Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Jason Panella

Coffee

217 posts in this topic

As someone once said, to paraphrase

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rich, you're probably better informed on coffee than most folks, so don't sell yourself short. I happened to be thrust head-first into the coffee world a few years ago and

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not as familiar with Caribou as I could be (they just started building them in our area), but I'm guessing that they do the single origin thing. Starbucks does it too, but they seem to prefer blends from what's brewed. But yes, you shouldn't be paying extra for single origin coffees or "elegant roasts."

Honestly, even the notoriously over-priced Jamaican Blue Mountain and pure Kona beans shouldn't cost more pound for pound than other beans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here we go, folks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife has hatched the idea that we'll order bulk coffee beans from this place and roast them ouselves -- something we've never done.

Will an over and cookie sheet do for roasting? This was her suggestion. I fear she might be ... off base.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roasting is an immensely pleasurable activity, but you need to buy some basic equipment to do it with any consistent success. This is actually a helpful intro.

These days you can get effective roasters rather cheaply, such as this, I have used a similar one and found it to work nicely. The best thing about roasting is that you get to control the flavor of your coffee based on catching the roast just at the point you like it. Please report back after your first roast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Roasting is an immensely pleasurable activity, but you need to buy some basic equipment to do it with any consistent success. This is actually a helpful intro.

These days you can get effective roasters rather cheaply, such as this, I have used a similar one and found it to work nicely. The best thing about roasting is that you get to control the flavor of your coffee based on catching the roast just at the point you like it. Please report back after your first roast.

Thanks! I warned Sarah that we were looking at an $89 roaster investment. She clipped an online Q&A with a guy named Dax, and told me we should go the $24.99 popper route:

CM: What is required to do this?

DAX: You can roast green coffee beans (which by the way are about half the price of commercial roasted beans) in a frying pan although that is not the most desirable. There are two methods of roasting: with hot air or on a hot surface. I prefer the hot surface because I can roast it much darker than I can with hot air. The equipment I use is an old-fashioned style popcorn popper (the Whirley Pop popcorn popper is ideal), a high-temp candy thermometer, a simple food scale and a couple of pounds of green coffee beans (from $4 a pound).

CM: How much should it cost to get started roasting coffee at home?

b>DAX:the market that are fully automated. They range from $100 to $500, but that is not necessary to get started.

CM: Can you describe the roasting process?

DAX: I preheat the popper to 400 degrees F and then dump the green coffee beans into the roast chamber (popcorn popper). I begin to turn the crank immediately and continue at a steady pace (one revolution per second) until the roasting is complete. The roasting chamber cools as the green coffee beans absorb the heat. When it reaches 350 F, I turn the heat down to medium/medium-low. I continue to roast until the desired roast color is achieved. I roast in my kitchen on the stovetop or on my outdoor grill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, film blogger Jeffrey Wells has something to say about the death of filmmaker John Hughes:

John Hughes was (or had been) a heavy cigarette smoker and coffee drinker. Actions more often than not have consequences.

I drink more coffee than I should and would like to cut back, but most recent press has indicated that heavy coffee consumption has health benefits. I'm not sure what Wells is getting at. Maybe it's the "coffee and cigarettes" in compound that spells trouble in his mind. I was brought up to think of both as going hand in hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, tons of consumption of coffee can mess you up, something I can testify from experience. Caffeine is a drug, after all. I drink coffee solely for the flavor (thus, I like well-made decaf as much as I like caffeinated), but there have been times where I'm really digging a certain origin or roast and drink so much that, well...I honestly feel like I'm about to die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As to acidity/bitterness, I haven't really cared to examine just what sort of acidity that takes place in bad coffee at supermarkets. All I know is that overpowering sort of acid that makes my esophogus and stomach both attempt to expell the source. I don't know if it is incompetent brewing, too much robusto, or a combination of both. I don't know what is so hard about measuring grounds into a filter and filling a pot with water. Combine. For some reason though, few folks in grocery stores know how to keep from damaging decent coffee.

i think the acidity is due to the prevalence of columbian coffee in mass-market/ supermarket coffee blends - it's the world's #1 coffee only because it's so plenteous, which has nothing to do with flavour or bouquet. it's already winey and thin and acid-y, and doesn't play well with others. and it doesn't seem to handle the heat (read: darker roasts) very well.

then again, i prefer the 'earthier' coffees (indonesian, african) or nuttier (indian, south american). i tend to avoid the winey coffees...

Edited by techne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i think the acidity is due to the prevalence of columbian coffee in mass-market/ supermarket coffee blends - it's the world's #1 coffee only because it's so plenteous, which has nothing to do with flavour or bouquet. it's already winey and thin and acid-y, and doesn't play well with others. and it doesn't seem to handle the heat (read: darker roasts) very well.

then again, i prefer the 'earthier' coffees (indonesian, african) or nuttier (indian, south american). i tend to avoid the winey coffees...

Yes yes yes yes yes!

Companies often snooker people into buying their coffee by advertising it as "Columbian...so you know it's good!" I mean, there are some decent Columbian estates, but the fact that it's Columbian has nothing to do with quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To state the obvious, perhaps, the connotation in the United States of "Columbian coffee" is a drawing of a man in a hat, picking coffee beans. Last name: Valdez.

I'm convinced that people buy Columbian coffee primarily because they feel like they have a personal connection to the roast. It doesn't make sense, and I have no evidence to support my theory. But I like my theory, and I'm sticking to it.

BTW, just bought another big ol' bag of Columbian from Costco. I like the stuff, although I always ask my wife to buy any roast but that one, simply because I've grown a little tired of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, tons of consumption of coffee can mess you up, something I can testify from experience. Caffeine is a drug, after all. I drink coffee solely for the flavor (thus, I like well-made decaf as much as I like caffeinated), but there have been times where I'm really digging a certain origin or roast and drink so much that, well...I honestly feel like I'm about to die.

I drink coffee because I like it and I drink A LOT of it. Daily. Haven't had a problem in decades. Once, I would get headaches from much coffee and would have to dry out. No more. I think that it might be because I am careful and fussy about what I drink.

That said, our store is getting a Tim Horton's kiosk. They had samples today bacause of a Kroger Divisional Presidents walkthrough. I had a cup. Not quite hideous. Pretty standard fastfood/mass market stuff and I'm surprised. This company has been around forever. You can't drive anywhere in Ontario (quite nearby up here) without getting the idea it is the Canadian McDonald's. My Canadian friends here have always said that it isn't the baked goods, but the coffee.... No. Sorry, but it's not real good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That said, our store is getting a Tim Horton's kiosk. They had samples today bacause of a Kroger Divisional Presidents walkthrough. I had a cup. Not quite hideous. Pretty standard fastfood/mass market stuff and I'm surprised. This company has been around forever. You can't drive anywhere in Ontario (quite nearby up here) without getting the idea it is the Canadian McDonald's. My Canadian friends here have always said that it isn't the baked goods, but the coffee.... No. Sorry, but it's not real good.

My girlfriend and I were driving somewhere with my folks, and I offered to take the wheel for a while and give my dad a break. We stopped at a rest stop in New York and, instead of the ubiquitous Starbucks, there sat a Tim Horton's. I got a cup. It took 45 minutes for it to cool down enough to be drinkable.

I'd heard great things. All of them false.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That said, our store is getting a Tim Horton's kiosk. They had samples today bacause of a Kroger Divisional Presidents walkthrough. I had a cup. Not quite hideous. Pretty standard fastfood/mass market stuff and I'm surprised. This company has been around forever. You can't drive anywhere in Ontario (quite nearby up here) without getting the idea it is the Canadian McDonald's. My Canadian friends here have always said that it isn't the baked goods, but the coffee.... No. Sorry, but it's not real good.

My girlfriend and I were driving somewhere with my folks, and I offered to take the wheel for a while and give my dad a break. We stopped at a rest stop in New York and, instead of the ubiquitous Starbucks, there sat a Tim Horton's. I got a cup. It took 45 minutes for it to cool down enough to be drinkable.

I'd heard great things. All of them false.

tim's is great coffee for people who don't actually like the taste of coffee...tim's is tim's precisely because of the baked goods.

(as a canadian i know i shouldn't disparage a canadian icon, but their coffee is crap)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(as a canadian i know i shouldn't disparage a canadian icon, but their coffee is crap)

I appreciate your honesty. I've never heard such from a Canadian before on this topic. OTOH, Tim himself was in fact a great Canadian icon as a defenseman for the 'Leafs way back when. I understand that he died before his time, so to speak, while getting the company off the ground after his hockey career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rich Kennedy wrote:

: I appreciate your honesty. I've never heard such from a Canadian before on this topic.

Just for the record, I myself don't drink coffee, so I have no vested interest in the quality of Tim Horton's brew. I suppose, as a Canadian, I should be defending Tim Horton's just on principle, but what can I say? I rarely buy anything there except for the odd pack of Timbits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rich Kennedy wrote:

: I appreciate your honesty. I've never heard such from a Canadian before on this topic.

Just for the record, I myself don't drink coffee, so I have no vested interest in the quality of Tim Horton's brew. I suppose, as a Canadian, I should be defending Tim Horton's just on principle, but what can I say? I rarely buy anything there except for the odd pack of Timbits.

mmmmm...timbits...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Timbits? What, donutholes? Puck droppings?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rich Kennedy wrote:

: Timbits? What, donutholes? Puck droppings?

Never heard of puck droppings. Robin's Donuts used to have Robin's Eggs, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(as a canadian i know i shouldn't disparage a canadian icon, but their coffee is crap)

I appreciate your honesty. I've never heard such from a Canadian before on this topic. OTOH, Tim himself was in fact a great Canadian icon as a defenseman for the 'Leafs way back when. I understand that he died before his time, so to speak, while getting the company off the ground after his hockey career.

Actually, Tim was still active in his hockey career when he died in a car accident on Feb 21 1974.

But yeah, Tim's coffee is nothing to write home about. Their cream is essential to making it taste good--the coffee is pretty much optimized to taste best as a 'double-double' (2 cream, 2 sugar).

Even the baked goods aren't what they once were. Time was that each location baked their own goods on site from mix; now the goods are premade, frozen, and just heated up locally.

Having said that, Tim's is a Canadian institution in the way that McDonalds is in the states--- nothing spectacular, but you know exactly what you'll be getting, wherever you go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Even the baked goods aren't what they once were. Time was that each location baked their own goods on site from mix; now the goods are premade, frozen, and just heated up locally.

I've seen this process at work (I work for Kroger grocery stores). Most often it isn't merely heated up, but formed and raw, or partially baked, then frozen and delivered. Our french-type bagettes, barely baked at all before shipping, are pretty good bread. Not everything Kroger does this way is pretty good though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our college just signed a ground-breaking deal with Dunkin' Donuts (what makes it ground-breaking escapes me, which is funny, since I work in the PR office and should know this). So the college is serving it the cafeteria now.

A few thoughts on good ol' Dunkin':

-This new deal jettisoned the somewhat drinkable fair trade coffee we had. Of course, the guy in charge of the cafeteria's food service keeps mentioning that the new Dunkin' Donuts coffee is fair trade but, realizing a bit about how the term is mis-used in the coffee world, I know that doesn't mean anything.

-And wow, the coffee tastes like pencil shavings.

-I realize how INSANELY popular Dunkin' Donuts coffee is, and I don't get it. But then, Transformers 2 was also insanely popular.

-The company's tagline is "America Runs on Dunkin." Maybe that's why America is messed up in a lot of ways?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been down this road before, Jason. Here's what will happen. Rich will come in here to back you up. I'll then have to post a ringing defense of Dunkin Donuts, noting that in the 1990s, as coffee consumption seemed to explode in the D.C. area, Dunkin was the only alternative to Starbucks in terms of general availability and quality. It was always fun to tell Starbucks drinkers that, although I like Starbucks coffee very much, Dunkin Donuts was my preference on any given day.

This is more of a class argument, a way to test if people really were measuing the taste of the coffee, or the ambiance of the coffee shop. Of course, there's a large contigent, of which you may be part, that takes no position in the Dunkin vs. Starbucks battle because they dismiss both as subpar. I have no objection to those folks, but most people in this area, 10 years ago and still pretty much today, go to Starbucks and look down their noses at Dunkin Donuts. It annoys me, because although I do like Starbucks, I really like Dunkin Donuts coffee quite a bit, too. And this is supposed to be a scandal?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0