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Please help me make good coffee at home


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#121 andiesenji

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:09 AM

I'm not a fan of Blue Mountain coffee and I have tried it many times, in many different roasts and brewing methods.  I have never understood why people raved about it - and often can't determine which of several coffees it is in a blind tasting.  To me it is flat and boring.

 

I personally like a very robust, dark roast of an assertive coffee variety that actually tastes like coffee and I have found several that fit my criteria.

 

For me, coffee should be freshly ground just before brewing and I use a single cup pod machine (make my own pods) (Senseo) which are no longer marketed in the U.S. but as I bought backups before they were discontinued, I believe I will be able to continue to brew coffee with this method for the foreseeable future.

 

Distilled water is NOT good for coffee.  FILTERED water - to removed the chemicals that in tap water often interfere with the optimal brewing of coffee is the best in my opinion. 

 

And lastly, I like coffee with a small amount of cream and sugar, my personal taste, because for ME, these complement and enhance the flavor and I enjoy it more that way. 

 

I have for many years collected coffee brewers, coffee apparatus and have tried just about every brewing technique known - including "boiled" coffee with egg shells to "settle" the grounds. 

And I agree that Sweet Marias is an excellent online vendor.

 

I also recommend that coffee fans (fanatics) sign up for a free membership on CoffeeGeek.

 

Many of my coffee brewers are pictured on my blog on the Vintage Electric (some non-electric) coffee brewers page.


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#122 rotuts

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:26 AM

the 'gassing out' is very important for Espresso w a real deal machine.

 

less so for drip.

 

also over a few days after gassing out espresso changes 'in the cup'  many times for the better

 

as mentioned above

 

SweetMaria has an extensive 'Coffee College' section


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#123 cdh

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:26 AM

I don't know anything about this.  What can you tell me about it?

 

When you roast coffee, the set of reactions that happens inside the beans keeps on going for a few days after they are cooled down.  The beans release CO2 over that period of time.  Just cooled fresh roasted coffee is flat and unpleasant tasting.  I find that the flavor settles down and gets good after about a week.  Anything younger than that isn't as good as it is going to get.


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#124 cdh

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:30 AM

I'm also not a fan of Jamaican coffee.  I prefer Yemenis or Ethiopians more often than not, though some of the big beaned Nicaraguans are also very nice.   I tend to prefer coffees with a strong fruit component in them.  On brewing, I find the french press is fine for cold brewing.  For hot coffee I like the Aeropress.  But more often than not, I just make espresso when I want hot coffee.


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#125 dcarch

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 08:21 AM

"----• Stir the coffee, but leave it “black”.  (Don’t add cream, sugar, or anything else to it.)---"

 

Costa Ricans are very serious about coffee. They know about coffee.

 

When I was there, coffee was always served with hot milk and sugar.

 

dcarch


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#126 Shel_B

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 08:53 AM

I'm also not a fan of Jamaican coffee.  I prefer Yemenis or Ethiopians more often than not ...

 

Yes to the Ethiopians!  http://www.sweetmari...a/ethiopia.html for example.


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.... Shel


#127 huiray

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 09:21 AM

Blue Mountain coffee to me is not much more than "eh, it's OK".  Certainly not THE BEST, to me, and certainly not worth its cost.

 

NewFoodie, YOU have to compile your own set of preferred tastes, as others have said.  Perhaps you find Blue Mountain coffee to be the sine qua non of coffees.  Pending other "revelations" you may encounter, so be it.  But the notion that there is a single BEST OF list (which applies to more than just coffee) which is immutable or the one-and-only list is entirely illusionary.


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#128 Katie Meadow

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:19 AM

Sweet Maria's (in Oakland, btw) also carries a very good aromatic chicory, which I believe they import from India. Inexpensive and, for those of us who like a little chicory in our coffee, yummy. We grow chicory here in the US in the midwest, but the two places I know of seem very disorganized and I gave up trying to order. Of course, easy for me to say, I am a 10 minute drive from Sweet Maria's. They are oh so nice, too. And when I say aromatic I mean that a zip closed plastic bag that I keep in my cabinet emanates lovely perfume every time I open the door. 

 

The last time I bought Jamaica Blue Mountain it cost about $10 per pound. Okay, so I'm old. But I don't remember anything earthshaking about it. The best coffee I ever had was cowboy coffee boiled in an enamel jug when camping in New Mexico. No doubt it came from a can, since that was around the same time.



#129 weinoo

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:31 AM

I just picked these 2 coffees up in DC - Qualia Coffee is an excellent, single proprietor shop - he has a nice setup...

 

2014_09_03_146.JPG

 

And then in-between cups of coffee, as I was washing my Hario Ceramic dripper, I did this...

 

2014_09_03_147.JPG

 

Sometimes, I think I single-handedly keep these guys in business.


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#130 Alex

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 01:55 PM

I just picked these 2 coffees up in DC - Qualia Coffee is an excellent, single proprietor shop - he has a nice setup...

 

attachicon.gif2014_09_03_146.JPG

 

And then in-between cups of coffee, as I was washing my Hario Ceramic dripper, I did this...

 

attachicon.gif2014_09_03_147.JPG

 

Sometimes, I think I single-handedly keep these guys in business.

 

Wow, you must make some seriously strong coffee, to have eaten through your dripper like that.

 

Is that a vanilla bean I spy?


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#131 weinoo

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 02:02 PM

Wow, you must make some seriously strong coffee, to have eaten through your dripper like that.

 

Is that a vanilla bean I spy?

LOL. 

 

That is indeed a vanilla bean.  Why it's there I still can't figure out?  I think I was trying to figure out what to do with a stash of older beans that had turned a little hard.


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#132 andiesenji

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 03:31 PM

LOL. 

 

That is indeed a vanilla bean.  Why it's there I still can't figure out?  I think I was trying to figure out what to do with a stash of older beans that had turned a little hard.

If you want to know what to do with vanilla beans that have become like hardwood, the solution is very simple.

 

It is the same advice I give to folks who have dried fruits that have become like rocks...

 

STEAM THEM!   Put them in a steamer for about 10 minutes - check them - if still brittle, do another 5 minutes.  That should be enough to restore the moisture and will also make your home smell wonderful.

 

I absolutely CRINGE when someone tells me they "tossed" these things without at least trying to bring them back to life. 


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#133 NewFoodie

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:11 PM

I personally like a very robust, dark roast ...

 

It's been my experience that dark roasts obscure the unique flavor profile of coffee beans from any particular point of origin.

 

Distilled water is NOT good for coffee.  FILTERED water - to removed the chemicals that in tap water often interfere with the optimal brewing of coffee is the best in my opinion.

 

I'm surprised to hear that distilling water doesn't remove chemicals from tap water.  I'll have to look into that.

 

I... have tried just about every brewing technique known - including "boiled" coffee with egg shells to "settle" the grounds.

 

OK, you've piqued my interest - what is this technique all about?

 

SweetMaria has an extensive 'Coffee College' section

 

I'll check it out.

 

When you roast coffee, the set of reactions that happens inside the beans keeps on going for a few days after they are cooled down.  The beans release CO2 over that period of time.  Just cooled fresh roasted coffee is flat and unpleasant tasting.  I find that the flavor settles down and gets good after about a week.  Anything younger than that isn't as good as it is going to get.

 

Since I haven't been roasting the beans myself, I'm not really sure how recently they were roasted (although I thought it was within a couple days).  I'll have to ask the vender.

 

For hot coffee I like the Aeropress.

 

I hadn't heard about this product.  I guess I'll get one and try it out.

 

NewFoodie, YOU have to compile your own set of preferred tastes, as others have said.

 

That's not what I'm doing?  That's funny, I THOUGHT that was what I was doing.  After all, the title of this thread is "The best coffee I ever had".  And it WAS the best coffee I ever had, too.



#134 cdh

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:19 PM


 

I'm surprised to hear that distilling water doesn't remove chemicals from tap water.  I'll have to look into that.

 

It removes too much from the water... Pure H2O doesn't do so good a job as you'd expect.  You want some minerality and local character in your coffee water.  Hard vs. soft water can make differences in how coffee turns out, some beans like one or the other... unless you live on a sulfur spring or a bog, going so far as to distill is overkill.

 

Have a look here: http://www.scaa.org/...ality-standard/


Edited by cdh, 03 September 2014 - 07:24 PM.

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#135 scubadoo97

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:33 PM

Bali blend. Blue moon and Kintamani. Roasted to the first snaps of 2nd crack
4004895e5d3bf69faa43ce3c84b189c7.jpg

Not the best coffee I've ever had but quite nice. Will let it rest for 3-4 days

Edited by scubadoo97, 03 September 2014 - 07:34 PM.


#136 weinoo

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 09:09 PM

• Make sure the beans are roasted, ground, brewed and consumed in as rapid succes-

  sion as possible.

 

 

Since I haven't been roasting the beans myself, I'm not really sure how recently they were roasted (although I thought it was within a couple days).  I'll have to ask the vender.

 

Your first statement made it seem like you were roasting and then using the beans immediately.

 

The second one tells me your haven't been doing that - my guess is the beans you're buying have been gassed out.  The better question is to ask your roaster/seller when the beans you are buying were roasted - and then not to buy beans that you won't be able to use up within say, a week to 10 days.  

 

Every place I buy beans from has the roast date on the bag - for example, see my post above.

 

What do you mean by the term "Soft Brew?"  That's a new one to me.

 

What type of grinder are you using?

 

Where do you live and how is the quality of your tap water?  I use Brita filtered tap water here in NYC and it's fine.

 

And if I were you, I'd start real simple - why not buy a $12 Melitta pour over set up and brew some coffee that way...it's great for starters.


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#137 Hassouni

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 09:52 PM

I just picked these 2 coffees up in DC - Qualia Coffee is an excellent, single proprietor shop - he has a nice setup...

 

attachicon.gif2014_09_03_146.JPG

 

And then in-between cups of coffee, as I was washing my Hario Ceramic dripper, I did this...

 

attachicon.gif2014_09_03_147.JPG

 

Sometimes, I think I single-handedly keep these guys in business.

 

I'm about to run out of coffee. I was going to stock up at La Coulombe, but maybe.....



#138 Ashen

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 12:52 AM

My personal best cup is a well made Americano ,  at Planet Bean, a local roaster. ( technically it is a Long Black , as they pull the shots into the hot water instead of adding hot water to the espresso)    


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#139 rotuts

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 04:26 AM

Brita, the filter thing-y is your coffee's best friend.



#140 NewFoodie

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 10:27 PM

Your first statement made it seem like you were roasting and then using the beans immediately.

 

The second one tells me your haven't been doing that - my guess is the beans you're buying have been gassed out.  The better question is to ask your roaster/seller when the beans you are buying were roasted - and then not to buy beans that you won't be able to use up within say, a week to 10 days.  

 

Every place I buy beans from has the roast date on the bag - for example, see my post above.

 

What do you mean by the term "Soft Brew?"  That's a new one to me.

 

What type of grinder are you using?

 

Where do you live and how is the quality of your tap water?  I use Brita filtered tap water here in NYC and it's fine.

 

And if I were you, I'd start real simple - why not buy a $12 Melitta pour over set up and brew some coffee that way...it's great for starters.

 

SoftBrew is Sowden’s press pot without the need to actually press.  Here's an article about it:

 

http://caffezine.com...rew-review/2011

 

I'm using a burr grinder.

 

I live between Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey.  The quality of the tap water is  fairly good, but I use a Brita filter.

 

The drip method is fine with me - but I've been really happy using a French Press.  But my friends swear by the SoftBrew.  And cdh's recommendation of the Aeropress certainly sounds interesting.



#141 Shel_B

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 11:11 PM

This thread got me thinking about what I like and dislike about making my morning cuppa joe, and I started Googling around to see if I could find a solution to my main concern, that being the coffee getting cold in my French press and in the cup while I'm working at my desk in the morning.  This article turned up in my search, and it seemed appropriate to link it here:  http://www.theatlant...-script/357562/

 

So, what solutions do you use to keep your coffee warm?  I like the idea of the Soft Brew, BTW.  What else that may be similar is available?  I'd like to be able to brew in the carafe and then pour from the carafe to the cup, and hopefully the coffee remaining in the carafe would stay warm.  I don't want a coffee maker with a carafe attached, and I don't want electronic stuff, either.


.... Shel


#142 andiesenji

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:37 AM

I have a mug warmer on my desk that keeps my coffee at the temp I like until I finish it.  Brewing one cup at a time works well for me.


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#143 cyalexa

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 05:40 AM

So, what solutions do you use to keep your coffee warm?  I like the idea of the Soft Brew, BTW.  What else that may be similar is available?  I'd like to be able to brew in the carafe and then pour from the carafe to the cup, and hopefully the coffee remaining in the carafe would stay warm.  I don't want a coffee maker with a carafe attached, and I don't want electronic stuff, either.

 

My technique for serving hot french press coffee:

 

I made a cozy for my press pot with a removable top so it can be used before and after pressing. It's just a piece of that silver bubble-wrap type of insulating packing product secured with a rubber band and a rolled up hot pad for the top.

 

I make the coffee double strength. To serve, add half coffee and half boiling water.

 

If the coffee has already cooled to room temp I find a very short blast in the microwave is enough to get it warm without a cooked taste; the addition of boiling water provides most of the heat. 



#144 weinoo

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 05:54 AM

Brewing one cup at a time works well for me.

This - and preheating everything that is used in the process.


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#145 FauxPas

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 11:47 AM

This thread got me thinking about what I like and dislike about making my morning cuppa joe, and I started Googling around to see if I could find a solution to my main concern, that being the coffee getting cold in my French press and in the cup while I'm working at my desk in the morning.  This article turned up in my search, and it seemed appropriate to link it here:  http://www.theatlant...-script/357562/

 

So, what solutions do you use to keep your coffee warm?  I like the idea of the Soft Brew, BTW.  What else that may be similar is available?  I'd like to be able to brew in the carafe and then pour from the carafe to the cup, and hopefully the coffee remaining in the carafe would stay warm.  I don't want a coffee maker with a carafe attached, and I don't want electronic stuff, either.

 

I haven't tried it, but the Espro French Press has gotten some good reviews. It keeps the coffee warmer than most presses, it seems. It seems pricey but it appears to be well made and its double filtre system keeps the coffee nearly sediment-free. It's attractive, also. But $$$. Also available at Amazon and Williams-Sonomo, not sure if they have better prices. The main web site does offer some Seconds at a reduced press, also. 


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#146 andiesenji

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:14 PM

I missed the earlier post with the question about the "boiled coffee" I mentioned in a previous post.

 

Here is the quintessential method for "Norwegian Coffee"  which I was introduced to in 1956 when I lodged with a family of Skandinavians in the Twin cities while attending Dunwoodie school of baking.  One of the grandmothers was Finnish, another was Swedish, both had married Norwegian men. 

They didn't always agree about various foods, breads and sweet breads in particular, but they always agreed on the COFFEE.

 

There are numerous recipes and a few YouTube demos, but this RECIPE is the closest to what I remember from my year in the "Ice Box"... 

(I hated the winters in Wisconsin and even worst in Minnesota.  I love California!


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#147 Shel_B

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 01:11 PM

I haven't tried it, but the Espro French Press has gotten some good reviews. It keeps the coffee warmer than most presses, it seems. It seems pricey but it appears to be well made and its double filtre system keeps the coffee nearly sediment-free. It's attractive, also. But $$$. Also available at Amazon and Williams-Sonomo, not sure if they have better prices. The main web site does offer some Seconds at a reduced press, also. 

 

This is just the sort of thing I'm looking for.  Poking around, I found the Frieling, which is similar  http://frieling.com/...es#.VAoXgGd0yDM

 

One of these will be my next purchase.  Right now I'm leaning towards one of the Frieling models, but it will be a while before I make the final decision.  Thanks for posting the info. 


.... Shel


#148 Ashen

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 01:59 PM

I had a coffee cup ( travel french press)  similar to the one in the following link, until I managed to break the handle.  By brewing into the cup you didn't lose as much heat , heating two vessels,  but the last few sips could be somewhat strong , since the grounds are still on the bottom .  I liked the secret stash in the base for more coffee, but  I found I really needed to compact the grounds into it, to have enough fit in, for how strong I like my brew.  http://www.exploring...-cup-of-coffee/   


Edited by Ashen, 05 September 2014 - 02:00 PM.

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#149 KD1191

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 12:40 PM

And cdh's recommendation of the Aeropress certainly sounds interesting.

 

For me, the Aeropress is a nice improvement on a French Press, and if you get the metal filter it's miles beyond...such a cleaner, sharper result. I tend to make pour-over on the V60 these days, as it's a bit quicker, but for a couple years I was hooked on Americanos off the Aeropress, or using the inverted method for brewing a more traditional cup.

 

For beans, we have a subscription with Peet's for their Ethiopian Fancy, as it's the only coffee my wife will drink, and so it's always in our Capresso Infinity. I have a Skerton hand mill that I use for whatever other coffees I'm playing around with at any given time. Lately it's been a lot of Dark Matter from Chicago and Gimme! from here in NY. I tend to stick to Africa or Central America; Ethiopia and Oaxaca are particular favorites, as I'm typically looking for fruitiness.


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