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Fat Guy

Adventures in Home Coffee Roasting

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What do you mean by a "machine"? I mean, esperesso always comes from a machine, doesn't it? Are you talking about something that isn't like a regular espresso machine?

Also, though I'm not investigating espresso at all for the purposes of this particular experiment (it's a whole different thing, requiring specialized brewing equipment that you don't acquire casually), I'm interested in your description of a good espresso shot -- especially the "oily" part. Is that considered a mark of good espresso? Also, was there a proper crema on this espresso you had?

I'm sorry, I thought it was obvious from the context that I was not talking about a Gaggia-type esprsso maker, but an automated machine - the kind which delivers your beverage in a little plastic cup. Viscous might be a better word than oily - a good espresso should have better mouthfeel than hot water - and yes it had a crema. It was amazingly good. Maybe it was the beans.

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I'd guess it's a bit of both. There must have been some major technical advances in fully automated machines in recent times. The best espresso I know at the moment is what I get at work. These are fully automated machines (brand 'Black & White') which, although they appear superficially to look like normal Gaggia-type espresso machines, are really only like the type of 'plastic cup under a spout' machine you are talking about. The person operating the machine has absolutely no contact with the coffee-making process other than pressing a button for 'espresso', 'capuccino', 'large black' or whatever. The other reason it is good is that they happen to use what seem to me to be the best beans available in London these days, from Union Coffee.

(However some people say the capuccino is not so hot - but not being a capuccino drinker, I've never had the opportunity to be disappointed).

v

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I want to place an order for a pound of "Fat Guy's Home Roasted Coffee" (see I started a business for you already with a snappy name.) How much is it and where do I pick it up? Or do you deliver? Grind it for cone drip please.

Me too. Do you deliver in Canada?

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I can’t see any reason why an automated machine shouldn’t make a perfectly decent espresso. The skills involved seem minimal and might be better performed by machine. Or am I missing something?

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Quite right. The point being that automated machines used to make crap coffee. Now it appears that ain't necessarily so. Although beans of course play a pretty important part.

v

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AHR, as I understand it, freshly roasted beans should have a shine (assuming it is a dark roast) but should not be oily. Oily in the coffee literature seems always to be a bad word.

Wilfrid, many of the better restaurants have been using fully automated espresso machines for years. Although there may be some real artists who can outperform these automatons, the well-made machines are far more consistent than multiple bartenders and waitstaff can ever be. These machines are computerized and highly configurable. If you put good beans into them, get all the settings tweaked just so, and maintain them properly, they're great. Many restaurants outsource the supply and maintenance of that equipment, actually, because it's a pretty specialized discipline.

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Well that's good news. Personally, I had never come across one in an office before. I wonder why the espresso in so many restaurants is so disappointing, given what you say.

But please, do ignore my digression...

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Even putting aside all issues of technology and competence, there remains the issue of preference. There are many different styles of espresso. You may be getting exactly what a restaurant wants to give you, which may in turn be exactly what that restaurant's customers expect and demand -- yet to you it may be a disappointment because it doesn't correspond to the way you like espresso to be. The super-dark espresso roast that is prevalent everywhere in the United States now is, to my taste, never enjoyable no matter how well it's made. Of course, in most cases, it's just poor training, poor maintenance, and poor beans.

By the way, you may very well be stating a preference for Brazilian beans. I'm not far enough into the regional comparisons to say for sure, but I've been very impressed with the Brazilian beans I've roasted.

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Although there may be some real artists who can outperform these automatons, the well-made machines are far more consistent than multiple bartenders and waitstaff can ever be.

What does the artist do to outperform the machine?

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The machines don't actually see, taste, or smell what they're making, so they depend entirely on a consistent product being put in one end in order for a consistent product to come out the other end, and they rely on people to adjust and fine-tune them. A well-trained barista is going to be able to make subtle adjustments from batch to batch that a machine isn't. Especially when it comes to tamping down the ground coffee, I've got to think the human sense of touch is still way ahead of what automation is providing. If you have a dedicated espresso place where your people make the stuff all day, I think over time you can train them to do the best possible job -- assuming they give a damn about their work. But in a restaurant or other multi-user environment, where you have so many people on staff who potentially need to be able to make espresso but don't make all that many cups a day, you're likely to see better results from an expertly installed, well-supplied, well-maintained automated process.

I can't seem to find a corporate Web site, but Franke is the manufacturer whose "superautomated" machines I've seen around.

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One of the many joys of New York City's Byzantine and time-consuming alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations is that, simply through complying with the law, I've had the time to absorb the entire Kenneth Davids Home Coffee Roasting book and move on to other sources. I thought I'd mention a few Web sites that I've found particularly helpful in getting my coffee knowledge up to speed. But first, I need to explain to the uninitiated -- once and for all -- the alternate-side-of-the-street parking regime.

They need to clean the streets in New York City, and they do it with these massive street-scrubbing machines that drive along the curb, spray water, and suck up debris. They also leave behind about half of the dirt and garbage, but that's another story.

If there are cars parked at the curb there's no way for these machines to clean the street. So every street in New York City has at least some times on some days of the week when no parking is allowed. There is no public street anywhere I know of in New York City where you can park for an entire week in the same place without violating the street cleaning regulations.

The specific rules are different in different neighborhoods. Where I live, on the Upper East Side, on the residential blocks we have two sets of two three-hour periods when cars need to be moved in order to allow for street cleaning. I should say theoretical street cleaning, because it's not like they always show up -- but you'll get a ticket anyway, even if nobody is actually trying to clean the street. On my block and on the blocks immediately near mine, you can't park on the south side of the street from 8:00am until 11:00am on Tuesday and Friday, and you can't part on the north side of the street from 8:00am until 11:00am on Monday and Thursday. If you walk down a couple of blocks the regulations are the same but the blackout period is 11:00am until 2:00pm (obviously, the street sweepers can't do the whole city in three hours, so there are different rules in different neighborhoods).

So in a typical week, if I want to park my car on the street, I have to move it on the weekend sometime to get a space good for Monday, then on Monday afternoon to get a Tuesday spot, then sometime Tuesday or Wednesday to get a Thursday spot, and finally on Thursday afternoon to get a Friday spot. So that's four moves per week, assuming I'm using the car for nothing else.

If you live in the city and you have a car and you park it on the street, you of course plan your whole life around this parking stuff. So for example we often pick Tuesday night as the night we'll drive to a restaurant somewhere out of town for dinner. That's because it's very easy to park on Tuesday nights. Why? Because if you were reading carefully, you'd have observed that in my neighborhood there are no street cleaning regulations in effect for Wednesday, so both sides of the street are good. And usually we can get a space good for Thursday when we park on Tuesday night. Thursday is the day we usually drive up to Yonkers to do grocery shopping, so that coordinates another move with a task so it isn't really like moving the car. In a normal week, we can make the car moving process relatively painless and fit it into our schedule.

But things get messed up when, for example, you have to take your dog to the vet early in the morning. Because if you get back to my block at around 8:00am, forget about it: Every legal spot is full and most of the people who were on the other side of the street are sitting double-parked in their cars. Add to that various delivery trucks and other service vehicles and in a million years (okay, three hours) you can't get a parking space. So what you need to do is find something to do with yourself until about 10:15. Then at 10:15 you pull into an illegal spot on the empty side of the street and you stay with your car in case a street sweeping machine or a police officer comes along. And at 11:00 the space becomes magically legal and you can leave your car there for a couple of days until you re-synchronize yourself with the process.

This is just a very general overview. There are many more specific things to worry about, such as holidays, parades, film shoots, meter regulations, where the building line is, parking rules for three-way intersections, etc.

Now about those helpful Web sites. I've already mentioned that my home roasting equipment and beans came from Hollywood, CA, based The Coffee Project. The folks there have been instrumental in educating me and answering my questions. I wouldn't even be doing this experiment without the prodding and support of James Vaughn of The Coffee Project. The focus of the company's inventory is on the stuff that relates to home roasting -- beans, equipment, books, videos, and a free newsletter called Ground Control -- but things like grinders and press pots are also stocked. Another home-coffee-roasting equipment-and-supplies site that appears to be well run is Sweet Maria's, in Emeryville, CA. I've enjoyed reading the information on that site and at some point I'll likely order some of their beans. These two vendors appear to be in their own category when it comes to home coffee roasting. Various pieces of equipment are available elsewhere -- searches on Google for any particular product yield numerous potential sources -- but I haven't found a comprehensive, knowledgeable source other than these two.

In terms of comprehensive coffee-information sites, the best I've found by far is CoffeeGeek.com. So thorough is the information there, it's hard for me to take myself seriously as a writer on the subject of coffee. I think I'm about a year away from even being able to have a conversation with the site's contributors and with regulars who hang out on the CoffeeGeek.com message boards. We actually thought about having a coffee message board here on eGullet, but CoffeeGeek.com runs good software and seems to be the best place for this -- so if your interest in coffee rises above the basic level you should visit there. Tell them we sent you; it's always good to make friends, and perhaps at some point I'll approach that site's administrators about a link exchange. Right up there with CoffeeGeek.com are the CoffeeKid.com and CoffeeResearch.org sites.

There are extensive excerpts from the Kenneth Davids book -- the one to which I have so often referred -- at LucidCafe.com. There's also a nice coffee section on the National Geographic site. There are quite a few other coffee sites, of course, but I think the above is a good list of resources to get started with. They'll hook you into all the others if you choose to pursue it further. You all are also free to suggest your favorites.

At this time I don't have all that much to report regarding the actual research I'm doing, because I'm mostly accumulating samples in preparation for the big comparative tasting in November. But I must confess it's getting more and more difficult for me not to jump to conclusions about the merits of home coffee roasting. I'm already losing my objectivity.

Over the past few days I've continued to tweak my roasting, grinding, and brewing techniques, and I'm really liking the coffee I'm brewing. I look forward to challenging my emerging opinion (which is based on drinking one cup of coffee at sitting) with a comparative test. I've also been branching out into some other types of beans and should have some preliminary opinions on those soon.

For the side-by-side tasting I plan to conduct in a couple of weeks, I've settled on 2-ounce batches of Colombian beans roasted just a few seconds past the onset of the second crack (the sizzling noise I described in the first installment). This is tending to run around 4:15 to 4:30 minutes and yields a medium-dark roast. My personal preference for such a roast -- which you'll often hear referred to as Full City -- happens to coincide with this being a pretty good roast for evaluation purposes. If I had it to do over again, I might have chosen to go a bit lighter still (the darker the roast, the more the characteristics of the roast start to obscure those of the bean -- some say this is why many of the chain coffee places roast so dark). So, I'm roasting a small batch of these beans every day and sealing it in a small Zip-Loc bag labeled with the date of roasting. When I have 14+ days of samples I'll be able to see how the flavor of coffee is affected by the time since roasting. I'll also bring some store-bought coffees into play at that time.

If there are any folks out there who design empirical studies for a living, feel free to suggest modest improvements to my proposed experiment. I don't plan to do this blind -- I will know what I'm tasting. And I'm not a battle-hardened professional coffee taster so I don't want to design an experiment that requires brewing and tasting 280 different coffee samples. Also I'm open to suggestions regarding the best sources for store-bought (i.e. pre-roasted) coffee either in New York City or by mail. I'm only going to get a few of those samples and I will try to make them the best possible representatives of their kind. It wouldn't hurt if the source in question specializes in medium-dark roasted Colombian beans. I'm not sure how useful it would be to compare my medium-dark home-roasted Colombian beans to, say, a very dark roast from Ethiopian beans.

I see it's late. In-depth coffee research will do that to you. Not that I slept much before . . .

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So many things about New York seem designed to make us compulsive-obsessive. Which is distressing for those of us who were compulsive-obsessive to start off with.

I await the next installment with bated breath.

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A couple of days ago, my Solis Maestro burr grinder arrived.

It is politically correct in coffee circles to say that coffee is easy to make and requires no major investment in equipment. Well, a burr grinder like mine costs around $125. Is that a major investment? I don't know, but if you don't have a burr grinder your coffee simply isn't as good as it can be.

Here's the deal: Freshly ground coffee is superior. This can be confirmed by simple taste tests. Even a coffee neophyte (that would be me) can distinguish -- with unfailing accuracy -- freshly ground coffee from coffee that was ground days or weeks ahead of time. I just tried it with two-day-old ground coffee versus fresh ground -- same coffee, same grind -- and there was no contest.

So you need a grinder if you want to make good coffee. Now within the realm of reasonable expenditure you have two choices: You can get one of those little spice grinders for about $19.99, which looks like this:

pavonigrinder_sm.jpg

Or you can get a burr grinder:

solis_maestro_sm.jpg

The problem with the little spice grinders is that they chop the coffee. When this happens you get a range of grind sizes. Some of the coffee gets ground exactly how you want it, some of the coffee doesn't get ground very much at all, and some of it gets turned into powder. The powder is the big problem because it makes the coffee cloudy. This is most noticeable if you use a press pot, because the dust stays in the coffee and makes it gritty and bitter -- especially towards the end of the cup.

The burr grinder uses a conical blade (a burr, actually) that slices the coffee into much more even particles.

solis-3.jpg

There is virtually no dust. What you get is a uniform grind that makes non-murky coffee that looks like what you get in a serious coffee bar or restaurant. More importantly, it tastes better. There is a marked reduction in bitterness, especially in the final third of the cup. And the mouthfeel is totally superior. My old grinder is officially relieved of duty.

The reason I got the burr grinder wasn't to make better coffee. What I was concerned about was grind consistency. Since I plan to compare many coffee samples, I need each one to be ground the same. With the blade grinder, you can't really achieve that. But with a burr grinder, if you leave it on the same setting, it will grind with great consistency. That it makes better coffee is simply a bonus.

As I work towards the big experiment -- wherein I will decide for myself whether home roasting is worth the effort (not that it is much effort at all) -- I'm now at the point where I like the coffee I make for myself better than the coffee I'm able to get at any retail outlet. Between roasting the beans I want the way I want them, grinding in the burr grinder, and brewing in a press pot with filtered water at the correct temperature, I'm ready to take on any challenger.

Soon, the experiment.

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FG, considering the amount of French Press coffee you're consuming, take a peek about halfway down this thread for some information on the health implications of drinking unfiltered coffee. (Search for "cafestol," without the comma or quotes.)

BTW, in formulating a link, is there a way to specify a particular post or page position?

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I'd love to know who funded that study. It has the stamp of a paper-filter manufacturer all over it. Hmm. Coffee is bad for you. Destroys your liver and raises your LDLs. But if you use a paper filter, it's totally harmless! Yeah, right. When they perform that same study double-blind on a thousand people drinking normal quantities of coffee, I might take another look.

Each post has a unique identifying number and it's possible to code it into a link, but as I'm not sure whether the next version of the software will support that particular code I'm not going to explain how to do it. We're trying to make it such that, when we upgrade this time around, our internal links will still function.

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Hey, are there enough trees in Holland to make paper filters?

I've done no further independent poking about, but the references and related reading at the bottom of the article from Science News include the following (emphasis mine):

  • van Rooij, J., et al. 1995. A placebo-controlled parallel study of the effect of two types of coffee oil on serum lipids and transaminases: Identification of chemical substances involved in the cholesterol-raising effect of coffee. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 61(June):1277.

Does it really seem unreasonable that filters might, um, filter?

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It seems entirely reasonable, and if you're accustomed to ferreting out urban legends and junk science that sort of apparent intuitiveness is the very first thing you look for. Maybe those studies have revealed truth and maybe they haven't. But a few obscure tests are hardly enough to justify the slightest bit of behavior modification by a rational person. What we do know is that every few years somebody comes along with a study that once and for all allegedly proves coffee is unhealthy, and soon afterwards those studies are always shown to be bogus. Remember how coffee used to cause heart disease, and now it doesn't? Remember how decaf was better for you than regular, and now the studies are showing the opposite? I can't take this latest set of claims seriously at all at this time.

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Tasting even as few as two coffee samples side-by-side can be a palate-deadening experience, so I decided that as an early experiment it would be a bit much to jump right into comparing two weeks worth of samples at once. Instead, I decided to establish a baseline comparison between my oldest and newest samples: October 17, 2002, and October 31, 2002. Today is November 1 (beans are supposedly best about 24 hours after roasting -- I have not confirmed this independently). This, I figured, would at least tell me whether there is a difference between coffee samples roasted two weeks apart, and what that difference is.

Both samples were roasted to the same specifications (judged by a combination of time, auditory, and visual cues) and sealed in Zip-Loc bags. The bags were stored at room temperature in a larger, sealed Pyrex container. At a later date, I will experiment with freezing as a method of preservation, but I didn't want to introduce that variable yet.

I began with a visual examination of the whole roasted beans. I tried a few different methods of capturing this photographically, and this was the best I could come up with:

coffeecompare.jpg

As soon as I picked up the bags I noticed that the inside of the October 17 bag was coated with an oily substance, whereas the inside of the October 31 bag was bone dry. Likewise, the October 17 beans themselves had an oily sheen and the October 31 beans had a matte finish. This was confirmed by touch.

Aroma-wise, there was a substantial difference between the whole beans. Sticking my nose into the October 31 bag I got a bright, fresh-roasted coffee aroma that was what I'm accustomed to smelling around a coffee roaster (either in my home or in a store that roasts on premises). The October 17 beans, however, had an unbalanced aroma that was dull overall and spiked with something that I'd describe as borderline rancidity -- like old, broken-down oil from a deep fryer that has been going for too many days and too many batches of fries. I was able to make a similar observation after grinding, when the aromas were even stronger and easier to distinguish.

For the hot coffee comparison, I tried two methods: The professional taster's method, and a standard four-minute regular-strength brew in the press pot. The professional method -- some refer to it as "cupping" -- is supposed to be the best method of critical coffee analysis. It isn't particularly pleasurable, but it does reveal a whole lot about the coffee. I asked James Vaughn from The Coffee Project for some pointers on tasting, and I'll present it in his words:

Get a couple of small restaurant monkey bowls Grind the same amount of each coffee into it's own bowl wiping out the grinder between grinding (for no contamination). It's ok to go kind of fine with it, like cornmeal.Grind about 7 grams for this test, the weight of one dime and one nickel.

Boil some water and let it sit a moment. You are looking for water between 195 deg and 205 deg. Just before you pour the water in each bowl shake the ground contents and take a big whiff of each. Make a note or mental picture of what comes to mind. Everything is fair game: from horse sweat to rich garden soil to chestnuts. Whatever picture comes to mind. Pour the water in and let it steep for a few minutes. A crust of coffee grounds will form on top. Get ready for another mental picture. Take a soup spoon and push the center of the crust down at the same time you take another big whiff. This is a concentrated example of what the brewed coffee will smell like. Go back and forth between the two samples and smell the difference. (Rinse the spoon breifly in clear water for no contamination.)

Soon the grounds will start to fall to the bottom of the monkey bowl. Skim the flotsam from the surface, enough to make a clear area. Now you will taste! In the loudest most obnoxious slurp possible, take a spoonful and aerate it all around your mouth and over your tongue. Taste it. Chew it. Notice what's happening on different parts of your tongue. The pros spit their coffee out between tasting samples, I'm flexible on that point.

Rinse your spoon briefly and taste the other sample. You can go back and forth as many times as you need to to get a good picture.

As you know, tongues are fairly stupid organs. Sour, bitter, salty, hot, cold... but they do register body. Is the sample more like water? Or more like milk... or skim milk in terms of body. Is there an aftertaste on the tongue?

The rest of coffee enjoyment is in the nose. Noses can detect thousands of subtle differences. So another lesson is never drink coffee with a lid on it. You may be cheating yourself out of a better experience.

Last thing. Let the coffee cool down a bit and taste again. warm coffee will have some different qualities than hot coffee.

I did all that, and I also just sipped some brewed coffee like a normal person. To cut to the chase, whether you use the above method or not, freshly roasted coffee tastes and smells a whole lot better than coffee that was roasted two weeks ago. The difference is so marked that it's not the kind of situation where you need a finely tuned palate to notice the comparison. I'm fairly certain that 100 reasonably alert eGullet users could taste the two samples and all 100 would prefer the fresh -- it's that clear a difference.

Tastewise, the primary difference between the two samples was an unpleasant bitterness in the October 17 sample that wasn't present in the October 31 sample. Bitterness is a tricky concept when it comes to coffee, because to some extent all coffee is bitter. But there's good bitterness and bad bitterness, and there's a question of how much. I would describe the October 31 sample as possessing good bitterness: A bitter component that balanced with the acidity and fruitiness of the overall beverage. The October 17 sample tended towards bad bitterness, where the bitter flavor became the main component. It was still pretty good coffee -- by most standards, after all, two-week-old coffee is extremely fresh. But it was inferior to the fresh.

There wasn't much to compare in terms of mouthfeel. Both samples were about the same. If anything the older coffee may have provided a slightly richer mouthfeel. What I think I was probably perceiving here was the marked decrease in acidity in the older sample. This isn't an entirely bad thing, actually. The acidity of super-fresh coffee is so bright and pointed that it can be a bit unsettling. I think I may find, when I do some additional taste comparisons, that I like my coffee beans to mellow for a bit more than just 24 hours after roasting. This also may be a situation in which blending comes into play -- remember, I'm using a single-bean-variety sample.

The big difference was in the aroma category. In both comparisons, I nosed and tasted the October 17 sample first. And my first reaction was, "Hey, this is pretty good coffee." But when I moved on to the October 31 sample, it was like landing in Oz and having everything all of a sudden in Technicolor. There was a whole set of aromas in the fresher sample that were totally absent from the older sample. These ranged from floral to wine-like. It seems that over a period of two weeks those delicate aromas all converted into a flat bitterness and ash-like smell.

And as I mentioned above, there was the matter of balance: The fresher sample had some bitterness too, but it was one component of a larger picture. The bitterness contributed to the overall flavor. The older sample was defined by its bitterness. Whatever I tasted, I had to taste through the bitterness.

More experiments coming soon.

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Fat Guy, this is great stuff. Please keep it up.

You say the aromas of the two samples were markedly different. If we assume that the storage bags are airtight, we can confirm that the oils are actually changing, rather than just migrating from inside the bean to the outside. Maybe you could use this basis to do an easy preliminary storage test, by putting roasted samples at ambient, refrigerated and frozen, and simply comparing the aromas, without having to grind and brew yet. Maybe you could decide on a storage method without more elaborate testing.

Do you think the cupping portion of the test was worthwhile, or did you get as much out of just having a cup of each?

Would it be wrong to use separate spoons in cupping test? Or is the assumption that you have spent all your money on coffeegeek supplies and can't afford a second teaspoon?

I see two advantages to cupping: aerating the coffee, and avoiding drinking cup after cup, espcially when comparing a number of different samples. But it seems like you could aerate a brewed cup just as easily, without all the little bowls and spoons...oh, I get it now. But what is the purpose behind getting a concentrated version the brewed coffee aroma? You would never experience it under normal conditioins, so it seems to me that you skew the results.

Do I understand correctly that you have given up on the drip method, or is it just easier to press it when you're only making one cup? Perhaps you could expand on how the coffee experience differs depending on whether you're dripping or squeezing. The coffee.

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I have heard that freezing is not an optimal way of storing coffee. It was explained that each time you take out the beans for use, they acquire little bits of condensation, which destroys the bean's integrety.

It would be interesting to see if you notice it though.

Ben

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Schielke: I've heard lots of theories about the problems with freezing, but it's hard to separate fact from fiction. That's why I'm trying to do these tests myself. The three most likely realities of freezing are: 1) It actually preserves the beans well; 2) It preserves the beans well but only if you freeze them in single-use batches; and 3) The mere act of freezing destroys some of the subtle aromatics of the beans. I plan to test freezing a few ways. Next week I'm heading down South for awhile, and before I go I'll freeze some beans in various batch sizes in various containers. When I get back I'll also just freeze some coffee overnight. Then I'll do some comparisons.

Dave: I'm glad you pursued the cupping angle. I wanted to write more about it but I had to head out to dinner and I wanted to get that post done with so I glossed it over. For me, it wasn't all that useful because I had no reference points other than the two samples I was working with. It was a completely different kind of coffee experience and I didn't know what to make of it. I could notice differences, but things didn't really resolve themselves as good or bad in any detailed way. I can see how cupping is the best way to reveal flaws in coffee, just as those INAO wine-tasting glasses are the best way to reveal flaws in wine. I don't have a problem with unrealistic tasting situations -- sometimes they're useful. But for me, it was more helpful to use the press pot because it gave me a familiar beverage that I had the tools to analyze. Maybe as I do more of this I'll become more accustomed to cupping and be able to derive its benefits.

As for drip versus press, once you learn how to use the press properly you'll never go back to drip. Pretty much all the serious coffee people are using either a press pot or one of the vacuum devices. The problem with the press is that there's always going to be that glaring, murky imperfection if you use one of those spice-grinder things to grind your coffee, because of the powder issue I discussed in the previous installment. The drip filter is a much finer filter and can handle the powder better. But once you overcome the powder issue by switching to a better class of grinder, forget about it. I think the difference between drip and press pot may be even greater when you're using fresh roasted beans because of the extra set of aromatics that seem to be fairly fragile. The press process is just a more logical way to make coffee. It's the purest conceivable approach: Ground coffee mixes with hot water, they sit together for an exact amount of time, and then they're separated. The drip filter, on the other hand, runs a trickle of hot water through the ground coffee and through a filter for different amounts of time depending on your batch size. It introduces all sorts of variables in the name of convenience and simplicity. But the press is actually quite simple and convenient once you get all your gear in order and a system in place.

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I have heard that freezing is not an optimal way of storing coffee.  It was explained that each time you take out the beans for use, they acquire little bits of condensation, which destroys the bean's integrety.

I've heard that also. Alton Brown on FTV is where I heard it I believe. Though for my part, I would not totally agree. Coffee seems to go stale pretty quickly at room temp. Freezing seems to really keep that freshness. Now, I wouldn't leave it in there for a month. I also would try to get it out of and back into the freezer pretty quickly - don't let it reach room temp and refreeze. That would be kinda yucky. It doesn't surprise me too much that beans left out after 2 weeks would show some signs of breakdown. Ground coffee definitely would.

Therese

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    • By Kasia
      INSTEAD OF COFFEE? - MORNING GREEN COCKTAIL
       
      After waking up, most of us head towards the kitchen for the most welcome morning drink. Coffee opens our eyes, gets us up and motivates us to act. Today I would like to offer you a healthy alternative to daily morning coffee. I don't want to turn you off coffee completely. After all, it has an excellent aroma and fantastic flavor. There isn't anything more relaxing during a busy day than a coffee break with friends.

      In spite of the weather outside, change your kitchen for a while and try something new. My green cocktail is also an excellent way to wake up and restore energy. Add to it a pinch of curcuma powder, which brings comfort and acts as a buffer against autumn depression.

      Ingredients (for 2 people):
      200ml of green tea
      4 new kale leaves
      1 green cucumber
      half an avocado
      1 pear
      1 banana
      pinch of salt
      pinch of curcuma

      Peel the avocado, pear and banana. Remove the core from the pear. Blend every ingredient very thoroughly. If the drink is too thick, add some green tea. Drink at once.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

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