Lets talk about COFFEE

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Flambeur, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    I got a bag of Barefoot Coffee's Dominion Ethiopian. Here's their blurb:

    It's so damned good, I'm ready to give up espresso because it is more interesting and pleasant through the Aeropress than most espressos I've had. I don't get the flower notes, but the fruit notes and especially a molasses note are very prominent. The acidity is also quite prominent, but well-balanced with everything else. It has a great mouthfeel with juicy being appropriate --- the acidity really helps with that. It's like a party in your mouth.

    The best preparation for me is Aeropress with 31 g of fine ground (coarser than espresso, and a bit finer than fine drip brew --- balance it by the bitterness), 180F water (extraction), paper filter, upside down config of the Aeropress. Some stirring, about a minute of steeping. I find the right combination primarily by balancing the bitterness. If it's too bitter, use some combo of less stirring, shorter steep time, coarser grind, or cooler water. If it's not, do the opposite.

    I was surprised by the paper filter, because I'd been using a Coava metal filter, but the paper filter gives a cleaner extraction which really helps the various flavors stand out. The metal filter gives more of a coffee taste, if that makes any sense at all.

    --Andre
     


  2. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Now I am curious about an Aeropress. Looked at a couple videos about how they work. 2 coffee scoops and the water level used (point 2 on the cylinder) makes about half a mug. Is this the way it is or can you brew larger amounts?
     


  3. Stu

    Stu Senior member

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    I am biased toward all things Puerto Rico, but the best I have ever had for the price and maybe period, is Yaucono. In Puerto Rico they have price controls on everything and the max price for a pound of coffee is like $4.50, last time I was there. This is premium shit, that could fetch $15-$20, for less than $5. You can buy it online here, although I never have:

    http://www.puertoricocoffeeshop.com/YauconoCoffeebag.html
     


  4. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    They're all kind of variations on a theme. Google Aeropress world championship to see what the crazy people are doing. Coffeegeek also has a huge thread and some articles (here's a recent one for iced coffee) on the Aeropress. But, yes, that's how it is. The instructions say that is "espresso" strength (probably in terms of brix), and you can dilute it to make normal coffee. In the method I describe in the next paragraph, I fill up all the way to the top, and drink it undiluted.

    To control as many variables as possible, the serious people use the upside down config: put the plunger in slightly (I go to the bottom of the circle around the 4 mark), and stand the thing up on the plunger, so the extraction side is facing up. Put your coffee in there along with water, and you can steep and stir the coffee as long as you like with no leaks. When you're ready to extract, put the cap with the filter on, and flip it over onto your mug to plunge.

    The Coffeegeek article linked above has good pictures of this setup.

    Some tips:

    - the water temps will be lower than most people use for other methods. The packaging recommends 175F, but you can play around with that depending on your beans and tastes. For my own palate, 5 degrees seem to be the minimum change I can taste.

    - be sure to bring the cap and filter up to temperature before using. When my pot of water comes out of the microwave, I put the filter and cap in there to warm them up.

    - I generally nuke a little pot of water (a Bodum tea extractor thing) to be slightly hotter than I need, and wait for it to cool down to my desired temperature. I use a Thermopen thermometer because Alton Brown uses one, and I can use it for other cooking tasks. I'm sure less expensive thermometers work OK, too.

    - In the upside down config, pour in a little bit of water first to make a slurry, and stir a little to get the outgassing carbon dioxide out (the orange-looking cream head). Then fill it up all the way to the top, and stir and steep as desired. I generally don't do more than a few stirs, and a minute of steeping.

    - the serious people like the metal filters, like the one Coava makes. It's pretty good, but different than the paper filters that come with the Aeropress. I find that the metal filter lets more sediment through for more body and more coffee flavor. The paper filters make a squeaky clean cup, which is great when you want to really highlight the qualities of a bean, but some people think it's too thin in mouthfeel. Different strokes, and which one you use depends on the bean and your tastes. If you're worried about the "bad" cholesterol in coffee, the paper filters get rid of almost all of it, while the metal filters let through almost all of it.

    Another reason to like the Aeropress: it takes about 10 minutes to make a cup from beginning to end of clean-up (things dried and put away).

    The best bean I've ever had was a custom single-origin espresso roast Coava did for the last SCA competition in Houston. They gave their leftovers to my local baristas who served it for a few days before it ran out. I really liked it, but didn't find out until later that it was the Esmerelda Geisha!

    --Andre
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011


  5. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Thank you Andre. May get one and tinker with it. Intend to use it at the store when someone wants coffee.
     


  6. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    You're welcome Chris! Do you send customers who request teh drape to Starbucks?

    --Andre
     


  7. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Hmmmm...interesting suggestion!
     


  8. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    This is about the best I can do for coffee, given my location.
    [​IMG]
    It's not bad though.
     


  9. alexg

    alexg Senior member

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    I'm new to trying to make good coffee, and have two questions.

    1. I was given a La Pavoni Europiccola machine that a friend had in his house. I believe he converted it from 220v to 110v to work in America. It works, but it literally took about 2 hours to get the water hot enough to make steam. It's an old machine, should I try to get a new heating coil or could it be something else?

    2. What kind of grinder should I get? I'm hoping to spend about $50-100 to be used with the La Pavoni and possibly an Aeropress.

    Thanks
     


  10. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    How did your friend 'convert' the coffee machine, with a step-up transformer or did he just change the plug to a US one? One thinks the latter, which probably explains why it takes so long to heat the water. You could try getting a new 110V heating element, that would certainly make it heat the water much quicker, if one is available. If you can't get the appropriate heating element, a 110V-220V step-up transformer of adequate wattage will make your coffee machine work correctly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011


  11. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    The heating coil could have run directly off wall voltage, so with 110V, it may not be heating up that much or that quickly. Do they offer an alternate coil or heating system that works with 110?

    Aeropress isn't very picky about a grinder, at least for fineness of size --- you still want uniformity, so a burr grinder is better than an whirly blade. I use a Capresso Infinity and it works well. It's about $90 from Amazon. If you want to use some elbow grease, the Hario manual grinders are very good, and slightly cheaper. Their main advantage is that they use really nice burrs, and are portable.

    --Andre
     


  12. alexg

    alexg Senior member

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    Thanks MikeDT and A Y. I think I'll try getting a new heating coil and attempt to install it. I'll look into the grinders as well. Portable is a good thing and I'm already pulling the espresso manually so the Hario might not be bad.
     


  13. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Just read an artIcle about the effects of limescale buildup on machines. They have opened machines that the buildup around the heating element is so severe that the machine would not heat up. You could ask your friend who gave you the machine about how he maintained the machine.
     


  14. eg1

    eg1 Senior member

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    Very interesting.

    We use the aeropress at home -- I find it makes decent coffee even with crummy, store-ground beans. When I want to make a full pot of coffee, I use two aeropresses with three scoops in each -- fill one up to the "4" with hot water from a zojirushi, stir it around about 12-18 times and press it into a cup; repeat the procedure with the second press, dump the contents of the twice-pressed cup into a carafe and then add more water from the zojirushi to the 12 cup mark. Then I put the carafe in the Cuisinart Brew Central Coffee Maker (stupidly expensive hotplate for our purposes, but I suppose I could use it as a coffeemaker if the aeropresses broke ... :embar:).

    Thanks for the tip on the coava metal filter -- we go through a lot of the paper filters. I tried to cut an existing metal cone filter into the right shape a couple of years ago but it didn't work so we went back to paper. I have just ordered a couple of the metal ones.
     


  15. seanchai

    seanchai Senior member

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    http://www.baratza.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=380R

    Basically a rebranded, refurbished Baratza Maestro Plus with a manufacturer's warranty. Probably the best espresso grinder you could get between $50-100; not quite fine enough for espresso out of the box, but easily recalibrated to a pressurized-portafilter grind. If you wait awhile, occasionally a refurbished Virtuoso will come up on their site for ~$130 (and then you'll never have to buy another grinder).
     


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