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Please help me make good coffee at home


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#1 skyhskyh

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 02:13 AM

Hi people!

I am in a hurry, so I make this quick =)

I always buy coffee outside => costing me so much money overall.

My goal is to save some money, but still trying to have good coffee, so I decided to make at home.

My equipments: Filter paper, cooking pot, and cups......

how do I do it??? :blink:

cheers

#2 Big Mike

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 06:51 AM

A third endorsement for a coffee grinder. The world of difference between fresh ground and stuff that's sitting in a bag for weeks and weeks is night and day.
 
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#3 rotuts

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 08:18 AM

make that a burr grinder: not the blade type:

http://www.amazon.co...15754194&sr=8-2

this is one example

make sure your water it at least 200 F

#4 AAQuesada

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:08 AM

Get yourself a pour over and a grinder

http://www.sweetmari...iltercones.html


a whirly blade is fine for this prep
http://www.sweetmari...ctric-mill.html


Add some good beans, support a local roaster. Fresh roasted is best, coffee beans stale just like bread does.

#5 Zachary

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:10 AM

There are a couple of important things to remember if you're striving for a good cup of coffee:

1. Water

If your water quality is good, use it. If it's not, filter it, or buy bottled water. You also want your water to be between 200 and 206 when pouring.

2. Equipment

Get a burr grinder. These can range from $35 to hundreds of dollars. Mine is $150, and has lasted 8 years with regular cleaning (once a week) and little other maintenance (other than new burrs). It's going to seem expensive, but your grinder has more to do with a quality cup of coffee than almost anything else. A French Press is a great place to start, and as you grow in this, a V60, Chemex or Aeropress will probably find its way into your routine. They're all slightly different cups of coffee. A good instant read thermometer will also come in handy (for water temperature), as will a timer and a digital gram scale.

3. Coffee

Buy whole beans, and find a local supplier. You're looking for a roast date on the package, and you should use it within two weeks. Don't put coffee in the freezer - I leave mine in the original bag in a cool, dark place. Most good roasters use bags with one-way valves, which keep oxygen out. This is a good thing, as oxygen is the enemy of coffee. Personally, I want to see no oils pushed to the surface of the beans - free oils mean oxidation which means off flavors in the cup.

4. The Magic Ratio

6g of coffee to 100g of water. I might take it to 7g/100g if you need to, but 6g gives me transparent flavors, which is what I want.

5. The Routine (for a French Press)

Plug in the electric kettle and grinder, get out the coffee cup, Thermapen and scale. I weigh out 42g of coffee, and put it in the grinder. Turn the grinder to a coarser setting, so the grounds are trapped by the metal filter of the French Press. I can tell by the sound the kettle makes when it's close to 200, so I'll measure the water temperature at this point. I tend to test new coffees at 202, which is a good round number while you're getting used to this. When the water hits 202, start grinding the coffee. Once that's done, add the coffee to the Press, put the Press on the scale, and add 150g of water, making sure all the grounds are saturated. Start a timer and count for 45 seconds. This is called blooming the coffee - you'll see it foam and bubble as carbon dioxide is released from the grounds. Once the timer goes off, add the remaining 550 g of water, remove the Press from the scale, put the filter assembly barely into the top of the Press, and start your timer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes goes by, give the coffee a stir, and push the plunger down slowly, trapping the sediment in the bottom. If you're going to drink the coffee quickly (within 10 minutes), you can serve it from the Press. If not, pour the coffee into a warmed thermal carafe and serve from that.

By the way, you should be smelling the coffee at every step - whole beans, freshly ground, wet during bloom, and in the final cup. Look for aromas that stay the same from dry to wet, and those that are different. And yes, the routine looks complex and difficult, but you'll pick it up quickly.

Thanks,

Zachary
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#6 Will

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:26 AM

The newer pour-over style setup is fairly simple and cost-effective (though you need a kettle with good control of the pour, even if it's not one of the fancy constricted spout ones). To me, the results are outstanding. I am mostly a tea drinker, but I very much prefer the results when made this way - the nuances and more delicate flavors of the coffee come out better, and that's true even with sub-standard coffee. It should be a pour-over filter holder like the Hario or Chemex with no constriction at the base (anyone tried the Kalita pourover filter?).

Nthing a burr grinder... the Hario hand grinder takes a little bit of elbow grease, but is a fair amount cheaper than most other burr grinders. Getting the exact size of ground that works best for the style of coffee you're making is also important.

#7 weinoo

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 11:14 AM

All good info above.

And there are some great threads in this forum, once you've gotten the bug.

For example, here's a topic dedicated to French press coffee.

Over here is a recent thread about the best coffee grinders for drip . And another one simply about the best coffee grinders. Ane a best budget burr grinder one.

Here's one about how to store your freshly roasted coffee.

One about coffee grinder hygiene.

Pour-over coffee makers.

Here's my coffee set up at home. And a blog post I did about making coffee at home.

Enjoy your coffee!
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
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#8 butterscotch

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 02:58 PM

Betwen the burr grinder and the thirty dollar per shipment beans, I'm wondering if y'all noticed he is trying to save money?
Does anyone have any advice for those who don;t want to or can't mail order coffee every two weeks?

#9 thayes1c

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:42 PM

I've been drinking cold extract coffee out of a toddy lately. You make a large batch of concentrate, then dilute with hot or cold water. I really enjoy the flavor, and it's especially good because if you prefer your coffee iced.

#10 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:53 PM

French press uses a coarse grind, which means it's less important to have a burr grinder, or a grinder that can grind particularly fine or with the uniformity required for espresso, and if the beans are good and roasted fresh, it's good coffee without a lot of expensive equipment.

If you've got Arabic shops in your locale, a cezve for making Turkish coffee isn't expensive, and they can grind it for you, and while it would be ideal to be able to grind it yourself, Turkish coffee takes a really fine grind, so if you buy it fresh ground every week or two or buy it in vacuum packs, it's still pretty good coffee.

#11 weinoo

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:56 PM

Betwen the burr grinder and the thirty dollar per shipment beans, I'm wondering if y'all noticed he is trying to save money?
Does anyone have any advice for those who don't want to or can't mail order coffee every two weeks?


You gotta spend some money up front to save money over the long haul. I don't know where the $30 bean shipment comes from, but I spend between $15 - $18 a pound on good coffee. Works out to about $.50 - $.60 a cup. When you consider that a properly made cup of coffee probably costs around $2 "out," you'll more than make up for the initial spending over the course of a couple of months.

I guess my advice for those who don't want to or can't mail order good coffee is to find a coffee that's acceptable to you and just enjoy that.
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#12 ScoopKW

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 04:03 PM

Betwen the burr grinder and the thirty dollar per shipment beans, I'm wondering if y'all noticed he is trying to save money?
Does anyone have any advice for those who don;t want to or can't mail order coffee every two weeks?


Yes, actually I do. Buy your coffee at Costco. I regularly get Rwandan coffee for $5/lb.

But I agree with everyone here -- a burr grinder is key. Whirly-blade grinders do not yield an even grind. I consider the Bodum Bistro to be the "entry level" grinder. There are cheaper grinders out there. But you get what you pay for.
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#13 Zachary

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 04:20 PM

Skyhskyh,

Where do you live? If you're in the US, I could probably point you to sources for coffee.

Butterscotch,

To answer your question, two things: Either roast your own coffee, or find a local roaster to buy beans from. Failing those two things, and if you can't or won't mail order coffee, go to the grocery store and buy some, with the understanding that the coffee you'll make will be average at best, mainly because you have no idea when the beans were roasted, they'll be stored improperly (see the streaks of oil from overroasted beans on the clear plexi bins? That's bad.), the grinder will have been last cleaned during the Truman administration, and the beans won't be of high quality to start with. Cheap good coffee I can do, if you look at it over the long run and on a cup cost basis. Good coffee without effort or for nothing is impossible.

Thanks,

Zachary

#14 AAQuesada

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:20 PM

Betwen the burr grinder and the thirty dollar per shipment beans, I'm wondering if y'all noticed he is trying to save money?
Does anyone have any advice for those who don;t want to or can't mail order coffee every two weeks?



LOL! I did :D :raises hand:

You really don't need an expensive burr grinder for for pour over IMO. For French Press, yes it does make a difference, you will get more fines with a blade grinder. That being said, it's what i use as i don't like the ultra clean prep and little body you get with pour over. I do use fresh roasted coffee (from the conservatory for coffee in L.A.) and water at proper temp. For the restaurant, I wouldn't even think about it but at home blade grinders aren't as bad as they used to be. YMMV

Would I love a good burr grinder, yes. But frankly as a cook if i have an extra $150 its going to be put towards another knife. The ARE fabulous for peppercorns as well (the burr grinder, lol)

#15 Blether

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 11:40 PM

There's always the option of finding a local supplier with beans that work for you and a proper grinder on-site - buy the beans, grind 'em up and take 'em home. I love the coffee I get, and I'm sceptical that the investment in equipment & time to specialise to the extent some suggest, would improve my coffee-drinking experience enough to be worth it.

shyskyh's talking about better-cost/performance-than-the-likes-of-Starbucks, FFS, and that at least I can do trial-and-error, shopping blindfold for ready-ground stuff, never mind even buying a blade grinder.

Edited by Blether, 11 September 2011 - 11:40 PM.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.


#16 butterscotch

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:06 PM

g if y'all noticed he is trying to save money?
Does anyone have any advice for those who don't want to or can't mail order coffee every two weeks?


You gotta spend some money up front to save money over the long haul. I don't know where the $30 bean shipment comes from, but I spend between $15 - $18 a pound on good coffee. Works out to about $.50 - $.60 a cup. When you consider that a properly made cup of coffee probably costs around $2 "out," you'll more than make up for the initial spending over the course of a couple of months.
Betwen the burr grinder and the thirty dollar per shipment beans, I'm wonderin

I guess my advice for those who don't want to or can't mail order good coffee is to find a coffee that's acceptable to you and just enjoy that.


The thirty dollar minimum purchase (+ shipping) came from the first link I clicked in this thread. Two pounds can be hard to go through in to weeks too, (isn't that when it goes bad?) for one person, so that seemd unworkable. It just seemed to me many were sort of overlooking the cheap part of his question entirely.
Believe it or not, some people cannot afford the initial investment of a decent burr grinder, myself included at the moment.

So the good advice following this "whatev" of a reply was greatly appreciated. Sorry to see you find those of us on a strict budget too distateful to deserve helpful or sincere advice.

#17 butterscotch

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:22 PM

There's always the option of finding a local supplier with beans that work for you and a proper grinder on-site - buy the beans, grind 'em up and take 'em home. I love the coffee I get, and I'm sceptical that the investment in equipment & time to specialise to the extent some suggest, would improve my coffee-drinking experience enough to be worth it.

shyskyh's talking about better-cost/performance-than-the-likes-of-Starbucks, FFS, and that at least I can do trial-and-error, shopping blindfold for ready-ground stuff, never mind even buying a blade grinder.


Scoop, Zach, and AAQ, I appreciate your thoughtful responses!
If I ever get to Costco or up my consumption and freezer space enough to make roasting my own an option, I will try your suggestions. And I do often wonder what the best grind out there is for a poor over, I agree, they just taste a bit thin!

Blether, thanks for the advice about looking for a good roaster who can grind fresh for me. It never occured for me to ask. I'm going to look into that!

#18 weinoo

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:05 AM

Believe it or not, some people cannot afford the initial investment of a decent burr grinder, myself included at the moment.

So the good advice following this "whatev" of a reply was greatly appreciated. Sorry to see you find those of us on a strict budget too distateful to deserve helpful or sincere advice.

Oh, I believe it. But evidently "some people" on a strict budget still seem to be buying coffee "out" on a daily basis. I'm just trying to reconcile the two, because if someone is buying coffee "out" every day, they're not sticking to their strict budget. And my advice is sincere that they will save money in the long term.
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#19 emannths

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:50 AM

If I were starting up on a budget, here's how I'd do it.

I'd buy a hand-cranked conical burr grinder like Hario's Skerton or Mini Mill ($35-40). I think this is probably worth the premium over a blade grinder ($20), and worth the savings over an inexpensive motorized model (minimum $90). The physical effort is also probably worth because of quality increases over either cheap flat burr grinders ($35-60+) or preground coffee. The only reason I'd do something else is if you're planning on making coffee for a crowd (in which case grinding by hand might take too long). Since it's sounds like you're planning to brew mostly for yourself, this should work find.

I'd also buy an accurate thermometer, if you don't already have one. Depending on your stove, your kettle, how much water you're heating, and other factors, guidelines about how fast water cools can be woefully inaccurate. Since water temperature makes a huge impact in how coffee tastes, this is really an essential tool. Plus, you can use it all around the kitchen, so don't think of it as a coffee-only purchase.

There are plenty of worthy options for brewing equipment, almost all of which are $25 or less: french press, pourover, aeropress, etc. French press will give you a heavy, full-bodied cup, with the option to make multiple cups at once. Pourovers, which make a clean, lighter-bodied cup, come in two varieties: restricted opening ones, like the Melitta, and unrestricted openings, like Hario and Chemex. The former gives the brewer less control, which limits both the peaks and valleys of coffee quality. With a little practice, the Hario/Chemex brewers can make extraordinary coffee, but since the brewer is in control of the flow rate, making underwhelming coffee is also possible. Most of the pourover methods work best when brewing only a couple cups at a time. The aeropress is a unique one-cup brewer that makes coffee that's maybe a bit like an Americano (watered down espresso, which isn't a bad thing). If you like espresso drinks at the coffee shop, it may be worth consideration; it gets a lot of love. All of these methods take some technique and have different quirks in terms of how much attention the need, how fast they are, how much coffee they make, etc. Take a look around, and watch some demo videos to get a feel for what it's like to use each of them.

If you're going to drink a few cups over the course of the morning, you might want to get a stainless steel thermos to store the hot coffee.

As far as beans go, if you can find a good local roaster (local does not always guarantee good), that's probably the best option. Most local roasters will also be able to offer tips on equipment, brewing technique, and bean selection. Buy your beans fresh (within a week of roasting), and store them in an airtight container. Mail-order is find too. Feel free to buy a couple pounds at a time. When they arrive, put all but one of the bags in the freezer. By storing coffee still sealed in the bags, you'll avoid the commonly cited pitfalls of freezer storage (condensation, flavor pickup) and the freezer will keep the coffee fresh, allowing you to buy 2+ lbs at once (don't believe me? Read this). Just allow the beans to come to room temperature before opening a new bag to avoid condensation. Keep the in-use coffee in an airtight container (not just in it's bag with a clip on it). The "best" coffee these days goes for something in the ballpark of $17-22+ per pound. You don't have to spend that much, but you can use it as a guide--I probably wouldn't spend less than $13/lb or so, but I haven't really explored the offerings in that range.

(Fwiw, I use a Capresso Infinity grinder and a french press, with beans (~$20/lb) from Barismo here in Arlington MA. I make about 28oz of coffee each morning for about $0.70 per 12oz cup.)

#20 DanM

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 09:47 AM

Zachary's instructions are pretty much spot on. I typically grind 20g of beans for 300ml of water to make 1 cup of coffee. I go a little heavy in case of spillage or if the machine keeps a little. I have not noticed any real difference with the extra 2g of beans.

I use my trusty old tea kettle to heat the water. I do not see the need to buy a separate electric kettle. I use a Bodum burr grinder and press, which cost me less than $100 total.

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#21 Kouign Aman

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 03:02 PM


Believe it or not, some people cannot afford the initial investment of a decent burr grinder, myself included at the moment.

So the good advice following this "whatev" of a reply was greatly appreciated. Sorry to see you find those of us on a strict budget too distateful to deserve helpful or sincere advice.

Oh, I believe it. But evidently "some people" on a strict budget still seem to be buying coffee "out" on a daily basis. I'm just trying to reconcile the two, because if someone is buying coffee "out" every day, they're not sticking to their strict budget. And my advice is sincere that they will save money in the long term.

You're asking for a long tough haul during those ~100 coffee-free days, while the $2/day builds up to the $200 initial investment. How's a person to stay conscious enough to earn a living without the morning cuppa joe? There's 'perfect world' and there's 'better than I've got now'.

Perfectly respectable coffee comes from Costco in a giant can, and gets made by pouring hot water over a filter-cone holding 2T ground coffee. Not the best coffee in the world, but enough to let a person start saving, so they can upgrade if they find the stuff inadequate, with minimal upfront investment. That way, they are awake enough during 15 days to save the $30 for the grinder, awake during the next few days while saving for the beans, and then its all golden from there.
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#22 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:17 PM

You really don't need an expensive burr grinder for for pour over IMO. For French Press, yes it does make a difference, you will get more fines with a blade grinder.


Yes, absolutely, but if you can only afford a whirlyblade, I'd still say better to do French press than another method.

#23 butterscotch

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:20 PM



Believe it or not, some people cannot afford the initial investment of a decent burr grinder, myself included at the moment.

So the good advice following this "whatev" of a reply was greatly appreciated. Sorry to see you find those of us on a strict budget too distateful to deserve helpful or sincere advice.

Oh, I believe it. But evidently "some people" on a strict budget still seem to be buying coffee "out" on a daily basis. I'm just trying to reconcile the two, because if someone is buying coffee "out" every day, they're not sticking to their strict budget. And my advice is sincere that they will save money in the long term.

You're asking for a long tough haul during those ~100 coffee-free days, while the $2/day builds up to the $200 initial investment. How's a person to stay conscious enough to earn a living without the morning cuppa joe? There's 'perfect world' and there's 'better than I've got now'.


I'm actually buying cheap coffee outsome days and drinking more tea because the coffee is so darned awful. It would be a tough haul without it!
Ironic I should post in a thread about cheap good coffee, and get called out as part of "some people" who are not budgeting well enough and should be treated as though I don't deserve good advice about cheap coffee.

Thanks to those who rose to the occasion, I'm looking into the Aeropress one of these days, to replace my broken French Press, And buying smaller quanities of ground tilll I add on a cheap burr grinder. Thanks for the ideas!

#24 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 11:34 PM

I spend a fair bit of money buying coffees in the morning. Mostly because it's convinient and because even if it's mediocre, it's superior to what I can make at home using supermarket-grade coffee and a cheap French press.

I'm uneducated when it comes to DIYing coffee. I'm not entirely sure what I want. All I know is ...

  • I'm not fixated on a powered machine--I'm open to suggestions of any 'genre' of coffee brewing device.
  • I take my coffee strong and black (locally and all, I order a long black) and unsweetened--devices such as milk frothers, etc aren't something I want. In short, so long as it makes the kind of coffee I drink, I don't care about anything else--it's not even a 'bonus'.
  • I don't want to have to piss fart around too much in the morning--I'm prepared to downgrade from awesome coffee to very good coffee if it saves a whole lot of work. This applies to the cleaning regime, too. Having to disasseble and cleanse a Meccano kit on a regular basis isn't my idea of fun.
  • I'll be buying freshly ground coffee once or twice a week from a good, local shop (I may look into grinding my own in the future ... but baby steps).
  • I don't have a set budget in mind as, tbh, I don't know how much things cost--keep it in the double or triple figures, tho'.
  • A stove top device, while I've consumed excellent coffee made in such a thing, isn't ideal--my stove is just too angry and I'd rather not start the morning burning the ever living shit out of myself or melting a plastic handle.

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#25 Dakki

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 05:18 AM

Can't beat filter cone, paper filter, electric kettle in my book.

In before "You need $12,000 of laboratory grade equipment and beans that came out of a wild animal's rear end, roasting and grinding for each individual cup or you might as well drink Sanka."
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#26 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 06:04 AM

The cheap French press will serve you just fine - what you need is better beans and a good grinder. Then you're set.

Although if you want to splurge a little, you could get a Moka.
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#27 rotuts

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 06:38 AM

there was a rececent thread very similar to this, got everybody really heated up. look for it. sorry cant find it myself!

#28 Zachary

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:02 AM

Chris,

I think the thread you're looking for is here.

Some key things to take away:

1. Coffee is mostly water. If your water is not good, your coffee will not be.

2. The remainder of black coffee is your coffee. If it is not good, your coffee will not be good. Find a local roaster of good coffee, buy whole, fresh beans, and use them within 2 weeks.

3. A French Press is a great way to start. A big step in the right direction would be the Hario Skerton hand grinder. You will find as you go along that grinding your coffee immediately before making it will dramatically improve the quality of your cup, and it's all of $40.

4. A gram scale. They're cheap, and you should have one anyway.

If you have any other questions, please ask.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Zachary

#29 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:59 AM

For pretty good coffee one cup at a time and easy I recommend a cone filter and a kettle, too. If your water is awful the coffee will taste a lot better if you use filtered water.

#30 jnash85

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 11:14 AM

I'm happy with my $20 blade grinder and French press. The whole process takes around 10 minutes and clean up is not bad.