Any coffee dorks?


#401

That stuff is nasty. Velveeta isn't even technically cheese, they have to label it "cheese food," which makes it sound like something you're supposed to feed to your real cheeses.

I had no idea there were people who think of cheese that way.


#402

'Civet coffee: why it's time to cut the crap':

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/sep/13/civet-coffee-cut-the-crap

I am today launching a campaign (pdf) aimed at ending an industry that I created. That trade is in kopi luwak, AKA civet coffee – otherwise known as "wolf", "cat", and "crap" coffee, and the most expensive coffee in the world.

Over the past 20 years Kopi Luwak has become the ultimate bling coffee, a celebrity in its own right, stocked by every aspiring speciality retailer worldwide, and appearing on CNN News, Oprah, and The Bucket List (a Hollywood film with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, no less).

To my regret, I was the one who started it all ...

Along with the boom in high-street chain coffee shops i can't think of anything more harmful the 'trendy' 30 something generation has helped happen. Ok well also 'earned' short haul holiday flights and i-pad pollution maybe. My generation sucks.


#403

iPad pollution?

Also, I think this should have been under "stuff you should never eat," not the coffee thread. This one is for coffee you're actually drinking, and I'm assuming you have more sense than to drink civet coffee.


#404

Well the first iPad didn't have the catalytic converter app.


#405

Hi, I'm catching up.

If you are doing pourover coffee, and not espresso, this burr grinder is awesome and costs less than $50:

I've been using one for about 4 years now, and love it. I especially love the $150 I didn't spend on it that I spent on good coffee instead.

At its finest setting it's a bit too dusty for espresso, so yeah, if you're espressoizicating, spend more money.


#406

Holy crap, I just realized that I haven't posted in this thread at all. Which means it's time for...

peterb's guide to making the best fucking pourover coffee in the world, at home, for the least amount of money spent on equipment.

The factors I optimize for in my coffee brewing are:

(1) Taste. In terms of equipment, this ends up being expressed as "minimize the use of plastic".
(2) Cost. The goal is to spend as much as you need to spend to make awesome coffee, but not more.
(3) Space. When not in use, the coffee equipment shouldn't take up half your kitchen. This also means that, all things being equal, if you can buy something general-purpose, that is used for things other than coffee, favor that over special-purpose equipment.

EQUIPMENT

(1) A grinder. This is the unavoidable special-purpose device. If you want to make good coffee, you effectively have to grind your own beans, and you have to use a burr grinder. I use (as mentioned in my last post) this Cuisinart grinder, which is cheap and works great for pourover - I think I paid something like $40 at Costco for it, which is insanely cheap for a burr grinder. If you want to make espresso, you'll need something fancier and the rest of this post won't apply to you. So the cost for this can range from between $40 - $200.

(2) An electric water boiling kettle. You may not believe me now, but this will become your best friend in the kitchen once you have it. You'll use it for coffee, for tea, and for cooking - if you're making pasta, you can cut the prep time in half by using the kettle to bring a pot of water up to temp quickly. There are tons of options here. I used this Breville Ikon for a while and liked it, and have since tried several other pots. As I indicated above, I recommend a stainless steel kettle rather than a plastic one. Glass is another option, but is obviously more breakable. One sad thing is that it seems that some degree of fragility is inherent in all of these devices - I'd say on average the ones I have bought have lasted about 2 years before the contacts between the kettle and the base get out of whack and you have to replace it. So factor that in. You can spend from between $20 to $150 for one of these, with the average price for a decent stainless steel model probably being around $75.

(3) A porcelain filter holder, like this or this. It'll run you between $15 and $20, fits in a cabinet easily when not in use, and is dishwasher safe. "It's dishwasher-safe" is also the answer to the question "Why should I do this instead of investing in a chemex pot"?

(4) Something to drip the coffee into. I use this Zojirushi thermal carafe. $27.

(5) Consumables: No. 4 paper filter holders, and coffee.

Process

(1) Grind your beans. You'll need to experiment to find the right grind, but the right grind is probably coarser than you think.
(2) Set water to boil.
(3) Perch filter holder on top of thermal carafe.
(4) Place paper filter in filter holder.
(5) Place ground coffee in paper filter.

A word here about steps 4 and 5. There are all sorts of finicky rituals you can engage in here - you can wet the filter, you can wet the grounds and pour out the first drips, etc etc. But in my experience any taste improvement this confers is pretty much well nigh undetectable. In my opinion that stuff is the Monster Cable of coffee making, only instead of spending extra money for imperceptible gains you're spending effort. But if you think it makes a tastable difference to you, knock yourself out.

(6) When the water is boiling, pour it over the coffee, fairly slowly to allow for it to bloom. For a full carafe of coffee you're going to do something like 2 and a half pours, or you can stand there and slowly dribble the coffee in. I'm pretty lazy, so I just fill and then refill when there is enough room.

One alteration here is that if you only want a cup, it's perfectly fine to just perch the filter holder on your mug and drip directly into it, using less coffee. That's another advantage of the porcelain holder plan over the Chemex.

A word on coffee itself.

Find a local coffee shop that roasts it's own beans, and get them fresh-roasted. If you have the option, prefer lighter roasts over darker roasts, at least until you zero in on the flavors you like. Freshness of the beans trumps nearly every other consideration. For example, I like Intelligentsia's beans, but if I had to choose between Intelligentsia beans roasted 3 weeks ago and some other brand I hadn't heard of roasted last week, I'd go with the other brand nearly every single time. If you're buying your beans at a fancy-schmancy coffee shop it's likely that the roasting date will be on the bottom of the package.

Phew! That's a lot of typing. I'll go back and edit this later if I think I've forgotten anything. Any questions?


#407

Mmmm... fresh beans.

Yes, fresh beans trumps all else IMO. About a year ago I started frequenting a local roaster (Wood Fire Roasted, if you guys are interested http://woodfireroasted.com/) and my coffee drinking experience has gone up significantly. Most of the time, I buy a pound that has been roasted that day, or at worst the day before. The difference between fresh roasted and 4 weeks old is amazing to me. 4 week old coffee is still drinkable from a utilitarian perspective (and 4 weeks old is still leagues better than the free coffee we get at the office) but the first week or two of fresh roasted beans is simply wonderful.


#408

I really like my temperature-controlled electric kettle. For a while there I was pretty concerned about temperature. Not too low obviously, which is a problem with a lot of automatic coffee makers, but I was concerned about not too high either. From what I've read since then, it's not so important - right off boil is OK, since it's going to drop from 212 to 200ish right away, between the coffee grounds and whatever brewing device you're using.

As I mentioned upthread, I generally get my fresh-roasted beans through the mail, from whatever roaster is offering free shipping via Go Coffee Go. There's just one roaster that I'm aware of locally, and they don't have any parking, and aren't near anything else I visit, so by mail works for me. I generally get the beans 3-4 days after they're roasted.


#409

I'd say that fresh beans that are well roasted and a nice single origin or blend is pretty huge. The biggest change in my coffee habits as of late is to buy a local roaster's products, especially their Alchemy Espresso. Far far better than the roasts (even 1-2 days old) from places like whole foods.


#410

Oddly enough, this not everyone reacts this way. My wife continued to prefer Starbuck's French Roast from the grocery store to the fresh roasted beans I buy. Whereas to me the French Roast of unknown age tastes utterly bland under the burned flavor.


#411

Alright, I ended up ordering the Breville a couple weeks back and it's been disappointing to say the least. When it works, it seems to work well, but the internals seem to be shoddy at best. I'm about to return my second.

First - worked well for a couple days, then all of a sudden got irreparably stuck on something and wouldn't ever work again. Just made a high-pitched whine, sounded like the motor was burning out. Returned it for a replacement.

Second - This one is still working for now, somewhat, but I don't have high confidence. Right out of the box, the display which shows your chosen grind level was all screwed up. Without touching the grind adjustment dial, the display just jumps around all over the place as if it can't tell where it is. Turning the knob just continues it. It makes me think that the machinery itself might be screwed up, producing grind levels I don't intend, or that if not, it'll be screwed up soon.

Hrm...


#412

The high level whine you're hearing on the Breville may be normal, as an indication that the chute from the grinder hopper to the basket is clogged. Depending on the roast of your bean and the strength of the brew, you may need to clean it out more or less often. I've been using the Breville for about 6 months without issue.


#413

The high level whine you're hearing on the Breville may be normal, as an indication that the chute from the grinder hopper to the basket is clogged. Depending on the roast of your bean and the strength of the brew, you may need to clean it out more or less often. I've been using the Breville for about 6 months without issue.

Edit- are you referring to the Breville all in one grinder/brewer or just the grinder?


#414

It's just the Breville grinder, this one:

And it started making the noise after only a few uses. Doesn't seem like it's because it's clogged or anything. It's a mechanical whine and it completely stopped functioning.


#415

I'm cautiously returning to coffee. My first liter (Espresso Anyetsu) was new to me, didn't taste particularly interesting, and I got sick afterward. The stomach issues being why I've been off coffee for months. Now and then I'll ask myself "why am I bothering with this?"

Today I made some Novo Espresso, which has been a long standing favorite of mine. It reminded me why I bother, because it was good. I'm feeling some excess acid, which may or may not be the coffee, but I can live with that. It was the nausea that was too much.


#416

Is the sick thing stomach acid, Gus? Or something else?


#417

It's not definite. Probably stomach acid. It manifests itself as stomach gas, which in turn results in feelings that range from "I feel mildly sick" to "I think I'm going to throw up now" until I manage to belch enough to relieve it. My gastroenterologist thinks it may be GERD - I'm on omeprazole (aka Prilosec), despite not really having any heartburn, which is the usual symptom.


#418

Yeah, I'm on Prilosec as well. But in my case it was because I used to wake up in the middle of the night after inhaling stomach acid into my lungs. It was a combination of could not breath and have to cough. Since I've been taking it I am a normal human being. As opposed to someone who wasn't sure if he would wake up and then die.

As well I have a hiatal hernia. That's when, for whatever reason, part of your stomach is protruding up through your diaphragm. I wouldn't pretend to second guess your doctors, but a bunch of my own missed this for several years. Maybe you have a hiatal hernia? Maybe you don't. But it took sever rounds of endoscopes for them to figure it out. If they aren't looking for it, they won't see it. For me it took Barium milkshakes and radioactive scrambled eggs. You could at least ask.


#419

I know what that's like now. Not from my present issues, from pneumonia back in August. Only, since it was pneumonia rather than aspirated stomach acid, the coughing was all the time, though the "I think I may die" feeling was only in the early morning.

I'm really hesitant to suggest a diagnosis to my doctor. I have gone through one upper endoscopy, wherein they found nothing but mild gastritis. Which was really irritating, I wanted a cause so they could do something about it. I'm a bit surprised that they didn't find yours with the first endoscopy, you'd think it would, um, stick out, but I'm not a doctor.


#420

I tried out my wife's Bonavita drip brewer again today. I've been threatening to do this for a while, because I find my Aeropress process tedious.

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good enough either. It just wasn't as flavorful, despite using a slightly higher water : grounds ratio. I ran samples of the Aeropress brew and drip brew past my wife, halfway expecting she wouldn't notice a difference, and she declared the aeropress "stronger." My own assessment was that it wasn't actually weaker, it was just missing some of the elements of the flavor.

I used a paper filter in the Bonavita. We do have a metal filter, which I tried once, but it gave me bitter results. I may give it another shot at some point, but I think it's mostly about the brewing method, the combination of steeping and pressure.

EDIT: also, I feel compelled to mention I use a metal filter in the Aeropress, because I noticed a similar lack of flavor when using the aeropress and the normal paper filters.