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  1. I know I'll be told I should be roasting my own beans, or only buying small freshly roasted quantities, but does freezing your beans degrade the flavor or save it?
  2. At coffee bars in the USA it seems that double espresso is the norm. Is a double espresso really an espresso? The experience of drinking one is certainly different. To me a double is more like a big cup of strong coffee as compared to the burst of flavor you get in taking in the sip or two that constitutes the Italian espresso experience.
  3. Whenever I come back from France, I find myself missing the coffee most of all (other than the bread). I love strong coffee, but in the U.S. it is often hard to find the strength and richness without bitterness. I even find myself missing cheap store brands like Carte Noire. Does anyone know a good source of French coffees in the U.S.? I have bought a number of the European brands (like Illy) and have not been able to achieve the same effect at home. It is a matter of the grind? If I grind Illy for espresso, then put that into my drip coffeepot, can I achieve the same effect?
  4. Adam Gopnick's little brother Blake goes on at some length in the Washington Post about his discovery that one of the best things at a recent art exhibit was the sponsor's coffee: http://www.msnbc.com/news/936130.asp
  5. Today I entered the deepest, darkest level of coffee geekdom. This morning the UPS man, sporting his spiffy brown uniform, brought me a box of home coffee roasting equipment and supplies from The Coffee Project. The basic starter kit contained several varieties of raw coffee beans, the book Home Coffee Roasting: Romance and Revival, by Kenneth Davids, and a FreshRoast 2.5 ounce roasting machine that looks like this: What I'm going to do over the next few weeks is try to get to the bottom of the home coffee roasting phenomenon. First I'll learn how to roast my own coffee beans. Then I'll brew coffee with my home-roasted product. I'll examine the question of how quickly coffee degrades once roasted. And I'll conduct some comparisons of my home-roasted coffee against commercially roasted coffees. Along the way, I'll be trying to educate myself about coffee in general. I'm basically a coffee neophyte. My coffee comprehension at this time extends only as far as "I like it"/"I don't like it." I also aspire to develop a caffeine addiction. Tonight I unpacked the machine, cleaned the glass container with warm soapy water as specified in the instruction manual, and roasted a batch of Columbian "Supremo Bucharamonga Especial." Though this sounds like something drug kingpins do to punish deviant underlings, it is a kind of coffee bean. Before roasting, however, I tried to familiarize myself with the instruction manual and the Kenneth Davids book. But ultimately I resorted to e-mailing James Vaughn at The Coffee Project in the hopes that he would send me the idiot-proof, executive-summary version of the instructions. He did: There are two distict sounds you'll hear when roasting. The first is a kind of crack, like twigs breaking. The second sound is more of a sizzle as the beans darken. The sizzles are the sugars carmelizing, and we like that. I suggest letting the coffee roast until you hear this second sizzling sound, you will also see wisps of smoke at this point. If the timer hasn't already run out set the machine to "cool". The beans will continue to roast a bit more as they cool down. Don't go too dark on the first roast, better to err on the lighter side than ruin a batch by making charcoal. With that advice in mind I activated the machine and it made a startling noise. I don't know what I expected. I guess I didn't think it would make a noise. But actually it seems to have inner workings similar to those of a hot-air popcorn popper. (I subsequently learned, through further exploration of the Davids book, that you can use certain models of hot-air popcorn poppers for this task.) So it makes a noise like a small jet engine. Not terribly loud, but loud enough to startle both me and my dog, who observed the process with more than a little curiosity. The beans, propelled by the hot air, bounced around like Mexican jumping beans and for a minute or so jumping seemed to be all they were doing. Eventually, odors started to emanate from the machine but they were totally un-coffee-like -- sort of a decaying vegetable-matter smell. Eventually, I heard the promised first round of crackling and the beans started taking on the color of roasted coffee beans. At long last, just as I was thinking I must have missed the second round of noises -- the much anticipated sizzles -- they arrived. Almost immediately after I heard sizzling, a little smoke started coming out the top of the machine and within just a few seconds the entire apartment was filled with the most wonderfully comforting aromas of roasted coffee that I've ever had the pleasure of inhaling. I switched the machine to "cool." Once the cooling cycle was complete, I placed the beans in a glass mason jar that originally housed Marie's blue cheese dressing and then, for a time when we had an inexplicable surplus, several small boxes of dental floss. Apparently I am not allowed to make actual coffee until tomorrow because the beans need to rest overnight. So, until then . . . >> NEXT INSTALLMENT >>
  6. I've got a bag of Vietnamese coffee beans, one of those groovy little stainless steel filters (there's a picture here), and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I'm desperately hoping I can recreate the coffee I had every morning in Cambodia: a tall, slim highball glass with a finger of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom, topped with a couple slugs of dark, rich, seriously strong black coffee. Does anyone out there make this? Any tips on how fine I should grind my beans, ratio of coffee to water, etc? I've got limited quantities, so I want every drop to count.
  7. Ok, this topic is of much interest to me, so can we come up with a list. Question though, would a separate list be necessary for espresso or do you use the same bean for both? Anyway, my vote goes to graffeo dark (used with a french press) as my favorite so far. [then again, I haven't tried that many so called quality beans.] I'm curious about anyone's experience with the lighter blend as I've never tried it.
  8. jaybee

    Coffee

    A couple of months ago we discussed Grimes NYT rave review of the coffee at the cafe at the Neue Museum. We were told it came from Meinl in Vienna. Yesterday mornng I placed an order with Meinl through their website for several varieites of their beans, not knowing which were the prized ones. The order arrived this morning!!!, yes that's right, this morning, from Vienna. I will try the blends and report back on my experience with them. The shipping costs amount to $2 per pound if eight pounds are ordered. The beans range from $7 to $8 minus 20% VAT. The end price is equivalent to Starbucks or Peets premium coffees, maybe less. Stay tuned, java heads. I also ordered two jars of their preserves. They sounded good.
  9. I originally posted this in a coffee thread on the General Board, but as this is an excellent source for mail order food, I thought it was worth copying here. OK, here's our source for pure Kona coffee, Bay View Farms. Jason and I visited them on our honeymoon and got a personal tour with Eva and met Roz in the tasting room. We bought a lot then and had it shipped home as souveniers for family, wedding attendants, etc. Since then we have ordered from them several times. One of the best received presents we ever sent was a Thank You to a business colleague of Jason's. We sent her a couple of pounds of their coffee and one of macadamia nuts. Totally fresh amazing coffee and nuts. I am now going to talk rhapsodic about their mac nuts. :cheesy: They have the Best Macadamia Nuts Ever . They are whole, very large, dry roasted without oil or salt. They are excellent for eating out of hand (I like to dip them in a little kosher salt, or sprinkle some on after toasting them) or to use in cooking. They have a really true flavor since there is no greasy, powdery, salty coating - like some other mac nuts available nationwide in supermarkets. A couple we know recently came back from Hawaii, and they gave us a bag of mac nuts. They may has well have been that unmentionable famous brand. They were mostly halved nuts and had a lot of salt on them. Useless for baking. If you like mac nuts and you want to try some really excellent ones, call Bay View Farms. For the coffee, I believe they roast everything fresh right before shipping it to you. Both products are vaccuum sealed. They also sell green coffee wholesale.
  10. In the never ending quest for the best home brewed coffee, I, like many others, find the French Press does the job. However I've yet to discover the way to get best results from it. Would those who have enlighten me. How much ground coffee per cup? Medium or course grind? How long to steep the grounds before plunging? Water just off boiling? What else? Spill the beans.
  11. I work where there's a cappuccino bar. I love drinking coffee drinks, and when I first started working there, I very much enjoyed the novelty of trying different ones. Now, however, I can't think of anything new to concoct. That doesn't stop me from drinking my daily couple of mugs, it's just not as fun anymore. Looking up coffee drink recipes on the internet yields an overwhelming number of recipes, leaving me with no idea where to begin. Does anybody out there have a favorite novelty coffee drink? The more original, the better (presuming it's still delicious, of course). Keep in mind, please, that our store isn't licensed to sell hard liquor. That's probably a good thing, considering how much I love throwing that stuff in my coffee. Laters, Rudy
  12. There have been many articles/studies published over the years regarding cafestol, a compound found in coffee, and its ability to raise cholesterol: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070614162223.htm (I'm sure you know which direction this is headed...) In a recently released study by Aarhus University Hospital, cafestol has been linked to a reduction in fasting glucose in mice. Naturally, this now means "cafestol may contribute to the reduced risk of developing T2D in coffee consumers and has a potential role as an antidiabetic drug." As of yesterday, the media is running wild with this latest breakthrough. I never went out of my way to avoid coffee that wasn't filtered through paper. But, I guess it was in the back of mind that the *occasional* extra pot of French press *might* be having some effect on my blood chemistry. As with all things, moderation is always the key. How about you? Will you break out the old percolator based on this news? Brew up a nice pot of cowboy coffee?
  13. "Maths sheds light on perfect cup of coffee" (BBC article)
  14. I hope this isn't an idiot question. But I have no idea what the differences are. Please teach me.
  15. I tied to make it once by roasting in the oven -- set the whole oven on fire. I have been forbidden to ever attempt it again, and sadly I couldn't salvage the first attempt. Anyone tried this successfully?
  16. I saw something today I'd never seen before. A student at Johnson and Wales brought back coffee and iced tea for several people in the bread classroom (including yours truly -- more on that visit later), along with straws for all the cold drinks. However, one of the iced tea drinkers was short a straw, and when we looked around to see why, one visitor was drinking the hot coffee through a straw stuck into the little hole in the cover. I have never seen this before. Does it have some meaning of which I'm unaware?
  17. http://www.chinchinjobs.com/news/Article/america-looks-to-ban-non-alcoholic-energy-drinks-including-red-bull-1075 This proposed law sounds ridiculous to me. It's up to adults to decide what they put in their bodies. How can you ban caffeinated energy drinks when there are plenty of other incredibly unhealthy food and drinks on the shelves? And where would this leave really strong coffees, like double/ triple espressos?
  18. What do people here think of the "bulletproof coffee" fad, or just butter coffee in general? Here is a company that promotes it, and here is a random discussion on the Interwebz, plus this piece from Fox News. The basic idea is mixing butter and/or something like coconut oil with coffee. Obviously there is also a tradition of mixing butter and tea, but until recently I never heard of the coffee variation (or abomination?). But I've had trouble finding any... let's say, unbiased discussions of its effectiveness, health value, etc.
  19. For our first comparative Tea Tasting & Discussion, eG Society member Greg Glancy at http://www.norbutea.com is contributing samples of three Wuyi Oolong teas. I will mail three of the sets of three 7 gram samples to the eG Society members participating in this Tea Tasting and Discussion. Here are the three featured Oolongs from the Wuyi Mountain area of the Fujian province. Please follow the links for more information on each of these teas and for brewing suggestions. Da Hong Pao - Wu Yi Oolong Tea - Spring 09 Shui Jin Gui - Wu Yi Oolong Tea - Spring 09 Ban Tian Yao - Wu Yi Oolong Tea - Spring 09 The sets of three free samples are available to members who 1) will do at least one gong fu cha style brewing session with multiple infusions from each sample, 2) will report on their experience and participate actively in the discussion within ten days of receiving the samples, and 3) who have previously posted at least twenty-five (25) substantive posts (questions, answers, comments that add to discussions) in the Coffee and Tea forum. While the tasting is open to all members who have posted at least twenty-five (25) substantive posts in the eG Coffee and Tea forum, preference will be given until midnight (EDST) Monday, January 18th, to those who have not participated in the last two tastings. As always, everyone who does not receive the free samples is welcome and encouraged to participate in the discussion. So, please PM me now for details if you would like to receive one of the the free samples and participate in this Tea Tasting and Discussion.
  20. Allright, so I'm engaged in a couple of topics where teas are being tasted...click and click. In a fantastic gesture of both his time and expense, Richard Kilgore, one of our volunteer managers, has been acquiring and sending out samples of various high-end teas to members who respond (like I did) with the promise that they'll taste the teas and report back. The way these fancy teas are brewed requires a fair amount of work as well as a fair amount of equipment. Take a look at Richard's topic Show Us Your Teaware, and you'll see what I mean. No doubt tea can be brewed on a shoestring, as can coffee, and you'll still have a mighty fine cup. After all, tea got Bogey and Hepburn down the river, after she poured the Gordon's overboard. As far as my coffee ware goes, trust me, I'm obsessive - as can be seen in this topic started by Mr. Kinsey. Teaware - not so much. I have 2 of those little cute pots and they each hold about a cup of water when full - or, in tea terms, 250ml. To brew a great cup of coffee, I can put water on to boil, get my whole coffee rig set up, weigh out and grind my beans, and have a great 6 -8 oz. cuppa coffee in under 5 minutes 99.9% of the time. If I've preheated Silvia, I can have a great espresso 90% of the time in a minute. Of course, in both cases, excellent fresh coffee is of the utmost importance. But tea? What a pain. Constantly reheating the water (or heating fresh water even), taking it's temperature, timing things, swirling stuff - and all for like a 2 oz. sip of tea? That a lot of times doesn't even come out great. Additionally, it's about 1,000,000 degrees here the last couple of days (so I may be a little cranky) and who wants to spend the afternoon brewing shots of hot tea? I know, I know, people in hot countries drink tea because it cools them off. All over the world, they're drinking hot tea to cool off. Me, I just want air conditioning and an iced coffee. Shaken, frothy and so refreshing. Or a great iced tea. Am I the only one?
  21. Bill Waddington at Tea Source has contributed an Okayati Estate Darjeeling 1st Flush for this Tea Tasting discussion. He provided 10 gram samples for me and three more eG Society members. Each sample is enough to make about four cups of first infusion tea. The three free samples are available to members who 1) will do at least two brewing sessions from the sample, 2) will report on their experience and participate in the discussion, and 3) who have previously posted at least ten (10) substantive posts (questions, answers, comments that add to discussions) in the Coffee and Tea forum. Preference will be given until midnight (EDST) Tuesday August 11, 2009 to those who have not participated in the last two tastings. As always, everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in the discussion, whether or not you receive a sample. So, please PM me now if you would like to receive one of the the free samples and participate in the tasting and discussion.
  22. Organic Matcha Iri Genmaicha yuuki-cha.com Photo by yuuki-cha.com. Used with permission. Dan at yuuki-cha,com in Japan is contributing an Organic Matcha Iri Genmaicha for this Tea Tasting & Discussion. The tea is composed of organic sencha and matcha from Kyoto and roasted organic brown rice from Nara. I will mail free samples of 10 grams each for up to three eG Society members. This is the last Tasting & Discussion for this year. However, several interesting Tea Tasting & Discussions in a new format are already slated for the first part of 2010. If you subscribe to the eG Coffee & Tea forum you will be among the first to know when one is posted. While the tasting is open to all members who have posted at least ten substantive posts (questions, answers, comments that add to discussions) in the eG Coffee and Tea forum, preference will be given until midnight (EDST) Friday, December 4th to those who have not participated in the last two tastings. The three free samples are available to members who also 1) will do at least one brewing session with multiple infusions from the sample, and 2) will report on their experience within one week of receiving the sample and participate actively in the discussion. As always, everyone who does not receive a sample is welcome and encouraged to participate in the discussion. So, please PM me now for details if you would like to receive one of the the free samples and participate in the tasting and discussion.
  23. I hate sweetened coffee -- a little cream or 1 % milk is fine, but I mostly drink it black. Not so my Italian-American husband, who can swing both ways if it's great coffee. But after a visit to our daughter's house, where she had bottles of Coffeebuddy-like stuff, he got hooked on that cream/vanilla thing. Of course he knows it's crap: faux milk, faux sugar, faux vanilla. (Corn syrup figures large.)But when it goes on sale he once bought one of those cunning bottles. . He's a changed man. He rolls his own. When half and half goes on sale he grabs it, and dissolves some sugar and vanilla, then pours it into a tall glass jar. When he dribbles it into his coffee, he's a happy man. I love the scent of vanilla, but I just can't handle the sweet. (I do like coffee ice cream.) Do any of you coffee fiends make your own "Coffee Condiments?" If so, do tell.
  24. This Tea Tasting Discussion features an Indian black tea, a Nilgiri, Glendale Estate, Handmade. Bill Waddington at teasource.com is providing free 10 gram samples for me and three more eG Society members. Each sample is enough to make about four cups of first infusion tea. This is an impressive tea I first ordered last year from Tea Source. I have since ordered more, unusual for me since I typically prefer to explore many teas, an ounce at a time. Here is some background information from the Teasource site: The three free samples are available to members who 1) will do at least two brewing sessions from the sample, 2) will report on their experience and participate in the discussion, and 3) who have previously posted at least ten (10) substantive posts (questions, answers, comments that add to discussions) in the Coffee and Tea forum. Preference will be given until midnight (EDST) Thursday July 16, 2009 to those who have not participated in the last two tastings. As always, everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in the discussion, whether or not you receive a sample. So, please PM me now if you would like to receive one of the the free samples and participate in the tasting and discussion.
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