - The Details Make the Difference
Bagels. Coffee. Best Friends.
What do these three have in common?
I mean, to start with, we like to meet our friends for coffee. There’s even entire Facebook groups filled with thousands of members that come together, forming bonds and friendships as they enjoy discussing, sharing, and learning more about coffee (cough, cough, Lifeboost INsperience).
And, bagels are in that same category, a treat enjoyed alongside a cup of joe as a sandwich or a snack in the company of an entire office staff, or a smaller setting, sampled between friends.
But, when you examine the principles of each topic mentioned, there’s one thing that sticks out: detail.
Isn’t it true of anything good, beneficial, or enjoyable in life? That the details are what truly make anything good, beneficial, or enjoyable truly worth it?
So, what is it about the details of best friends, coffee, and bagels that make the difference?
What even are bagels, really? Are bagels a bread or a pastry? This question may be the new potato/potato conundrum.
Some hold fast to the notion that a bagel is a type of bread, no ifs, ands, or buts. While others consider this yeast-based dough a pastry.
But, no matter which side of the fence you’re on, the makings of this breakfast favorite are typically the same.
Traditionally, bagels are made with water, yeast, flour, salt, honey, and varying amounts and types of items to flavor or sweeten the dough.
These ingredients are then mixed, kneaded, formed, and allowed to rest before being added to a boiling bath of water (which often includes baking soda).
Then, after their short boiling bath, the bagels are baked.
While this process does clearly involve a bit of labor, the steps seem simple enough.
However, the trick to a truly great bagel is in the details!
Fun fact, did you know that the hole in the middle of a bagel has an actual purpose?
They say vendors benefited from this detail as the bagels could be easily displayed and carried on strings and poles thanks to their center void.
Now, the hole in the middle ensures the dough bakes all the way through to get you that perfect texture and flavor. No one wants a half-done bagel.
The process of boiling a bagel prior to baking is what gives the outer crust its thickness, as the water helps the starches to gelatinize.
And, when boiling a bagel, the amount of time spent in the water specifically determines its chewiness.
The flavorful detail of added toppings to bagels prior to baking can vary greatly, but each one adds a different flavor or flare, from sweet to savory, fruity, spicy, or herb-themed.
Bagels can be enjoyed plain, topped with traditional items like butters, a variety of cream cheeses (of course), and lox, or these delicious treats can even be turned into sandwiches suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Even better, bagels come complete with a rich history, much of which centers around this invention reaching the shores of America through our early melting pot heritage, with immigrants from lands abroad sharing their talents and traditions with their new neighbors here in the states.
Even in something we enjoy without little thought, like a bagel, the details matter!
Coffee is known to be the world’s most popular beverage, with folks consuming 400 billion cups annually.
But, quantity doesn’t equal quality. So, if you’re a regular coffee drinker, you know that not all coffee is created, or enjoyed, equally.
Want your coffee to be clean and pure, containing the greatest amount of nutrients with the least amount of contaminants?
High quality coffee starts by growing plants at high elevations in natural environments with minimal intervention.
Utilizing native plants and wildlife in the coffee growing process cuts down on deforestation, actually promotes the growth of more plant-life in the area, and allows the coffee beans to nutritionally benefit from being growing in soils enriched by the natural flora and fauna in the area.
What kind of beans?
Arabica is most usually preferred, and you’ll also want to choose single origin beans, ensuring your beans are grown in one place.
Oh, and you’ll want to avoid blends since large coffee companies incorporate these by combining cheaper, lower quality beans with higher quality beans, blending the two to cut costs.
The details of processing coffee, such as picking the coffee cherries by hand, spring water washing, and sun drying, can also greatly determine the flavor and quality of the end product.
Even the time spent roasting coffee beans can alter their flavor, which is how we get different selections such as light, medium, dark, and espresso. And, these variances in flavor are also why each roast has their own fan base.
Then, what about the details of preparation?
There’s drip coffee makers, cold brewing, moka pots, espresso machines, french presses, and pour overs, each providing a different taste and experience.
You can even take the details of coffee making a bit further when you channel your inner barista at home and create delicious concoctions with coffee iced cubes, varying flavors and types of foams to top your hot or cold brews, espresso favorites like cappuccinos and macchiatos, even coffee shakes, smoothies, desserts, and more.
So, just like the bagel, the details make all the difference.
Now, think of your best friends.
Think of the person or people that you can count on, the ones who know all your secrets and love you anyways!
Essentially, these bonds, like coffee and bagels believe it or not, also boil down to the details.
Friendships can form in the most unlikely places, and these bonds can be built amongst the most unlikely people.
Such special relationships exist across gaps in age, locale, race, and creed, with each person in the friendship bringing unique, personal, and needed qualities to the pair or group.
Building a strong friendship, such as in a best friend, takes action, time, and care.
A good friend is someone you can trust, someone honest with a good heart and pure intentions.
When speaking of your best friend, I’m sure you could describe such a one as a good listener, loyal, and dependable.
Sometimes friendships are filled with common interests or hobbies, while other times the best of friends share differing interests but truly enjoy their time spent in one another’s company.
Each of our stories in life are unique as well, but a true friend values making time to come together, being there for the other, being honest, open, vulnerable, supportive, and even challenging at times (for the betterment of the relationship, not just being cantankerous, obviously).
And, like a bagel or a good cup of coffee, friendship also needs care and attention to detail.
Fail to work on your friendships, giving that needed time and attention, and your friendship may fail.
Coming together - best friends, bagels, And coffee
With each of these, coffee, bagels, and friendships, the making or breaking of them is in the details.
So, it’s no wonder we often find ourselves coming together with friends around a table graced with offerings of delicious varieties of bagels and coffee selections!
In fact, maybe we could start describing friendships as folks that go together like coffee and bagels as opposed to peas and carrots?
The thick, sturdy bagel dough, like a strong bond in a best friendship, just pairs perfectly with a bold, smooth sip of coffee.
And, if you need any suggestions on how to pair this delicious duo the next time you indulge when meeting up with your bestie, check out the following coffee and bagel pairings as these unique attentions to detail in flavor make all the difference!
Try a vanilla latte when indulging in a bagel topped with strawberry cream cheese.
The velvety vanilla flavoring in the creamy latte pairs perfectly with the sweet, summer berries. When topping a plain bagel, these sweet berries and rich cream cheese bring the perfect balance, allowing you to fully savor the bold coffee flavors you’re sipping alongside it.
Cold brew fans may enjoy their cup alongside a bagel breakfast sandwich.
Since cold brew can potentially pack a stronger punch (depending on brewing methods), a robust brew pairs well with the diverse flavors offered in a bagel that houses bold bacon, eggs, a variety of cheeses, even avocados sandwiched between slices.
And, of course, such a delectable offering would be fitting for those who enjoy a bold brew served piping hot as well.
Ever had Mexican hot cocoa? This treat typically comes with a kick from ingredients such as cayenne peppers. But, you can also achieve a balance of sweet chocolate and a bit of spice when pairing coffee and bagels with intentionality.
If these south of the border flavor pairings have piqued your interest, try your hand at a mocha (coffee flavored with chocolate) to enjoy alongside a bagel containing jalapenos, or go for the gold and prepare a tasty bagel breakfast sandwich with a bit of spicy, pepper jack cheese and egg.
And, don’t forget the best pairing of all - coming together with best friends!
Any time you gather with friends, whether it’s over a bagel, a cup of coffee, or bagels and coffee together, it’s time well spent!
So, go grab your cup of brew and call up a few friends to enjoy it with!
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