Coffee and the grinding thereof

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SharkHat
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Coffee and the grinding thereof

Post by SharkHat » Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:44 pm

The nature of the folks around here leads me to believe that some of you might be partial to grinding your own coffee instead of buying Folger's off the shelf. Some of you might even still use hand cranks. ;)

So, what are your favorite beans? I'm a sucker for a good Colombian Supremo myself, and I like ultra fine grinds for added richness.

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:55 pm

The important thing, aside from beans, is to pass up ANY and ALL of the blade-type grinders (which should only be used for proper mixing of animal furs with the purpose of dubbing flies for fishing), and make sure you have a good burr grinder with a timer. This is the only way to get any sort of consistant grind, and, like shaving, consistency is key. You set the time and the grind separately.

I have a Krups that I use every day. What goes in it?? After messing around at a local Roaster, I've settled upon Duncan Donuts original blend. Every now and again I'll pick up something at the Roaster, but there is something of a crap shoot with respect to the quality of any given batch. Also, $12 for two pounds of beans is a pretty good deal.

If you insist upon messing around at the roaster, don'b be afraid to request your own blend. I like 25% sumatran, 25% Costa Rican, and 50% Columbian. The sumatran seems to pull out some of the bitter edge.

Scott

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TCN
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Post by TCN » Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:04 pm

There's a local cafe that gets Wallenford Estate Jamaican Blue Moutain coffee in the green and roasts it fresh to order, but that stuff will send you to the poor house. I like good Kona too, but it seems a bit stale by the time we get it in fabulous Detroit. :roll:

I was complaining about this to a friend of mine who is a celebrity chef in NYC, and he told me to try "Illy", which is packed whole bean in a pretty tight cannister. I did, and have never looked back.

I'm also in love with my Capresso coffeemaker and burr grinder.

SharkHat
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Post by SharkHat » Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:11 pm

You're right, Blue Mountain and Kona are two of the pinnacles of coffee. Since I get my Supremo free from a buddy of mine, I can occasionally splurge on one of those two, but not often.

Scott, I've heard a wivestale about adding a little salt to the grind to take the edge of bitterness out as well. Not enough that you can taste the salt of course. I think my Dad picked it up in the Navy maybe.

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HLSheppard
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Post by HLSheppard » Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:42 pm

I'm an espresso maven, myself...

In the winter it's too cold out to roast my own - but that's my normal mode of operation.

The most important thing to realize with coffee, is that it's ALL ABOUT FRESHNESS.

Nothing sold in any canister, anywhere (including Illy) is fresh. Coffee, when freshly roasted, gives off CO2 for a few hours to a few days (depending on the bean(s)). If they were to seal fresh coffee in a can - the cans would bulge or pop. Oxygen is the enemy. Illy nitrogen flushes it's coffee when they can it (which helps a great deal to keep it fresh... until you open it).

Once roasted (assuming it's stored properly - and no, that doesn't mean the 'fridge) you have roughly 7-10 days before aromatics and flavor are severly compromised. However, once ground - you're drastically increasing the surface area of the coffee (i.e. it's contact with air / oxidation). I would say you have about 3 hours or so after grinding even the freshest coffee before it's stale.

Will it kill you? No. However, you're defeating the purpose of grinding it (or roasting it) yourself if you're letting your coffee get stale.

(sorry for the "wordy" response - coffee is my other passion) :oops:
Howard L. Sheppard
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"I wish I were less awkward around strangers. I never know what to say when someone asks me who I am and what in the world I'm doing in their house." -- Andy Ihnatko

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ScottS
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Post by ScottS » Tue Dec 27, 2005 2:07 pm

Here's a hoot. I was searching up coffee reviews, and found this on the coffee pod systems.

"Right now, aside from the Keurig B60 and the Bunn My Café (more on these later), the new single-serve machines represent, not the "revolution" the trade papers describe, but rather an attempted coupe engineered by the same large coffee companies that degraded American coffees in the first place. Most of these companies are playing a variation on the old marketing ploy: give away the razor and soak the customer for the blades. Except in this case the razors are not that cheap, and many of the blades don't give a very good shave."

BTW, "bitter" probably wasn't the right word before, so much as "acidity", which is a normal, expected part of coffee. I just don't lean toward the acid coffees, but they tend to be more robust than those with low acidity, such as the sumatrans, so I like to mix em to get a kick.



Scott

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Post by SharkHat » Tue Dec 27, 2005 2:42 pm

I love a good Sumatra as an after-dinner/dessert coffee. Perhaps with a snifter of Drambuie on the side.

-Dennis

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HLSheppard
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Post by HLSheppard » Tue Dec 27, 2005 2:48 pm

Here's a great site on general coffee info.

I've had it in my "favorites" file so long I almost forgot it was there.
Howard L. Sheppard
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"I wish I were less awkward around strangers. I never know what to say when someone asks me who I am and what in the world I'm doing in their house." -- Andy Ihnatko

SharkHat
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Post by SharkHat » Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:54 pm

Dry usually means stale. As the bean is exposed, the oils dry out of the bean. Once the beans are ground they have more surface area and the interior is exposed, which makes them dry faster. So, limiting air exposure and grinding only as much as you need both help you get a fresher cup.

-Dennis

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kaptain_zero
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Post by kaptain_zero » Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:18 pm

Dry usually means stale.
I would have to disagree somewhat with that statement. I'm fortunate enough to get to buy my coffee beans from a local roaster and he gives me a heads up as to the exact roasting time. I find that freshly roasted beans need to rest for about 48 hrs for the full flavour to develop. From there I feel I have about 2 weeks tops before the flavour deteriorates too far for my tastes. As for the oil on the beans, most of the coffees I buy are fairly light roasted and appear dry when fresh.. about 5-7 days old they begin to show a significant amount of oil droplets, 2 weeks old and they are sticky enough to cause problems for me in the grinder. Dark roasts will be oily from the start and it may have been this type of roast that Dennis refered to.

I don't have the $$ for a decent espresso machine so I stick with filter brewing or french press. My favorite coffees are:

Panama Boquete
Peru La Florida
Mexican Oxaca (sp?)
Kenya AA
Nicaragua Matagalpa
Brazil Santos

My list goes on but as you can tell.. my tastebuds are firmly lodged in Central/South America (well, except for the Kenya AA).

One other treat is Black Pearl Decaf Espresso by Black Pearl Coffee roasters in Winnipeg, this blend makes a dynamite pot of decaf drip coffee and is one of Black Pearls biggest sellers.

Regards

Christian
Previously lost, on the way to the pasture. Now pasteurized.

SharkHat
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Post by SharkHat » Tue Dec 27, 2005 5:32 pm

By dry I did mean that they lose the sheen and appear dull. I'm absolutely a fan of dark roasts. I'd hate to see them actually damp, I can imagine the sticky paste in my grinder. *cringe*

-Dennis

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HLSheppard
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Post by HLSheppard » Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:40 pm

Weather a coffee bean is oily or not is just a result of how long it was roasted (all else being equal).

Full City roast or darker will result in a bean with oil "spots" to a fully "oily" appearance.

Wether or not this is desirable is dependant upon the type of bean that it is. A robust wet processed Sumatran can handle a darker roast than say a Hawaiin Kona peaberry (where you want to preserve the delicate flavors).
Howard L. Sheppard
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"I wish I were less awkward around strangers. I never know what to say when someone asks me who I am and what in the world I'm doing in their house." -- Andy Ihnatko

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TCN
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Post by TCN » Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:47 pm

Howard,

What do you think of the entry level Jura machines . . . are they worth the money, or am I better off with something else for less?

By the way, I notice you're in SE Michigan, where do you buy your beans?

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HLSheppard
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Post by HLSheppard » Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:20 pm

Hi TCN -

I normally roast my own. However, during the winter months - it's too cold and my roaster can't compensate for the low ambient temps (it's an outdoor thing with all the smoke). So, I tend to "order out."
Here and here are two of my favorites.

Jura machines? I'm assuming you mean their line of super-automatics...
I have no direct experience with using them so my opinion is only based on well, my opinion! :lol: However, on the whole, I'm not really a fan of superautos. Granted, I'm a total espresso geek and so therefore it would be against my "coffee religion" to go that route. However, I do know that they tend to be expensive and they also tend to at best, give an OK shot - at worst a crappy one.

However, please remember that it takes dedication and time to learn to pull a proper shot of espresso. If you're not willing to do that - then maybe this is the route you want to go. They're fairly "idiot-proof" as far as mistakes go - but they can also be finicky and need expensive repairs (again, this is a generality).

To draw a parallel, it would be the difference between Charles Robert's Method Shaving and a can of Gillette Foamy with a Mach 3. Most people can get acceptable results and will never know the difference.

Here's a link to a set of pics showing my setup pulling a shot of espresso. This is what is SHOULD look like. 8) (yes, I'm like a proud papa).

espresso shot
Howard L. Sheppard
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"I wish I were less awkward around strangers. I never know what to say when someone asks me who I am and what in the world I'm doing in their house." -- Andy Ihnatko

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kaptain_zero
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Post by kaptain_zero » Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:45 pm

Aw man........<sigh>. It's bad enough having to see your avatar every day, but the link to your exploding crema on top of what must be some very fine espresso is just about all I can take.... Then I scrolled down.... :shock:

Nice Rosetta!!! So when are you going to pack up your gear and come up north for a visit?

This topic is almost as bad as Dr.P and the gang waving pics of Rooney's best brushes.... jeez, there's only so much a guy can take before he snaps like a twig and blows the years heating fuel budget, winter be damned. :lol:

Anyway, nice pics Howard and more importantly, nice barista work.

Christian
Previously lost, on the way to the pasture. Now pasteurized.

SharkHat
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Post by SharkHat » Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:56 pm

Howard, I'm afraid that as the founding member of the HMSCF (Howard Must Supply Caffeine Foundation), I'm going to have to prohibit any further espresso producing activities until each member of the foundation is supplied with a pick-me-up. Ok?

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TCN
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Post by TCN » Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:09 pm

Howard, that's fantastic, truly great stuff.

Perhaps I'll hold off on the simpleton machine, and put myself in your hands when I'm ready. I think I need more kitchen counter space. :shock:

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HLSheppard
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Post by HLSheppard » Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:06 am

Don't forget guys - the coffee equipment is NOT the most important thing...

You must have a tolerant spouse!! :lol:

Believe it or not - she can't stand coffee! I keep thinking that one day I'll convert her.

Thanks for all the compliments. It's something that I do virutally every day (unless travelling - when I fall into a deep depression :wink: )

The point wasn't to "brag" about my stuff. Honestly, a great shot can be had will LOTS of different machines. A good grinder is at least as important as the machine.

After I felt that I had wrung all the goodness out of standard coffee (I'd been roasting my own and vacuum brewing for quite a while); I wanted to take my quest to the next level. Espresso is appealing to me because I'm a perfectioninst. There are so many things that can go wrong when you're preparing for a shot (grind is off, machine temp is not set up for the type of bean, tamp pressure too high/low, etc.) I saw it as a challenge.

I started with a used Gaggia Coffee and a Solis Maestro grinder. I still have and use the grinder for drip/French press; but I've consistently traded up my espresso machines.

Gaggia Coffee (used) up to a Rancilio Silvia (new) and a Rancilio Rocky grinder. Then I sold both of those on E-Bay and grabbed an Isomac Tea and a Mazzer Mini grinder. In September, I decided that I would bite the bullet and go for a plumbed in, rotary pump, 20amp, dual-boiler setup that could run 24/7 and give me exacting temp. control. So, I sold the Isomac on E-Bay and went with the La Speziale S1 Vivaldi (that you see pictured). I kept the Mazzer as I think I'll be giving it to my grandkids, the thing's built so well (seriously).

Since I'm not very handy - I was actually giddy that I managed to both plumb the machine (with it's attendant water filter and softener) and install a 20amp ciruit for it without so much as a leak (or a shock :shock: ).

Since I get up so early, it's really nice to make espresso with a rotary pump machine that is nearly silent. No wife and kids disturbed = happy house!

So - if you notice, I've alway used "manual" espresso machines. Maybe it's because I'm a control freak? But I refuse to believe that there's a super auto out there (some are $3500+ now!!) that can make a better shot than I can, dang it! 8)

Plus - they can't pour latte art! \:D/
Howard L. Sheppard
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"I wish I were less awkward around strangers. I never know what to say when someone asks me who I am and what in the world I'm doing in their house." -- Andy Ihnatko

SharkHat
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Post by SharkHat » Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:47 pm

Fortunately my indulgences are completely unfettered.

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Post by Dick Danger » Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:02 pm

During the colder months I use a modified hot air popper to roast indoors. It's small and I can only roast 3oz batches but it works.

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