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  1. Thought I'd venture a thread that is not oft discussed on Coffeegeek and doesn't seem (at least recently) to have been fleshed out here... Yes - I'm perfectionist about many things; I've got my modes of making coffee down. But I ain't getting to roasting (this statement will result in many a good natured flame at CG - and orig post goes OT into waxing poetic about homeroasting); don't have the time, don't have the place - I can't afford to get obsessive about yet another thing. My wife will disown me... So I am willing to pay for good roasting. Good roasting as defined by great bean knowledge, 'crack' precision, accurate dating and the rest of the art that goes into cooking the bean. I've got a pretty good roaster in my little nabe (Montclair, NJ) - and I know that buying local's a good thing 'cause coffee fades quickly. But I get my espresso from... St. Louis. I swear by Barry Jarrett's "Espresso Taliaferro" and at $8.95 - this is worth sending away for. In fact, Barry's quite the roasting maven... http://www.rileys-coffee.com/DarkRoasts.htm Anyone know of other master roasters that make paying the shipping worth it?
  2. As I briefly mentioned in another thread, Masashi Nakagawa of Flavor coffee in Aichi prefecture, Japan, was the first to succeed in roasting coffee beans by applying superheated steam. In what he calls the direct-heat and superheated steam roasting system, he applies superheated steam to coffee beans over direct heat in the drying phase (phase before the first crack) of the roasting process. He says that this allows him to control the humidity in the roaster, thereby controlling the moisture in the beans at will while keeping other components in. This has been just an introduction to his unique system. In my next post, I think I'll provide some more information about it. I'd like to talk about a unique paper drip method called the Matsuya method later. Masashi Nakagawa: Flavor coffee: Direct heat and superheated steam roasting system, with a super steamer on the right: Edit to add Flavor coffee's website (Japanese only): http://www.flavorcoffee.co.jp/index.html
  3. aliwaks

    Wet Sugar

    www.wetsugar.com great name, it's simple sugar individually packaged iced coffee & tea what do you think? Does it have legs?
  4. Okay - c'mon you guys. I know you won't let me down. In the restaurant at culinary school, they used to serve a coffee course at the end of the meal, which involved flaming liquor poured down a long spiral of citrus peels into cups of coffee. I've seen it done, but never done it myself. I'd like to reproduce it for the chef's table at the restaurant i'm at now, but i'm a little skittish to try it without some direction. Can anybody post a technique? Thanks!
  5. I was at my local Starbucks the other day, and was greeted at the entrance with a displace of Black Apron Label beans, or something like that - the specific blend was called Kona or Rona (I think). What surprised me was that Starbucks was selling it for $45 a pound (CAD)! $45 is more than I pay for my coffee, that's for sure. They claim it's some special find that only special buyers (like Starbucks...) can get in on. Anyone seen this, or even tasted it? They don't brew it in the stores, and even the half pound was far too much, despite my intrigue. I asked the guy at the cash about it, he said they did a tasting, and he enjoyed it. "Very drinkable, no aftertaste" or something like that (does that mean the rest of the Starbucks coffees are only somewhat drinkable?). Simon
  6. I just got the new Jessica's Biscuit catalog (mail order cookbooks) in the mail, and discovered that they've gone into the coffee business. I haven't tried it yet, but from the description in the catalog it sounds like they're getting good coffee and selling it at a reasonable price. They're also selling green coffee by the pound, which may interest the home roasters out there.
  7. Coffee Topics Coffee Beans Brewing Techniques Cold Coffee Coffee Cupping and Assessment Espresso Techniques Espresso Machines Home Roasting Grinders Cooking and Dining
  8. I don't frequent this forum 'cause I can't do caffeine (and the idea/taste of decaf is just...not the same)...but when this makes it onto the market, I'll be able to guzzle with abandon! Cool - it was just hanging out wild in Ethiopia...
  9. HI all, I'm appealing to your expertise as I'm unable to find a coffee we like. Most coffees are (for us) either overroasted (the Peet's or Starbucks kind) and/or too acidy. The coffee we are looking for can be sometimes tasted at expensive French restaurants (but not a French roast); the last time I had what we think is the best was at Fleur de Lys in San Francisco. It was smooth and a bit sweet, when compared to the Peet's kind. Any suggestions???
  10. I have heard of making Cuban coffee by dumping sugar in a filter basket and then running your coffee through it. Also by using a Moka and adding sugar? Is there an authentic way? Best way?
  11. I'm considering purchasing a stove top coffee maker within a few $$ and small enough to fit in my tiny kitchen and I have considered the Bialetti. Have anyone here used this machine or tasted coffee from it? There are several different models - aluminum ones to stainless steel. I chose the stainless steel for ease of cleaning and health reasons. I'm not a daily coffee drinker but when I do have a cup of Americano, it's gotta be good. Coming from Brazil, Starbucks and other American franchises tastes bitter and/or doesn't have that lingering richness which I found in Sao Paulo. I'm planning to use Lavazza Gold...even Illy pales by comparison. It is cheaper, smoother and yummier! I just want to know what your opinions are with regards to the Bialetti. Thanks.
  12. I am keenly aware of the devout feelings that coffee drinkers have towards their brown beverages. I'm making a series of designs along those lines, and was advised by a fellow eGulleteer that some of you might brainstorm and help me out. The first of my designs can be seen on these products. I'm working with old-fashioned clip art, and have several other things in mind. But I love that one graphic so much that I am considering using it again with different words. If anyone feels inspired to lend a phrase, feel free. My intro to that section of my website says, "Might as well face it, you're addicted to Joe." Feel free to confess, divulge, or trumpet your love of the little brown bean. Edit to note: I have even created left-handed and right-handed coffee mugs.
  13. Frappucino fattening ?? Some people automatically assume their coffees have few calories .. add a little milk, a little half-and-half, sugar and the totals rise dramatically ...
  14. Ithaca NY based coffee roasters and masters of the truly amazing espresso shot, Gimme! Coffee, have now opened thir first NYC location. Gimme! Coffee Williamsburg Brooklyn info If you've read discussions here or elswhere about the elusive "godshot" or wondered what the big deal is when people discuss legendary Seattle espresso cafes like Vivace, Vita or Hine Public Coffee..... make a trip to Wiliamsburg. IMHO this is at the moment some of the best espresso on the east coast bar none. Their espresso roast is a bit dark for my taste but they have use "Schomer modified" and PID controlled La Marzocco machines and pay great attention to the imnportant details of process - worth a visit. They also make a great cup of plain old coffee.
  15. m(a)ce

    Fair Trade

    So here we go. I'm gonna be the little devil. Here comes a doozy of a post, but maybe some good discussions will stem from it. I just finished reading the Saveur article on Ethiopian coffee and behold, a post on egullet. Anyway, one of the topics that came to mind while reading the article was the ongoing issue of Fair Trade coffee. On one hand, we all know the one side of the feel good, fuzzy warm Fair Trade argument. But I'm sorry to say that I'm not completely sold. I feel Fair Trade has its heart in the right place, but its crosshairs are not aimed in the right direction. Most of the coffee purchased (remember, coffee is the #2 most traded commodity in the world) is for major companies (think Nestle, etc). They dominate the coffee buying market. They buy whatever is cheap and this represents the lower grade coffee. That's why it tastes so bad. At the lowest graded levels, its not strange to see the processed coffee plagued with defects such as rocks, sticks, pieces of metal. (For those of you not familiar with green bean coffee buying, it is graded based on things such as uniformity, processing, etc. Visit this site to see what the best class entails: SCAA Green Bean Overview). So back to the good stuff. These global companies control the coffee market, demanding prices stay low and that effects a majority of coffee growers in an adverse manner. Unfortunately, Fair Trade has targeted the specialty coffee market which has consistently paid more for coffee than the larger corporations. Your local coffee roaster is not necessarily the boogie man. Good roasters that take their craft seriously buy coffee from the top 3% of graded coffee. They are willing to spend more for their beans because it usually guarantees a higher quality and better tasting product. Furthermore, serious roasters take the time to develop their relationships with either farms directly or brokers; this cultivation creates an expectation that if the farmers produce a better product, they will get more money by weight. The specialty green bean market is competitive and thereby rewards farmers that grow the best product with more demand for their product and in turn, more money. This idea of capitalism has fueled the organic specialty coffee market to go from borderline mediocre to superior than conventional coffee in the last 5 or so years. And that is what Fair Trade misses. By targeting the small roasters and specialty coffee market, they are missing the big picture. The other consequence of Fair Trade is fair tasting coffee. Not exceptionally good or bad. Just fair tasting. I have cupped lots of coffee and I can say that none of the most memorable coffee I've tasted was Fair Trade. Fair Trade farmers are reduced to a socialism model that pools coffee from different farms, farmers or estates. It does guarantee them more money for their product (a good thing) but does not provide an added incentive to farm amazing coffee -- just fair coffee. And not to be too alarmist, but this practice could eliminate the boutique estate varietals that have started to shine (think of it as losing your favorite individual vineyard from Napa and having to drink a generic blend from all the farms). I will give credit to Fair Trade for the beliefs and efforts, but I don't think we should necessarily be selectively guilted into paying more for a lesser quality product just to feel better. Where are those fighting for Fair Trade chocolate or sugar? Or how about sweatshop labor in Asia? How many people out there feel well enough after buying their Fair Trade coffee to go to Walmart and get their products supplied by underpaid overseas labor? Is the current specialty market model perfect? No. It does need reform. It does need to cut out the middlemen or reduce their profit. But I think the biggest changes need to happen with the consumer. Within the US we need to stop expecting to pay so little for things. Oh well, off to my mega strip mall to go to the chain stores and chain restaurants. . .
  16. I was eating my way through a packet of chocolate-covered coffee beans the other night, and I got to thinking: how many of the beans would I have to eat to get the "lift" I get from one cup of coffee? There were 42 beans in the packet. I estimate that when I brew coffee at home, I grind 55-60 beans for one 12-cup pot. Should this just be simple math, or does the brewing process have an effect on the caffeine itself? Do I have to apply heat and water to the beans in order to get the caffeine to "come out"? Or can I just eat the beans raw and get the same effect?
  17. So... I do a fair amount of grilling over charcoal. In one year, I have nearly worn out a chimney for starting charcoal. Looking at the bloody thing warm up (and roasting many a marshmallow during January in it) I came to the conclusion that this might be a good start for hand-roasting coffee. Has anyone had any experience roasting over a charcoal fire? Over any non-petroleum-based flame? If/when I get this going, I'll attempt to be sure and post some pictures and experiences.
  18. Today on The Splendid Table, there was a repeat broadcast of 2 stories about fair trade coffee. The first is about the impact of fair trade on actual farmers. The second discussion is between Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Kevin Knox. Knox gives a little more background & depth to the fair trade movement. I hope it provokes further thought/discourse. (The two stories are about 1/2 way through the show) NPR's THE SPLENDID TABLE
  19. For the past year or so I've been drinking yerba maté more than coffee and can attest to the differences between caffeine and the mateine in this South American beverage. I still love coffee, but can expect an edgy ride when I drink a few cups of coffeeshop-strength brew. With maté it's different; I feel a lift to the body and the brain without any sleep deprivation or crash -- and I can drink six teapots' worth or more. And if you believe what mate purveyors claim, the stuff is full of antioxidants among other health benefits. A few natural-foods stores sell small portions of maté at a steep price; I've found it's better to order large quantities on eBay. The best deals I've found were for Cruz de Malta. I bought it in large shipments, and it is decent, but I've had better. Can anyone recommend an affordable but high-quality brand? Or does anyone have anything maté-related they want to share? I have been trying to get my small-town coffee shop to stock it to no avail.
  20. And you thought that you had a hard time getting to a decent cup where you are. This piece by Thomas E Ricks and Liz Spayd of the Washington Post shows that people will make do with what they have in order to get the caffeine they need. G.I. Joe is a hit in the middle of the desert
  21. I feel I've reached a coffee plateau. I'm currently roasting my own with a FreshRoast, grinding with a Solis Maestro, and brewing in a press pot or, on lazy days or for larger production, in a Braun drip machine. I'm pretty sure I'm producing the best or nearly the best coffee I can produce using the equipment available to me. But I'd like to do better. I don't have the time, money, or inclination right now to get into the whole world of espresso. Is there anything -- either equipment-wise or in terms of advanced technique of which I might not be aware -- I can do cheaply and easily at this point? Or am I stuck on the plateau until I buy espresso gear?
  22. I purchased a Bosch grinder at Trader Joe's. I've never done this before (ground coffee at home, that is)and expected the instructions that came with the grinder to explain it all to me. The only time I've ground my own coffee is using the grinders at the store where you just pick the grind you want and voila! Well, how do you know how much to grind your coffee when using a grinder with no settings? How many beans do you grind to make 8 cups of drip coffee? Did I make a bad purchase here or do I just have to learn how to use this by trial and error? I really don't want to wait very long for my morning coffee while I fiddle with my new toy. Does anyone else have one of these and can you give me some tips here?
  23. I stopped in a Barnie's Coffee location the other day for a quick cup on the way to the movies. They have a single Capresso auto coffee maker in stock that's in a very beat-up dog-eared box and marked 25% off. The original price is $140 or $160 if I recall correctly and I won't budge until they go to 50% off but I'm intrigued by the product. Sorry I can't find any pics to post here as Gogle searches turned up nothing. Her's what makes it unusual: it has a conventional looking glass carafe on the warmer plate at the baset. The top is a glass container that holds the water with a cone shaped (a la Melitta or Chemex) filter below it. The bopx claims that the unit holds the water in the upper glass contanienr, heats it untilit is just below the boil (the optimal level for brewing) and then releases it. Brewing time is claimed to be 2 1/2 to 4 minutes depending on how many cups one makes. On the surface it would appear to be an automatic brewer that eliminates the shortcomings typically associated with auto drip makers. It's certainly not that much more trouble to just use a Melitta cone but the auto feature is appealing. Have any of you seen or tried this machine?
  24. Do you think that the people who get so wrapped up in their espresso can taste the nuances of great tea? Or do you think that the two beverages appeal to entirely different personalities? Can you truly love tea and also be passionate about coffee? I'm of the tea persuasion. Betts
  25. Hello to all you self professed coffee and tea geeks and fiends (even those with just a passing interest). I was delighted when eGullet's Craig Camp recently advised me that a separate Coffee and Tea forum would be launched and asked me to serve as moderator. I imagine some sort of "formal' introduction will be posted by eGullet but I'll throw in the basic details here. A native of Syracuse NY, I spent several years in Ithaca in the early '90s, subsequently relocated to the NYC area for another four years, eventually returning to Syracuse several months ago for work related reasons. A personal interest in food and beverage dates back to the late 1970's when I worked as a busboy, waiter and bartender. My exposure to better quality coffee and the benefits of grinding fresh whole beans dates back to 1980. Fast forward to 2001. Frequent business travel exposed me to better quality but still inadequate espresso and cappuccino. A budding interest in the flexibility and benefits of quality home espresso production led me along a learning path that I still enjoy traveling. Although far from an expert, my interest in the entire process of coffee and espresso, from growing to brewing and even retailing, has prompted me to search regularly for information and increased knowledge. I look forward to some spirited exchange of ideas in this forum. My knowledge of tea is limited but I'll work on improving that as time progresses. For the record.... my current setup includes: Isomac Tea E61 style espresso machine Mazzer Mini Grinder Thor amboyna wood custome tamper Mellita cones for drip coffee (two sizes) Alpenroast drum roaster Cheap Proctor-Silex drip maker (even I have company once in awhile!) I have for some time been attempting to combine my interest in coffee and espresso with my love for travel. My personal web site offers the first glance at this although it is sorely in need of an update. Those with a travel interest might also take a gander at my one and only "published" article http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/cafestage/02-25-2003
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