New This Month

Coffee Diaries: Lucinda Scala Quinn

How do you prefer your morning pick-me-up -- cappuccino, espresso, perhaps a pour-over? Around here we take our coffee one way: seriously.

Senior Digital Food Editor

Studies have shown that drinking coffee may help you live longer, reduce the risk of cancer, improve long-term memory, and make you happier (if you're a woman, that is). On the flip side, there's a study that shows that coffee consumption does not make you more alert after all.

While we eagerly await a study that shows coffee drinkers are, in fact, smarter, faster, and more creative than their under-caffeinated counterparts, we decided to do some unofficial research by asking a few of our favorite coffee drinkers to describe how they enjoy their morning brew.

The first in our series, Lucinda Scala Quinn, executive editorial director for food, shares her bespoke morning caffeine ritual.

Photography by: Jonathan Lovekin

Do you drink coffee every morning?
Yes, always, and I make it myself. Usually no one makes coffee for me. If someone brought me coffee in bed, made how I like it, my eyes would roll back in my head. Recently I started to drink water first, but I always follow up with my coffee.

What do you use to make your coffee/morning brew?
I have two stove-top mokas (in case someone else wants a coffee, but really no one else in my house drinks coffee.): a Vev Vigano Kontessa and a Bialetti, in two different sizes. I really like them. I like the look so much I leave them out on the counter. They have interesting architecture. I use them day in, day out, and they work great. I’ve tested every small fancy coffeemaker and landed on these. The rest is DIY. I have a handmade cappuccino. I like that it uses the flame and is cooked on the stove top. I don’t like fancy machines; too much can go wrong. I’m an old-school person. If I find a design that works well, I stick with it.

How long does your morning coffee routine take? How long does it take to make your coffee?
Not long, I get up at six, and cappuccino is my first activity. I sit down with the newspaper and hear the gurgling as the espresso builds up in the pot, and it’s done. It’s a ritual.

What coffee do you use?
For me, coffee must be fresh and strong. I buy bulk beans and grind them as needed, every day. I switch up my coffee every now and again, depending on where I am. I like a darker roast these days and am using Joe's espresso blend, which is on the lighter side of a dark roast -- lighter than an Italian or French roast. If I’m at the supermarket, the brand I get is Illy in the silver canister. It’s consistently great.

Milk or not?
Milk. I always buy organic whole milk and when I put the pot on the stove, I get out my cup and pour it half to three-quarters full of milk, depending on how much coffee I’m making. I microwave the milk for 50 seconds -- not 60, not 40, but 50. Then I use a small hand whisk, twirling it between my palms 30 to 40 times to make foam. To me, it’s satisfying that I do that by hand and don’t use an Aerolatte. It makes a really nice foam. And then I add the coffee to the mug.

How many cups do you drink a day?
Only one, occasionally I will have a cup in the afternoon, but usually just the one -- so I want it to be good. I don’t favor spending a lot of money out for coffee.

Why is coffee important to you?
It’s my introduction to the day. Whether I am swimming or walking the dog next, this is my private time. No one else is up yet. My coffee is a slow build to make and drink, then it is over. It’s my only solo time in the day.

Make Coffee Just Like Lucinda