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View Diary: The Morning Cup o' Joe: Making Coffee Over The Ages (150 comments)

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  •  Don't forget Chemex (11+ / 0-)

    which, in the US, was responsible for leading me and many others to throw out our percolaters and go for drip coffee (and eventually Mr. Coffee.

    I have a French Press, and AeroPress, and electric drip and an espresso machine and almost always use the "Mr. Coffee"

    It makes very good coffee, is much easier to clean up, and the only one that makes a large enough batch for me.

    FWIW The biggest improvement that I know of to increase your coffee enjoyment is to roast your own beans.

    It is easy, and will save you money over stale store pre-roasted beans.

    If altar boys could get pregnant, contraception would be a sacrament.

    by tiponeill on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 05:57:01 PM PDT

    •  Now you did it (7+ / 0-)

      I never thought about roasting my own. Do you have a good source for the green beans?

      •  Sweet Maria's. (5+ / 0-)

        Watch out though -- there are two Sweet Maria's selling green beans on the net.

        But roasting your own is a GREAT deal.  The only problem is your first few batches will probably be less than ideal.  

        If you have the money, buy a good home roaster machine.  If you don't, do what I did for years and used a hot air corn popper, the Westbend Poppery.  Cheap.  It takes about five minutes to roast.  You have to stand over the beans and stir them once in a while.  They will make a popping sound when they are ready.  

        Read the instructions on roasing and they will call this first and second crack.  First crack means you have light or medium roast.  Second crack means you're venturing into dark roast territory.  You want to dump the beans out sometime between first crack and second crack.  Let them cool, then bag them.  They won't make good coffee for a day or two because they have to degas, but after a few days, if you do a half-decent job, you'll get the very best cup of coffee that you ever had.

        The other benefit of roasting your own is that you can buy the real top flight no bullshit coffee beans, with the name of the growing and the season.  Usually the green coffee beans cost about a third of what you would pay for the same beans roasted.

        Here are some instructions for coffee roasting with a home popcorn popper.

      •  Dean's Beans (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, LSophia

        Check them out here.

        I buy green beans and roast them in a popcorn popper I bought at a yard sale.

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Upton Sinclair

        by beverlywoods on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 05:27:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  my hand crank popper (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund, LSophia

          says "R.S.V.P.'s Perfect Popper" on it and looks like the one here:

          $3 at the yard sale, no electricity, and roasts great coffee.

          And speaking of using no electricity - hand crank grinders can work well and are pretty easy to use if you get a good one.

          "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" Upton Sinclair

          by beverlywoods on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 05:41:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excelent tips! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            beverlywoods, LSophia

            Just these replies from you and Dumbo, plus the description of your roaster has given me the confidence that this is a Quicklund-doable project. Thanks so much.

            Home-made bread, butter, jam, and now roasted coffee... the future for breakfast is looking superb.

          •  That's a great idea! (0+ / 0-)

            I got into roasting my own coffee once because I landed a gig art-directing the first mail order catalog for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf back in 1983.

            It was quite a small outfit back then and the owner ran everything. He taught me a lot about coffee. I tried roasting my own beans on the stove top with a cast iron frying pan and nothing else. They roast quite unevenly, but I loved the aroma and the flavor. The owner thought I was nuts for such a sacrilege.

            In the 90s, I found a used Melitta coffee roasting machine. But, really, who wants all that noise in the morning? Same with electric coffee grinders. Just can't handle the sound. It's much more pure to use a hand grinder and count to 150, like I used to do.

            I don't do coffee anymore, but if I did, I'd get an old hand mill from maybe like this one.

      •  Captain's Coffee (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I buy my beans from Captain's Coffee.  VERY good customer service.  The only sell what they drink.  Not the lowest prices, but reasonable and worth the good service.

        I have an on-line roast log that anyone is free to use.  My roasting improved dramatically when I started paying attention to how batches turned out.

        Coffee Roasting Log

        I started out using popcorn poppers.  They worked very well, though the batches were tiny.  

        It can actually save money and you get the best and widest variety of coffee.  Do it!

    •  For those who have never used one, here's (8+ / 0-)

      a video tutorial on using a French Press.  After watching this, I just might have to get one and give it a try.

      Oregon:'s cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 07:45:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very helpful tips in this video (4+ / 0-)

        that I hadn't known:

        * The water added to the press shouldn't be boiling, but closer to 200o, or boiled water that has sat for a minute.

        * Add water halfway to the top of the press, then let it sit before adding the rest (filled to the bottom of the metal ring)

        * Let sit for 3 1/2 minutes before pressing the coffee.

        One shrieks for three hours to millions of inexplicably loyal fans. The other... rock band... Canada.

        by bsmechanic on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 08:18:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The water should be boiling. (3+ / 0-)

          It won't be boiling by the time you take it off the fire and put it into the french press, and unless you pre-heated the press, it will lose several degrees immediately from contact with the glass.  

          NO MATTER what the guy in the video says.

          Since there's no heater on your french press, it's also getting progressively cooler throughout the three to four minute brewing process.  

          He doesn't tell you in the video that as soon as the brewing process is done you need to remove the coffee from the press.  You can't just leave it sitting there.  The beans are going to continue extracting, and you're going to get a nasty overextracted flavor.  So dump it into a thermos bottle or serve it to guests as soon as time's up.

          •  Heat trick ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Keith930, LSophia

             -- Do not put ground coffee into press first.
            -- Pour boiling water into about 1/3 of the press to warm the glass.
            -- When water has cooled for 1 minute, empty the water in the press, add the ground coffee.
            -- Follow the rest of the instructions as indicated.

            I like my coffee hot and this gives me a great pressed coffee with the little bit extra warmth that the pre-heated glass offers.

            I learned to drink french pressed coffee in Greece many years ago and returned to the states with my favorite press carefully wrapped. All was well until about 3 years ago when a friend's dog counter-surfed the press onto the brick floor. I have been thru several of the Bodum  presses and just recently found one to my liking.

            Also ... do not be cheap buying your press. Once you find 'your' press the cost will be worth it.


            French pressing for more than 30 years.

            •  Very important to wash it right away, too (0+ / 0-)

              and make sure the oil and grounds get off the press.  I used to wash mine and then give it a rub with a damp cloth or paper towel.

            •  If you pour it into a thermos... (0+ / 0-)

              preheat the thermos jug as well.  The coffee will stay hot longer.

              I screwed up with a careless uprate so I'm a "No Rate" pariah. When I give a comment "+1 n/t", please consider that a recommend. (That's my workaround to participate here). Roar louder!

              by Josiah Bartlett on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 12:18:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The water should be at 195 degrees (0+ / 0-)

            when it hits the grounds.  Or so I'm told.

            •  The boiling point of water is 212 degrees. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It won't get any hotter than that because boiling caps the temperature through evaporation.  Transferring the water to the grounds takes a certain amount of time.  I used to struggle to find a way to get the hot water to the coffee in time to NOT get a weak cup of coffee.   I found it was better to use a covered tea pot to boil the water to keep it hot.

              Despite what they say about temperature, I think it's far better to err on the side of too hot than too cold.  Too hot, you get bitter notes.  Too cold, you get lame coffee.  I'd rather risk a little bitterness and then scale backwards.

      •  Moody household coffee: (0+ / 0-)

        - Boil water.

         - When water boils, check with child for coffee grinding.

         - Child volunteers to grind fair-trade, dark roast Trader Joe's coffee. Enjoying noise, she grinds it fine.

         - By this time, water has cooled enough for French pressing. Grounds, then water in the French press for the length of one or three Apoptygma Berzerk songs while I check email and argue with RWNJs on Twitter.

         - Yes, grounds are too fine for French pressing. FRENCH PRESS ANYWAY. Two tablespoons of turbinado sugar and fill the rest of the mug with milk.

         - When Mrs does this, she makes it double-strength, puts half as much stronger coffee in and replaces milk with ice cream.

        Are you on the Wreck List? Horde on Garrosh.

        by Moody Loner on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:37:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Chemex (0+ / 0-)

      As far as I am concerned, using the Chemex is the only way to guarantee top quality coffee every time. We also bought one of those big grocery store model grinders and grind our beans only when we are ready to brew.

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