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  1. http://www.delocator.net from the website: Cafés are vital social outposts that have historically provided subjective, social, local, and at times, irrational interaction, inspiration, and nourishment to artists, hipsters, musicians, activists, intellectuals, radicals, and others alike. Currently, independently owned cafés around the world are under aggressive attack; and their numbers have been sharply decreasing for many years. delocator.net is a means to preserve these local businesses. Transnational corporations, like Starbucks, Diedrich, Gloria Jean's, and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are at the forefront of this assault. Delocate is a web-verb created for this project as a defense mechanism for independent business establishments.
  2. "Woman files lawsuit against Starbucks. Daughter reportedly burned by defective coffee-maker" So I guess this means no more coffee pots for sale at Starbucks?
  3. Last night, I dined at a fine local establishment. My companions ordered coffee at the end of the meal, and the server brought out a lovely small tray with lump white sugar, lump brown sugar, the usual Sweet 'n Low and Equal packets, and a lot of little dark things described as "chocolate-covered licorice lentils". This was a first for me. Seemed like a nice idea, but how common is it? Or anything like it?
  4. While packing for a recent trip to Mexico, my husband, a coffee importer and taster, told me to pack some coffee. I ignored him and boy was I sorry. We got to our hotel that advertised in room coffee makers only to find that they were charging 350 pesos for a small bag, enough to make two cups of coffee. I wasn't interested in making coffee in the room but when I ordered it after dinner I was shocked at the poor quality of the coffee. My husband said that because coffee is such a money making export countries ship the best quality out and keep what is left for consumption in the country. I did order coffee at every different restaurant we went to but it was basically all the same. It was an experience for me to go 10 days coffee free. The first thing I did when we got home was brew and drink an entire pot. Learn from my mistake, bring your own!
  5. This is another interesting topic offered by Nakagawa of Flavor coffee http://www.flavorcoffee.co.jp/index.html (Japanese only) Nakagawa is sometimes asked by customers to modify and improve their roasters. The Roaster Modification Museum page http://www.flavorcoffee.co.jp/3f/r-index.html (Japanese only) lists some of the roasters he has modified so far. Among the list is the Alpenrost http://www.flavorcoffee.co.jp/3f/3f-15.html . Let me translate part of his description of what he did about the roaster. *** Side view With the cover open Perspective view, with the cover open Heater Roasting, with the shutter closed Cooling, with the shutter open The roaster has several disadvantages. First, you cannot visually check the beans to determine when to stop roasting. Secondly, this roaster does not have the concept of murashi* (lit. steaming), resulting in light-taste coffee. I think this is its biggest defect, a fatal one. Air inlet slightly open (roasting phase) Air inlet half open (murashi phase) Close-up of the spoon with a thermometer attached Close-up of the spoon retainer I made three modifications so that the roaster allows the user to: - Vary the exhaust air at will so that the concept of murashi can be applied. I made a hole in the cover so that the amount of exhaust air could be controlled. With the hole in the cover open, the roaster sucks air through the hole, so that the exhaust air from the drum decreases. - Use a spoon to check the beans. For this particular roaster, there is a flow of air inside the cover, so I had to plug the gap between the spoon and the cover. - Check the temperature inside the roaster. I inserted a tempura thermometer into the spoon so that the temperature could be measured except when checking the beans. Results: - The exhaust air-regulating function allows the user to perform "murashi" as with a commercial roaster. By performing "murashi", the user can now prevent the coffee beans from losing flavor. - The user can check the beans with the spoon to determine when to stop roasting. - The thermometer assists in improving reproducibility. *** *Murashi (lit. steaming): With a direct-heat type roaster, it is common practice to restrict the exhaust port for some time after beans are put in and heated, so that the humidity in the roaster increases. This very initial step of the drying phase of the roasting process is called murashi in Japanese. I tried to find an equivalent term in English, but to no avail.
  6. My first attempt to roast coffee beans with a milk powder can Nakagawa, the owner of Flavor coffee http://www.flavorcoffee.co.jp/index.html (Japanese only), is a proponent of roasting coffee beans with a milk powder can. Today, I made my first attempt, but it ended in a failure; the beans didn't crack even after 25-minute roasting. I think that the main reason of my failure was that I did the roasting outside and it was rather windy. More text later.
  7. I did a quick search on Coffee topics and couldn't find a specifically related theme. I know there have been postings referencing favorite brands but they’re couched in other topics. Specifically, I’m looking for a new espresso. I’ve got a FrancisFrancis X5 and a krupps burr grinder. Confession time: I actually like Starbucks espresso blend. Well I should say I used to like Starbucks blend. Lately it seems to taste nasty and flat with poor crema. Confession #2: the espresso pods seem to be fine. I thoroughly cleaned my machine, tried different pulls, and varied the tamp pressure and grind size all with no noticeable effect. I haven’t, however, tried bottled water yet. I also installed a dishwasher about the same time the espresso started to go down hill but, similar to the bad water possibility, the pods brew okay. My only conclusion is that the beans are probably pretty old by the time I get them. I’m buying them at a store not by mail. I store the beans in the freezer in a mason jar. I don't usually let them come to room temp before grinding like I should, but I let the grinds warm up before I use them. I’m not a huge fan of Illy which I had to use for a year while “paying off” the FranFran. I also tried Pete’s a couple of years ago without much excitement. I have ardently followed the discussions on home roasting but am not there yet in terms of counter and storage space. Any recommendations or suggestions?
  8. I feel there should be a thread on this already, but can't find one... I like to grind the contents of one cardamom pod in with my coffee beans for a warming spiced coffee that isn't too much fuss to prepare. The extra flavor without any sweetness is a bonus, too! Next?
  9. Normally I work at home, but one day a week I go to one of my client's office to do some in-house work. Rather than have my own coffee before I go, I have theirs when I get there. Yes, I could buy some on the way, but I'm a cheap bastard. Anyway, they've got one of those newfangled Flavia machines, which if you haven't seen one is supposed to be an 'improvement' over ordinary institutional office coffee by making individual cups of coffee from little packets of instant coffee. Or at least I assume it's instant--it brews too fast for real coffee. It is, as a former boss used to say, not good. One of the worst things (of many) that's bad is that the coffee is very, very weak. But the packets come in all sorts of blends, including tea, 'choco' (hot chocolate, I guess), espresso and even cappucino. So I get a bit bored and think, what the hell, I'll try the espresso. You take the 'espresso blend' packet, put it in the machine, and select 'espresso shot' from the menu. A few selects later you have a cup of dark liquid that tastes, well, dark. Sort of vaguely reminiscent of espresso. It's probably about 3 ounces. No crema or actual coffee taste. Not even bitter, really, just dark. It's not really fair to compare it to real espresso, even not very good but still real espresso. Is it fair to compare it to instant espresso from a jar, such as Medaglia D'oro? Actually, no. It does not even compare to that. I am disappointed, but of course not surprised. I haven't tried the cappucino. The cappucino is made in a two-step process that involves first making a packet of 'creamy topping.' I am afraid of the creamy topping. However, this morning I have my brilliant flash. Will it work to use one of the regular blend packets with the espresso shot setting? Yes! it does! Making the coffee with half the water brings it up almost to the strength of coffee-cart coffee. I can use two packets to make one cup of coffee. Yay! I realize that this does nothing, really, to advance the state of the art in coffee-brewing, but I wanted to share my little victory over office-coffee technology.
  10. Recently a Bad Ass Coffee opened up in Jacksonville. I checked out their website and it says they only use 100% Kona! Being a Kona fan I was thrilled. So, has anyone tried BAC, and what did you think? Thanks for any input. Chad
  11. Apparently, Starbucks is now promoting the radical idea that you can order coffee any way you want it, but is afraid that we won't know how to order it and has supplied an instruction manual. There's an article about it here.
  12. Many of the home roasters who hang out on coffeegeek.com have banded together to buy green coffee beans at wholesale prices. We have a website at www.greencoffeeco-op.com. We have identified several coffee brokers or importers in the Seattle, Oakland, New Orleans and New York areas who are willing to sell green coffee by the single bag. A typical bag weighs between 110 and 150 lbs., depending on the origin of the coffee. A vote is made to choose which type of coffee to purchase, and people put in for an allocation of coffee in five pound increments. When the bag has been sold, a local co-ordinator pays for the bag, picks it up from the warehouse, and distributes it in person, or by mail, to those people who have ordered and paid for the coffee. The coffee is sold at cost, plus shipping at cost, with an additional small fee to the co-ordinator to compensate that person for his/her time and effort in picking up and shipping the coffee. The coffees that have been recently purchased typically sell between $ 0.85 to $ 1.75 per pound, as compared to buying the same coffee from a green coffee vendor at $ 3.00 to $ 6.00 per pound. I myself just got 20 lbs. of an excellent Sumatra Lintong for $ 32.00, as compared to the $ 60 to 100 I would have normally paid from a green coffee vendor. We are looking for new members, so please check out the website if you are interested in quality green coffee at wholesale prices. This is a strictly volunteer effort by the members, and we would be very interested in finding some members in the Bay area, who could provide logistical and distribution services for some of the coffee importers in that area. Please post to this forum if you have any additional questions. I hope to see some of you on the website!
  13. Thanks to the eagle eye of Rachel Perlow, who is always spotting good bargains on Amazon (use your eGullet link please!), I recently acquired a Bodum vacuum pot coffee maker. This is a totally manual operation that requires an external heat source to boil the water. Bodum, one of the leading manufacturers of vac pots, offers an electric version in two sizes as well. Many of you have likely seen an electric vac pot for sale at your local Starbucks as well. Vacuum pot coffee brewing has been around for a long time - since the 1840's. It's believed to have been developed in France (figures). I believe its real heyday was in the 1930's through the early 1950's. The introduction of the electric percolator (an insult to lovers of good coffee everywhere) appears to have hastened its retreat to semi-obscurity, just as the appearance of the original Mr. Coffee auto drip maker pushed the percolator into the dustbin of history. Vacuum brewing has made a well deserved comeback due to the relative ease of operation and the quality of the coffee it produces. There appears to be a bit of renewed interest in electric percolators as well but I'll hope that goes the way of the brief resurgences of disco music and bell bottom trousers - some styles should stay where they are. Popular brands include Hario, Cory and Bodum. The method of filtering ranges from cloth to glass rod to plastic mesh. Older vac pots are considered highly collectible and see great interest on Ebay. You may find one at a yard sale or thrift store - check carefully to ensure that any and all rubber gaskets are present and not cracked or deteriorated. In many cases replacement gaskets are available but it could drive up the cost of your "bargain". So, with $39.95 invested and a bit of Jamaican Blue Mountain taken from the freezer and thawed, I set out to put this gizmo through its paces (the coffee was a birthday gift from my parents - pre-roasted and fresh enough but I froze it right away for later use as most of my coffee consumption is in the form of espresso). I should add that I was shamed into doing this by Mayhaw Man, who diplomatically pointed out that, in another thread, I had promised to do this post haste and still hadn't delivered. I owe him for that great blog but I also just needed a kick in the pants to get started. Here's the gear filled up with water and ready to go - the vertical black cylinder supporting the upper pot on the right is just used to "park" the upper pot on the counter when necessary, due to the glass rod assembly that protrudes below the pot. On the stove and firing up. The very limited instructions advised that a separator ring was recommended for gas stoves to ensure safety of the glass pot but I've seen elsewhere that it's suggested only for electric stoves. I just put the darn thing right on the burner and kept the gas at medium. I used a bit more than one standard coffee scoop of grounds per 6 ounces of water and used a medium fine grind - about what you'd use for auto drip coffee or perhaps just a tad coarser. I may use a bit more coffee next time. The grind should be a bit finer than one uses for French Press but use your judgment - if using a blade grinder you may have to go coarser than I did to avoid coffee dust in your grind. The fine powder sometimes yielded by blade grinders could clog the filtering arrangement and impede the movement of the coffee. It is recommended that the top should not be added until the water is almost at the boil. I was unaware of this at the time and left the top on the entire time but it seems to have worked just fine anyway. In the next photo we see the water heading north. It has boiled and the vacuum pressure created in the lower pot has caused it to head up the glass filter tube and settle in the upper pot. It's a great concept - the water rises when it boils, passing through the coffee and settles in the upper pot at just below the boil - the ideal temp for brewing. A bit of water remains in the lower pot because the glass syphon tube does not contact the bottom - there's about 1/4" of clearance. The water remaining in the lower pot will mix later with the finished coffee. It's recommended to leave the grounds and water in contact with one another for one to three minutes - then remove from the heat. Some suggest breaking up the grounds that float on the surface when the water first appears in the upper pot, just to ensure that they're evenly dispersed but this is personal preference. The bubbling that is visible in the upper pot is the vapor that's emerging from the vacuum in the lower portion of the pot - it is NOT boiling! Recirculating boiling water through the coffee grounds repeatedly is how percolators do their nasty and reprehensible thing - yuck. I don't like percolator coffee.... can you tell? After being removed from the burner (Bodum provides a sort of plastic sleeve/trivet assembly that the pot can be placed in after removing from the heat), it's placed at room temp on the counter and the coffee quickly begins its trip south to the lower pot, leaving the grounds in the upper pot. This happened very rapidly with my first attempt - probably a sign that I didn't grind finely enough. Okay - now we have a pot of coffee - appears to be very full bodied like French Press coffee with lots of coffee oils included. The test is in the cup (my favorite coffee mug) After all this hoopla... how did it taste? Delicious. I tested it black before adding half 'n half and it was indeed a very smooth and full bodied cup of coffee. My reference point is having recently made this same coffee (JMB) with a Melitta manual drip filter cone. The vac pot coffee seems fuller bodied but doesn't quite have that sometimes overwhelming presence of oils and aromatics that is more typical of French Press coffee. This initial test has been promising. I drink French Press coffee on rare occasions and often find it to be just a bit much for my liking. The vac pot method appears to yield most of the advantages of press pot coffee but minus the sludge. I need to do more testing but the cup was extremely satisfying and it's a very cool process to watch. There are some fancy vac pot sets on the market (some Hario models among others) that use a spirits burner and may be placed on the dining table to brew the coffee and entertain your guests. It's a fascinating process and I can see the appeal although it's less convenient than some other methods. It's worth mentioning that cleanup was a cinch - I just rinsed the grounds down the drain and put the two parts of the assembly in a dish rack to dry. If you remain intrigued and wish to know more.... everything you ever wanted to know about vac pot coffee (and even stuff you probably don't care about) may be viewed at Coffeekid.com - personal web site of Coffeegeek founder Mark Prince He has some good tips and hints on buying used vac pot gear as well as a detailed discussion of the history of vacuum coffee brewing.
  14. What is the best way to make a good cup of coffee with a drip process? I am not talking espresso (I love it out--but I am not about invest the time and effort, or the money to buy excellent equipment, to make it at home!) but good american-style coffee. And I know about buying fresh-roasted beans in small quantities, keeping everything clean, and measuring pretty carefully. I have been grinding my fresh-roasted coffee beans very finely, using the finest grind on a classic Braun grinder for 20+ years. (I have gone through several of those grinders over the years and the current one is dying.) We have always "measured" the coffee by using the timer scale on the starting knob and have always measured the (filtered) water to our tastes. And I make the coffee in a Braun coffee maker using Melitta filters. We are about to replace the grinder with another or a similar non-commercial machine for the home. Such as Bodum, Solis or the like. With this in mind, what is the best way to grind the coffee beans to get the best taste? As finely as possible? That would get more cups out of a given quantity of beans. Or a little more coarsely? Maybe the coffee would be better?
  15. In "Kitchen Confidential", Tony Bourdain mentioned that in Les Halles, the busboy makes the espresso. Is this common practice in finer restaurants? If it is, I find it surprising that a place that is noted for the quality of its food would relegate the espresso to the busboy. On a related topic, why is it that a restaurant that would never, ever think of using anything less than the freshest of ingredients would use canned, preground coffee (i.e. Illy, Lavazza)? Would a fine restaurant have Boone's Farm on the wine list? Then why do they serve Folger's? With as many small-batch specialty coffee roasters as there are, it just doesn't make sense.
  16. I read of Cafe du Monde in the south and found a can of Chickory Coffee from the restaurant at a gormet store. Brought it home and thought a bit. Does anyone have a recipe that uses this? Chickory Ice Cream is obvious off the top of my head and a chickory sauce. Thanks in advance! Chickory Chocolate Mousse...
  17. I came across this by accident at this site= http://ww2.mcgill.ca/chempublic/right_chem...m/indexprnt.htm I found the following article which is REALLY BIZZARO!= If you are going to spend a couple of hundred dollars for a pound of coffee, you expect something special. What is so special about Kopi Luak coffee? Answer: The coffee beans have been put through a special machine. A living machine, called the Javan civet cat. The luak is a species of civet cat found only on the island of Java in Indonesia. Like all civet cats it possesses anal scent glands which secrete a fluid with a characteristic odor. In a concentrated form it smells terrible but when diluted it has a pleasant musky odor and can be used in perfume manufacture. The luak apparently loves coffee. But it is very particular in its taste. It only eats the choicest beans. The luak's digestive system, however, cannot handle the coffee beans very well and most of them are secreted a few hours after being eaten in a partially digested form. Somehow the contact with the animal's digestive juices changes the chemistry of the beans. When these beans are roasted, the coffee they produce is extremely tasty and full-bodied. Hopefully the enhanced flavor is due to partial digestion and not to contamination from the anal secretions of the civet cat. Plantation workers routinely search the grounds for the special beans which are then brewed into coffee in Indonesia's most select hotels, probably with the visitors not being informed about the origins of the great taste. Please tell me what you think, especially if you have tasted this coffee.
  18. While traveling in Friuli last month, the coffee of choice in most espresso bars was Hausbrandt, which, after doing a little digging, is a Trieste-based company founded back in the waning years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Barista skills notwithstanding, the coffee is as rich and deep as any Illy, Lavazza, or other I've had. I know I haven't seen any of it out here on the Left Coast, but wondered if anyone back east can give any indication that the company has a US presence. Thanks for the assist. Hausbrandt
  19. A friend of mine who runs a coffee shop is considering expanding his menu to include French press coffee. Currently, he sells esspresso drinks and drip coffee. In drip, he offers house, decaf, and a rotating selection of the day. He would like to offer a choice or 3 or 4 bean selections in a 32oz French press. The French press coffee will be better, but more labor and capital intensive than drip. Coffee would be ground a-la-minute for each French press order, and the presses would have to be cleaned and maintained. The current prices for drip coffee are $1.27 for 12oz, $1.50 for 16oz, and $1.68 for 20oz. He is trying to decide how to price the 32oz French press. How much would you be willing to pay?
  20. My Irish Coffee Today the children will have to forgive me, but adults also sometimes want a little pleasure. This is a recipe for people who don't have to drive a car or work, i.e. for lucky people or those who can rest at the weekend. Irish coffee is a drink made with strong coffee, Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and brown sugar. It is excellent on cold days. I recommend it after an autumn walk or when the lack of sun really gets you down. Basically, you can spike the coffee with any whiskey, but in my opinion Jameson Irish Whiskey is the best for this drink. If you don't like whiskey, instead you can prepare another kind of spiked coffee: French coffee with brandy, Spanish coffee with sherry, or Jamaican coffee with dark rum. Ingredients (for 2 drinks) 300ml of strong, hot coffee 40ml of Jameson Irish Whiskey 150ml of 30% sweet cream 4 teaspoons of coarse brown sugar 1 teaspoon of caster sugar 4 drops of vanilla essence Put two teaspoons of brown sugar into the bottom of two glasses. Brew some strong black coffee and pour it into the glasses. Warm the whiskey and add it to the coffee. Whisk the sweet cream with the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Put it gently on top so that it doesn't mix with the coffee. Enjoy your drink!
  21. Another espresso topic for Egullet: I'd like to hear people's thoughts on beans for making espresso at home. (I use a Rancilio Rocky grinder, which has proved very effective and reliable.) I was using Illy beans for a while, but that got pretty expensive. So my standby has been the Espresso Roast from Gourmet Garage on 7th Avenue in Manhattan. Not too expensive, and tastes good. But then I wanted to take it to the next level, so I got a Hearthware home roaster. It's been fun experimenting with it, but working on creating my own blends is just too time consuming. So I've been using the two espresso blends from Sweet Maria's, which are pretty tasty and easy to deal with. Home roasting is fun, and you get the advantage of very fresh coffee. The downside is lack of consistency - of course I'll never get my home roasting down to a science the way Illy does. Do any of you have some thoughts on home roasting or roasted beans for home espresso making? Josh
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