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Percolator vs Plunger vs Siphon vs Espresso Machine


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Just to keep it simple, you can start with a modest burr grinder for about $100+, good water (a water filter if your water doesn't taste great straight out of the tap $30 - $80, fresh recently roasted beans, and the pick out just one (1) inexpensive piece of brewing equipment and learn how to brew with it. After a month of trying two or three different styles of beans, try another inexpensive piece of equipment if you are not satisfied with what you're brewing. No need to try all forms of brewing coffee, or move on to espresso, start roasting your beans unless you just want to and have the time and interest.

Let us know if you have any more questions, and please let us know what you decide on and how that goes.

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The Grinder: Get a rebuilt Kitchen Aid Proline burr Grinder from eBay for apprx. $125, and a French Press for ~ $25 -$40. Or a Chemex.

Grind your beans no earlier than the night before. No one has mentioned water: I buy bottles of 5 gallons of Primo bottled water.

Your beans are at least as critical as everything else...... I buy beans from Terroir Coffee Company. They take orders until 7 AM every Monday, then roast your order and ship it the next day! You'll have them in two or three days. If you want to skimp on money to start with, they'll grind your beans to any grind you want! They have many, many different beans available, from somewhat reasonable to OMG rare and pricey.

At 70 years old, I'm trying to simplify my life! I've used every coffee maker and brand of beans that I can find over the years. The Moccamaster with the stainless caraffe is my choice. I drink 5-6 cups in two hours' and it stays hot.

I could go on and on, (I use a automatic vaccuum storage unit to suck the air out of my coffee bag for storage every day, etc, but I've got to be up at 4 tomorrow.

I'll be back!!

Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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No one has mentioned water: I buy bottles of 5 gallons of Primo bottled water.

Actually, post #8 said this:

Bottom line is it's about the beans and water. Take care of those aspects and quality coffee will be yours.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Toronto. Fairly new here and still haven't found great coffee. A few coffee joints here make good espresso, but I like a nice cuppa clear coffee for daytime. So far, all the beans I've tried have given very meh coffee.

A quick search shows that Manic Coffee carries Intellegentsia's beans - gets them delivered freshly roasted a few times a week, according to the web site...that might be a good start.

Wow! Thank you! I'm in the Manic neighborhood (in more ways than one!) a couple of times a week. Had their espresso coffee on the spot but never looked at beans for sale. I'll be there Wednesday morning. :)

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Good morning,

V60

Pros: Cheap, durable, clean cup, medium body, more "transparent" flavors.

Cons: Buying paper filters, limited volume for grounds, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method.

Chemex

Pros: Durable, clean cup, light to medium body, good transparency, large volume for grounds.

Cons: Buying paper filters, takes a bit of practice to fine tune brewing method, slower than V60 or FP.

FWIW, cloth filters are available for the V60 and also for some Chemex-like brewers. I gather that they take a little bit of care (you have to wash them and keep them damp in a ziplock bag), but it is an alternative to paper filters. I gather that the coffee winds up a little fuller-bodied than using a paper filter but cleaner than using a french press. I don't have any firsthand experience however:

Cloth is depth filtration and produces not only great clarity and oils, it gives a very layered and complex cup when done correctly. Take care of the cloth and rinse it well, use it often, clean it with coffee detergent as needed, and it will never 'taste like cloth'. Store it wet in a ziplock bag in the fridge but don't freeze it or dry it out. It will only 'taste like cloth' when it is either rinsed poorly, stored poorly, or allowed to dry out. A good boil in water is often enough to get the filter ready to brew again in short order. These are the facts as we use our cloth filters daily in shop. Source.
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Others have mentioned it, but seems to be getting lost. Past the coffee and the water quality, the grinder is the most critical. With a moderate budget, skip the whirly-bird style and most anything you can buy in a department/cooking store that claims to be a "burr" grinder. The Baratza grinders are about the least expensive that give a decent grind profile with a motor. The Porlex/Hario/Kyocera are good options on a tight budget, swapping arm power for a motor. The uniformity of the grind is very important -- "fines" will over-extract and clog filters, big chunks will under-extract.

I'd also pass on anything that claims to be an "espresso" maker that is much less than the Crossland CC1 and a Baratza Vario (or a used Super Jolly with new burrs); you'll just frustrate yourself to no end with inconsistency and with hot, bitter water after a lot of work. Read posts and recommendations about the Rancilio Silvia and Rocky with a grain of salt. In their day, they were great options (to some extent, the only options), but prices have gone up a lot over the last ten years and there are better contenders for entry-level machines on the market.

Seriously, buy a quick-read digital thermometer (like the CDN for under $20) and a digital scale that reads to at least 0.1 g (as little as ~$15 on Amazon). I'm assuming you already have a kitchen scale you can measure the amount of water you add (put the whole coffee maker on it and tare before pouring).

Beans vary in density by a surprising amount so measuring coffee beans by volume isn't reliable and will mask the results of changes you are trying to make. You should have the thermometer for your cooking anyways, and trying to make consistently great coffee without one and a scale is like trying to bake a cake without measuring cups and a temperature dial on your oven.

Brewing methods at a moderate cost depends on the style of coffee you like. Various filter drip, filtered immersion (Aeropress, some vacuum machines, and the "Clever Dripper"), and unfiltered immersion (other vacuum machines, French press) each have their own flavor profiles and followers. None is "best" for everyone, or even for one person at all times.

If you don't have fresh (under a week from roast), high quality beans available locally, and the cost of mail order seems too high, home roasting in an appropriate popcorn popper (~$10 at a thrift store) and buying green beans from a reputable source is amazingly easy (at least for drip). It takes about 20 minutes, start to finish, to roast up ~100 g of beans.

Sweet Maria's and Home Barista, already mentioned, are great sources, as is Orphan Espresso, for some of the best hand grinders made.

Enjoy the experience -- discovering great coffee is like gaining an appreciation for great wines.

Edited by jeffsf (log)
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Or, if you're even a little bit handy, you could try buying the burr-grinder mechanism and making your own base box for it. Lee Valley has an excellent cast-iron burr grinder mechanism for a ridiculously low price ($20).

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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You can actually make some very nice coffee with an Aeropress if you completely ignore the instructions. First, buy a Coava metal filter. Use something approximating a pour over grind. Invert the Aeropress and put about 18g of coffee in it. Pour around 210g of hot water in, very slowly. Wait about 50 seconds, then stir for 10 seconds. Put the filter and lid on, flip it back over and press slowly, just using the weight of your hands. Quick, easy, delicious, and simple cleanup.

ETA: Oh, and forgot to add: water temp should be high 190s-low 200s F. Not 175.

Thanks Mike! I found a nice unused one for 3 bucks with no instructions! Just what I needed.

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Toronto. Fairly new here and still haven't found great coffee. A few coffee joints here make good espresso, but I like a nice cuppa clear coffee for daytime. So far, all the beans I've tried have given very meh coffee.

A quick search shows that Manic Coffee carries Intellegentsia's beans - gets them delivered freshly roasted a few times a week, according to the web site...that might be a good start.

Wow! Thank you! I'm in the Manic neighborhood (in more ways than one!) a couple of times a week. Had their espresso coffee on the spot but never looked at beans for sale. I'll be there Wednesday morning. :)

Manic was all out of Intelligentsia but they also carry Social and I got some Guatemala. Quite delicious! Thank you -- what a difference to my mornings! Will try some of the other beans and the Intelligencia, as well.

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Manic was all out of Intelligentsia but they also carry Social and I got some Guatemala. Quite delicious! Thank you -- what a difference to my mornings! Will try some of the other beans and the Intelligencia, as well.

I'm glad you found some beans you like. I especially like the Guatemalan coffees for breakfast.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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