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Old 02-14-2007, 02:23 AM   #1
Zeno
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Coffee Addicts Thread

Although I have a French press and a coffee grinder I don't make that much coffee so I hope others that are more proficient and knowledgeable will add their expertise to this thread. I will start off with a number of links to set the stage:

History of Coffee


Types of Brewing

More on Turkish Brewing and other info

I recently had Turkish Brewed coffee at a resturant and enjoyed it very much. There is a thick pasty residue in the bottom of the cup. But the coffee taste was elegant.

Practical Stuff

French Press Coffee Makers

Coffee Grinders


Some coffee aficionados think grinders are important and need to be a certain type:

Grinding your own coffee beans is a fairly easy way to ensure freshness in your cup of coffee. Grinders can be inexpensive, and some coffee makers or espresso machines even have them built in.

There are basically two different kinds of grinders: blade or burr.
Blade Grinders

Most inexpensive grinders use a metal blade to chop up the beans. The blade cuts up the beans, and you control the fineness by how long you let the grinder run. Unfortunately, the resulting coffee grounds can be uneven in size, leading to inconsistent brew quality.

Another downfall is that if you are grinding finely, and therefore leaving the beans in the grinder for a longer period of time, there can be significant heat created by the blades. This can give your final coffee a burned taste. These are fine grinders for basic use, but that's about it.

Burr Grinders

Burr grinders crush the beans between a moving grinding wheel and a non-moving surface. The positioning on the burr is what regulates the ground size, which allows for a more consistent grind. In the burr category, there are two different types.

Wheel Burr - The less expensive of the two burr grinders. The wheel spins very fast, and these grinders can be noisy. The higher speed rotation makes these grinders more messy as well.

Conical Burr - The best grinders you can get are conical burr grinders. The burr spins slower than the wheel model, which makes them quieter and less messy. You can use a conical burr grinder for oily or flavoured coffees and it's not likely to clog, like the other kinds of grinders. These are the best type, but you will pay the price for them.

__________________________________________________ _____

ROASTING IS IMPORTANT

Some coffee nuts roast their own beans. I hope we have a few around here to fill us all in. Some information follows that I found:



"The roasting of green coffee beans of green coffee beans develops the coffee aromas and flavors. Roasting is the process of heating the coffee beans uniformly, first to remove the moisture (about 12%) then to cause pyrolysis of the sugar in the bean cells, which means that the sugars break down to caramel, water, carbon dioxide, and many aldehydes and ketones which characterize the aroma and taste of fresh coffee.
The roast weight loss is related to bean color and beverage taste, and is often related to the mode of brew preparation and cultural taste.

Different coffee beans react differently to the various end temperatures cited. And various green beans have preferred levels of roast for best flavor developments. In the USA, too many firms roast their beans too lightly because that gives less weight loss (greater yield and profit). Often roast level is determined by the coffee buyer-taster who is used to evaluating green coffee beans at light roasts. The end result of such light roasts can be a very acid, astringent, harsh-tasting beverage which does not have optimum flavor development. It is a wasted coffee sold to the public.

Few people realize that the manner of roasting has a great deal of influence on the taste of the final roasted beans. For example, rotary steel cylinder roasters, which are traditional in the trade; e.g. Probat in Europe, due to their high operating temperatures (over 800 degrees Fahrenheit) cause searching of the beans, oil release that can coat all the beans, and smoke from burning chaff that fumigates the beans, giving them a harsh, biting, and (in dark roast) a burnt taste which is "dirty". The use of Melitta filter paper, for example, helps remove some of this bitey taste. It is far better not to scorch or burn the beans or lay a tar coat on the bean. In order to avoid this scorching and non-uniform roasting of coffee beans, Mike Sivetz developed, in 1975, a fluid bed "once-thru-air" coffee bean roasting machine that produces a clean "tar-free" non-biting, smooth tasting beverage.

__________________________________________________ __

That is enough.

What are the best coffee beans (green or roasted) and where to get them?

Speak up coffee addicts.

-Zeno
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:32 AM   #2
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

i told the coffee store man to give me something with a lot of caffeine in it aweek ago, just to see what's up with coffee. he gave me a big hot cup and said there were 2 shots of espresso in it. i couldn't sleep all night, i had a headache and my heartbeat was quite loud and a little irregular i am never doing that again.
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:38 AM   #3
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Despite my screenname, which would lead one to believe that I'm all about dark, black coffee, I actually prefer a medium or light blend.

With that in mind, I'd recommend the following:

Jamaican Blue Mountain
Kona
Kenya AA
Colombian Supremo

All of these are light to medium roasts, although I have seen Supremo and AA packaged as darks before. However, if you're really lazy(which I am), I think you can get a perfectly decent cup of coffee from the Folgers Special Roast...it's the one with the yellow label on the front. It's a solid blend for everyday, especially for the price. But...for gourmet purposes, stick with the blends above. Stay away from Starbucks...they burn the hell out of their beans.
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:52 AM   #4
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Back when I lived in Australia I had a blade grinder, and tried lots of different types of beans. Over here in Italy, however, nobody does that, which perhaps is a bit surprising considering how seriously they take their coffee.

The method for brewing coffee here, which wasn't mentioned in your link, is the moka. I'm drinking a cup right now, it is good.



I use Illy Moka blend, which is the most expensive coffee here but it is simply sensational. Lavazza is very good also.
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:55 AM   #5
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Starbucks coffee sucks. Their iced stuff, however, is delectable.

For quality, I like most of what I have tried from Whole Foods. I like to sample different flavors and boldnesses.

When I don't feel like brewing a cup, I go to one of my favorite delis (I live in new york) and buy the delicious coffee that many delis in New York have. The quality is surprisingly high from most of the corner-store type places.
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Old 02-14-2007, 04:30 AM   #6
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

adsman: Thanks. I found a good link on the moka: Moka Brewing


Moka Pot stovetop brewers produce a dense concentrated cup that's something between espresso and Turkish coffee. Coffee is placed into a filter between the lower chamber (that you fill with water) and the upper chamber that will contain the finished beverage after brewing. Since the water is forced through the cake of coffee by pressure, the process bears more resemblance to espresso extraction that infusion (gravity-based) brewing.

__________________________________________________ __

There is a store near by where I can get lavazza coffee beans and their espresso grind so I can also vouch for the quality of this coffee.

-Zeno
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:07 AM   #7
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Intelligentsia

And it isn't close. Unlike a lot of places, they buy directly from quality growers, not wholesalers. They roast in small batches. Their largest roast is 200 lbs. Starbucks smallest roast is 2000 lbs for their "special offerings".

If you happen to be in Chicago, you can take a very cool tour of their roasting works.
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:45 AM   #8
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

So I'm guessing that CrackBucks doesnt count as coffee?

I usually just get a black, mild to strong roasted coffee, throw in a small bit of sweetener and call it good.
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:50 AM   #9
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

I'm a coffee addict that is also hopelessly lazy, and I drink 90% of my coffee outside my home - which means it's pretty tough to keep beans/grinds. I also live in the city which means a fresh hot cup is only a block or so away.

Then my girlfriend got me this nifty little machine for christmas. A fresh hot cup is always about 20 seconds away. It's obviously not as good as freshly ground/brewed, but it's good enough for my tastes.



link
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:58 AM   #10
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

The best beans are generally something you can get close to home.

In Seattle, Cafe Vita is unbelievable.

In San Francisco, I like Philz or Ritual.

Trader Joe's has a big variety of beans for very cheap, some are good, some are not.

Never ever never ever buy beans from those bulk dispensers in grocery stores. Coffee beans go rancid very quickly because of their high oil content. Most grocery store beans are completely stale and rancid. Coffee beans should be stored vacuum packed. Once you break the seal they should be used within a week. If you don't use them that fast, then freeze them. You can grind them frozen and use them as normal (do not thaw).

When I went to Kona I bought a bunch of beans there, really delicious, and the plantation tour was fun. I never buy them normally cuz they cost 4X normal beans and it's not worth it.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:12 PM   #11
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

My father brought me up with turkish coffee, but our preparation was a function of lack of time, so for us it consisted of throwing in a heaping scoop of turkish coffee, adding boiling water, stirring, let it sit for 5 mintues, then drinking it. It's not exactly the standard way of drinking turkish coffee but I still love it. Most places that prepare turkish coffee sweeten the [censored] out of it for western tastes, I hate the way they do this.

I fell in love with espresso a few years ago and it's primarily what I drink. I will normally have between 2-5 espressos a day, normally a double in the morning and then a 3 shot americano in the afternoon. I have been trying to cut back a bit, but I really see no reason why. The price/taste of starbucks led me to buy my own espresso machine, but I am pretty lazy so I bought a super automatic one that does everything. I add water and whole beans once a week and it makes all my coffee, I empty/clean it once or twice a week depending on my consumption. It produces good espresso, not AMAZING espresso, but consistently good with crema. It's good to the point where I am not going to buy a manual espresso machine and sit there and go through that hassle every morning/afternoon. I have tried various beans, but really got stuck on a Lavazza specific, so that is what I have been using for the last year. My Aunt/Uncle are huge espresso drinkers and absolutely swear by http://www.graffeo.com/ so I ordered some and I'll let you know.

When I was in Italy this summer, I primarily drank coffee made with the Moka express, which was really good, but not so much my thing. I like french press too but rarely drink it.

After drinking so much espresso it's nearly impossible for me to drink drip. I mean if I really need a cup of coffee I'll do it, but it just tastes so bitter and flat and gross...
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:12 PM   #12
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Quote:
adsman: Thanks. I found a good link on the moka: Moka Brewing


Moka Pot stovetop brewers produce a dense concentrated cup that's something between espresso and Turkish coffee. Coffee is placed into a filter between the lower chamber (that you fill with water) and the upper chamber that will contain the finished beverage after brewing. Since the water is forced through the cake of coffee by pressure, the process bears more resemblance to espresso extraction that infusion (gravity-based) brewing.

__________________________________________________ __

There is a store near by where I can get lavazza coffee beans and their espresso grind so I can also vouch for the quality of this coffee.

-Zeno
This is my preferred method, and I'm actually using that exact brand at the moment two. Using almost 50% hot milk ensures a really smooth, strong coffee.

In the UK I think these stove top machines often get called espresso makers even though they aren't quite.

Otherwise, I think filter coffee is standard in the US, but surprisingly not so in the UK where cafetieres are mostly used.
If you're one of those people do yourself a favour and get a filter and some papers - much quicker to make a single cup, and much less harsh than the coarse taste of cefetiere coffee.

How many scoops do people put in their Mokas?
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:16 PM   #13
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Quote:
If you don't use them that fast, then freeze them. You can grind them frozen and use them as normal (do not thaw).
I read somewhere that the freezing idea was a myth and that it's actually bad to expose beans to extreme temperatures in either direction. I was told to just keep them sealed as best as possible in a dark, dry, ambient temperature environment (i.e. the back of my cupboard). I'll try and dig up the link but I'm pretty sure the freezing thing isn't right.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:21 PM   #14
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Since I'm a former co-founder and co-owner, I may be biased, but IMO the best coffee can be found here, at Phoenix Coffee in Northeast Ohio. All coffee is fresh roasted to order.

I don't drink coffee any more, but when I did, my personal favorite was Sumatran Mandheling, which is a rich, smooth, full-bodied coffee.

It's been a while since I've been involved, but I've been around the coffee business for most of my life, so I'll be happy to answer any questions I can about the coffee biz, operating a cafe, etc.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:34 PM   #15
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

The most important thing for coffee: bean storage! Do NOT PUT BEANS IN THE FREEZER. This is horrible for them. Why? There are 4 things that are bad for coffee: light, moisture, air, and time. Constantly taking coffee in and out of the freezer lets moisture build up inside the coffee. Not good. What I would recommend is buying an air-tight container, pouring the beans in there, and storing them in a cool, dry place. This will ensure that the beans are fresh and they will be fresher for longer.

As for beans, Starbucks isn't horrible, espcially when you consider how much they produce and roast. But I agree, you can find much better coffee. I just recently ran out of coffee that I brought home from Costa Rica...I love their coffee (Monte Verde coffee is fantastic). In Denver, go to Novo Coffee. Pricey but well worth it and they have a great selection.

Novo website.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:47 PM   #16
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

the best I have had is distributed by Counterculture coffee in NC. in the DC area it is available at Murky Coffee in Arlington and Sparkys on 14th st. in DC. My favorite is the salvadorean ( not he one @ $65 for 12 oz.).
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:59 PM   #17
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

One of my indulgences is coffee. I spend the dough for Jamaican Blue Mountain and Kona for my home use. I also have a really nice esspresso machine which I actually bought at Starbucks when I realized it was a relatively good deal.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:03 PM   #18
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Quote:
The most important thing for coffee: bean storage! Do NOT PUT BEANS IN THE FREEZER. This is horrible for them. Why? There are 4 things that are bad for coffee: light, moisture, air, and time. Constantly taking coffee in and out of the freezer lets moisture build up inside the coffee.
If you use them frozen they never get moist. Taking anything in & out of the freezer is bad for it. I don't believe that you can freeze bread & salmon but coffee beans are too delicate. Anyway, just use them quickly, I don't recommend storing them at all (I never do). If you don't use them fast enough, buy less.

edit : anyway the original point was, don't just leave it in the bag you bought it in (after opening) and have it sit in your cupboard for a month, it will taste like ass.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:06 PM   #19
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

BTW is anyone here an expert/advocate of using a french press? I've heard you can make great coffee with a french press, but I've never been successful with it. I've read some tips online but they haven't really helped. If I grind the beans course it comes out watery. If I grind them fine, I get tons of nasty sludge.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:17 PM   #20
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

If my house was burning down, the first thing I'd run for is my Mazzer Mini.

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Old 02-14-2007, 01:18 PM   #21
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Which grinder are you using for french press...I think it's normal to have a little bit of "silt" at the bottom of the cup for french press, I don't use french press a lot but it's nice when I do...
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:30 PM   #22
Colt McCoy
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

I love the cold-brewed coffee the Toddy makes and Boca Java makes some awesome coffees.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:45 PM   #23
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

Quote:
Anyway, just use them quickly, I don't recommend storing them at all (I never do). If you don't use them fast enough, buy less.

Compeltely agree. I didn't mean storage in the long term sense...I meant storage for the week or two you will have the beans.

As for your french press problem, I use my french press a lot. Like someone else asked, what kind of grinder do you use? You have to get a burr grinder if you want to use a press. The beans have to be ground as coarse as possible- otherwise they go through the screen. Are you having a problem with proportions of water/grounds? You also shoudn't use boiling water- it should be hot, not boiling.
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:04 PM   #24
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

I have drank a lot of coffee on a daily basis since middle school. I am wondering if I have an unrefined taste in coffee, because I like very dark, very bitter, straight black coffee. examples of brands of coffee I like are cafe bustelo, cafe dumond, and modelo. I rarely go to starbucks but like their black coffee just fine.

most coffee I have had in diners, delis and dunkin donuts tastes like water to me, and I don't like it at all.

I make espresso a lot also and use cafe bustelo, for some reason the illy espresso pods taste horrible to me and I would rather drink dirt. since bustelo is cheap as hell and illy seems quite fancy, it seems to me like I might just like the cheap stuff.

any coffee experts have any insight or recommendations to offer regarding my taste?

edit: note that I always use a french press when making coffee.
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:36 PM   #25
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Re: Coffee Addicts Thread

I like very dark, black straight coffee as well...but most times I don't feel that it tastes bitter, strong drip gets bitter, you like that?

The cafe dumond brand is amazing, I first had it in NO, that chicory taste is fantastic.

for whatever reason, I too think the illy espresso roast is GROSS.
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