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barrett

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Everything posted by barrett

  1. Well, it's not that easy, because you're also losing heat through steam, the ceramic being heated (even if it's preheated, which it should be) We count on losing 10 degrees.
  2. 16:1 to 17:1, water:coffee. This is for the final product, so if you're doing concentrated, a little math will be necessary. Works out to roughly 60g/L
  3. I've graphed nothing. Being as the ratio of coffee to water is constant, I don't see the value in it: it's going to be a straight line. We just work on how hot we need to start to get the desired result (200ish/93ish.)
  4. Questions of temperature have come up here a few times, and I'd like to address those. If you're doing a press, pour over or similar, take a fresh brewed kettle and go for it. Even after preheating everything, there is substantial heat loss, that will get you down to that 200F/93C mark. Remember too that the coffee isn't preheated, so no matter how much you preheat, you've got coffee that's going to suck heat out of the water. If you're doing a pour over, and pulse-pouring, little bits at a time, awesome. That's good technique. Much better than dumping all the water in and developing a 'high and dry' problem. When you're doing this though, the water will cool a lot, so it's best to pop it back on the heat. We use an induction heater to keep it right hot. Remember most pour overs don't have a lid, so you're losing a lot of heat through the top of the thing. If you're in a testing mood and want to replicate, we did all our testing with a Fluke thermometer, and a bead thermometer in the coffee slurry.
  5. Step 1. A digital scale, accurate to 1g. For measuring your coffee, and your water. Use a 1:16 to 1:17 ratio. Step 2. A grinder. The cheapest burr grinder will give you vastly superior results than blades. The purpose here is to get a uniform particle size, so that you get a nice even extraction. Same reason you cut potatoes into similar sized pieces before you throw them in the pot. Electricity is awesome. Hand grinding sucks - unless you're traveling, then hand grinding is better than traipsing around the city trying to find something non-digusting to drink. Step 3. A brewing device. French Press: cheap, cheerful, a PITA to clean, and the cup, while having a lot of body, is not clean - there's a lot of silt in there. I find that unappealing. Aeropress: they're alright. I've got some Aus friends that use one of these with a mini-porlex hand grinder for traveling. The grinder fits right in the aeropress. Despite the inventors assertions, it doesn't make espresso, but it makes a decent cup. Pourover: they're usually over extracted, due to poor technique. Pourovers with valves in the bottom (I use Brewt) - like the above, but with a valve, so you can use a coarser grind, still get body, but have it drain in all day, and not horribly over-extract. Drip: for the few times I actually make coffee at home, the Technivorm is pretty nice. They go for around $300 here. Pop it on, and it's quick. I get a little bit of over-extraction, but that's probably due to the cheapy grinder I've got there.
  6. barrett

    Tamping

    We use tampers that are way too tight to the basket to do this. We fill, distribute, and tamp twice, straight down. No whacking. Distribution is huge - because you always end up with a mound, then tamp it, and the lower density around the edge of the coffee puck is apt to channel. Channelling = over extraction. One spout pouring more than the other isn't necessarily uneven extraction either, because all of that liquid is coming out of one hole. It could be not level, or have a little burr of metal or a coffee ground sitting in the spouts which is either holding back or directing flow to one or the other spout. If you get your hands on a bottomless, you can diagnose distribution problems much better, because it shoots a tiny stream of coffee all over you/the counter/the machine whenever there's channeling.
  7. You'll probably find more information if you search for barley tea.
  8. Good call. The technivorm is about the best coffee you'll get at home without dropping serious cash.
  9. I went last week, and it was good. Very small menu, which I like, and I think is more doable in a small room. I could never get behind the last concept - but I do like the daily menu, and I think it's where he's best. It is indeed a kitchen of one right now. Little disappointed that there was no Neil Wyles cameo that evening.
  10. I won a Technivorm and it's pretty awesome: convenience of a drip brewer, but actually good coffee coming out of it. The gradations on the water reservoir are very convenient. It's my least effort-requiring brewer at home, and now, my most used.
  11. Cleaning the plastic bits with a little warm water and a wipe is a nice touch. Not all parts are dishwasher safe - some melt, and especially on commercial grinders can be very expensive. Clean your hopper with just a little warm water, maybe some soap, and towel, it'll keep that oily residue off. That residue eventually becomes quite permanent, and it smells like nasty, stale coffee. And if you're in a cafe, and the grinder hoppers are caked black with coffee oil, try the juice.
  12. barrett

    Freezing coffee

    mixed results. for the best, consistent results, go with fresh crop.
  13. barrett

    Freezing coffee

    George Howell, of Terroir Coffee, is doing some interesting work in vacuum-packing and then freezing green beans. He believes that this maintains freshness of the green beans. I believe the jury may still be out as to if anyone else is using this method and believes it offers advantages in green bean storage. ← Yes, he has been doing it for a number of years, we've only been doing it for 3 years or so, I think.
  14. barrett

    Freezing coffee

    All grinders produce heat - you're taking beans and shaving them (with burrs) or pulverizing them (with blades) - where heat becomes an issue is for commercial operations who have their grinders running near constant throughout the day. The first step to quality is grinding fresh. Fresh = now. The second step is a quality grinder that you can actually control particle size with. Blades smash the coffee repeatedly, so within your sample, you have everything from sizeable chunks to powder - with burrs, the coffee is pushed out after it's ground, so it's only ground once, and there is a much tighter control over the size of particles. Why does particle size matter? Because we want an even extraction. To coarse will end up with a weak brew, and too fine results in bitter, overextracted coffee. Technically, they *can* last a long time, but you will get diminishing returns. As they sit, the moisture levels will change - plus any number of unknowns that have previously been ignored by roasters. Slowly, more and more roasters are getting on the idea of seasonality, and trying to minimize the time green is spending on the shelf.
  15. barrett

    Coffee Books

    Tim Castle is incredibly knowledgeable, and one of a few palates that I consider exceptional. (This one is on my 'to read' list) The Espresso Quest by Instaurator has some incredible photography, as well as history. I've also heard this one is great, but good luck finding a copy. (Andrea Illy: Chemistry of Quality)
  16. Catimor is actually a varietal of arabica - along with SL-795, Bourbon, Typica and countless others. Mark Prince wrote a great piece on the emergence of Vietnam as a coffee producing nation. Written in 2002 it can be found here.
  17. I have one of the prototype c-ripples somewhere. I suggested a name change... Reg makes really nice products, my favorites are the curved.
  18. At certain times of year, as the diets of the milked change, you will need to adjust your steaming technique. I ran into this a couple of weeks ago - the 1% was steaming like styrofoam... or skim. Try less air.
  19. Urban Burger @ Davie and Thurlow is open.
  20. I followed the links laid out by the OP, and made a couple of notes on their taste: Cashel Blue - it's blue! Trou de Crou - straw L'ami du Chambertain - shellfish and sharp (read: bold flavour) Leyden - spicy! Carré du Berry - Berries! For the most part I went with similarity and balance of similar flavours - with something like cheese, too much contrast can leave your coffee tasting like dirt. Three of them immediately fit well with Kenya - bold flavour, spicy, and berries. Of course, not all Kenyans have these characteristics, but they are typical of the country. As for the straw flavour of the Trou - well, I'd consider that a taint in coffee. There are a few taints - mold, ferment and bag among them. When coffee sits around too long in jute bags, it will eventually take on the flavour of them - which tastes like wet straw. I'm convinced that not everyone can taste this though, as even from a number of reputable roasters, we still get plenty of coffees from them that are baggy. (We buy bags whenever we're in Seattle, or other cities and taste them blind against our own.) So for that one, I chose to ignore that one, as chances are, if you're getting a bag of Kenyan, you've already got a good chance of getting straw in it. Kenya is one of the hardest countries to source from, as a lot of their coffees end up tainted. (I say this with the caveat that you can actually find good coffees from Kenya - whereas some countries, it seems actually impossible to find anything good. I have zero luck with Yemen, I've had one good Java in the last year, Colombia had a couple of bad harvests, which made it really hard to find anything good (the coming crop is looking promising)I have yet to taste something good from either China or Vietnam. Ethiopian Harrars *can* be good, but they are hard to find, and frequently have ferment flavours - but sometimes it works out. This is where the typical harrar blueberry flavour comes from.) This past fall, I was watching the Canadian Barista Championship webcast, and I actually listened to one of the competitors describe their coffee as straw-like and barnyardy. Kenyan coffees tend to be very winey. Some have that tannic dryness, and a lot of them have that gentle tartness common to reds. Other Africans can have these qualities as well - it's a product of terroir and the processing methods used, but I'd say that Kenyans as a whole have more winey characteristics than say Ethiopians. On acidity: First, it's important to establish that acidity is not about pH. I refer to that "high acidity" as garbage bin coffee. Acidity is the "sparkling" on the tongue, not unlike the sensation you get from citrus. But different. Acidity is partially inherent to the bean, and partially affected by the roasting process and age of your coffee. If you're getting 6 month old coffee, good luck finding acidity. Higher acidity coffees tend to be used for regular coffee - and lower acidity tend to be used as espresso. There is a bit of crossover though - a high acidity coffee @ 10% of a blend, could make a really nice espresso, but as a single origin, it could be like sucking on a lemon. Some roasters like that, some don't. Some roaster settings can also greatly affect acidity. Coffees are sometimes marketed as "low acid" - and it's one of those horrible crossover terms that could mean two things, but in reality, probably means nothing.
  21. If you want to do something like this, and stick to one coffee, I'd say a good Kenyan, in a pinch, a good Yerg, or Sidamo could do the trick. I went through your links, and made a short list of descriptors and compared them to the typical profile of various regions. For the blue, well, I have no idea, but the other 4, a big bodied Kenyan should work pretty well with the strong flavours of cheese, a lot of Kenyans will have really bold flavours, lots of spice, berry, and Kenyans can have great acidity. Kenyans tend to be a love or hate coffee - for some, the flavours are just too big, but with cheese, I think it will match nicely. Best of luck. Now, you just need to find a good one.
  22. I'm looking forward to trying this one. My understanding is he's going for a cheaper, cheesier, downtown moderne burger.
  23. The grinder is the single most important thing for quality coffee. The difference between burrs and blades is that blades pulverize, while burrs cut. Pulverizing coffee results a wider range of grind sizes. Large particles result in underextraction, and lack of body. Fines give tons of body, but will result in overextraction and bitter flavours. All grinders have a range of particle sizes, which are important to the brewing process, but the blades just have no control. I don't know of anything suitable in the $50 range, but I'd suggest adding the Baratza Mastro ($110), to your wishlist.
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