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Percolator vs Plunger vs Siphon vs Espresso Machine


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#31 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 07:52 AM

how can one compare coffee beans with fish?

Both are products with a definite, and short, shelf life once exposed to air?
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#32 rotuts

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:08 AM

no thats not it at all

green coffee beans keep in sacks for quite some time. after of course they are processed.

some say a year in cool dry conditions.

geen beans that are very complex can keep for a very long time in vacuum bags.

this is an example of a writer knowing a far amount about coffee, the drink, and how to make it, but very little about processed green beans.

http://www.sweetmari...reenstorage.php

remember this is about high end green beans, not cheaply produced green coffee. and certainly not roasted coffee.

but even freshly roasted coffee once the CO2 has evaporated can keep for a good while in a vacuum pack bag. that bag in the freezer a good long time. just defrost completely before you open to keep the beans dry.

Edited by rotuts, 02 October 2011 - 08:16 AM.


#33 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:38 AM

The same can be said of salt cod....

I used to live and work (for a plantation, no less) in the heart of Ecuadorian coffee country - one of the areas that produces beans that retail in the US for upwards of $20 a pound, so I know from high end green beans and proper processing methods. I do believe that upthread I reccomended getting a good grinder and coffeepot, and then spending the rest on great coffee beans.... I still search out the beans from the cooperative I worked for (Gremio de Cariamanga), even now that I live some half the country north of there - it's worth the extra 50 cents a pound to me because I know how those particular beans have been handled, and I know that the quality is as high as I can afford while still buying local (which is a big thing for me - I prefer to support my adopted country.)
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#34 rotuts

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:47 AM

you are absolutely correct, but im not sure salted coffee beans would work ..

that beaning said

you are very correct about individual plantations and the time and effort to process correctly matter a great deal.

i was only hoping to point out that fine small lot green coffee with very little effort can be kept very very close to fresh with little effort.

SM sells a lot of central american small lot coffees. those who appreciate this type should know they can be kept in peak condition for quite some time.

#35 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:00 AM

I was more pointing out that a year's aging does both bacalao and cafe verde a great deal of good. :smile:

I also agree that it's very easy to keep small lots of green or even freshly-roasted coffee in near-fresh condition (which is why I buy my beans the way I do.) I don't have much opportunity to sample the Central American coffees, but I will say that if anybody up there in the great cold North gets a chance at coffee from Ecuador's Cariamanga, Vilcabamba, or El Oro regions, it's truly excellent. These are high-altitude plantations of Arabica beans that are extremely well cared for from cherry to final product.
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#36 butterscotch

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:04 AM

Anyone here have good experiences with the Aeropress?
From what I understand it;s better than drip filtered and not as much sediment and oil as French press.

#37 Zachary

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:12 AM

Good morning,

So, an overview of different methods for making coffee? I'm going to talk about things I'm familiar with, and let's start with easy:

French Press

Pros: Cheap, Durable, Simple to brew, direct contact of water with coffee for the entire brewing process, full body in the cup. No paper filters. Can be used to do a "French Pull".
Cons: Cleanup can be a bit messy, fine grounds will be left in the cup, coffee can be "oily".

V60

Pros: Cheap, durable, clean cup, medium body, more "transparent" flavors.
Cons: Buying paper filters, limited volume for grounds, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method.

Chemex

Pros: Durable, clean cup, light to medium body, good transparency, large volume for grounds.
Cons: Buying paper filters, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method, slower than V60 or FP.

Aeropress

Pros: Approximates espresso (sometimes), lots of versatility, great for traveling/camping
Cons: Steep learning curve, instructions in the box are worthless, lots of work for a small volume of coffee, not going to give the "espresso experience".

To answer some other questions: You should always buy whole beans from a reputable roaster that were roasted less than two weeks before you're buying them. Look for a roasted on date - not a "best by" date, which can be six months in the future. The problem with pre-ground coffee is that if you can smell the coffee, those aroma chemicals are not going to be in your cup. You should always grind coffee immediately before brewing.

Thanks,

Zachary

#38 avaserfi

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:35 AM

Good morning,

So, an overview of different methods for making coffee? I'm going to talk about things I'm familiar with, and let's start with easy:

French Press

Pros: Cheap, Durable, Simple to brew, direct contact of water with coffee for the entire brewing process, full body in the cup. No paper filters. Can be used to do a "French Pull".
Cons: Cleanup can be a bit messy, fine grounds will be left in the cup, coffee can be "oily".

V60

Pros: Cheap, durable, clean cup, medium body, more "transparent" flavors.
Cons: Buying paper filters, limited volume for grounds, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method.

Chemex

Pros: Durable, clean cup, light to medium body, good transparency, large volume for grounds.
Cons: Buying paper filters, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method, slower than V60 or FP.

Aeropress

Pros: Approximates espresso (sometimes), lots of versatility, great for traveling/camping
Cons: Steep learning curve, instructions in the box are worthless, lots of work for a small volume of coffee, not going to give the "espresso experience".

To answer some other questions: You should always buy whole beans from a reputable roaster that were roasted less than two weeks before you're buying them. Look for a roasted on date - not a "best by" date, which can be six months in the future. The problem with pre-ground coffee is that if you can smell the coffee, those aroma chemicals are not going to be in your cup. You should always grind coffee immediately before brewing.

Thanks,

Zachary


There are companies that make high quality metal filters specifically designed for Chemex brewers, for example the Coava Kone.

Also, while the Aeropress makes a very nice cup of coffee in the right hands, I would not say it approximates espresso or anything like espresso. The mechanics of brewing are extremely different between the two methods as is the final cup. I've heard the claim that an Aeropress produces an Americano like beverage and can agree to an extent, but anyone buying the Aeropress and expecting anything like an espresso is going to be disappointed.
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#39 Zachary

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:48 AM

Andrew,

You are, of course, right in that metal filters are available. They're gorgeous, and I'm sure they work well, but at $50... that's 20% of the OP's budget.

And about the Aeropress - I struggle with it. The problem is that on their website, they call it a "Coffee and Espresso Maker". I think they overpromise what it can realistically do, and the instructions in the box are counter to everything I know about coffee - they call for 175 degree water and a 10 second infusion before pressing, and calls the resulting liquid a "double espresso".

Even worse, if you look on Youtube, there are hundreds of videos of people hacking the thing. I don't think anyone can agree how to actually use it to make coffee.

Thanks,

Zachary

#40 rotuts

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:01 AM

re aeropress:

look here:

http://www.sweetmari...nstructions.php

and here:

http://www.youtube.c...u/1/AtD8u9oSG4A

i dont have one. but Tom's YouTube coffee vids have helped me a lot!

#41 weinoo

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:35 AM

And about the Aeropress - I struggle with it. The problem is that on their website, they call it a "Coffee and Espresso Maker". I think they overpromise what it can realistically do, and the instructions in the box are counter to everything I know about coffee - they call for 175 degree water and a 10 second infusion before pressing, and calls the resulting liquid a "double espresso".

My feelings exactly. With a little tweaking (like the water temp) you can "brew" a decent enough cup of coffee - certainly better than Dunkin' Donuts or that ilk.
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#42 rotuts

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:41 AM

on the box I think they claim to make Expresso, at least according to Tom's at SM box.

:laugh:

#43 Paul Kierstead

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 12:12 PM

The confusion re:Espresso comes in, I think, because the resultant brew is stronger then drip coffee and they don't really have a term for it ('very strong coffee' would be off putting). Then they go off an ride that horse way too far, but I still see they have the urge to call it Espresso.

#44 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 12:14 PM



Zachary's post Same with coffee - you have to start with good coffee.


Yes, but where do you get THAT?

Where do you live?



Toronto. Fairly new here and still haven't found great coffee. A few coffee joints here make good espresso, but I like a nice cuppa clear coffee for daytime. So far, all the beans I've tried have given very meh coffee.

#45 andiesenji

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 12:35 PM

Anyone here have good experiences with the Aeropress?
From what I understand it;s better than drip filtered and not as much sediment and oil as French press.



I tried it. A person who is supposed to be very knowledgeable in its use also brewed coffee for me in it as I was informed I was "doing it wrong" or not using it properly. I was not impressed either with the several brews I made or with the few times it was prepared for me by the so-called expert with freshly roasted and ground coffee he provided.

The same person tried to interest me in a Technivorm Moccamaster but I was not at all impressed with it either. I can't stand "stale" coffee, which is why I like the single cup brewers especially the one that allows me to make my own pods with my own freshly roasted and ground coffee.
To my taste, coffee that stands on a burner for more than twenty minutes begins to taste "stale" to me. This is the reason I rarely drink coffee in restaurants and only under duress! :laugh:
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#46 MikeHartnett

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 12:43 PM

You can actually make some very nice coffee with an Aeropress if you completely ignore the instructions. First, buy a Coava metal filter. Use something approximating a pour over grind. Invert the Aeropress and put about 18g of coffee in it. Pour around 210g of hot water in, very slowly. Wait about 50 seconds, then stir for 10 seconds. Put the filter and lid on, flip it back over and press slowly, just using the weight of your hands. Quick, easy, delicious, and simple cleanup.

ETA: Oh, and forgot to add: water temp should be high 190s-low 200s F. Not 175.

Edited by MikeHartnett, 02 October 2011 - 12:44 PM.


#47 rotuts

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 12:58 PM

watch the vid. as noted above.

#48 Country

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:11 PM

I can't stand "stale" coffee, which is why I like the single cup brewers especially the one that allows me to make my own pods with my own freshly roasted and ground coffee.
To my taste, coffee that stands on a burner for more than twenty minutes begins to taste "stale" to me.


I make 2-3 cups in a Chemex, pour off one cup, and put the rest in a Thermos carafe. It keeps pretty well for an hour or so. Maybe longer, but I usually drink it all within an hour.

#49 rotuts

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:19 PM

Technivorm is said to make the 'best' drip of the automatic drips based on the fact its the only one that has its water at the proper temp. about 205.

none of the other automatics get close.

I dont have one but trust those you have looked at it.

once you get something like the Alexia PID, I rarely drink drip.

#50 weinoo

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 03:39 PM

Toronto. Fairly new here and still haven't found great coffee. A few coffee joints here make good espresso, but I like a nice cuppa clear coffee for daytime. So far, all the beans I've tried have given very meh coffee.

A quick search shows that Manic Coffee carries Intellegentsia's beans - gets them delivered freshly roasted a few times a week, according to the web site...that might be a good start.
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#51 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 04:19 PM

Just to keep it simple, you can start with a modest burr grinder for about $100+, good water (a water filter if your water doesn't taste great straight out of the tap $30 - $80, fresh recently roasted beans, and the pick out just one (1) inexpensive piece of brewing equipment and learn how to brew with it. After a month of trying two or three different styles of beans, try another inexpensive piece of equipment if you are not satisfied with what you're brewing. No need to try all forms of brewing coffee, or move on to espresso, start roasting your beans unless you just want to and have the time and interest.

Let us know if you have any more questions, and please let us know what you decide on and how that goes.

#52 Sam Iam

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 06:25 PM

The Grinder: Get a rebuilt Kitchen Aid Proline burr Grinder from eBay for apprx. $125, and a French Press for ~ $25 -$40. Or a Chemex.

Grind your beans no earlier than the night before. No one has mentioned water: I buy bottles of 5 gallons of Primo bottled water.

Your beans are at least as critical as everything else...... I buy beans from Terroir Coffee Company. They take orders until 7 AM every Monday, then roast your order and ship it the next day! You'll have them in two or three days. If you want to skimp on money to start with, they'll grind your beans to any grind you want! They have many, many different beans available, from somewhat reasonable to OMG rare and pricey.

At 70 years old, I'm trying to simplify my life! I've used every coffee maker and brand of beans that I can find over the years. The Moccamaster with the stainless caraffe is my choice. I drink 5-6 cups in two hours' and it stays hot.

I could go on and on, (I use a automatic vaccuum storage unit to suck the air out of my coffee bag for storage every day, etc, but I've got to be up at 4 tomorrow.

I'll be back!!
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#53 Sam Iam

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 06:30 PM

Richard, you said eveything I did in fewer words while I was cooking dinner and taking my time to type! Great minds must run in the same channel!
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#54 weinoo

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 05:10 AM

No one has mentioned water: I buy bottles of 5 gallons of Primo bottled water.

Actually, post #8 said this:

Bottom line is it's about the beans and water. Take care of those aspects and quality coffee will be yours.


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#55 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 06:24 AM


Toronto. Fairly new here and still haven't found great coffee. A few coffee joints here make good espresso, but I like a nice cuppa clear coffee for daytime. So far, all the beans I've tried have given very meh coffee.

A quick search shows that Manic Coffee carries Intellegentsia's beans - gets them delivered freshly roasted a few times a week, according to the web site...that might be a good start.


Wow! Thank you! I'm in the Manic neighborhood (in more ways than one!) a couple of times a week. Had their espresso coffee on the spot but never looked at beans for sale. I'll be there Wednesday morning. :)

#56 emannths

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 07:20 AM

Good morning,

V60

Pros: Cheap, durable, clean cup, medium body, more "transparent" flavors.
Cons: Buying paper filters, limited volume for grounds, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method.

Chemex

Pros: Durable, clean cup, light to medium body, good transparency, large volume for grounds.
Cons: Buying paper filters, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method, slower than V60 or FP.


FWIW, cloth filters are available for the V60 and also for some Chemex-like brewers. I gather that they take a little bit of care (you have to wash them and keep them damp in a ziplock bag), but it is an alternative to paper filters. I gather that the coffee winds up a little fuller-bodied than using a paper filter but cleaner than using a french press. I don't have any firsthand experience however:

Cloth is depth filtration and produces not only great clarity and oils, it gives a very layered and complex cup when done correctly. Take care of the cloth and rinse it well, use it often, clean it with coffee detergent as needed, and it will never 'taste like cloth'. Store it wet in a ziplock bag in the fridge but don't freeze it or dry it out. It will only 'taste like cloth' when it is either rinsed poorly, stored poorly, or allowed to dry out. A good boil in water is often enough to get the filter ready to brew again in short order. These are the facts as we use our cloth filters daily in shop. Source.



#57 jeffsf

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 01:50 PM

Others have mentioned it, but seems to be getting lost. Past the coffee and the water quality, the grinder is the most critical. With a moderate budget, skip the whirly-bird style and most anything you can buy in a department/cooking store that claims to be a "burr" grinder. The Baratza grinders are about the least expensive that give a decent grind profile with a motor. The Porlex/Hario/Kyocera are good options on a tight budget, swapping arm power for a motor. The uniformity of the grind is very important -- "fines" will over-extract and clog filters, big chunks will under-extract.

I'd also pass on anything that claims to be an "espresso" maker that is much less than the Crossland CC1 and a Baratza Vario (or a used Super Jolly with new burrs); you'll just frustrate yourself to no end with inconsistency and with hot, bitter water after a lot of work. Read posts and recommendations about the Rancilio Silvia and Rocky with a grain of salt. In their day, they were great options (to some extent, the only options), but prices have gone up a lot over the last ten years and there are better contenders for entry-level machines on the market.

Seriously, buy a quick-read digital thermometer (like the CDN for under $20) and a digital scale that reads to at least 0.1 g (as little as ~$15 on Amazon). I'm assuming you already have a kitchen scale you can measure the amount of water you add (put the whole coffee maker on it and tare before pouring).

Beans vary in density by a surprising amount so measuring coffee beans by volume isn't reliable and will mask the results of changes you are trying to make. You should have the thermometer for your cooking anyways, and trying to make consistently great coffee without one and a scale is like trying to bake a cake without measuring cups and a temperature dial on your oven.

Brewing methods at a moderate cost depends on the style of coffee you like. Various filter drip, filtered immersion (Aeropress, some vacuum machines, and the "Clever Dripper"), and unfiltered immersion (other vacuum machines, French press) each have their own flavor profiles and followers. None is "best" for everyone, or even for one person at all times.

If you don't have fresh (under a week from roast), high quality beans available locally, and the cost of mail order seems too high, home roasting in an appropriate popcorn popper (~$10 at a thrift store) and buying green beans from a reputable source is amazingly easy (at least for drip). It takes about 20 minutes, start to finish, to roast up ~100 g of beans.

Sweet Maria's and Home Barista, already mentioned, are great sources, as is Orphan Espresso, for some of the best hand grinders made.

Enjoy the experience -- discovering great coffee is like gaining an appreciation for great wines.

Edited by jeffsf, 03 October 2011 - 02:37 PM.


#58 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 05:05 PM

Or, if you're even a little bit handy, you could try buying the burr-grinder mechanism and making your own base box for it. Lee Valley has an excellent cast-iron burr grinder mechanism for a ridiculously low price ($20).
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#59 butterscotch

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 08:49 AM

You can actually make some very nice coffee with an Aeropress if you completely ignore the instructions. First, buy a Coava metal filter. Use something approximating a pour over grind. Invert the Aeropress and put about 18g of coffee in it. Pour around 210g of hot water in, very slowly. Wait about 50 seconds, then stir for 10 seconds. Put the filter and lid on, flip it back over and press slowly, just using the weight of your hands. Quick, easy, delicious, and simple cleanup.

ETA: Oh, and forgot to add: water temp should be high 190s-low 200s F. Not 175.



Thanks Mike! I found a nice unused one for 3 bucks with no instructions! Just what I needed.

#60 rotuts

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 08:54 AM

make sure you see those youtube vids ive mentioned.