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Posts posted by malachi

  1. Hi Folks

    I'm going to be in Portland for a long weekend. I'll be busy most of the time with coffee related stuff (NASCORE is one of the big national specialty coffee shows). But both I and my girlfriend are going to try and squeeze as much into the trip as possible.

    Given this... I thought I would double check the restaurants we were planning on trying to hit and make sure there were no duds on the list, and we were not missing anything obvious. Please keep in mind that we don't intend to hit all of these!!

    As general guidance... we both like pretty much all food, used to live in San Francisco, love wine, I used to be a chef and we now live somewhere without good food - so any trip is an opportunity to get some taste.

    The list...



    Paley's Place

    Park Kitchen





    Cha Ba Thai


    Pho Van Bistro



    Noble Rot



    Oh... if any of you see a short guy with a shaved head, small beard and some earrings looking over-caffinated at Stumptown - that's probably me.


  2. heh...

    OK, first of all - i didn't invent the idea at all. as Kyle says, the folks at Zoka were the ones who not only came up with the concept, but did the first chop job and (more importantly) then chose to share the results with all of us.

    They get ALL the credit for this one.

    secondly - the portafilter was not chopped. the bottom was cut our using a holesaw and a drill press. you can actually buy modified portafilters from Terry at EspressoParts NW.

    third - the basket in those photos is a LM triple basket. dosing is identical to dosing in this basket with a normal (uncut) portafilter.

    fourth - tamping is actually easier with a naked portafilter. you can rest the portafilter on the edge of the counter and the combination of the large, flat surface created by the cut portafilter and the slight lip left from where the handle meets the portafilter base give you great stability. even with the LM triple basket, the bottom of the basket is high enough off the countertop to avoid transfering any substance to the bottom of the basket.

    in terms of taste testing...

    we have yet to have someone (in blind testing) choose the standard shot over the naked shot. we've pulled shots using five different blends and four different single origin espressos. we've tested on baristi and on customers.

    in my humble opinion, the big difference is actually in the mouthfeel. the shots are more creamy and more rich and more coating. it's really nice! the flavour differences are, i would say, discernable and positive - but not profound.

    the biggest value, however, is in training. this is arguable one of the best training tools of all time. problems with technique (distribution, dosing, tamping, anything!) become instantly apparent. it's really cool!


  3. it's really not possible. as an example, cup the three following beans at Full City:

    - Brazil Fazenda Laranja Cravo

    - Brazil Sul de Minas Carmo Estate

    - Brazil Sitio Araucária

    you'd think that three such similar beans would taste very similar.

    instead you get one bean that has an intense bittersweet chocolate note and a heavy, creamy body - one bean that is incredibly mild and nutty with no real dominant flavour characteristics to speak of - and one bean this incredibly bright and citric with a light body and strong nut tones.

    a better (though perhaps less helpful) way to look at your question would be...

    Chocolate Espresso Blend = 5 parts base bean, 3 parts accent bean A, 1 part accent bean B, roasted to Roast Degree; where

    if Roast Degree = Full City or lighter;

    Base Bean = very low acid, soft and round with no fruit or wine flavour notes (if any, just chocolate or nut)

    Accent Bean A = low acid, big body, round, no fruit or wine notes, chocolate tones

    Accent Bean B = heavy chocolate tones, some mild dried fruit tones or wine tones; or

    if Roast Degree = Full City Plus or darker;

    Base Bean = low acid, big body, very round, chocolate tones

    Accent Bean A = big body, heavy chocolate, round

    Accent Bean B = big body, chocolate and fruit tones, acidic

    of course, as a wild card, you'll note that both are just three-bean blends. this is going to mean that you'll have to pick the coffees based on their balance but also will have to forgo robusta which means that, to get decent crema, you're going to need to focus on dry-processed coffees.

    feel free, if you want, to tell me what your green inventory looks like if you want more concrete suggestions - though in general i think experimentation is a good thing.

    as a starting point, you might want to start roasting individual origin beans and pulling shots with them. this will allow you to not only tune your palate, you'll also be able to identify the complete flavours of the beans and become more adept at blending. and, of course, you might find you actually prefer single origin shots to blends!!

  4. However I have really taken to this stuff, it tastes better to me than regular brewed coffee and doesn't have the bitter base note that is an integral part of regular espresso.

    if there is any "bite" (be it bitterness or other) in the low-end of the espresso flavour profile, then you're talking "regular espresso" in the sense that the vast majority of beverage sold as espresso in the US is (in the words of Dr. Joseph John) "strong coffee made from an expensive machine."

    in certain types of espresso (Neapolitan style for example) the roast is so dark that there is a bitter bite in the high-end of the flavour profile. but in well extracted espresso of the more common "speciality" styles (Northern Italian, PNW) the overall bass tones tend towards sweetness, earth and chocolate and tend to have little to no bite. in these styles, in fact, you're more likely for the bite to be sour or acidic/bright rather bitter.

  5. Buy a smaller Press Pot.

    Make more pots of coffee and drink it fresh.


    Extraction will continue as long as the grounds are in contact with water.

    Fresh coffee is generally considered to be less than 20 minutes old - though I, personally, wouldn't drink coffee that had sat, period.

  6. i don't quite see where the "small batch" problem lies.

    there are excellent, commercial, drum roasters that can roast below 1lb dry charge weight (the Ambex Tabletop Roaster is a good example).

    there are fluid bed roasters that roast 1lb dry charge.

    there are sample roasters that go down even lower.

    i currently roast in a 1K propane fired drum roaster and can roast down to .75lb dry charge weight with consistent quality.

  7. resulting coffee was very sweet, very mild. no bitterness at all and no acidity either.

    a very very clean cup.

    for people who don't like coffee because of the "bite" or who feel coffee is too "strong" this might be an ideal solution.

    on the downside, there was dramatically diminished difference in cup character between the two coffees. aromatics were almost gone, body was way down and fruit notes were flattened.

    of course... i may have made some mistakes in methodology, so i'll wait for a follow on description and double check the guesses i made.

  8. it sounds like a method geared at making coffee that is low acid, sweet, but also low in complexity, brightness and body.

    i would guess it is similar to a toddy coffee, but more filtered.

    for some tastes, i would guess it would be ideal.

    for those whose preferred method of extraction would be a french press, however, i would guess the resulting coffee would taste bland.

    it's an interesting example of how a solution is derived from a perceived problem that can be purely personal taste. the negative traits of coffee as described herein are not, for example, what i would see as a problem.

    i've just brewed up some coffee based on these instructions. i'll dilute and taste. for interest's sake i've chosen to brew both a very low acid coffee (a naturally processed brazilian) and a very bright coffee (an auction lot Kenya). i'll let you know what i think.

  9. Drip coffee (Filter Coffee)

    Press Pot

    Vacuum Pot

    Moka Pot

    Cowboy Coffee

    Percolater Coffee

    Cold-brewed Coffee

    Espresso (single, double, short, long, ristretto, caffe crema)


    Machiatto (espresso, latte)



    Caffe Latte

    Caffe Breve

    Espresso con Panna

    Caffe Mocha

    Espresso Forte

    Caffe Correcto

    Caffe Affogato

    Cafe Cubano

    Cafe con Leche

    Red Eye (Depth Charge, Hammerhead, Shot in the Dark)

  10. Historical records indicated that Luigi Bezzera termed the drink "caffe expres" in all of the 1901 product and marketing materials.

    Thank you for reposting, because I missed it the first time around. There's no X in Italian. "Expres" is a French word. A mystery!

    In that case... I'll repost the whole thing, as my guess is (from discussion) you may not be the only one who missed it...

    Actually, espresso does, in fact, refer to being made quickly... in addition to describing the method of extraction. Actually, "espresso" has a number of types of meaning in Italian. As described above, one is the process of "expressing" the flavour of coffee. Another is to make the coffee quickly. And finally, Luigi Bezzera created and popularized "caffe expres" in 1901, a coffee making method that created a single cup of coffee "expressly for you." This was an early precurrsor to true espresso machines and there is little doubt that the name derives from this. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the first use of "caffe espresso" as a phrase was in the 1906 International Trade Fair in Milan where Bezzera was an exhibitor and offered caffe espresso made from the Ideale machine. By 1909 the Ideale machine was being sold by Desiderio Pavoni (who obtained the Bezzera patent in 1903), with the key addition of a steam relief valve. This was the basic type of machine used until 1948, but the coffee being produced by it would not be recognizable by any of us as espresso. It was not until Gaggia introduced the first lever machine in 1948 that true espresso was created.
  11. Another question to be answered is when it started to be called caffè espresso.  Although you assert that the first European patent for a steam-pressure coffee machines was granted 1821, there is no reason to suppose that the word caffè espresso dates from this time.  FWIW, most people date the invention of "espresso" from Bezzera's 1901 patent, and indeed his was the first machine to use the force of steam to directly press water through the coffee grounds.  Prior to that time, the other machines used pressure to force the water some distance above the coffee grounds, after which the force of gravity carried the water through the grounds.  Mostly these machines were to be found at expositions and fairs and the like.  The consumption of espresso as a popular phenomenon dates from the 20th century, with the rollout of the Pavoni and Victoria Arduino machines, etc. and it strikes me as most likely that the usage of caffè espresso dates from this time or later.  This guy here dates it from 1945 in his English etymology dictionary (altnough he also furthers the OED's definition), which would put it after the 1938 Cremonesi piston pump and just prior to Gaggia's rollout of commercial piston machines (i.e., the birth of modern espresso).

    As I stated earlier, after a fair amount of study of the topic (it's what I do for a living), to the best of my knowledge, the first use of "caffe espresso" as a phrase was in booth advertising at the 1906 International Trade Fair in Milan at the Bezzera exhibit where they offered caffe espresso made from their Ideale machine. Historical records indicated that Luigi Bezzera termed the drink "caffe expres" in all of the 1901 product and marketing materials. Given this, we can probably say that the odds are good that the earliest date for the use of "caffee espresso" in popular vernacular lies between 1901 and 1906 -- but certainly no later than 1906.

  12. The coffee with the lowest acidity available commercially is Mexican.

    I am not a coffee drinker, being totally addicted to tea, however I have a friend who has been in the coffee business for 40 years and he talks about it a great deal. (Whether I am interested or now, but I listen because he listens to me natter on about teas.)

    I saw this question yesterday and called Mark last evening.

    He said that low grown coffees have less acid in the bean, thus there is less to be cooked away in roasting. Longer roasting removes more of the inherent acid and dark roast coffees have less acid than the lighter roast coffees but there is a point beyond which the flavor is not enhanced but simply charred into dreck. (his words)

    The ones with the lowest acid currently available ready roasted in the (coffee) market are from

    Mexico, Sumatra, India and Brazil, all low grown - and medium dark to dark roast.

    Avoid Kenya, Kona, Blue Mountain, Yemen and light roast coffees.

    He also said the cold-brewed method is the best way to get coffee with the least acid. He also said you do not need one of the special gizmos for making it.

    Place a cup of freshly ground coffee in a quart jar. Fill the jar with cold, filtered water, tighten the lid, shake vigorously. Place the jar in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove the lid, stir throughly then strain through a double layer of coffee filters. This will give you a concentrate which you dilute with hot water. This should give you enough concentrate for 20 to 30 cups of coffee at regular strength.

    Actually, there are Mexican coffees that have a lot of acidity - and others that don't. Also, it's important to understand that when a coffee pro says "acidity" they don't mean "has lots of acid" but rather is describing a flavour note that can also be described as "brightness."

    In any event, the coffee most commonly considered as having the lowest acidity is Indian Monsooned Malabar. But it is hardly what I would describe as a "smooth" coffee.

    If you're looking for a coffee that is "smooth" (i.e. without bitterness, balanced, with a rounded and balanced flavour profile), I would suggest not looking at acidity but rather at balance and body.

    The coffees I most commonly describe to customers as "smooth" would include:

    - good Java Gov't Estates,

    - Puerto Rico Yauco Selecto,

    - very good true Konas (not blends),

    - high quality Guatemala Antiguas,

    - high quality estate dry-processed coffees from Brazil,

    - some Sumatra Iskanders,

    - some Sulawesi Torajas.

    But for the most part, I tend to suggest looking at blends. Look for blends roasted to true Full City that are described as being "Full Bodied."

    Good online sources include Intelligentsia Coffees, Zoka Roasting and Terroir.

  13. hey folks

    i'm going to be in Seattle (for the first time) next week and would love any and all suggestions.

    i won't have a car and will be staying (and "working") on Broadway (Madison to Olive basically).

    i'm set for coffee, but would love to hear opinions on breakfast and lunch places in the area as well as dinner spots (both in the area and the top, 'must hit' places outside the area).

    to be specific... i'd love to hear about breakfast places and bakeries convenient to that area. i'd love to hear about any and all suggested lunch places in that area. i'd love to hear about good places to eat (cheap or not, i just want tasty food) in that area. and i'd love your suggestions for that one "special" meal that you simply have to have in Seattle.

    final catch... unless some of y'all want to join me these will be meals for one. so, while i'm not ashamed - they need to be places where this is appropriate (and bar menus, etc are ideal as a result).

    finally... any suggestions on wine bars and/or wine shops would be much appreciated.



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