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AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Tig Ol Bitties posted:

I work in a kitchen supply store. We sell Chemex, Aeropress, various french presses, mokapots, and Capresso automatic drips that seem to always break. Last night, I had a man ask for a unique coffee maker. I offered him the Aeropress, and told him one of the cons was the clean up. He scolded me and told me that "One should never clean any coffee maker! It builds a patina! Never tell your customers to clean theirs again!"

Is this a thing? I have heard of never washing tea mugs, but never cleaning your coffee maker?

It builds a foul tasting patina, he's correct.

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AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

If you're just getting into coffee, your best bet is to try getting a cup from several different places, and with different methods of brewing. I'd bet there's a great local coffee shop or two in the Seattle area. Maybe someone from this thread is in Seattle?

I don't recommend trying to brew coffee yourself if you're just getting into it. Particularly not pour-over methods. It'd be like trying to brew wine to your tastes without ever having had any before.

Edit: And there he is! Great!

AriTheDog fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2011 around 05:15

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

I suspect it's that you're drinking it with sweetened condensed milk. However, never having bought it before, and only having been served it at Vietnamese restaurants, maybe the product turnover rate is high enough that it never has the chance to get stale after it's opened.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Lazaruise posted:

What is the best generic brand of coffee, like folgers or maxwell house? Normally I wouldn't ever buy these but I'm getting deployed soon and all I'll have access too is the basic brands I fear. So I just want to get the most bang for my lovely buck.

Buy a case of Starbucks VIA. It's surprisingly good instant coffee, and I'd say it's better than the coffee they actually serve IN Starbucks.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Wsobchak posted:

So what is the opinion on instant coffee? I live in a college dorm, and there is no room to accommodate a coffee maker. What is the best instant coffee out there?

I posted this earlier in the thread, but Starbucks' VIA is surprisingly good. It uses a combination of microground coffee and the standard instant coffee crystals, so you get something with a decent amount of body, reminiscent of something like Turkish coffee. I actually like it, and I've given friends who like coffee packets and they have universally been impressed.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

sellouts posted:

For those that have been waiting, Baratza redid their site and reloaded their store with a ton of refurbs at all price levels.

Maestro is 70 refurb , Maestro plus is 95 (new is 145), and Virtuoso is 143 (new is 250).

Thanks for pointing this out! Anyone know what the difference between the Maestro and Maestro Plus is? People in another thread somewhere else were saying the only difference is the pulse switch on the front, and the metal base. Anyone know?

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Thanks guys. Picking up a Maestro to finally end my two year grinder hiatus since my Capresso broke. Phew!

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Doc Faustus posted:

Hey there coffee thread! I've never been much of a coffee drinker, but have been drinking more as I'm trying to cut soda out of my diet. I can sort of make palatable drip coffee with the right blend of cream and sugar, but... eh. Probably doesn't help that I'm using the world's jankiest Mr. Coffee.

My real weakness is the latte, usually with one of those sugar syrup add-ins. I realize this probably makes half the thread irrationally angry, but oh well! Rather than spending $4 each time I want some coffee, I'd like to replicate this at home. I've read the OP, and given that I'm going to be mixing with a fair amount of milk, it sounds like the Moka/stovetop espresso might be right for me. Am I wrong?

With a $30 stovetop pot, a handheld frother, and some pre-ground espresso from a reputable roaster, am I going to get close to what I'm looking for?

This was already stated, but swapping out soda for coffee with cream and sugar is pretty misguided. Anyway, just get an Aeropress, it'll do what you want at least as well as anything else at that price point.

Also, consider picking up a Sodastream or some other kind of seltzer machine and drinking just plain seltzer water, it's a good, crisp, refreshing alternative to soft drinks once you get used to it.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

yokken posted:

hopefully get an aeropress soon, as well as a hario grinder from amazon. i'm currently satisfying my habit with a keurig, but i love good coffee when i can get it. starting small.

is there anything i should know before i start taking a crack at halfway-decent espresso/americanos? i've read this whole thread.. but holy poo poo, $500 coffee grinders? i'll pass...

help me become a coffee snob guys

oh yeah, and i know a really cool guy who roasts his own stuff every other week. gonna get myself a mason jar and get some fresh stuff from him once i get my grinder/aeropress

I know I just recommended it, but get an Aeropress and maybe a Hario Skerton or Baratza Maestro grinder and you'll be able to make some very very good espresso-like coffee without spending a ton of cash.

Unless you want to drink espresso nearly every day and have a lot of disposable income, it makes more sense just to go to a really good coffee shop when you want to have some good espresso (assuming you live in an area where this kind of thing exists).

Gravity Pike posted:

Looking at the Baratza site, I can't find Maestro; only Maestro Plus at $95. Do they just not make Maestros anymore, and I'm out of luck if I want a refurb?

They have a little line saying "don't see the grinder you're looking for here" that you can click on, and it'll show them. I think they might be sold out, though.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Akarshi posted:

Hey everyone, super noob here who is thinking of getting into coffee. I'm not sure where to start, and as of now buying a coffee machine isn't very possible since I'm in a cluttered dorm room and am not sure where to put it (plus no available power sockets). I live in Philadelphia, so if anyone has any coffeeshop recs there, it would be awesome. Any recommendations for types of coffee? Also, is it better to drink it black or not? Some people told me that milk and sugar muddies the flavor, but others swear by it; it's all pretty confusing. Thanks in advance.

If you're new to drinking coffee, just drink it how you like it. Try it several different ways. There's nothing wrong with putting cream and sugar in coffee, but with that in mind if your coffee is exquisitely prepared you probably won't want or need to - so take a little sip before adding stuff.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Clanpot Shake posted:

e; /\/\/\ Invest in some Gaviscon.

I need moka pot advice. I got a french press a while back and stopped using my moka for a while. I opened it up today and found I had neglected to clean it. So it had been sitting with coffee grounds and moisture all sealed up for about 2 months.

There was this kind of waxy-looking growth in it. I cleaned out the top, bottom, and filter, but the piece that holds the coffee isn't easily cleaned. What's the best way to de-gunk this piece? I can't open it up to clean it.

Clear out all the solid stuff as best you can, then fill the whole thing with isopropyl alcohol. It'll get pretty much anything off glass or stainless steel. You can add salt too, if you want something mildly abrasive in there.

edit: whoops, thought your French Press was dirty, not the Moka Pot. No idea, but this might still work, depends on the finish on the metal though.

Abu-Saleh posted:

Am I supposed to feel like experiencing acid-reflux every time after ingesting coffee? This is proving to be very troubling to me because it breaks my concentration during lectures, the very reason I drink coffee to begin with.

Some coffees are more acidic than others. I've certainly experienced that before, but it isn't typical, and it pretty much never happens with coffee I brew at home via Chemex.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Abu-Saleh posted:

Brewed coffee it is then, all right guys.
Any recommendation for a poor college student on budget?

Cheap Hario grinder and a Clever Coffee Cupper/Aeropress/French Press (French Press is probably not a great choice if you're worried about acid reflux). You could certainly skip the grinder and just get your beans ground fresh at a local coffee shop, but it'll probably save you money over time to own a grinder and buy larger quantities of roasted beans for a lower price per pound (Trader Joe's coffee isn't all great, but some of the stuff they carry is pretty decent and very, very cheap).

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

So I just opened up my refurbished Baratza Maestro, and it's pretty filthy. Completely covered with finely ground coffee. Can anyone else who received a refurbished grinder from Baratza tell me anything about the condition yours arrived in?

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Here's an album of pics of the dirty grinder. The one of my finger is after running it around the hopper, to give you an idea of the cleanliness level. The shot of the whole grinder is to show that at a glance, it passes muster. It isn't visibly trashed - although these photos are after dusting it off and removing some larger coffee grounds. I couldn't get a great shot of the metal grinder inside, but it's a little beat up looking as well. It kind of looks like they just got this grinder in, checked if it worked, dusted it off with a towel, and sent it out.

Also worth noting is that the serial sticker it says that it's a Starbucks Barista. On the front it says it's a Maestro. No clue on this.

I wasn't going to bitch about this, but their shopping cart system was apparently broken when I ordered, so from the 23rd of November until I e-mailed them on the 29th, I had a tracking number that wasn't tracking anything. After a couple of e-mails with someone who wasn't apologetic, the grinder was sent out on Dec. 1st, a full week after I ordered it, and just arrived yesterday - in this condition.

I'm not going to say that anyone here should avoid Baratza, because if it works well (haven't tested it yet, waiting to hear back from them), then it's still a good deal. That said, well, see for yourself.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Here's the response I got, which is fairly disconcerting and leaves me with pretty much zero faith in their quality control.

quote:

Hi Ari,



Thank you for the pictures, they were very helpful. I do apologize for the residual coffee dust, we certainly should have cleaned it more sufficiently after completing the final testing. The grounds bin is especially dirtied on the unit you received, we try to clean them well, and I apologize for the failure to do so. Have you tested out the unit? Is it working satisfactorily? I would like to send you a free box of Grindz grinder cleaner for the machine.



The Maestro does not have a chrome base on the unit, I believe our new-ish tec mistakenly installed a base on the unit you received. The base is easily removable (4 screws) but is really an upgrade, it comes on models like the Maestro Plus and Virtuoso.



Let me know,
--------

So it seems that they have a new tech, who can't even pick the correct part for the correct grinder. It's great that I got a metal base as an upgrade, but it leaves me wondering what other parts are in the grinder, where they're from, and what condition they're in. I don't know about you guys, but after this I think I would never consider purchasing a more expensive grinder from Baratza.

So I guess I'll check if the grinder works. I don't really feel like spending a ton of time cleaning something that arrived dirty, and I'm wondering if I should be more of a pain in the rear end to them, or if I'm just wasting my time.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Bob_McBob posted:

Based on another thread elsewhere, they did recently start training a new tech. I would take some comfort in knowing that they actually disassembled your grinder and replaced parts as needed. I've never heard of the base being accidentally swapped like on yours, but it is a drop-in piece that is exactly the same shape, so I can understand how the error was made with multiple grinders open at the same time on the bench.

Obviously your grinds bin was not cleaned as it should have been. The other photos you posted seem pretty minor to me on a refurb, unless the grinder was literally covered with coffee dust as you suggested (please clarify...). FWIW, it is completely normal to receive a brand new grinder with residual grinds in the hopper, burrs, and grind path, because they are tested with coffee before being shipped out. It looks like they refurbished your grinder and completely skipped the cleaning step afterwards.

Baratza does seem to have the odd hiccup like this, but they have one of the best customer service reputations in the whole coffee industry. I am sure they would replace your grinder if you asked them, but I doubt there is anything wrong with it.
Thanks for the info. You're right that it's pretty minor, but the fact that no one took a look at the grinder and said "hey, wait a minute" before boxing it up and shipping it out says a lot about how they do things. There's clearly no check list, so screw ups like this are bound to happen. Not the kind of company I'd want to give a few hundred dollars to.

Regarding being covered in coffee dust, yes, it was covered in larger grinds that were stuck on by static. It wasn't terrible, but it was definitely noticeable. That said, the knowledge that they test the refurbs by grinding coffee is a reasonable excuse for this.

At this point I just want to use the loving thing and start drinking good coffee. I've been testing it out with some not-very-oily beans, and it certainly works. The more coarse grind settings are very uneven, although lacking any very fine powder. Is this typical? I'm getting some pieces that are probably a couple millimeters in length, and some that are just tiny specks. It's looks kind of like what comes out of a blade grinder. Is this typical? I'lll make some French press in the morning and report back.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

seravid posted:

Oh, so comparing coffee to flowers and chocolate and berries is actually a thing? Well, now I'm super-hyped.

Chocolate, specifically, is probably thing that is closest in flavor to coffee that is not coffee. If you've ever had a really good cup of Vietnamese-style coffee with sweetened condensed milk, it's hard not to notice the resemblance to a bar of very good milk chocolate.

However, coffee certainly doesn't resemble Hershey's or Nestle or anything like that. More of a 71+% cacao bean content chocolate bar.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Jalumibnkrayal posted:

Does this seem like a good value for $200? Thermoblocks got poo-poo'd in the OP, but they claim theirs is different?

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ne?ref=category

Wow, I love the look of that thing. Bob_McBob, post more about this if/when you learn more, please!

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

I either compost the bulk of my grounds, or pour them down the drain. Reading online suggests it won't be a problem for drains, but I can understand being careful. After the grinds are out, I usually put a little bit of soap in, run very hot water about halfway up, and plunge up and down several times to clean out the filter. Works great, and is pretty fast.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

TheFrailNinja posted:

Doesn't really bother me that much, as long as it isn't affecting flavor. It does a lovely job though, there was a whole array of sizes. From silt to a half a bean, the average being coarse grind.

The thing about french press (and drip or really any method where steeping occurs) is that you're going to get a different level of extraction from different sized particles. Very fine particles are going to end up over-extracted very quickly. The coarse particles, under-extracted. When you're letting the coffee sit in hot water for four minutes, as per french press, you're going to get a very uneven extraction with a blade grinder, whereas with a coarse burr grind your grinds will be much more uniform.

That said, if you like the way your coffee tastes, and don't mind the sludge, whatever, right?

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

As someone who is a serious coffee snob, I think most of the tasting notes are total horseshit. Additionally, it's really difficult to brew great drip that is extracted just enough to really highlight the specific flavors. I've definitely tasted blueberries in coffee in a strong way, and it was really cool, but it's not going to happen unless you're really good at making coffee.

To TheFrailNinja, it sounds like your coffee was ground too finely, causing overextraction (bitterness).

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Residency Evil posted:

I know this is the equivalent of asking "where should I get pizza in New York," but do you guys have any favorite coffee places in SF near Moscone?

If you like iced, Blue Bottle's cold process coffee with chicory is a favorite of mine.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Deus Rex posted:

I've been french pressing my coffee for about 5 months with a blade grinder, getting really tired of it but I'm not quite ready yet to spend $150+ on a burr grinder that can do espresso grinds which I don't even need quite yet. So I think I'm going to go with a hand grinder, does anyone have any thoughts on this one from Kyocera? The reviews seem to be a little better than the Skerton for about the same price but I haven't seen it mentioned here.

http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-CM-50.../dp/B003S9XF7K/

I'm pretty sure that is the Skerton. It looks identical, anyway.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

SF Bay Area folks, can I just ask what in the gently caress is the deal with Philz? I'd never been into one, but I'd seen how popular the chain is online, so I finally dropped in to one over the weekend.

First, it seems like they only have blends. Their beans look roasted quite dark. It seems like most people are getting drip, but it's really unclear. I get up to the counter, tell the person working there that I'm looking to buy some beans from them and that I prefer light-medium roast African coffees, and ask for a recommendation. They recommend me their signature blend Tesoro, or something, but tell me they're out if it. It appears to be a dark roast. They ask me again what I like, and I tell them, and they recommend two other coffees they're out of that are their only African coffees, both blends and dark roasts, so I just tell them I'll come back later and try their signature blend.

Is Philz actually a good place for coffee, or is it just one of those places that's popular and not that great. The whole experience (selling Fedoras, cutesy names for things) reminded me of a tourist trap more than anything else. What am I missing? Should I go back and give them another try?

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

I stopped in the Berkeley location. The only reason I was unclear on what they offered is because their menu is incredibly wordy and positioned in a place people crowd in front of. I'm sure I'll give them another chance at some point, but I guess I suspected something a little less heavily branded!

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

I dunno, if he likes it and has tried a lot of different places, I think there's room for a budget espresso setup. Will it be as good as the expensive stuff? No, but not many people are going to spend upwards of $300 (even that is way low for people who are serious) for home espresso equipment.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

People use the stainless cone because it doesn't remove oils in the same way that paper filters do. It's not typically a price thing, especially since the stainless cone was $50 (I think?) when it first came out.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

nocal posted:

If you have issues with throwing away paper filters, aren't there reusable cloth filters? Or did I just imagine this after I slammed 20 ounces of Ethiopian peaberry directly into the fibers of my heart muscle?

There are, all the ones I've seen have been Japanese made. That said, I can't imagine having to wash finely ground coffee out of a cloth filter on a regular basis. We have city compost here in Oakland and you can put just about anything into it. Paper filters filled with coffee grounds are great for basic home composting and will compost really quickly.

As a fellow sometimes-tortured environmentalist, coffee filters are one of the least worst disposable things you're going to buy. If you want, you can even buy the FSC certified ones from If You Care, the company with the most obnoxious name ever dreamed up.

Tried Verve's Worka Ethiopian last week - really loving good. Now I'm drinking Blue Bottle's Three Africans, and I'm still in coffee heaven. I desperately need to get a kitchen scale though so water measurement isn't such a crapshoot, because I realized I'm almost always overextracting my coffee when I use my large Chemex due to eyeballing it incorrectly.

AriTheDog fucked around with this message at Mar 26, 2012 around 01:04

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

strangemusic posted:

So I love French press, but I've got a fairly small one. It's good for two little bitty "cups" or one big mug per brew. I kind of want to get a brewing device that allows for more capacity but isn't a bigger French press. This is also sort of an excuse to go buy/learn a new coffee gadget, so yay!

I'm pretty hooked on the idea of Chemex + Kone as you can buy a "10-cup" Chemex for fairly reasonable prices. I hear that it's supposed to be very press-like in quality because of the metal filtration rather than paper? Also - for those people who do use a Chemex - how is it for retaining the temperature of the coffee over time?

Don't buy a Kone unless you have a really good grinder or like silt. And yes, the oils go through unlike with a paper filter, but that said if that's what you're looking for why wouldn't you just use a French press? Regardless, the Chemex isn't superb at retaining heat, but it isn't awful either. Putting some hot water in it before brewing will help a lot, but it's probably still not as good as a French press because there's no lid (although you could use a plate or something). I tend to brew two cups of coffee at a time with it, and as long as I drink them one after the other without going off for an hour and forgetting about it it's fine.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Why don't you just bitch at their customer service people? You paid for one thing and got something else.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

do you feel me posted:

Has anyone tried to stop drinking coffee for long periods of time? How bad are the withdrawal symptoms?

Not very bad. You can always wean yourself off with a progressively larger ratio of decaf if you're scared. That said, if you drink seven cups of coffee a day, you might not want to just quit cold turkey.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

whereismyshoe posted:

Anyone use an electric kettle and have a recommendation for a good one?

There's an electric kettle from Bonavita with a pour spout, seems well reviewed and might be worth looking at. Pretty cheap, too.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

gwrtheyrn posted:

There's also supposed to be a variable temperature bonavita kettles coming out soon, both with the pour spout and the aroma-like spout.

Oh, awesome. I've got an Aroma brand electric kettle that really needs to be replaced, but I can wait for something like that.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

crikster posted:

Other then that, I reckon Coffee withdrawals are merely psychosemantic and to normal people, no coffee is no big deal.

You're thinking of psychosomatic, and they're not.

edit: Figures it's the guy who puts butter in his coffee...

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Kaluza-Klein posted:

Can I buy their "original" Virtuoso refurb and the $30 Preciso Burrs and make myself a Virtuoso 586?

I'd also like to know the answer to this.

Separately, my (awesome) wife preordered the Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle as a birthday present, and it's awesome. My single-cup drip is turning out better than ever before, and I don't think it's just my imagination. If any of you have been considering the Hario kettle that you can't even heat water in, this thing is only a little more expensive than that and will heat water to your specified temperature. I still need to do some tests to make sure the PID is calibrated properly, but for now I'm super impressed. I'm making coffee better than anything I've had at any of the fancy Third-Wave (or whatever you want to call it) coffee shops in the SF Bay Area.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

Yeah, my wife works across from a great little cafe called Machine in the Mid-Market area and there is an incredible amount of insane poo poo that happens every time I'm out there. Extreme wealth right next to abject poverty is pretty much the SF experience.

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

It sounds like you want cold-brewed, instant, or something else easy. Nothing that makes good coffee is going to fulfill the parameters of no thought, no measurement, no filter, no kettle, and can brew multiple types of coffee at once.

Just get a kettle and a single cup dripper for yourself and let them worry about their own coffee. You can use pre-ground coffee and still get a decent cup, and if you buy high quality paper filters you probably don't need to rinse them as you won't be able to notice the taste (Hario, for example).

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

The big pieces yes, the tiny fine stuff, no, and since it's all going in the FP together, no, it's a pretty terrible grind for FP. The key to good FP coffee is in a regular grind so you can get an even extraction (and no sludge).

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

I could be wrong, but it looks really uneven to me. They probably just have a lovely grinder.

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AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

That's a good deal. I use mine every single day, and it's fantastic.

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