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GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Hello group. My name is gravity, and I am addicted to coffee. Having found the previous incarnation of this thread a bit lackluster and scattered in terms of not really having a centralized location for the information, I’ve decided to write down an informational firstpost and allow for some serious coffee sperging instead of "How can I make my lovely coffee moderately palatable?" chat.


Coffee comes from the seed of a fruiting bush grown in abundance all over the world on practically every continent, save Antarctica. Though there are over 90 species of coffee, there are only four species of coffee that I have ever tried, and only two of which see large scale production:
Species
Arabica – The earliest cultivated, most widespread, and “best tasting” coffee (in many people’s, including my own, opinion). This variety actually has the least caffeine of the two varieties. Arabica tends to have smaller beans and will be slightly more expensive per pound, which is why you may see some blends brag about being 100% Arabica. This is because many cheap blends contain:

Robusta – The filler coffee. Admittedly, it’s not really that bad, but it gets a bad rap because it is easier to grow, fruits prolifically, and produces bigger beans, all without being particularly remarkable in flavor or aroma. What robusta does bring to the table is a higher caffeine content and a more viscous mouthfeel, the latter of which can translate into better “crema” production in espresso, so you will often see robusta show up in espresso blends.

Origin
Coffee can also be categorized into three groups by style, then further into subcontinental regions and eventually by country.

* Latin American, Carribean, and Hawaiian Coffees tend to be “normal.” That is to say, the flavor and aroma of these coffees are what many people think of when they think of coffee. They are usually pretty balanced in profile but can still be quite robust and have a refined sweetness. The most sought after of all coffees come from this category such as Jamaican Blue Mountain and Hawaiian Kona.

* African Coffees are bright, lively, and rich. Some people call them wine-like, a description most often given to Kenyan coffees. They can also have a spiced or herbal nose as is the case for Ethiopian Yirgacheffes.

* Asian-Pacific Coffees are thick bodied, earthy, and have a rustic sweetness. They are really popular in the modern craft coffee scene as their earthiness takes to dark roasts particularly well. Varieties such as the Sumatran and New Guinean coffees are notable for this.

"Process"
The separation of the coffee fruit or "cherry's" flesh from the seed largely falls into one of two categories or some hybrid of the two:

Dry Process coffees' cherries are harvested, sorted, cleaned, and set in the sun to dry, being turned often and taking up to a month to dry. The seed is then removed with a hulling machine. Dry process coffees tend to be more "rustic" tasting, fruitier, and can be a bit inconsistent to roast.

Wet Process cherries are harvested, and sorted by using water, bad cherries float. They are then hulled by forcing through a screen, and fermented in its own moisture to allow enzymes to break down the mucilage, a gooey outer layer on the seed. The mucilage is then washed off and the coffee is dried in the sun. Wet process coffees are more consistent to roast and are cleaner and more "refined" tasting.

Semidry processing is a mix between the two. It utilizes hulling machines directly after harvest then allows for fermentation of mucilage, followed by minimal water washing, and drying. Semidry processing is relatively new and is only done in a few places, coffees tend to have the consistency and clean taste of wet process coffees, with the liveliness of dry.

__________________________Roast Levels__________________________


Aside from origin, the roast level of the coffee has a huge impact on the coffee’s in-cup flavor.

City, American, New England
Light-medium to medium brown in color, this roast is, generally, the best roast to taste the difference between regions as these differences will be obscured further and eventually completely the longer the coffee is roasted. Coffee roasted to a city roast tends to be grain-like sweet, and bright/acidy.

Full City, Continental, Viennese
Medium to medium-dark brown in color, this is my favorite roast as it still represents the varietal flavor with a nice backbone of roast flavor. Full city roasted coffee is still lively, but some of the acidy edge is rounded off giving way to a light sweetness.

French
Dark to deep dark brown in color, at this roast level only the most robust varietal flavors are left, all of the nuanced tones, the liveliness, and the regional distinction has been roasted away. If I have a batch of green coffee I don’t care for the taste of, I will usually roast it to a French roast. French roasted coffee is mildly pungent, sweet, full bodied, and with nearly imperceptible acidity.

Starbucks
Deep dark brown to black in color, this roast level is about one notch away from charcoal. There is no varietal distinction; all coffees roasted to this level taste more or less the same. Starbucks roasted coffee tastes like burnt rubber.





__________________________Brewing Methods__________________________

Drip machine.
The most widespread method for brewing coffee, I’m sure. This method often relies on poorly designed heaters that begin to drip slightly warm water over coffee grounds. The heaters ramp up and eventually reach a temperature that is too hot. The coffee drips into a glass carafe that is placed on a heating element that is also set to be too hot causing the coffee to have a burnt taste. Some machines have stainless steel vacuum carafes that forego the carafe heater. If you must have a drip machine, get one of these. Resist the urge to use a gold tone metal filter. You defeat one of the biggest strengths of this brew method, the clean, sludge-free cup. Good paper filters have little to no “paper taste,” and if you combine with pre wetting, the “paper taste” should be non existent (with good quality filters). If you can swing it, get a Technivorm.

This is the Rolls Royce of drip coffee makers. They are hand made in the Netherlands, they have spray heads that evenly wet the coffee grounds and that don’t start spraying until the water has reached the correct temperature. They are completely dismantle-able for cleaning and maintenance. Get one.

Drip machine pros: Convenient, clean cup
Cons: Cheap models have no temperature control, there is no steep time control, heating elements can make coffee taste burnt, good models are big and take up a lot of space.

Pour over

A drip coffee method where you are the “machine” part. This allows you to have precise temperature control with an electric kettle and an instant read thermometer.
Examples: Hario V60 02 Clear ($8), Chemex ($30)
Pour over pros: CHEAP, small, cheap, ability to have very accurate temperature control, clean cup, did I mention cheap, yeah it’s cheap.
Cons: Requires you to actively brew the coffee, no full immersion or steep time control, requires a hot water source such as an electric kettle.

Press pot, French press

A full immersion coffee brewing method where coffee is brewed, then the grounds are separated by using a mesh screened “plunger.” The result is a very flavorful and nuanced cup of coffee that still has many of the volatile oils since it has not passed through a paper filter.
Examples: Bodum Brazil 8 cup (no nonsense, black plastic) ($20), Bodum Chambord 4 cup (prettier w/ metal and stuffs) ($35)
Press pot pros: Accurate immersion time and temperature control, no paper filters, modestly priced.
Cons: Requires hot water source, cups brewed with a press pot are almost always murky or sludgy, can cause cholesterol spikes for people with cholesterol problems, carafes are quite fragile.

Clever Coffee Dripper

My personal favorite morning cup maker. This method is basically a pour over with a stopper on the bottom. It effectively blends the strengths of both pour over and press pot, with none of the weaknesses, except the convenience, I guess… The stopper on the bottom is very convenient, though. It activates anytime it is not on a cup, and when you place it on the top of one it releases the coffee. Pretty nifty.
buy them here ($15):
http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmar...r-with-lid.html
CCD Pros: Immersion time and temperature control, clean cup, affordable.
Cons: requires hot water source

Aeropress

Kind of like an overgrown syringe that you place over your cup of coffee. Because you are actively forcing the water through the coffee grounds with pressure, coffee brewed in an Aeropress will have slightly different flavor than these previous ones (I guess they all will, technically, but Aeropress is the first one I’ve mentioned to have applied pressure be one of the variables).
These are about $25
Aeropress Pros: Rich coffee, clean cup, Immersion time and temperature control, affordable
Cons: Requires special filters that you usually can’t just go to the store to pick up, requires hot water source.

Moka Pot

Often called a “stove top espresso maker,” moka pots brew small quantities of robust, rich, coffee. It is technically not espresso as the pressures at which a moka pot operates are quite low compared to “real” espresso makers. Nevertheless, moka pots brew great coffee and are perfectly fine for use in milk-based coffee drinks, or “Americanos”.
Small ones run about $25.
Moka Pot Pros: Small, affordable when compared to proper espresso machines
Cons: Requires a stove, doesn’t work on induction ranges, doesn’t make “real” espresso.

Espresso Makers
This is a big can of worms that I don't know that much about. Thanks to Bob_McBob for helping me write this section. Espresso makers tend to fall into 1 of 3 categories, then further into subcategories:

Semi Automatic Machines
These are the majority of the market. They have a steam wand and can cost anywhere from 50bux for a cheap POS up to thousands of dollars for a crazy multi head machine with a PID for the water temperature, and on and on and on...

Thermoblock steam toys

“fake” espresso makers are basically like cheap drip machines, they use heat to generate pressure which is often too low and inconsistent, they have poor temperature control, because pressure is generated with temperature the brew temp is too hot, they are made with cheap plastic parts, and have thin walled pressurized portafilters. If you are after espresso and are only willing to spend as much as these are, save your money.

Single boiler dual use machines

These have one boiler and a seperate pump that applies 15 bars of pressure to your puck of tamped ground coffee. Because they have one boiler, they require you to heat up the water for brewing then heat it again to use the steam wand.

Heat exchanger machines
These have one boiler that runs at the higher steam temperature dedicated to making steam. It utilizes a heat exchanger to interface water en route to the brew heads and heat it up to temperature.

Dual boiler machines
These have two boilers so you can brew and use the steam wand at the same time,

There are also ways to sperg wrt portafilters!
Pressurized portafilters are fitted with a device that makes up for lackluster grinding and tamping abilities and provides a sort of fake “crema”. Because of this, these are often called “crema enhancers”. Some argue that this is also not “real” espresso, but it’s closer than the moka pot and the thermoblock stuff.

Nonpressurized portafilters lack the device that equalizes pressure in the portafilter, the result is a much more unforgiving pull, but when dialed in, produces “real” espresso. You NEED a good grinder if you want to make the most of this type of portafilter.

Manual Machines

Manual espresso makers require you to be the pump. The beauty of a manual espresso maker is that, in the hands of a fantastic barista, they will pull the best shots you will ever have. Because they are manual they allow for finesse unlike the semi autos. They are expensive and most people will never use them, hell most people will never have a shot pulled from one by an experienced barista, and that is sad.

Super Automatic Machines

Automatic espresso makers do everything for you. They are very expensive and make pretty mediocre espresso shots.

Grinders

Quite possibly the most important thing when you are considering a coffee rig. If you are looking at getting an espresso rig, you MUST NOT skimp on your grinder. Avoid blade grinders like the devil, they chop the beans instead of grinding them giving you a VERY inconsistent grind, the high speeds with which the blades rotate cause lots of friction problems which translates into lost volatile oils. Good grinders use nestled burrs that are spaced apart and that rotate at a slow rate. The result is an even, consistent grind. If you are looking for a grinder for pour over or press pot methods, a Baratza Maestro (refurb for $70, check the Baratza site often), Virtuoso (refurb for $143) or Capresso Infinity ($90) is usually a good choice. If you want an espresso capable grinder, buy the absolute best you can afford. Many people like the Baratza Vario ($400) and the Rancilio Rocky ($350).

On the other end of the spectrum are manual grinders. I have one myself for my travel rig (yes I have a travel rig, I am aware I have a serious problem). Manual grinders are great because they are cheap and consistent. They are best mated to drip or press pot methods as coarser grinds are quicker to grind. Grinding for a espresso or Turkish coffee with a manual grinder would seriously suck. I have a Hario Mini Mill Slim ($30), the Hario Skerton is also good. Funny story about the skerton, it is actually a typo (I am not making this up, or at least I heard it from the seattlecoffeegear ladies so blame them). Hario is a Japanese company, supposedly the original name is the "Skeleton," but apparently there were some problems in pronunciation... (skerreton)



__________________________Sourcing Coffee__________________________


Coffee beans are very sensitive to how recently they were roasted. They “outgas,” letting off CO2 right after they are roasted, this CO2 makes a sort of “protective barrier” keeping the coffee from going stale. Because coffee outgases, it needs to be packed in special bags with one way valves. Once the coffee is completely outgassed, there is nothing protecting its oils from going stale or evaporating off. Optimally you should consume coffee within 2 weeks of its roasting. Coffee that comes vacuum sealed has been allowed to completely outgas, and was therefore already stale before it was vacuum sealed. If not, the act of sealing the coffee before it was done outgassing would give you a poofball of air and coffee. Store fresh roasted coffee in a sealed container, if it is truly fresh (as in roasted that day) keep the lid ajar to allow the excess CO2 to escape.

Because you shouldn’t buy more coffee than you can consume in a 2 week period, it is important to find a local roaster. Local roasters ideally roast twice a week, though once a week is fine, too. Nice thing about local roasters is that you are supporting local business, which is also a good thing. There are also a few really good places to get fresh roasted coffee online, but it can get pricey, especially if you order from places like intelligentsia.

If you feel the need to freeze your coffee you are arguably buying too much at one time. If you absolutely must freeze, try and use vacuum bag devices like foodsavers, and consume all the coffee before 2 months after the roast date, this is admittedly less than ideal.






__________________________Roasting Coffee__________________________

By far, the most affordable way to get high quality roasted coffee is to roast it yourself. This may seem absurd to many of you, but the notion that you can go to the store to buy ready-to-brew coffee is only about 100 years old. Fresh, home roasted coffee fell by the hands of industrialization. Roasting coffee used to be a thing that everyone did once a week. These days coffee is a bland cardboard tasting brown granule that comes from a can. This is unfortunate, as home roasting is really no more of a chore than doing the dishes.

The easiest way to get into home roasting is with either a stovetop whirley pop popcorn popper or a hot air electric popcorn popper. Both of which can be found at a thrift store for chump change. I, personally, use a stove top whirley pop. If you use an electric popper, use it outside, the flying chaff can be quite messy. Nice thing about the whirley pop is that it has a lid so the chaff stays contained. You also need two colanders. A fan and a spray bottle is also useful.

Here is a useful guide!
http://www.sweetmarias.com/roasting-VisualGuideV2.php

Method for stovetop poppers
Heat the inside of your popper to 450F. Add coffee and start stirring. When your coffee has reached the desired roast level, take your popper outside and dump the coffee into one of the colanders. Pass the coffee back and forth between the colanders to allow the chaff to escape and to quickly cool the coffee. Doing this with a fan helps clear the chaff and cool the coffee. You can also spritz the hot beans with a couple of sprays of clean water. This is called water quenching. If you do this, note that you are not actually wetting the coffee, you are evaporating water off of the surface of the coffee; the act of evaporation absorbs heat from the beans due to the latent heat of evaporation. You really should only spritz 2 or 3 times. The coffee should not be wet.

How to determine roast levels
Using color to determine the roast of your coffee is quite inconsistent. The best way to determine doneness is to listen to it. Over the course of roasting, your coffee will undergo two periods of snapping and popping called the first and second “cracks.”

As the first crack ramps up it will eventually reach a peak then trail off. If you allow the first crack to happen and stop immediately after it is finished you have roasted a “City roast.” As mentioned, City roast coffees are bright and lively, and retain the strongest origin character of the roast levels. Allowing the coffee to darken slightly past the city roast level is often referred to as City+ or C+. Stopping just shy of the first crack’s end is often referred to as New England roast.

This is an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe roasted to about a C+

Allowing the roast to continue you will eventually reach the start of the second crack. Stopping when you hear the first few pops of the second crack will give you a “Full City” roast. As mentioned, Full City roasts offer good origin character with a bit of roast character. Allowing the second crack to actually develop for a bit longer gives you a Full City+ roast or FC+.

this is a Nicaragua Nueva Segovia, roasted to a FC

Allowing the roast to continue to the point of a rapid second crack gives you a French roast. As mentioned, a French roast is almost completely roast character, only a few coffees can retain origin at French roast stage, Sumatran, for instance. Between FC+ and French is sometimes called Vienna roast. Just past French is sometimes called Italian or Spanish roast.


this is an Indonesia Sulawesi Toraja Sapan roasted to about a Vienna.

Allowing the second crack to finish is a fire hazard, don’t do this.

Stay tuned, more to come!

Resources
Green coffee beans, roasting information/gear: http://www.sweetmarias.com
Green coffee beans: http://www.coffeebeancorral.com/
Espresso and coffee machines and supplies: http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com
Great quality already roasted coffee: http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/
A list of great roasters! http://www.home-barista.com/coffees...ers-t12125.html

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Happy Hat
Aug 11, 2008

He just wants someone to shake his corks, is that too much to ask??


Yay! Good OP!

LAchristus
Aug 14, 2006

Don't you know pump it up! YOU'VE GOT TO PUMP IT UP!!!

This thread is going to be hot, I can already feel it!

Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


drat, that's an excellent OP. The only coffee I drink with any regularity is cold-brewed iced coffee, since I don't have any coffee equipment and cold brewing is very forgiving. How much would a decent setup (i.e. workable burr grinder and a "clever coffee dripper") cost?

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Kenning posted:

drat, that's an excellent OP. The only coffee I drink with any regularity is cold-brewed iced coffee, since I don't have any coffee equipment and cold brewing is very forgiving. How much would a decent setup (i.e. workable burr grinder and a "clever coffee dripper") cost?

A Baratza Maestro runs about 70bux refurbished. A CCD is 15bux. You can have some of the best coffee you've ever had for < 100bux.

Remember your coffee is only as good as your beans, find a good local roaster.

Ziir
Nov 20, 2004

by Ozmaugh


We have a coffee machine in our office kitchen that seems pretty cool. There's a bin to put beans and a container for water. You can press a button for coffee or espresso (single or double), and then there's another thing next to it for milk. There's two buttons there, one has a picture of a cup with foam over it and another one is a tube. I'm not really sure what each button does as it looks like it does the same thing but I think the one with the tube puts out more milk than the other one.

Anyway, I was never a coffee drinker but I started drinking coffee recently (because I had some major studying and catching up to do) and this machine doesn't help prevent caffein addition. But while I'm drinking coffee now, what are some drinks I can make with this machine? I've seriously never drank coffee before so all I know is espresso comes in tiny shot sizes and Starbucks is really expensive coffee flavored sugar water.

e: Does coffee by itself have carbs?

Sizone
Sep 13, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 4 days!


Good start but, did I miss something or did you leave out the best way to brew coffee?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_coffee_maker

Start your day off with SCIENCE.

Here is Stovetop
Feb 20, 2004

...instead of potatoes.


My last job was lead roaster for a local roastery. I'd be happy to answer questions. That roastery still carries atleast 2 blends I personally devised. I was also a barrista, though that was second to my roasting, so I didn't spend a lot of time on fancy drinks, but I learned how to pull an espresso shot, and learned most of the popular drinks at our cafe, though more of the roasting knowledge stuck with me than the barrista work. My barrista work was mainly to help me figure out what I wanted to get out of my roasts. I'm familiar with drip, aeropress, french press, espresso, and toddy preparation methods. I'm also pretty familiar with what was popular about 3 years ago as far as varietals and countries of origin. Great OP. No experience with Kopi Luwak. Lots of expereience with fair trade, organic, etc etc offerings.

Really like the OP!

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


I've only recently started getting seriously into decent coffee, my brother is a barista and after listening to him sperg for years about it, we've finally started working on a decent set up. I live in St. Louis, so for any of you nearby who are interested, Kaldi's is far and away the best local roaster that I know of. AND they do free cuppings once a month where you can go and taste their different blends and learn a LOT about coffee.

So far we've got a hand-me-down blade grinder and a new Bodum Chambord and the quality of the coffee I'm making is far and away better than anything I've done before. A burr grinder will be our next purchase and eventually I'd like a pour over setup like my brother has, but as of right now I don't have time to spend in the mornings to do that, I'm usually running late trying to put makeup on while listening for the 4-minute timer for the press.

I'm trying to find a type of coffee that I had at the Kaldi's cupping. It's not a Kaldi's coffee, it was one of their 'guest' coffees that they bring in to compare and contrast with their own roasts. I don't want to call them and ask because of the fact that it's not their coffee (which I drink daily, but want to have some of this as well). It was African, I believe single origin, I believe Kenya, in a pale green/blue package with a view of a floral landscape? The coffee was extremely light, very fruity, very acidic, absolutely delicious, and I believe is pretty expensive. I know the package said something about blackberry notes. So coffee fans, does that ring any bells?

Also, for those of you with manual grinders... my brother has a manual grinder and him and his wife gave me their old blade grinder. He loves hand grinding his coffee, but his wife, not so much. He discovered that if he unscrews the handle on top (the part that turns), it's an exact fit for his power drill. So he keeps his drill on the kitchen counter with the 'coffee stuff' and every morning his wife gets up and 'drill grinds' her coffee beans. It's pretty awesome, actually.

Here is Stovetop
Feb 20, 2004

...instead of potatoes.


Hard to say really Kenya is a big place, with a number of farms and regions. I would call them and ask. Most roasters aren't going to be shy about telling you where other coffees come from particularly if it isn't something they carry due to expense or other reasons. Especially if you are a regular customer. The roastery I worked at for instance didn't carry Blue Mountain or Kona year round, we only carried it at Christmas time, however, there was a coffee shop in the next town over that sold it by the cup year round, and I was happy to point them in his direction if that is what they were looking for. I'd also be happy to try and sell them on something in my shop based on their wants, but we had enough of a belief in our product that we weren't afraid to assist customers locate things that we didn't regularly carry, or had problems sourcing through our own brokers.

Hauki
May 11, 2010



Much better OP, glad to see a new coffee thread.
In related news, I spotted a rusty, barely recognizable Cremina on the shelf in a cafe recently and I'm sorely tempted to make an offer on it and attempt a full restoration. I'd feel a little more confident now since I pulled mine apart and worked on it. At any rate, the owner wasn't around, and the girl behind the counter couldn't really answer my questions, so I left well enough alone for now.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Ziir posted:

We have a coffee machine in our office kitchen that seems pretty cool. There's a bin to put beans and a container for water. You can press a button for coffee or espresso (single or double), and then there's another thing next to it for milk. There's two buttons there, one has a picture of a cup with foam over it and another one is a tube. I'm not really sure what each button does as it looks like it does the same thing but I think the one with the tube puts out more milk than the other one.

Anyway, I was never a coffee drinker but I started drinking coffee recently (because I had some major studying and catching up to do) and this machine doesn't help prevent caffein addition. But while I'm drinking coffee now, what are some drinks I can make with this machine? I've seriously never drank coffee before so all I know is espresso comes in tiny shot sizes and Starbucks is really expensive coffee flavored sugar water.

e: Does coffee by itself have carbs?

Sounds like a sort of super automatic machine. Milk drinks like lattes and cappuccinos are probably your best bet. Does it have a steam wand? If not you can foam milk using a french press. Put hot milk in the press pot and agitate the plunger up and down rapidly. This passes the milk through the fine mesh and incorporates air. Nifty little trick for people with handpressos, mypressi twists, and moka pots.

No carbs in plain, black coffee.

Nione posted:

So far we've got a hand-me-down blade grinder and a new Bodum Chambord and the quality of the coffee I'm making is far and away better than anything I've done before. A burr grinder will be our next purchase and eventually I'd like a pour over setup like my brother has, but as of right now I don't have time to spend in the mornings to do that, I'm usually running late trying to put makeup on while listening for the 4-minute timer for the press.

May I recommend a Clever Coffee Dripper? With it you can do your 4 min timer routine and still have the clean cup of a pourover. Sorry for whoring out the CCD so much. Bob_McBob recommended it to me in the last thread and it was a game changer for me.

quote:

It was African, I believe single origin, I believe Kenya, in a pale green/blue package with a view of a floral landscape? The coffee was extremely light, very fruity, very acidic, absolutely delicious, and I believe is pretty expensive. I know the package said something about blackberry notes. So coffee fans, does that ring any bells?

Certainly sounds Kenyan, they tend to be pricey, very bright, fruity, acidic coffees. Do as stovetop recommendeds and ask, as with many craft-orientated places, roasters usually love talking about their trade.

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


GrAviTy84 posted:

May I recommend a Clever Coffee Dripper? With it you can do your 4 min timer routine and still have the clean cup of a pourover. Sorry for whoring out the CCD so much. Bob_McBob recommended it to me in the last thread and it was a game changer for me.

Does it make enough to fill my to-go cup (which is almost half of the 8-cup Chambord)? I will definitely check it out, thanks. I love the Bodum, but it's kind of a pain in the rear end to clean up every day.

quote:

Certainly sounds Kenyan, they tend to be pricey, very bright, fruity, acidic coffees. Do as stovetop recommendeds and ask, as with many craft-orientated places, roasters usually love talking about their trade.

Thanks. I just really loved it and a few of the people at the cupping seemed to be familiar with it, so I was hoping someone would recognize it by my description. I'll suck it up and give them a call, hoping they don't remember me because they all know my brother and will give him poo poo for it.

EuroYank
Jan 10, 2010


Man I love coffee... after spending six months in Brussels I was so disappointed when I arrived back home in Milwaukee. Now back in Paris, I can really start diving into the world of coffee. I've been through a lot of machines over the last few years and have an overcrowded counter top with a French Press, La Pavoni Europiccola, Nespresso, Aeropress and my new love, a Rancilio Silvia. I live in a tiny rear end apartment so I really need to get rid of the La Pav.. I'm just dreading packing it up and shipping it somewhere if I can't sell it locally.

Anyway, are there any other Silvia owners here? I'm really struggling with getting good foam which is starting to bug me. Any tips you have would really be appreciated.

Also, I'm looking for a nice grinder to pair with the machine. I have a manual Zassenhaus grinder but it's a real bitch to spend 3-4 minutes in the morning hand grinding for a shot.. especially since my morning routing is only 30 mins long and the coffee is needed to get me going. I have the Nespresso when I'm running late but I really want to start using the Silvia more and auto is the way to go for that but after picking up the new machine, I'm a little gun shy about dropping another few hundred on an accessory... I wonder if I could trade the La Pav for a Rocky Grinder.. is this a fair trade or am I dreaming?

Cheers

etcetera08
Sep 11, 2008



Nione posted:

I've only recently started getting seriously into decent coffee, my brother is a barista and after listening to him sperg for years about it, we've finally started working on a decent set up. I live in St. Louis, so for any of you nearby who are interested, Kaldi's is far and away the best local roaster that I know of. AND they do free cuppings once a month where you can go and taste their different blends and learn a LOT about coffee.

So far we've got a hand-me-down blade grinder and a new Bodum Chambord and the quality of the coffee I'm making is far and away better than anything I've done before. A burr grinder will be our next purchase and eventually I'd like a pour over setup like my brother has, but as of right now I don't have time to spend in the mornings to do that, I'm usually running late trying to put makeup on while listening for the 4-minute timer for the press.

I'm trying to find a type of coffee that I had at the Kaldi's cupping. It's not a Kaldi's coffee, it was one of their 'guest' coffees that they bring in to compare and contrast with their own roasts. I don't want to call them and ask because of the fact that it's not their coffee (which I drink daily, but want to have some of this as well). It was African, I believe single origin, I believe Kenya, in a pale green/blue package with a view of a floral landscape? The coffee was extremely light, very fruity, very acidic, absolutely delicious, and I believe is pretty expensive. I know the package said something about blackberry notes. So coffee fans, does that ring any bells?

Also, for those of you with manual grinders... my brother has a manual grinder and him and his wife gave me their old blade grinder. He loves hand grinding his coffee, but his wife, not so much. He discovered that if he unscrews the handle on top (the part that turns), it's an exact fit for his power drill. So he keeps his drill on the kitchen counter with the 'coffee stuff' and every morning his wife gets up and 'drill grinds' her coffee beans. It's pretty awesome, actually.

I'm from St Louis too and will second the Kaldi's recommendation. I've only had one or two bad experiences with their beans/coffee and I think it was just from being stale. They do it right, to be sure.

Other than Kaldi's I've really enjoyed some blends from Just Coffee Co-op and they do a good job discussing the sources of their beans (http://www.justcoffee.coop/). And they're pretty loving cheap, even with shipping.

Pixelante
Mar 15, 2006

we sublimate our sense of doom, but it's always there... flickering


I have a reusable stainless steel filter for my Aeropress. Only quirk is that you need to grind a little coarser than with the paper filters. No big.

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


etcetera08 posted:

I'm from St Louis too and will second the Kaldi's recommendation. I've only had one or two bad experiences with their beans/coffee and I think it was just from being stale. They do it right, to be sure.

If you ever have a Friday afternoon off, I highly recommend going to a cupping at the roastery, it's a great way to sample all their best coffees as well as a real learning experience. They had 2-3 different 'days' of each of their coffees and it was pretty cool to be able to taste the difference in coffee roasted on one day compared to another. Plus, we got to see their brand new roaster and get a tour of their operations. It's free, too, so you really can't beat that.

What's funny is that their roastery is right down the street practically from Ronnoco... talk about night and day!

MoosetheMooche
Jan 28, 2011


Is there such a thing as good decaf? I consider myself a bit of a coffee snob but over the past few months I've developed some bad reactions to caffeine. I don't want to give up my love for coffee but I've heard decaf is universally lovely coffee.

Here is Stovetop
Feb 20, 2004

...instead of potatoes.


MoosetheMooche posted:

Is there such a thing as good decaf? I consider myself a bit of a coffee snob but over the past few months I've developed some bad reactions to caffeine. I don't want to give up my love for coffee but I've heard decaf is universally lovely coffee.

Yes there is. There are different methods of decafination. Here is a link to a very informative wiki article on it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeination

The short answer to your question is, that you want Swiss Water Processed decafs. This method doesn't use harsh and bad tasting chemicals to remove the caffination. If you are getting your coffee from a local roaster (this is highly reccomended) they should be able to tell you what they offer with this method. I haven't looked in my grocery store for coffee in a long time because I am a bit of a snob (and not a daily drinker anymore) but whoever your retailer of choice is just look for a swiss water processed notice on the coffee.

You can go to this site http://www.swisswater.com/ and the white logo with the S and the blue wave under it is the swiss water sticker, most folks trying to sell a swiss water processed prodcut will mark it with such a sticker to help brand it.

MoosetheMooche
Jan 28, 2011


Awesome, thanks for the tips! I'll ask the few roasters I know of if they offer that kind specifically. Your help is much appreciated.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



Nione posted:

Does it make enough to fill my to-go cup (which is almost half of the 8-cup Chambord)? I will definitely check it out, thanks. I love the Bodum, but it's kind of a pain in the rear end to clean up every day.

How many fl oz is your travel mug? It fills mine perfectly (16oz). You can always make your batch a bit stronger and as it's draining top off with a little bit more water.

LTBS
Oct 9, 2003

Big Pimpin, Spending the G's

Is it possible to get good coffee out of a Keurig machine or any of the other pod/disc type machines?

Here is Stovetop
Feb 20, 2004

...instead of potatoes.


LTBS posted:

Is it possible to get good coffee out of a Keurig machine or any of the other pod/disc type machines?

The answer depends on how snobby you are. The problems with the pod/disc machines is that coffee comes preground. It's hard to guarantee freshness. The technology is great as far as the brewing method is concerned, but it's harder to guage the quality of your product. (Unless they are now making pods/discs you can fill yourself in which case go hog wild.)


\/\/\/\/ What he said also.

GrAviTy84
Nov 24, 2004



LTBS posted:

Is it possible to get good coffee out of a Keurig machine or any of the other pod/disc type machines?

I'm sure there is, but they all defeat the purpose of having such a machine. The machines exist for convenience at the expense of quality. They make reuseable filters that fit in the pod holder but then you negate the disposability and cleanup convenience. Nothing stopping you from grinding your own coffee then, so that negates the convenience of a single machine and the prepackaged pods. At the end of the day, if you are after quality coffee, you are spending over $100 on something with the same convenience and quality as a $25 coffee maker.

Edit: Might as well spend that $150 on a Baratza Vario and get a CCD or pourover for the price of the Keurig's reusable filters.

Flash Gordon Ramsay
Sep 28, 2004



It's worth noting that unlike most of the pod machines, the keurig kcups are nitrogen injected to prevent oxidation of the coffee after its packaged. Some of the bold styles brew up a good cup of coffee. No, it's not as good as a pot of French press or some or other freshly ground pour-over method, but what did you expect? Convenience is always a trade-off.

That said, I keep a Keurig machine for my weekday morning cup, a french press for the weekends, and a regular drip brewer for...well, I don't really use it anymore.

Studebaker Hawk
May 22, 2004



For vendors, the best I have found price v. quality and freshness are:
http://www.klatchroasting.com/
http://www.dancinggoats.com/Home_C2...FTOKEN=61410679

I tend to go to microroasters rather than stumptown/intellegensia

Any other suggestions/favorite sources?

blacquethoven
Nov 29, 2003


Does anyone else like to add a pinch of salt to their coffee? We have some pretty lovely coffee at work and I always throw some salt in. It seems like it makes it taste way better.

Here's an interesting article on the subject
http://blog.khymos.org/2010/03/21/a...our-coffee-sir/

Bob_McBob
Mar 24, 2007


EuroYank posted:

Man I love coffee... after spending six months in Brussels I was so disappointed when I arrived back home in Milwaukee. Now back in Paris, I can really start diving into the world of coffee.

I hate to break it to you, but Paris has some of the worst coffee you can get. They use awful ancient stale, dark roasted robusta-heavy beans, pull long dishwater shots, and UHT café au lait is the milk drink of choice. It's pretty much universally looked down on by anyone who cares about coffee quality rather than café atmosphere.

There are a couple of decent places if you do your reseach, but in general you are actually better off going to a McCafé if you want decent coffee.

EuroYank
Jan 10, 2010


I feel you on the crappy coffee here in Paris. I am only interested in the stores that sell nice machines and beans. At least Nespresso is available in the stores and it's a decent alternative to taking the time to grind and pull a shot.

I think the best example of lovely French coffee came during Valentine's day when I went to the Bistro du Sommelier (winner of the best sommelier in the world some time in the 90s). After a 150 euro 5 course meal with some amazing wines.. the coffee that came was some of the worst in Paris. What a crappy way to end an expensive, but fantastic tasting meal :-/

The real problem with becoming a coffee snob is that most restaurants in Paris have terrible coffee which really takes away some of the magic.. oh well.

etcetera08
Sep 11, 2008



Nione posted:

If you ever have a Friday afternoon off, I highly recommend going to a cupping at the roastery, it's a great way to sample all their best coffees as well as a real learning experience. They had 2-3 different 'days' of each of their coffees and it was pretty cool to be able to taste the difference in coffee roasted on one day compared to another. Plus, we got to see their brand new roaster and get a tour of their operations. It's free, too, so you really can't beat that.

What's funny is that their roastery is right down the street practically from Ronnoco... talk about night and day!

Living up in Kirksville at the moment, but I'll definitely try to make it down to one over the summer maybe. Is it every week?

ninja edit: I've had some okay cups of Ronnoco too, to be fair, but they really lose quality control with all the gas stations that serve their coffee.

anabatica
Feb 17, 2006

by angerbutt


I have a Melitta drip which is in the Pour Over category I guess, which the OP says can be very good if used properly, but what exactly is the proper technique? What temperature do I want my water? How quickly do I want to pour the water in? Etc.

I use water as close to boiling as possible, I pour in a little at first and let it settle to get the grounds wet, and then I pour in enough to fill the cup. I think I read something recommending this somewhere, but I'm not sure and I may have just made it up instead. So what's the right way?

Meat Street
Oct 17, 2004

knowin' nothin' in life but to be legit

New thread, so I'll throw my hat into the ring again. I've been a roaster for over two years at a large-ish coffee roaster, and I'd love to help answer any roasting, industry, or general coffee questions people have.

Here is Stovetop
Feb 20, 2004

...instead of potatoes.


anabatica posted:

I have a Melitta drip which is in the Pour Over category I guess, which the OP says can be very good if used properly, but what exactly is the proper technique? What temperature do I want my water? How quickly do I want to pour the water in? Etc.

I use water as close to boiling as possible, I pour in a little at first and let it settle to get the grounds wet, and then I pour in enough to fill the cup. I think I read something recommending this somewhere, but I'm not sure and I may have just made it up instead. So what's the right way?

Your doing fine there. Coffee should generally be brewed at approx 210 which is just shy of boiling point.

Pixelante
Mar 15, 2006

we sublimate our sense of doom, but it's always there... flickering


Here is Stovetop posted:

Your doing fine there. Coffee should generally be brewed at approx 210 which is just shy of boiling point.

That sounds really high to me. I brew more around 190 or so, though I generally ball-park it by letting the kettle cool down while I do other things. I make black tea at just-boiled temperatures, and make green tea or coffee at lower temps.

Evenly moistening the grind before adding the rest of the water is inarguably a good thing, though.

Pigsfeet on Rye
Oct 22, 2008

I'm meat on the hoof


Pixelante posted:


Evenly moistening the grind before adding the rest of the water is inarguably a good thing, though.

What's the rationale behind wetting the grounds?

Pixelante
Mar 15, 2006

we sublimate our sense of doom, but it's always there... flickering


Pigsfeet on Rye posted:

What's the rationale behind wetting the grounds?

In my understanding, it brings them up to temperature more gently, and it also makes sure that the water filters through evenly. If you dump hot water all over it en masse, you're blasting them with sudden heat and swirling the contents, kicking up all the grinds instead of leaving them at the bottom for the water to drain through.

I get far better results out of my Aeropress when I add the water very slowly at first, turning the cup as I go to get the whole surface. Even when I add the rest, I do it carefully.

Meat Street
Oct 17, 2004

knowin' nothin' in life but to be legit

Pigsfeet on Rye posted:

What's the rationale behind wetting the grounds?

Pre-wetting the grounds also allows the "bloom," or release of CO2, to happen without disrupting even distribution of water once you begin pouring in earnest. It's more important with super fresh coffees, but not a bad practice anyway. The basic idea is to let the coffee rise and fall as that gas is released, then begin pouring your remaining water.

pnumoman
Sep 26, 2008


Great OP!

I love my coffee, but I will be the first to admit that I'm a household coffee novice. That being said, my favorite trick for french press coffee is to take a paper filter and wrap it around the plunger. The filter is thin enough to barely impede the progress of the plunger and it produces a surprisingly clear cup with pretty much no sediment. However, as Gravity said, the paper does absorb a bit of the oils, but it's not enough for me to really notice. Your mileage may vary, depending on how sensitive your coffee palette is.

The manual espresso machine really intrigues me; is it worth getting if I'm a home espresso newbie? I love me espresso, but I've never encountered anything but the cheapo, horrid home espresso machines outside of a coffeeshop. I have a burr grinder that's not the best, but okay enough for french press/pour over coffee, so if a manual espresso machine is not too hard to learn, I'd love to try one out. Also, does anyone have any experience with used manual espresso machines? Even though they're cheaper than decent automatics, >$500 is still too much for me to just jump in.

Featured Creature
May 10, 2004
Tomatoes

Pixelante posted:

I have a reusable stainless steel filter for my Aeropress. Only quirk is that you need to grind a little coarser than with the paper filters. No big.

Where did you get said filter? I have a really nice espresso maker, but use my aeropress all the time.

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geetee
Feb 2, 2004

>;[

Featured Creature posted:

Where did you get said filter? I have a really nice espresso maker, but use my aeropress all the time.

Search for COAVA DISK -- It's available in a bunch of places for $15.

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