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#121 metalfoot

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 11:37 AM

QUOTE (Rich Kennedy @ Aug 13 2009, 03:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (techne @ Aug 13 2009, 03:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
(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.

#122 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 01:08 PM

QUOTE (metalfoot @ Aug 15 2009, 12:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

#123 metalfoot

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 01:38 PM

That's what I meant.

#124 Jason Panella

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 11:01 AM

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?

#125 Christian

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 11:14 AM

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?

#126 Jason Panella

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:25 PM

QUOTE (Christian @ Sep 15 2009, 12:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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?


NO NO NO NO. No scandal. And the ambiance question is null and void since, well, it's being served in a cafeteria that's stuck in '70s time warp.

That said, Christian, now having had Dunkin' Donuts coffee, I'd probably take it over Starbucks.(And trust me, it was certainly better than any gas station coffee I've had.) I'm definitely one of those snobby wankers (the last category you mention), but I'm more interested in getting people to realize that Starbucks is nothing but a gold-gilded turd.

Edited by Jason Panella, 15 September 2009 - 02:26 PM.


#127 Christian

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:07 AM

I'm ready to buy some green coffee beans and roast 'em at home, but don't really know what should guide my purchase. Here are my choices. (I'll choose from the "Green Coffee Beans" options in the top section.)

I've purchased roasted beans from Columbia, of course, as well as Guatemala and Ecuador. Don't think I've done Costa Rica. I'm drinking some Sumatra right now. My taste lean toward a smoother bean, but still strong.

Any recommendations? Less than $6/lb., please.

#128 techne

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:41 AM

QUOTE (Christian @ Sep 30 2009, 08:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've purchased roasted beans from Columbia, of course, as well as Guatemala and Ecuador. Don't think I've done Costa Rica. I'm drinking some Sumatra right now. My taste lean toward a smoother bean, but still strong.

Any recommendations? Less than $6/lb., please.

my votes:

burundi
tanzanian peaberry
rwandan bourbon

haven't had the panama but most of the central american coffees are nice and smooth...

#129 Christian

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 12:11 PM

QUOTE (techne @ Sep 30 2009, 09:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
haven't had the panama but most of the central american coffees are nice and smooth...


I'm leaning that way. Should I go for Guatemala or Costa Rica? I'm thinking Guatemala.

Burundi hadn't registered with me until you highlighted it. If I venture beyond the Central American blends, maybe I'll go for that one.

#130 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 03:59 PM

QUOTE (Christian @ Sep 15 2009, 12:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

Heh, heh, let me go on record (wait a minute, this part of the discussion is two weeks old? Where've I been?) as saying that DD's donuts (kickass crullers) are way better than anything baked that Starbucks has to offer. I've grown less fond of Starbuck's, which puts me in the pox-on-both-your-houses category. Forced to pick a coffee kiosk, I'll take Caribou.

#131 techne

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:31 PM

QUOTE (Rich Kennedy @ Sep 30 2009, 03:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Christian @ Sep 15 2009, 12:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

Heh, heh, let me go on record (wait a minute, this part of the discussion is two weeks old? Where've I been?) as saying that DD's donuts (kickass crullers) are way better than anything baked that Starbucks has to offer. I've grown less fond of Starbuck's, which puts me in the pox-on-both-your-houses category. Forced to pick a coffee kiosk, I'll take Caribou.

or second cup.

QUOTE (Christian @ Sep 30 2009, 12:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (techne @ Sep 30 2009, 09:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
haven't had the panama but most of the central american coffees are nice and smooth...


I'm leaning that way. Should I go for Guatemala or Costa Rica? I'm thinking Guatemala.

Burundi hadn't registered with me until you highlighted it. If I venture beyond the Central American blends, maybe I'll go for that one.

i like the costa rica highland tarrazu...try the guatemala (though i'd take burundi over that). and if you can find the indian monsoon malabar - mmmm....

#132 Christian

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 03:21 PM

I've finished off my first 8 ounces of roasted Guatemala beans, and was generally pleased with the results. I'll roast a second batch this weekend.

#133 Jason Panella

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 04:13 PM

More details, man, more details! :)

What's the roast level? Are you getting typical Central American tastes (slight citrus-y aspects, etc.)? I'm excited that you're roasting!

#134 Christian

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:08 PM

Thanks for responding, Jason. I was hoping you would.

I heard "first crack" and thought at the time that meant "first crack of first bean," but have subsequently learned -- and I'm not sure the source is entirely reputable -- that "first crack" can describe the first series of cracks before the cracking stops.

When I looked at the color of the beans after the first bean cracked, they didn't look nearly dark enough to my liking. Now, my only experience with Guatemala beans has been a bag I bought at Costco -- uniformly pretty dark in color, although not as dark as some other varieties, but a taste that was ... fruitier, perhaps? Lighter, in a way, than, say, French roast or what I think of as "dark roast" coffee. Also lighter than Columbian and Costa Rica (moving into Central America, from South America).

So I kept turning the popper, letting the beans roast, heard more cracking after a while. The timer was set to 7 minutes, but I let the roast go at least 10. I had been warned of the dangers of burning the beans, so I turned off the beans at that point, cooled them, tried to get rid of the chaff (have since developed a much better technique for this), and stored the beans immediately. As I was told would happen, the beans got darker and smelled much more fragrant by the next morning, when I made my first cup.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good my first cup tasted. Seemed definitely in the ballpark of what I remembered of Guatemala roast, although again, I'd only had one bag of it, several months earlier. Additional cups throughout the week confirmed my admiration.

For my next batch, I'm going to roast probably the same amount of time, but see if I can get a more uniform look to the beans, many of which were lighter than others. Remember, this is 8 ounces at a time in a Whirly-Pop, not just 2 or 3 ounces in an air popper, so maybe my expectations of a uniform roast need to be amended. I don't know.

#135 Jason Panella

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 12:57 AM

I don't roast on my own, but my knowledge comes from just being around my close friends running their coffee shop's mammoth roaster. One thing worth trying is this: adjust the roast level and see what comes of it. Don't be afraid of going light roast (or close to burnt). Test the ends of the spectrum. EVERY batch of beans will have different nuances that come out at different roast levels, and you'll have to pick the ones you like best. Americans are used to hearing that 'dark' = 'bold' (whatever that means), but some of my favorite micro-lot brews come from light or medium roasts.

Sounds like you'll be a pro in no time!

#136 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 02:48 AM

For my next batch, I'm going to roast probably the same amount of time, but see if I can get a more uniform look to the beans, many of which were lighter than others. Remember, this is 8 ounces at a time in a Whirly-Pop, not just 2 or 3 ounces in an air popper, so maybe my expectations of a uniform roast need to be amended. I don't know.

By Whirly-Pop, do you mean an automated whirl, self heating? Or one of those aluminum kettles on a stove with a crank? If the latter, beans in a bare kettle, or lightly lubricated surface?

#137 Christian

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 09:36 AM

One thing worth trying is this: adjust the roast level and see what comes of it. Don't be afraid of going light roast (or close to burnt). Test the ends of the spectrum. EVERY batch of beans will have different nuances that come out at different roast levels, and you'll have to pick the ones you like best. Americans are used to hearing that 'dark' = 'bold' (whatever that means), but some of my favorite micro-lot brews come from light or medium roasts.

Today's batch took longer -- nearly 15 minutes! But I like the look of the beans right now, and they'll only get darker. They're a bit more uniform, although my main source, Kenneth Davids' "Home Coffee Roasting," says the beans roasted in a Whirly-Pop should be expected to be less uniform than those brewed using other roaster methods.

Part of the trick is internal temperature. Davids says a candy thermometer should be installed in the Whirly-Pop to guage temperature, and points to an online retailer that sells them pre-equipped with the thermometer. They're easy to install in units not already equipped, as mine is, although he hasn't met me and doesn't realize that the "easiest" of tasks involving drills and screws can be monumental for me. I'm mechanically challenged that way. So I wait a few minutes for the unit to preheat, then dump in the beans. I'm still experimenting with "low heat," which Davids recommends, versus medium to upper heat, which is what I had to revert to today to get the beans cracking after several minutes on low heat.

By Whirly-Pop, do you mean an automated whirl, self heating? Or one of those aluminum kettles on a stove with a crank? If the latter, beans in a bare kettle, or lightly lubricated surface?


It's an aluminum kettle popper, bare, no lubrication, with a crank that I turn manually while the beans roast.

Edited by Christian, 11 January 2010 - 10:58 AM.


#138 Christian

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 01:15 PM

In case anyone was wondering, Coffee lovers don’t face higher risk of heart ills.

#139 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 04:42 PM

In case anyone was wondering, Coffee lovers don’t face higher risk of heart ills.

Excellent! Though, I'd say that in a worst case scenario, the risk is worth it if you have a decent pallet for good coffee.

I gave up cigars for a high risk of gum cancer. Risk. I draw the line at coffee. Life must be lived, and fear of its loss is not living.

Edited by Rich Kennedy, 28 October 2009 - 04:43 PM.


#140 Christian

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:32 AM

That said, Christian, now having <i>had</i> Dunkin' Donuts coffee, I'd probably take it over Starbucks.(And trust me, it was certainly better than any gas station coffee I've had.) I'm definitely one of those snobby wankers (the last category you mention), but I'm more interested in getting people to realize that Starbucks is nothing but a gold-gilded turd.


I'm bringing this up again because while at Slate this morning in search of new posts for its annual Movie Club, I saw that the site was highlighting its most-read articles of the year. Here's Number 1. I love these taste-test articles.

Note that final paragraph:

It's worth noting that all three chains scored less than half of all possible points.

Edited by Christian, 08 January 2010 - 11:32 AM.