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Posts posted by MGLloyd

  1. When I go to Pike Place, I like to make the rounds of World Spice, Beechers, Spanish Table and Sur La Table. I can hardly wait for the rain to come back so that I can go there on a weekend without 10,000 other people.

  2. Chris, have you noted any food safety issues with your multiple-hour at 200 degrees approach? Or is bacon so loaded with nitrates and what not that it is inhospitable to bacterial growth?

  3. I have done bacon in the oven, using a rack and sheet pan, for years. After experimentation, I prefer a rack to allow the fat to render and the bacon to crisp easier. This also gives me cleaner drippings which I save in a jar in the fridge. I put the bacon into a cold oven, heat to 350, and pull the bacon at about 15-20 minutes or so. The bacon seems to shrink less at this temperature and time.

  4. I was at a local Target today and saw a Ziploc hand vacuum pump and Ziploc vacuum bags. It was right next to the Reynolds Handi-Vac, but from eyeballing the bag boxes, it didn't look as if the Ziplock pump would work on the Reynolds bags and vice versa.

  5. I have about 125 pounds or so of green beans out in my garage. They are in individual plastic Ziploc bags that I keep in opaque plastic Rubbermaid totes with snap lids. I have had some beans that are two-three years old and they have roasted successfully.

    As long as the beans are kept dry and away from contaminants, unroasted green beans can last a long time. On the homeroasting forums, some of my colleagues have kept green beans for up to four years with satisfactory results. Beans that are kept in damp environments don't last as long. Some of the 'aged' or 'monsooned' coffees from Indonesia are stored outside in jute bags on covered pallets for a year or two before being released for sale.

  6. Mitch, have you heard of the Behmor? Behmor just in case that may be a homeroasting solution for you. On the coffee roasting websites, I have read of many apartment-dwellers who are using it successfully.

  7. Perhaps one of the key points to my success is that as a homeroaster, I am usually drinking coffee that has been roasted within the past week. As such, such rapid turnover may make storage issues somewhat moot. On the coffee websites, there is great ongoing debate on frozen vs. room temperature vs. airtight vs. vacuum-packed. Little agreement is reached.

    My personal thought is that if you can use up roasted coffee within a week or two, and grind the beans right before brewing, you are probably at 95% of perfection right there. All else is probably window-dressing!

  8. I think the biggest problem with this methodology is the condensation that occurs on the beans every time you remove them from the freezer and open the jar.

    Since the jar is out of the freezer for all of about 45 seconds, there is no condensation to speak of on the beans remaining in the jar. Also, I point out that when you do homeroast, the beans outgas carbon dioxide for a day or two, thus displacing the oxygen in the storage container.

    Although individual experience and palates may differ, I can clearly tell a difference between storing my homeroast beans in the freezer and at room temperature. This is why I store them in the airtight frozen dark.

  9. I have been homeroasting for many years now. I store my whole roasted beans in a clamp-top preserve jar in the freezer. I take out only what I need for a pot, replace the jar in the freezer, grind and brew.

    Since the frozen coffee beans thaw quickly from the heat of grinding and/or when the first bit of hot water hits them in the brew process, I don't think that any flavor is lost by grinding them frozen. In my experience and to my palate, keeping the beans at room temperature stales them more quickly.

  10. Boy, that equipment sure takes me back to my chemistry days. Do you feel that you are only removing visual haze and sediment, or are you also removing flavor? I would be interested to know just how many flavor compounds are in the sediment that is being removed.

  11. Although I received a Cameron Stovetop Smoker as a gift, before I had it, I made my own impromptu smoker: I used a large hotel or roasting pan, sprinkled the appropriate wood sawdust on the bottom (a microplane works very well to make your own sawdust from a piece of wood), put a wire rack into the hotel pan, put the food on the rack, tightly covered the top with aluminum foil, and put the pan on the burners at a low heat to smoke. When I felt there had been enough smoke infused, I removed the food and finished cooking it in the normal manner. This worked like a charm for me, and I still do it occasionally when I don't feel like digging out the Cameron.

  12. The sound of the cracks is very important in coffee roasting. The coffee goes through 'first crack' and then 'second crack', and this has implications for the level of roast. I generally roast my coffee a few seconds into second crack, so when I hear that, I know it is time to stop the roast and cool the batch.

  13. Trader Joe's white cheddar popcorn. It is so easy to make a small opening at the top of the seal, and then just tip the bag to funnel the cheesy goodness directly into my mouth without having to even touch the popcorn. I try to justify it by the fiber intake, but that is a lame excuse at best.

  14. I personally have read of some coffee cafes in NYC and Chicago charging $ 20 for a cup of drip made on the Clover. Now mind you, these have been award-winning Cup of Excellence coffees, but still...... Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks was quoted as paying $ 7 for a cup in Manhattan.

    "For instance, a pound of green (unroasted) coffee that costs $10 at an auction would sell at retail for somewhere around $40 - or $3 to $4 for an 8-ounce cup from the Clover, says Mark Prince, senior editor of coffeegeek.com. Some shops have been known to sell a 12-ounce cup off the Clover for $20 or more." Associated Press, March 8, 2008

    I keep meaning to try and get to the Seattle cafe (Zoka) that has a Clover, but have not made it yet. In a recent newspaper article, the cafe was quoted as charging between $ 5-10 for a single cup of drip made on the Clover for the more exotic coffees. Starbucks is apparently planning to charge $ 2.50 for a 12 ounce cup of drip.

  15. On the coffee sites that I participate in, the consensus seems to be that if you already roast your own beans, grind them fresh and use a French Press, you are already at about 95% plus of what the Clover can do.

    I already do all of this, so although I may find a Clover just to try it, a real test would require using my coffee in the Clover and the press to see what the difference is. As it is, I don't intend spending $ 8-15 for a cup of drip anytime soon.

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