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  1. I just stumbled across this when browsing another site French Market Coffee Toddy package deal I have no affiliation with French Market but the Toddy Sytem sells direct from Toddy on their web site for $36. This deal includes a can of French Market brand coffee (you can always give it away as a gift ) and a ceramic logo mug. At about $24.50 it's the lowest price I've ever seen for the Toddy sytem and we still have plenty of hot weather left before fall. Not sure how much shipping is but it appears that Amazon doesn't sell it - this may be the best deal going right now.
  2. Have you used a home coffee roaster? Did you happen to catch that piece in the Wall Street Journal on Friday about them? The WSJ reviewed four or five. If anyone has the article on hand, I'd like to know (because I forgot) which one they said was 'best.' Sounds a bit tricky to listen for the first and second 'pops,' but I'd imagine that having the machine is worth it for the smell alone. Even, if you never get the right roast. Fond regards
  3. I love my husband of almost 22 years. We have survived many, many things -- unemployment, self-employment, three kids, disabled child. But coffee is becoming a problem. Gem that he is, he insists on getting up every morning and making the coffee. Background is that we have a very substandard and very small grinder (soon to be replaced) grinder, so the coffee just plain isn't strong enough for me. In a pinch, he will admit that it is " a little weak." So, I suggest that I take my freshly and home roasted beans, and grind an appropriate quantity at night (two batches), but them in a strange black glass jar that I own, and he can simply use this to make coffee in the morning. Plop them in the filter, add water, and push "on." He insists that the quality of the ground beans, by sitting in a sealed, black jar for less than 12 hours, will deteriorate enough that we will be dissatisfied (as opposed to drinking weak coffee. Comments on grinding that far (less than 12 hours) in advance of brewing? I am currently using my new Phillips thermal drip (which worked great on the one occasion that I ground the two rounds of beans?
  4. I got inspired enough by doing the foodblog this week to dig out my trusty coffee roaster and get back into roasting. In all fairness, the primary reason I have not roasted since last summer is due to being in transitional living quarters from July '03 to January '04, before moving into my new house. The house has a great roasting spot on the counter in an inside corner with two windows. Perfect cross ventilation for that pesky smoke. I have quite a backlog of beans to work with and will test out some different blends over the upcoming month or two but my current goal is to establish a "half-caf" or even "quarter-caf" blend that wil have reduced caffiene yet still deliver the flavor and crema I seek. I love having a good cappa or latte after dinner in the evening but my need to sleep at night is usually in conflict with the caffiene. I went home at luchtime today and roasted the first half of a batch of espresso blend for use this weekend. Most beans, when intended for use in espresso coffee, will require about a 24 - 48 hour resting time after roasting. This is best done in a container with the lid cracked slightly open. It can be consumed sooner but really hits its sweet spot in about two days and stays good for about a week after that if stored in an airtight container ina cool or room temperature place, out of direct light. I have loads of green beans right now - was going to use Jim Schulman's WTC recipe (Way Too Complicated) but forgot to bring it home with me. Jim is legendary over in alt.coffee and Coffeegeek forums. He's a regular coffee guru and a real gentleman. I decided to wing it and do a "semi-decaf" blend. Decaf beans tend to deliver a bit less flavor and less crema than regular beans when used for espresso. When preparing a blend of regular beans for espresso, most blenders use a "base bean" - something relatively neutral in terms of flavor notes and relatively mild. Many Brazilian beans meet this requirement - it's common to use about 30 - 40% base bean and then a blend of others to achieve different flavor notes. Decaf changes things - its more subdued flavor profile dictates a different matching of beans and a mellower base bean is not as approproiate. Here's what I'm doing: 1 part Sumatra WP decaf (water process) 1 part African Highland Blend WP decaf 1 part Uganda Nanga Farms Robusta* 2 parts Indian Monsooned Malabar Coelho's Gold 1 part Yemen Moka Haimi This blend may be a bit too much - five bean types is pushing it but I'll see if it works. I'm testing to see how far I can push up the ratio of decaf before I lose the cream and big flavor notes that I'm seeking. There should be a good balance of fruit and chocolate notes in here. * Robusta is famous for being the crap commodity coffee that makes its way into canned supermarket coffee all over the world. It tends to grow more abundantly and more easily in greater volume at lower altitudes but by most serious coffee drinkers standards often has undesirable characteristics . It does add a certain type of bitterness that some Italian blenders find desirable as a balance but more important, it produces abundant crema. My hope is to offset the bitterness by including a larger proportion of of the Monosooned Malabar and have the Robusta counteract the reduced crema output caused by use of decaf. Nanga Farms is one of the few well known high quality robustas available readily here in the US and is close to the same price as Arabica beans. The beans at weighing time: The Alpenroast ready to go to work before the lid is closed: It's a drum roaster, a bit smaller than a bread machine, and sells for about $280. I got mine used for $175 and contrary to reports about many earlier units that were finicky and unreliable, mine has worked great. The manufacturers claim that this is a "set it and forget it" unit like bread machines but to get good results, one must start listening to the sound and pace of the cracking beans starting at about 13 minutes and also make note of how the smoke smells. I usually shoot for a roast best described as Full City + - darker than a medium roast but not to the French Roast level. Some people use temperature probes and spreadsheet software, carefully documenting their roasts so they can achieve repeatable results with particular beans types and blends. I'm just not that geeky (maybe I am but I'm just too lazy!). I just listen, smell and stop when I think it's done. Seems to work okay for me. Typical roasting time is about 15 - 17 minutes. The beans are close to cooled off but not quite when the roaster spits them into the collection bin. I spread them out on cookie sheets and stir to finish the cooling process. Fluid bed (hot air) roasters of the consumer variety start at about $100 but many folks use old popcorn poppers. Unregulated air roasting takes beans to the final roast level very quickly - about 4 to 6 minutes. This tends to yield a brighter finish to the roast - good for some people but not to the liking of many, especially for espresso blends. Voltage regulators (known as Variacs) can control this process and allow consumer hot air roasters to roast more slowly by varying temperatures at different points in the roasting cycle, thus achieving results more akin to a drum roasters. Commercial fluid bed roasters such as Sivetz are an entirely different beast and not really relevant to this discussion. Our own eGulleteer Mike Lloyd is a big proponent of the benefits of low tech roasting with simple tools. Here's a very extensive Coffeegeek discussion on Heat Gun / Dog Bowl coffee roasting
  5. I've tried a bunch of these internet coffee suppliers and these guys are the best. I'm particularly impressed with my last delivery which came on Monday after being ordered on Saturday. I'm trying some Nicaraguan now, but the Mexican organic was some of the best coffee I've had.
  6. A recent discussion with Fat Guy about ways in which the Coffee & Tea forum might be elevated, promoted and imbued with a unique character of its own has prompted introduction of a forum index. Many topics that have fallen to lower pages have worthwhile information for both eGullet newcomers researching coffee topics and long time forum regulars looking for previous discussions. Additional content will be added in the future, some of it in the form of lockedtopics that will be mini-tutorials, but most of the threads will remain as is for additional replies. Any suggestions for subjects that should be referenced in the index will be appreciated - just PM me with the details or feel free to reply to this thread for open discussion. I'll also add a Tea section to the index in the near future. As always, thanks for your support of eGullet in general and our little caffeinated corner in particular!
  7. I read somewhere in a book on Chinease Energy medicine that Pu Ehr tea works like grapefruit juice in your system clearing away fats etc. I enjoy this tea as a substitute for coffee . Does anyone know anymore about it? I usally buy a medium grade that my pocketbook can afford. Some of the other grades seem a little pricey.
  8. Browising in my local Mediterranean foods specialty market last weekend, I noticed this brand of coffee that looked interesting I know the preparation style for Turkish coffee and believe there's a similar traditional style in Greece (dark roasted coffee heated in an Ibrik with the water to steep it and served with the grounds settling to the bottom of the cup). I was surprised to see one kilo bags of green beans on the shelf below the roasted coffee. At $3.99 per kilo for the green beans it's a mighty attractive price but I'm curious as to what beans might be in this blend (assuming it's a blend - not even sure of that). Also - is pan roasting or oven roasting at home a practice that people of Greek or other eastern Mediterranean origin still do here in the US?
  9. This was inspired by jgoulds question on another thread. I just drink espresso (or espresso and milk drinks), not brewed coffee. I read about all sorts of beans that get great reviews, but they are not roasted specifically for espresso. Do some of them make great espresso? How does one decide whether a particular bean might make great espresso (other than trial and error)? Is there a style of roasting or land of origin or taste factor described in a review that might lead me to be relatively confident that I would recognize it's great traits in a cup of espresso instead of a cup of brewed coffee?
  10. I have been experimenting with using a heavy cast iron rounded skillet that is used traditionally in the Middle East as a bedouin coffee roaster, usually over an open fire. Results have been fantastic for very dark roasts (espresso, and Arabic coffee) but not so much for lighter roasts where i am getting a lot of unevenness in the roast. Can i get advice from people who are doing stovetop roasting what they are doing to get more evenness in the roast? i am stirring constantly but that does not seem to be enough over the 8-10 minutes of a medium roast... it seems to be fine over the 12-14 minutes of a dark roast though.
  11. It's time to incorporate a pinned glossary of coffee and espresso terms in the Coffee & Tea forum. We're looking for ways to distinguish ourselves from other online coffee resources and one thing has become quickly evident regarding the glossaries that currently exist: 1) They are usually either very broad based with inadequate detail or woefully short. The better ones try to cover every conceivable aspect of coffee and espresso terminology from bean and roast characteristics to cupping terms, drink preparation methods and names etc. but are very US-centric 2) None have any differentiation to account for regional, local or international variations We have a relatively upscale user community that includes many people who travel and try to integrate a meaningful food and beverage experience as part of both their personal and business travel. Coffee terms in general and espresso terms in particular have significant variations from one country to another - possibly even regional variations within a country. Wouldn't it be great to know the right lingo in advance before you travel so coffee and espresso ordering will be fast and painless? Here's your chance Here's where help is needed: the plan is to initially focus just on the terms commonly used to describe coffee and espresso drinks, as one would order them in a restaurant or cafe. I have a good handle on the US terminology (which is still open to variation as most of it has already been Starbuckized) but I'm not familair with many of the terms used in other countries. My exposrue to US terms is limited to the Northeast and the Northwest - folks with regional or local US terms should pipe up. This includes those problematic phrases such as "coffee regular" which in diner-speak means coffee with cream and sugar ("coffee light" is cream only and "coffee black" is just plain coffee). Anyone with specific knowledge of a country and or region.... please offer your input to help us make this the premier resource for caffienated drink names. At the present time we will not be including "Moolatte" on the list for well known reasons American drinks to consider: Drip coffee Americano (espresso mixed with water) Press pot coffee (aka French Press) Espresso Double shot espresso ( do they call it doppio anywhere in the US other than Starbucks? Cappuccino Latte Espresso con panna (topped with whipped cream) Lungo (long pull espresso - longer pull time than regular shot and more liquid) Ristretto (restricted pull espresso - ground finer and same pull time as regular shot but less liquid) Cafe Crema (coarser grind and slightly longer pull - like a drip coffee made in an espresso machine) Machiatto (espresso shot "stained" or topped with a small amount of foamed milk) Depth Charge or Red Eye - drip coffee with a shot of espresso added in I'm aware that terminology varies from place to place - Italy, Spain and France have their own variations while Australia has a whole raft of other terms (e.g. a "flat white"). We also have the issues of discrepancy within the industry in the US itself - Starbucks calls any drink with extra milk foam a cappuccino and any drink with no extra foam a latte but they vary wildly in the espresso to milk ratio depending on drink size. The more savvy specialty independent espresso purveyors here in the US know how to create pourable microfoam with the milk - there is no separate foam to scoop on or leave off - the foam is integral to the milk. In these establishments the differentiation between cappuccino and latte is solely one of the espresso to milk ratio (cappucino's have a 1 to 2 or 1 to 3 ratio and lattes are a 1 to 4 or 1 to 5 ratio). Any and all help appreciate including just pointing me to some existing online resources that may already have some of this info.
  12. There was an article in today's NY Times about coffee drinking in Columbia and the Columbian coffee grower's federation's plans to bring Juan Valdez cafes to America, beginning with DC and New York. Anybody have a notion of whether this could be something to look forward to?
  13. I arranged with Alan Geddie at the new Dunn Bros Coffee house in Addison (Dallas area) to do a cupping for our members. Thought that some of you might be interested in doing something similar in your part of the world. Here's the thread: Dunn Bros Coffee Cupping for eGullet Alan roasts on site and labels his coffee with the roast date, as you will see on the thread. The demo roasting and cupping is about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour event. I think that there will be more interest in this over time, so we may do this once every month or two. It's a learning experience that will make for an interesting discussion on the forum each time we do it.
  14. Let's face it - I'm a die-hard espresso drinker and rarely even drink regular coffee anymore but I do enjoy tea on occasion and at least a handful of times every year I have guests who are tea drinkers. In the past I've purchased a few decent quality loose teas and stored them in freezer containers, taking out a bit every now and then as needed. I know the storage issues regarding both green and roasted coffee (which have been discussed here at length) but what about tea? Is freezing a good idea if it will be consumed slowly? Do some teas freeze better than others? What's the maximum storage time for room temp in an airtight container (dark place) and also for freezing? Will a food vacuum packing system be a worthwhile aid in preparing tea for long term storage?
  15. I am hoping you can give advice on the best grinder for me. When our neighbors moved, they gave me a Krups (says on back Model: Type 863) made in Switzerland. They said that they hardly used it. Trouble is, I have used it 3 times in 2 years, one reason is because it is such a pain to fill the portafilters, among other things. Talking to a friend aobut getting rid of the machine, he suggested I look into getting a grinder that feeds into the portafilter. Since that sounded like a good idea I started looking for a grinder. Now I am confused as ever, because of all the types, sizes and prices. Maybe you can offer some suggestions. This is my situation: 1. The espresso machine I have is an out-dated low-end to mid-range home-use machine (from what I can tell.) 2. The 3 times I used the machine I made espresso shots so I could make cappucino. (I don't usually drink espresso straight, except at Italian restaurants.) 3. I make coffee at home at least once but at the most 3 times per WEEK. (That's not per day.) 4. When I make coffee I use a drip coffee machine. 5. I have an old Krups blade grinder that is still twirling at 23 years old. I bought it in 1981. 6. I grind only enough beans at a time for each pot of coffee. 7. After grinding the beans, I always soap wash grinder top and wipe out the blades so left over grounds don't go rancid/acidic. 8. Since I clean/wash the grinder each time,I would like a machine that is easy to get out leftover grounds/static. 9. I keep unground beans in freezer, and would never leave them in a hopper or doser of a grinder just sitting on the counter. 10. Finally, my initial feature was to get a grinder that feeds into the portafilter directly. (Idea sounds great in theory but in reality does this cause a great big mess? ) The issue just isn't money alone, although it's a big factor. I can spend at max US$150. I've seen the Rocky but besides the hefty price it's maybe overkill for somebody like me. I would like a better grinder than the Krup blade and one that easily cleans between use. For someone who has been using the same blade grinder for 23 years, I definitely have no experience at all and I've learned that I have the worse kind of grinder and a pretty bottom-of-the-line espresso machine. I need to spend big bucks for both new espresso machine and grinder. But if I don't go that rounte, and just get a grinder for now, what grinder should I get???? Thanks for any feedback.
  16. For those of you who have not experienced this delightful cultural tradition, here's a description.... In restaurants, the preparation is typically done in the kitchen but the pan of roasting beans is brought out to the group before it is ground so that all may partake of smelling the vapors (an integral part of the ceremony). A special type of incense is customarily burned at tableside throughout the duration of the ceremony. The traditional method of pouring usually involves a free pour into the demitasse from about 12" - 14" above it in a continuous stream - fascinating to watch and partake not to mention that the coffee is so damn good. I've been fortunate enough to do this on two occasions, once in Denver on the first occasion that I ever tried Ethiopian food and more recently in the Adams-Morgan area of Washington DC. It's best done with a group (4 or more). I'm personally curious as to the variations in spices and the amounts that are added as well as to possible variations on the bean varieties (some add limited amounts of spices to the coffee and others do not). Have any of you tried it and where? How was it? I'l be visiting NYC this weekend and will be free on both Saturday afternoon and mid-day Sunday. There's a small Ethiopian restaurant on Mulberry or Mott in Little Italy (just south of Houston if I recall correctly) that offers the ceremony on Sundays and Queen of Sheba on 9th Avenue may have it by now (they did not last year but said they were going to add it to the menu options). I think Meskerem may also offer it at their Village location but Sheba's is the easiest spot for me as I'l be driving out through the Lincoln Tunnel afterwards to get home. It's best done with a group of four or more - any egulleteers up to joing me for this ?
  17. anybody have any tips on getting the best coffee out of the swissgold "one cup" pour-over brewer? i just got one. specifically, i need help with: 1. how much coffee should i use for 8 oz. of water? when using my old automatic drip brewer, i always loaded up on coffee beans when making small amounts of coffee, and would lower the coffee bean to water ratio as i increased the amount brewed coffee. do i not need to worry about that with the "one cup" because of the water regulator? looks like the unit may not hold much more than 2 or 3 tablespoons of ground coffee beans anyway, so this may be a moot point. 2. proper grind -- i have a starbucks barista burr grinder, which i think is virtually identical to the solis maestro. what grind setting should i use? same as automatic drip? courser? finer? 2. adding more water -- the water container only holds 8 ounces of water. has anyone had success with adding more water midway through the brewing cycle? again, because there may not even be enough room above the filter for more than 3 tablespoons of coffee, this might too be a moot point. any advice would be appreciated!
  18. Thanks to eGullet (and epinions) I decided to order a Solis Maestro Plus to replace my 12-year-old, faithful-but-fading-fast Bosch. I went with Aabree Coffee Company (aabreecoffee.com) because they had the same price as virtually everyone else -- $149 -- but offered free FedEx ground shipping and had a good reputation. The Solis arrived very quickly and in good shape. However, when I unpacked it I found only one of the four rubber feet, and it was in the bottom of the box. I called Aabree immediately. They said that for some reason the manufacturer was shipping the product with the feet uninstalled, and apparently some are getting lost along the way. They were very apologetic about the whole thing. They have a bunch of feet on order from the manufacturer and will send three of them to me as soon as they arrive, probably in about a week. The Solis now is sitting on four hemispherical Sorbothane feet designed for stereo equipment, which makes it look like a robot. If you order a Maestro Plus in the near future, you might want to contact the seller directly and ask them to make sure all four feet are in the box. Oh, yeah -- I really like its performance. It looks way cool, too, and appears to offer a significant improvement over the original Maestro.
  19. Gimme! Coffee of Ithaca NY ( two stores in Ithaca and one in nearby Trumansburg) is now in the process of making arrangments to open a location in Brooklyn. I have no affiliation with them but IMHO they are in the same league as places like Cafe Vivace, Hine Public Coffee or Zoka's (all in Seattle). These are some of the top end purveyors of espresso in the US. At present I know none of the details but will try to post them here when I hear something. I do know that on occasion I drive an hour to reach to Ithaca with one of my sole motivations being to enjoy an excellent ristretto shot of espresso (which is good enough to drink straight with no sugar). I had never visited their web site unitl getting wind of the expansion plans. There's not yet any info there on the new location but I was pleased to find that they have some of the best tutorials I've ever seen on espresso preparation, coffee brewing and frothing milk. All are pdf files for download and free distribution - worth checking out. Gimme! Coffee
  20. I read in the last Art of Eating that the guy who founded Coffee Connection has started a new business after his noncompete agreement with Starbucks finally expired. I grew up on his coffee, and frankly stopped caring about good coffee after he sold out -- I've never found a source of comparable quality (to my taste; don't even get me started on Bay Area roasters). The thing is, we ran out of coffee this morning, and I'm not fully recovered from the freakout that ensued, and I want to order some RIGHT NOW, but I can't remember the website (it was publishished in AoE). Anyone know what it is?
  21. Reposted from New Jersey board: There is a new tea room in Denville called Ambrosia's Tea Room. Tea comes in teapots for $3.75. Scones are $4.00 (I think), $5.00 with Devon creme and strawberry jam. Very good scones compared to the Starbucks a block away. I had the house blend which was quite good. Black, green and herbal are available. I haven't had a change to try the tea sandwiches (cucumber, smoked salmon, egg salad). There is a soup of day, salads, and coffees for the non-tea drinkers. I posted an entry on the Restaurants forum in NJ.com and I'm not affiliated with the place in any way. I love tea rooms and this is the first for the area. (The Tea Hive in Newton is nice but a good drive away). It's in an office building (2nd floor) so it doesn't look like a tea room from the outside but the inside is comforting in a modern way. Website: www.ambrosiatea.com Address: 26 Bloomfield Ave., Denville, NJ 07834 Phone: 973-586-0700
  22. According to the American Diabetes Association, a recent study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that people who drink a lot of coffee have a lower incidence of type II diabetes mellitus than those who don't. It is not clear whether coffee itself is responsible or if there are other factors about heavy coffee drinkers that confer protective effects.
  23. All of my friends, colleagues and others I know quickly become aware that I'm a coffee fanatic and espresso hound once they get to know me. I can barely count the number of times that someone has said "Oooh... I have an espreso machine I got as a ________ (insert occasion here) gift. I've never used it. Do you want it? After all.... you're into espresso, right?". We've all seen these - they run anywhere from $30 - $70, utilize simple steam pressure to produce a facsimile of espresso and are way too labor intensive for the average non-coffee fanatic to get involved with using. I'm not referring to the low end espresso machines that have a pump along with a switch for espresso or steam. Machines of that type, usually in the $80 to $100 range, are not great but if used properly they can make a passable cappuccino. Instead, I refer to the devices where one must add water, screw down a pressure cap, wait for steam pressure to build and be very careful about not opening the cap before pressure has gone down. Sooo... how about it.... is this quite possibly the world's most unused gift? I have been offered at least a dozen or so of these in the past few years (slight exaggeration but many) and not one of them had ever been used. I will cross post this in General Food topics due to the chance that there is some non-coffee item which might qualify for this dubious distinction.
  24. "New Nescafé Ice Java Coffee Syrup from Nestlé delivers coffee house taste and quality without the lines, attitude, or the price. This summer consumers can cool down and enjoy the refreshing taste of iced coffee anytime, anywhere. With a per serving price of $0.45, consumers can enjoy up to 20 servings of Nescafé Ice Java for a suggested retail price of $3.49, nearly the price of one coffee house ice coffee." http://www.nestleusa.com/pressRoom/pressRe...522120431203254
  25. I have seen the term "crema coffee" in the marketing copy for many espresso machines that I have been reading about lately. Can somebody please tell me what “crema coffee” is? I know what crema is, but I’m wondering what this “crema coffee” is all about. Is it just an attractive marketing term for espresso?? By the way, I’m a coffee lover but a novice coffee geek. Thanks, Rich
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