Lets talk about COFFEE

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

  1. capnwes

    capnwes Senior member

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    My wife and I love it! The coffee is great and the little extra post cards and such they send make it even cooler...and fun. We started with the 1/2 subscription, but will be upgrading very soon to the full subscription.

    Should be a new pack of freshly roasted beans in the mail tonight when I get home....can't wait!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013


  2. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  3. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    I understand, and that's my reaction to most of the 3rd wave roasters, too, but I think this bean is a great example of the 3rd wave system working well. It's a small-lot offering that the big chains or companies couldn't offer because they can't sell it at the volumes they need. It's actually a really good, unique coffee that reflects its origin characteristics, and the roasting is very respectful of that. Many 3rd wave roasters either have bad taste or don't know WTF they're doing and they put out stuff that's like funhouse mirrors (Verve is often guilty of this). Despite the flowery prose, the bean is really balanced while offering a big gamut of interesting flavors that all happen to go together.

    But not everyone will like it. I just wish BB offered an easier way to try it out in their stores. It still blows my mind that Peet's will do an individual French press of any bean they have for very reasonable prices, while places like BB and Intelligentsia charge $5+ for about the same amount of work and often for inferior brewing methods (eg. pourover). I was in the Pasadena Intelligentsia recently, and was pretty offended at a $12 pourover for a Colombian Gesha. They offer the bean at $161 (One Hundred Sixty One!!!) per pound.

    Anyway, the Peet's Rwanda Amber is pretty good, and it goes towards supporting a good cause too. I think the run may be ending this week.
     


  4. scottcw

    scottcw Senior member

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    Wow, the Panama Esmeralda Gesha I just got from Sweet Marias for $28 a lb. is a bargain!
     


  5. otc

    otc Senior member

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    I find intelligentsia has great stuff in their shops (well, 2 out of the 3 I go to...1 of them always seems worse), but I suspect their regular beans are finicky.

    A few weekends ago, I had brunch somewhere that serves intelligentsia coffee and it was just awful. Nasty, bitter stuff. In my office, we brew Intelligentsia, Dunkin Donuts, and 4 different Starbucks roasts (1 decaf)...The intelligentsia seems really sensitive to how it was brewed. Some days it is great, but other days it is just as bad as that coffee I had at brunch. Other than when someone clearly didn't use enough beans (lost count of the scoops or something), the 2 starbucks roasts that I will drink are always fairly consistent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013


  6. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    I also love that Peet's actually sells me a pound of coffee. I don't know when coffee moved to the 12oz retail model, but I do not like it. Can't find the Rwanda on the Peet's site.

    Do you believe pourover to be inferior to steeping in a press? A thousand coffee geeks in SanFo just had their heart's broken.

    lefty
     


  7. scottcw

    scottcw Senior member

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    Considering this is purely a matter of personal taste, my heart isn't broken by what anyone else thinks. I enjoy a good french press as much as the next guy. However, I prefer Chemex for the clarity.
     


  8. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I was actually happy when roasters moved to the 12, or even 8oz bags. By the time I got to the end of the 16oz bag they are stale. But yeah, I don't care for BB espresso generally. Something about it that I am not experienced enough to put my finger on. I have always been drawn to Gimme.
     


  9. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    Maybe it's personal taste. That's the first time I've seen AY write that. I tend to agree with him - much prefer the tooth of pressed coffee.

    Personally I think the reason pourovers are so popular in SanFo is that the residents, much like kittens, are mesmerised by repetitive circular action. That or they don't know what to do with the 5 minutes it takes for a press to steep so they just sit and stare.


    Well, you tend to be a little nutty about those roast dates. My wife and I finish a 1 pound bag in about 5 days. Pretty sure it's still fresh.

    lefty
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013


  10. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The only way I drink coffee brewed is through a french press. I love it. Pourover is just more convenient I think for high output places. I like the body of the french press.
     


  11. scottcw

    scottcw Senior member

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    Fixed.

    I use French Press when I want to wash down breakfast or brunch. Pour over is to press as a boutique vintage wine is to two buck chuck. Discuss.

    I will say that it is FAR easier to screw up pour over than press because of all the variables involved to produce good pour over. I can only guess that you haven't had correctly prepared pour over.
     


  12. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Yeah, and that's probably the best gesha, as well as the original. The Colombian strikes me as silly because gesha was "discovered" by the Petersons on their Esmeralda farm in Panama, and surprised everyone by winning the Best of Panama competition that year when it was entered on a lark. It was an imported Ethiopian varietal that the farm ignored for years or blended with their other coffees. Seeing the kind of prices the Peterson's geshas have been fetching (one year it fetched $170/lbs in unroasted form, which is something like 50-100x the price of normal, high quality coffee), coffee farmers all over the Americas have been busy planting it hoping to replicate the same financial success. But that strikes me as a bit of cargo cultism. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of unclassified native Ethiopian varietals, and anyone who's tasted a good Ethiopian coffee knows how striking that coffee can be --- a good washed Yirgacheffe rivals any of the geshas I've had. Instead of planting the same varietal that happened to work brilliantly in one farm in Panama, why not try other Ethiopian varietals? If you're lucky, you may have something unique on your hands instead of an overpriced copy. This is sad on another level as well. Virtually all coffee grown in the Americas for mass consumption are of 1 or 2 varieties that came from the same tree, and everything else is a clone or some kind of mutant or hybrid. The last thing we need is yet another overcopied varietal grown everywhere.
    Ahh, sorry about that. The Rwanda must have just finished. Stores could still have some in stock. I just recently decided pourovers are not suitable for coffee brewing. It was inspired by an especially acidic, sour $5.75 Intelligentsia pourover. But if you think about it, the 4 factors that you have to control for coffee brewing are very difficult or impossible to control in a pourover, even if you use fancy pouring techniques. Those 4 factors are: 1. Steep time 2. Grind size 3. Water temperature 4. Agitation You are aiming for an extraction of coffee solubles from the grounds such that the percentage of total dissolved solids is between 18 and 22 percent. Overextraction leads to bitter coffee. Underextraction leads to sour coffee. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. In a pourover, 1 and 2 are related, and opportunity for 4 is limited and influenced by 2. The steep time is controlled by the grind size because there's a hole at the bottom of your pourover cone, so the water flow rate is controlled by how fine your grind size is. The finer, the slower. But finer grind size leads to more extraction. Slower flow rate also leads to more extraction. So you have to screw with your grind size to balance the right extraction due to grind size and flow rate. And steep time isn't even that long or consistent when you compare it FP, for example. The first volume of water going through a pourover is going to be underextracted coffee, because it's the first time water is meeting the dry grounds, and they don't mix together all that long. The sweet spot comes somewhere in the middle, and then the coffee could be overextracted by the last volume of water to flow through it. So your pourover cup is a random mix of underextracted, good, and perhaps overextracted coffee. It's like using a whirly-blade grinder but slower and more pretentious. That's why pourover people worry about things like blooming, pulsing, making their coffee mound a certain shape, and probably a bunch of other odd things when they make their pourovers. It's not to say you can't make a good-tasting cup from pourover, but I think it's much more difficult and inconsistent than many people realize. Agitation is stirring the coffee and water together. With pulsing (where you pour in just enough water to cover the grounds, and wait til much of it drains before pouring more), you don't have much time to stir. More stirring = more extraction. Agitation in a pourover is an indirect result of the pouring action stirring the grounds around. Again, it's not the most consistent method. With full-immersion techniques like French press or Clever or Aeropress, you can consistently control all 4 factors. If you like full-bodied coffee, use FP. If you like paper filters and clean coffee, use the Clever or Aeropress. For similar reasons, I don't like espresso either, but if I ever say that out loud, I will lose any remaining credibility I have left.
     


  13. lefty

    lefty Senior member

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    You certainly enjoy some of the finest lines in the country, I'll give you that.

    Three posts earlier you said that it's a matter of personal taste and that you enjoy a good press pot but now you wouldn't use it to lubricate your fixie. Are you looking to start trouble?

    Same number of variables - water temp; grind size; immersion time; and agitation. Perhaps the pourover requires a little more attention as you need to continually wet the grounds. However, that slow rotating action is the same as turning left, again and again, as you circle the block looking for a parking spot near the Blue Bottle on Linden, so I imagine pourovers are a great comfort to SanFoians.

    lefty
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013


  14. scottcw

    scottcw Senior member

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    I agree entirely, but an average cup of pour over beats a great cup of press in my book. Also, it's nailing down those variables that makes the payoff worthwhile. I can brew a great cup of press in my sleep. There is no challenge. It's the same reason I roast my own beans. Some batches are crap, but I love it when I nail a roast.

    Outside of doing pour over at home, I have found several places that consistently serve great pour over... Four Barrel and Sightglass in SF, Stumptown in Portland and New York and Filter Coffeehouse in DC.
     


  15. scottcw

    scottcw Senior member

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    I will give you that the variables are the same, but that's true for almost every brewing method. The big difference is that the variables in press are not as interrelated as in pour over. Refer to A Y's last post. I have the attention span required to consistently make a great pour over at home.

    I would walk to Blue Bottle on Linden if I liked Blue Bottle, which I don't.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013


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