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#141 Jason Panella

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:45 AM

That was a great article, Christian. Thanks for posting that!

Here's another article, posted on the blog from one of Pittsburgh's great coffee shops (tangent: they've produced several East Coast champion baristas!)

What does "French roast" mean?

#142 Christian

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:57 AM

That was a great article, Christian. Thanks for posting that!

Here's another article, posted on the blog from one of Pittsburgh's great coffee shops (tangent: they've produced several East Coast champion baristas!)

What does "French roast" mean?

Fantastic article! The picture is worth a thousand words. I'm slowly adjusting my taste preferences from "darker is better" to "let's see what happens when we don't scorch the beans." But I still like French Roast and have been going near that level when roasting my Guatemala beans as of late. I'm going to step back somewhat with my next batch.

An acquaintance of mine who also home-roasts his beans swears by Sweet Maria's (mentioned in the linked article). He gets their 8 oz. sampler packets of different beans. Meanwhile, I'm still workin' on my 25-lb. purchase of those raw Guatemala beans last year.

I should say that I roasted them at various levels and gave about 8 oz. to several friends and family members as part of a Christmas gift package, and the comments I've heard back have been glowing. Maybe I'm getting the hang of home roasting?

#143 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 05:43 PM

Here's Number 1. I love these taste-test articles.

Sheesh, I've not been impressed with any of these companies recently (from a coffee POV). I definitely sense that Starbuck's has gone downhill with respect to its regular brews. I tried McDonald's "premium" coffee once. Once. I thought it not really worth the money. I'd never buy a capp from a twist-a-whirl machine. When I have, there seemed to be an unavoidable flavor of evaporated milk.

I say, stick with privateers and maybe Caribou. This could also be the downside of being so fussy at home. Christian, you brew your own. Why still the torch for DD? Or alternatively, have you benn able to duplicate their brew yet?

#144 techne

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:26 PM

Fantastic article! The picture is worth a thousand words. I'm slowly adjusting my taste preferences from "darker is better" to "let's see what happens when we don't scorch the beans." But I still like French Roast and have been going near that level when roasting my Guatemala beans as of late. I'm going to step back somewhat with my next batch.

i'm generally a fan of medium dark roasts meself -- that's 4 on a scale of 5 (from light to dark). of course, i think most of the central and south american coffees lose their delicacy when roasted that much (the brazil santos being a wonderful exception). indonesian coffees (such as the sumatra mandheling and the celebes kalossi) are gorgeous as a medium dark roast. and now i think i will go make me a pot of that kalossi.

#145 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:48 AM

"This week, I became a man." Monday, I forgot to sweeten the pot when brewing my coffee for the day. My french roast tasted fine. I've not sweetened the pot since. Unsweetening my coffee has been a 20 year evolution, now apparantly finished. We'll see.

#146 Christian

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:26 AM

That's great, Rich! I, too, have been trying to move away from Sweet 'n Low, although after a year's effort of putting in half a pack rather than a whole pack for each cup, I've gone back to full packets. This makes me less of a man, but for now, I want that (bitter)sweet taste in my coffee.

#147 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 10:02 AM

Sweet n Low!? Why care about the taste of the coffee if you're just going to poison its taste profile with that?



#148 Christian

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 10:34 AM

Sweet n Low!? Why care about the taste of the coffee if you're just going to poison its taste profile with that?

Adding anything alters the taste profile of coffee. It's a matter of degree.

#149 Jason Panella

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 11:35 AM

As much of a purist (elitist, snob, jerkface) as I am regarding coffee, adding a dash of cream or sugar CAN underline certain aspects of its natural taste (kind of like making a note staccato, or something). Or, better yet, it's like adding a little bit of salt to a meal. Anyway, 95% of the time I just drink coffee black, but sometimes I play with it to see if I can encourage that slight hint of citrus or earthiness out in a Brazil coffee with a pinch of sugar.

#150 gigi

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 12:54 PM

I am avoiding sugar for lent and to get through the day I have finally succumbed to the rich warmth of coffee. I have always loved coffee, but it makes me a bit mad and gives me the shakes as though I'm an alcoholic daytime chat-show host, so have never drunk it very much and am very new to making it for myself.

However, I can't seem to get the brewing bit right. It's always just that bit too bitter. I think I may turn it off before it's ready, or fill up too much with ground coffee.

Hints and tips would be welcome.

Edited by gigi, 04 March 2010 - 12:55 PM.


#151 M. Leary

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 01:21 PM

I have always loved coffee, but it makes me a bit mad and gives me the shakes...


I have had to forsake coffee for this reason. I have a brother that roasts beans and then brews coffee in this maniacal glass beaker contraption that simply cannot be resisted. But I turn to black tea otherwise.

Edited by M. Leary, 04 March 2010 - 01:22 PM.


#152 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:06 PM

However, I can't seem to get the brewing bit right. It's always just that bit too bitter. I think I may turn it off before it's ready, or fill up too much with ground coffee.

Hints and tips would be welcome.

Now, whatever you find available across the pond might be different than in the New World where, I believe, coffee has been cultivated. Cheaper stuff can have bitter robusto (sounds romantic, but that name must be a cheap marketting ploy). So, hopefully the "better" stuff will not have that. However, salt is an antidote to bitter. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the grounds before brewing. Also, experiment with just how much grounds you use. Experiment with different roasts. All of these factors might affect your taste buds.

BTW, everyone, I still take half&half or cream.

#153 Jason Panella

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 07:05 PM

Now, whatever you find available across the pond might be different than in the New World where, I believe, coffee has been cultivated. Cheaper stuff can have bitter robusto (sounds romantic, but that name must be a cheap marketting ploy). So, hopefully the "better" stuff will not have that. However, salt is an antidote to bitter. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the grounds before brewing. Also, experiment with just how much grounds you use. Experiment with different roasts. All of these factors might affect your taste buds.

BTW, everyone, I still take half&half or cream.


Rich, I *think* you mean robusta (Coffea Canephora), a type of plant (and, in turn, a type of bean). Most of the cheaper coffees (as in, the pre-ground stuff you get from a grocery store) are robusta beans. There are several different types of coffee plants, with the two most common being robusta and arabica, the latter usually from where most good coffee cups come. I've heard legends about some good robusta single origin batches out there, but...never actually seen one.

And yes, robusta generally tastes like...fill in the blank with something bad. Another antidote is putting a little bit of cinnamon in with the ground coffee before you brew it. As Rich pointed out, salt does work on cutting down on the bitter taste (acidity isn't the right word here, since it's a good description when talking about a coffee's taste profile).

#154 Christian

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:40 PM

So I've started to add a couple shakes of vanilla to my Americano, and I love the smell and flavor of it, and like that it's not in syrup form.

Vanilla. I didn't know Starbucks offered vanilla in a shaker until sometime last year. Where's it been all my life?

#155 Jason Panella

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 10:50 PM

Thumbs up to that, Christian. Sometimes a dash of nutmeg does wonders too.

#156 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 05:21 AM

Rich, I *think* you mean robusta (Coffea Canephora), a type of plant (and, in turn, a type of bean). Most of the cheaper coffees (as in, the pre-ground stuff you get from a grocery store) are robusta beans. There are several different types of coffee plants, with the two most common being robusta and arabica, the latter usually from where most good coffee cups come. I've heard legends about some good robusta single origin batches out there, but...never actually seen one.

I defer to you on most all things coffee. Sorry about that. I usually transpose numbers, not letters.

And yes, robusta generally tastes like...fill in the blank with something bad. Another antidote is putting a little bit of cinnamon in with the ground coffee before you brew it. As Rich pointed out, salt does work on cutting down on the bitter taste (acidity isn't the right word here, since it's a good description when talking about a coffee's taste profile).

Oh, there is a big difference between acidity and bitterness, the bitterness of cheap (diner/supermarket complementary) coffee. I may have mentioned before that I find much coffee ready to drink at supermarkets and gas stations almost flavorless (hence desperately needing flavorings) with unbelievable bitter aftertastes. For me, spices and flavorings like cinnamon and vanilla only mask, like cologne over body odor. Salt tricks the pallet or provides a sensory counterbalance.

#157 gigi

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 07:07 AM


However, I can't seem to get the brewing bit right. It's always just that bit too bitter. I think I may turn it off before it's ready, or fill up too much with ground coffee.

Hints and tips would be welcome.

Now, whatever you find available across the pond might be different than in the New World where, I believe, coffee has been cultivated.

I think this is a me-thing as I bought this coffee from a well-considered restauranteur/grocer after having had a brew of it on his premises. It was by far the best coffee I have tasted in the UK, not at all bitter, and in fact rated well alongside a mind-blowing espresso I had on San Marco Piazza in Venice. Granted they had the big old coffee machine and I have one of those pressure stove-top kind.

Salt is an interesting tip. I shall give it a go. Thanks guys :)

#158 Jason Panella

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 10:38 AM

I defer to you on most all things coffee. Sorry about that. I usually transpose numbers, not letters.


Oh, Rich, don't apologize — I'm just trying to help. You know a lot about coffee yourself. Seriously. The salt trick is something I forgot, and I'm really glad you mentioned it here. While our neighboring department gets coffee for the office from our local independent coffee place (where I used to be manager), I might pass on the salt idea to them when they forget and brew stuff from the backup can of Folger's that we've had for several years.

#159 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:21 PM


Sweet n Low!? Why care about the taste of the coffee if you're just going to poison its taste profile with that?

Adding anything alters the taste profile of coffee. It's a matter of degree.



More a shot at Sweet N Low than anything else. (But don't you find the sacchariny aftertaste unpleasant?) I hate when I run out of creamer here at work and feel like I have to resort to some of the preserved single serves. Its the preservatives that give such a chemically aftertaste that I'm training myself to like black coffee.

#160 Christian

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:26 PM

Buckeye, it takes super coffee-tasting sensitivity to love coffee with Sweet n Low. You have to be able to taste the subtleties of the bean through the harsh bitterness of the artificial sweetener.

It's a gift. I have it, others, sadly, don't. :)