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Smooth coffee


alejita
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HI all,

I'm appealing to your expertise as I'm unable to find a coffee we like. Most coffees are (for us) either overroasted (the Peet's or Starbucks kind) and/or too acidy. The coffee we are looking for can be sometimes tasted at expensive French restaurants (but not a French roast); the last time I had what we think is the best was at Fleur de Lys in San Francisco. It was smooth and a bit sweet, when compared to the Peet's kind.

Any suggestions???

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Well, are you looking for a varietal, or a shop's proprietary blend? I find that the Pacific island coffees, i.e. Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, etc. are smooth, sweet and without acidity. I like them a lot when I drink filter coffee, which is rarely... I've gone over to espresso almost entirely.

For finding non-acidic coffees, I don't know where you are or what to suggest other than getting green beans from Sweet Maria's and roasting them yourself to a doneness that is not offensive to you. I happen to like the PNG roasted fairly dark...

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Hi Alejita

Try Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee,i find it to be very smooth.I use the alex twyman brand it is the best blue mountain coffee you can buy, they sell beans only and make sure to use spring water and a good french press.also use a grinder that

doesn't grind at too high a speed that will cause the coffee to heat up (heat is the enemy). I must admit i am Jamaican but have two restaurants that cater to international guest and all we get is raving reviews about our coffee.Try it and let me know what you think.

Regards

Gariel Ferguson

Norma's At The Marina

Port Antonio, Jamaica

"a life dedicated to food can only be a great one "

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Welcome to eGullet, alejita and garistone!

alejita, you may want to consider the toddy (cold-water brewing) method, using a low-acid bean (e.g., Sumatra, per cdh's post). You can do a search for "toddy" in the Coffee & Tea forum for more info.

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The coffee with the lowest acidity available commercially is Mexican.

I am not a coffee drinker, being totally addicted to tea, however I have a friend who has been in the coffee business for 40 years and he talks about it a great deal. (Whether I am interested or now, but I listen because he listens to me natter on about teas.)

I saw this question yesterday and called Mark last evening.

He said that low grown coffees have less acid in the bean, thus there is less to be cooked away in roasting. Longer roasting removes more of the inherent acid and dark roast coffees have less acid than the lighter roast coffees but there is a point beyond which the flavor is not enhanced but simply charred into dreck. (his words)

The ones with the lowest acid currently available ready roasted in the (coffee) market are from

Mexico, Sumatra, India and Brazil, all low grown - and medium dark to dark roast.

Avoid Kenya, Kona, Blue Mountain, Yemen and light roast coffees.

He also said the cold-brewed method is the best way to get coffee with the least acid. He also said you do not need one of the special gizmos for making it.

Place a cup of freshly ground coffee in a quart jar. Fill the jar with cold, filtered water, tighten the lid, shake vigorously. Place the jar in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove the lid, stir throughly then strain through a double layer of coffee filters. This will give you a concentrate which you dilute with hot water. This should give you enough concentrate for 20 to 30 cups of coffee at regular strength.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Welcome to eGullet, alejita and garistone!

I second that emotion!!!

Cold brew does indeed produce the lowest acidity but most who've tried using the cold brew concentrate and then adding some hot water still consider a fresh brewed cup of coffee to have the edge in taste characteristics. Some excellent suggestions have already been made. I happen to enjoy Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee very much and although it is lower acid than some coffees, I think it's the balance of acidity and flavor notes that makes it so appealing. That said... there's plenty of so-called JMB sold here in the US that is not the real thing and also many "JMB blends". The blends can have as little as 5% true JMB and are in no way representative of the real thing. Buy from a reputable source and look for the coffees of Mavis Banks or Wallingford Estates - those are the two brands most readily available in the US that are of predictably high quality.

That said.... JMB is very expensive and many good coffees are available for far less. Overroasting is a signature style at Starbucks and even Peet's has a tendency to roast very dark on many coffees. I have a co-worker who had sworn off coffee because he was having a reaction to the acidity of everything he'd tried. I home roasted some Sulawesi Toroja for him and he was blown away - it has a full body, lots of flavor and is very smooth with very low acid.

If possible, look for a local microroaster and explain your needs and tastes - that's a great way to get the best possibel coffee (short of roasting your own).

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Thanks so much all who responded! I knew about Jamaican Blue Mountain, but was leery of trying due to the cost and potential for cheating. Now I have a couple of sources, which I'll but from. The low altitude info was also useful. But now for the big question: let's assume supermarket variety coffee is out (I have never tasted a good coffee from the supermarket, regardless of how careful I am when making it), can you suggest some online providers you like to deal with?

BTW, now that I think of it, I'll roll out my old Chemex: it did make outstanding coffee!

Thanks all,

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I also had a really hard time finding coffee I liked. Years ago, when CNN had food and recipes on their web site I saved a list from them that describes styles and roasts and so on. It helped me a lot. Whenever I tasted a coffee I liked in a restaurant I asked where it came from and what it was, and eventually found one blend from a local roaster that became my standard.

The CNN list helped me identify the roast and bean style I liked - I tend to medium roast, full bodied coffees (such as Sumatra) I found that what I thought was acidic was usually a darker roast. Blue Mountain, when you find the real thing, is fabulous, but when I find it I usually cannot tell when it was roasted, and it's pricey.

What used to be CNN html is now saved as a pdf, I can pm to you if you like. As far as I know, no way to post it here.

Tracey

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can you suggest some online providers you like to deal with?

Are you in the US and if so.... in what region? There are some good roasters in a variety of places who ship on the day of roasting but shipping costs really add up if you're going coast to coast.

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The coffee with the lowest acidity available commercially is Mexican.

I am not a coffee drinker, being totally addicted to tea, however I have a friend who has been in the coffee business for 40 years and he talks about it a great deal. (Whether I am interested or now, but I listen because he listens to me natter on about teas.)

I saw this question yesterday and called Mark last evening.

He said that low grown coffees have less acid in the bean, thus there is less to be cooked away in roasting. Longer roasting removes more of the inherent acid and dark roast coffees have less acid than the lighter roast coffees but there is a point beyond which the flavor is not enhanced but simply charred into dreck. (his words)

The ones with the lowest acid currently available ready roasted in the (coffee) market are from

Mexico, Sumatra, India and Brazil, all low grown - and medium dark to dark roast.

Avoid Kenya, Kona, Blue Mountain, Yemen and light roast coffees.

He also said the cold-brewed method is the best way to get coffee with the least acid. He also said you do not need one of the special gizmos for making it.

Place a cup of freshly ground coffee in a quart jar. Fill the jar with cold, filtered water, tighten the lid, shake vigorously. Place the jar in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove the lid, stir throughly then strain through a double layer of coffee filters. This will give you a concentrate which you dilute with hot water. This should give you enough concentrate for 20 to 30 cups of coffee at regular strength.

Actually, there are Mexican coffees that have a lot of acidity - and others that don't. Also, it's important to understand that when a coffee pro says "acidity" they don't mean "has lots of acid" but rather is describing a flavour note that can also be described as "brightness."

In any event, the coffee most commonly considered as having the lowest acidity is Indian Monsooned Malabar. But it is hardly what I would describe as a "smooth" coffee.

If you're looking for a coffee that is "smooth" (i.e. without bitterness, balanced, with a rounded and balanced flavour profile), I would suggest not looking at acidity but rather at balance and body.

The coffees I most commonly describe to customers as "smooth" would include:

- good Java Gov't Estates,

- Puerto Rico Yauco Selecto,

- very good true Konas (not blends),

- high quality Guatemala Antiguas,

- high quality estate dry-processed coffees from Brazil,

- some Sumatra Iskanders,

- some Sulawesi Torajas.

But for the most part, I tend to suggest looking at blends. Look for blends roasted to true Full City that are described as being "Full Bodied."

Good online sources include Intelligentsia Coffees, Zoka Roasting and Terroir.

fanatic...

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