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#181 Christian

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 02:11 PM

Got some Cameroon peaberry beans, as well as some Costa Rica and Papau New Guinea beans. Plus, a pound of Sumatra decaf.

Time to roast!

I have a different type of roaster on loan. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it costs about $100 and is sort of like an air popper in that I don't have to crank a handle manually. I hope it works out.

#182 Christian

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 09:50 AM

Jason, or anyone else familiar with the physics of coffee-bean roasting: Two questions.

1. I've been roasting my beans to "third crack" (by my count, as best I can tell) rather than second lately

Turns out I was roasting to second crack, not third. Apparently my earlier roasts, which were usually 8 or 9 oz. of beans at at time, drew out each "crack" to the point where I counted an extra crack. Roasting just 3 or 4 oz. at a time in the French Roast device I've had on loan has helped me discern that there are just two cracks to a darker roast.

Jason: Are you back to drinking coffee? How was your six-week sabbatical from the stuff?

#183 Jason Panella

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 09:47 PM

Jason: Are you back to drinking coffee? How was your six-week sabbatical from the stuff?


It ended up being a bit longer, actually, but I survived. And I'm back to drinking it! I actually seem to like coffee (any coffee, even not-so-good stuff) even more now. My wife and I discovered a roaster close to her family (in Syracuse, NY) called Recession Coffee. Awesome stuff. In addition to supporting our friends here in Beaver Falls, we stock up on Recession every few months when we head north.

#184 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 12:23 AM

These might be around A&F somewhere else, but might as well throw them here too.



#185 Christian

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:44 PM

You know how some people say Starbucks coffee tastes "burned"? Well, I burned a batch of home-roasted beans over the weekend, and thinking that the "burned" Starbucks flavor appeals to me, saved the batch and even mixed it in with some other non-burned beans.

That was a mistake. Burned coffee tastes bad. Give me "Char-bucks" over my burned home-roasted beans any day. Please.

Edited by Christian, 15 September 2011 - 06:44 PM.


#186 mrmando

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 07:16 PM

These might be around A&F somewhere else, but might as well throw them here too.

Don't forget this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g4V55DSrbg

#187 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 06:28 AM

You know how some people say Starbucks coffee tastes "burned"? Well, I burned a batch of home-roasted beans over the weekend, and thinking that the "burned" Starbucks flavor appeals to me, saved the batch and even mixed it in with some other non-burned beans.

That was a mistake. Burned coffee tastes bad. Give me "Char-bucks" over my burned home-roasted beans any day. Please.

Yes indeed. Early in my real, brewed coffee days, I began to notice a burned quality in much of instant and freeze dried coffee (oh, jeez. I can't say "freeze dried" without summoning Peter Falk in the original The Inlaws). And also in any attempt to re-warm coffee including double boilers. And right now, Starbucks French Roast is my usual cup. There's a difference.

#188 Jason Panella

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 09:20 AM

Yes indeed. Early in my real, brewed coffee days, I began to notice a burned quality in much of instant and freeze dried coffee (oh, jeez. I can't say "freeze dried" without summoning Peter Falk in the original The Inlaws). And also in any attempt to re-warm coffee including double boilers. And right now, Starbucks French Roast is my usual cup. There's a difference.


There definitely is a difference. Despite my general dislike of Starbucks in general, we've been making more at home — usually because we can get a 3 lb. bag of SB's house blend at Marshall's for $17. I actually dig Starbucks's house blend, if only because they don't apply their typical "French roast or darker!" philosophy here. Anyway, I'd rather drink one of Starbucks' darker roasts any day over something that's been sitting on a heating element for an hour. The former tastes a bit bitter, but the latter tastes awful.

#189 Christian

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 11:11 AM

After home-roasting for a couple of years, I've finally found the bean above all beans: Brazil Sierra Negra:

Brazil now produces some of the best coffee in the world. A soft, nutty, low acid coffee with nice bittersweet chocolate tastes. This is a great blender for that perfect espresso. Known for its ability to produce rich thick crema on the top of your shot.
This natural coffee has a wonderful smooth and round body, sweet acidity, and a clean aftertaste.


I've tended to roast beans dark because lighter roasting, which many advocate for better discerning a bean's flavors and nuaces, hasn't proved compelling enough for me. I prefer darker roasts, in general. But I happened to roast my first batch of Brazil beans light -- can't remember why, but think I was running out of time and had to cut off the roast early. Turned out to be fortuitous! The coffee was wonderful. And now, on the linked page, I just noticed this:

Soft bean - roast lighter for the best balance. Vienna or Full City Roast.

I really should read more thoroughly before diving in to roasting a new bean.

#190 Jason Panella

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:32 AM

Sweet! That sounds like a great cup of coffee.

I haven't kept up on coffee news in the past couple of years as much as I used to (being out of the business will do that), but it's good to see Brazil is surging back. Brazil and Vietnam were two of the largest countries for mass robusta cultivation, which isn't itself a bad thing. It's just that most robusta beans are of poor quality, and are usually just used as filler in supermarket coffee (the vacuum-packed or canned stuff).

#191 Jason Panella

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:18 PM

This exists. And I want to try it. But I'm not willing to pay almost $7 in shipping.

#192 Christian

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:13 AM

I posted within the last hour on Facebook that, starting yesterday, I was trying to have coffee with only cream -- no more sweetener.

The comments thread lit up immediately (it's funny what strikes a chord on Facebook). Jason Panella commented that getting rid of sweetener, and maybe cream eventually, helps one to better appreciate the nuances of the actual coffee bean -- something that I've always wanted to better understand, considering my frequent consumption of the stuff. I like to think that I've learned to discern nuances of each bean through the cream and sweetener, if that makes sense, but aiming for a more "pure" cup just feels right at this time in my life.

I've tried this before, and the attempts have been short-lived. I'm not sure I care about this enough to do it long enough to where my taste buds get "retrained," but part of me wants to move away from sweets generally (I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I'm afraid), and this seems like a reasonable step in that direction.

#193 jfutral

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:37 AM

I've tried this before, and the attempts have been short-lived. I'm not sure I care about this enough to do it long enough to where my taste buds get "retrained," but part of me wants to move away from sweets generally (I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I'm afraid), and this seems like a reasonable step in that direction.

Sounds real familiar! Sometimes I'll give up sugar in an attempt to be "healthy". In the end I find being "happy" more compelling.

My big change was finally giving in and getting a "real" coffee maker, the new Bonavita. After over 20 years of blissful coffee making ignorance I gave in and experimented with my daughter's french press. I've been roasting my own beans for almost a year (first with a popcorn popper and now with a Behmor) and constantly reading posts from these guys who spend hundreds (some even thousands) of dollars on brewers and grinders. I've travelled around the world and had coffee at some really great local roasters, often buying coffee from them. I never thought my home coffee was all that bad. Boy was I wrong.

The good news is, good coffee tastes good black or light and sweet, so I wouldn't get too worked up over it. Good coffee and good brewing just plain make a difference, especially if you are moving _from_ sweeteners. My refurbed Baratza grinder should get here Monday. I never thought I would spend $200 to make coffee. Criminy.

If you are roasting your own beans and really getting into single origin stuff, might as well make sure you are taking full advantage of the different flavours possible.

Joe

#194 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:26 AM

Anyone out there have a Breville espresso maker? I got one (the Infuser--#840XL) a couple of months back, and am batting .100 at getting good shots. My morning coffee routine is a Bunn drip maker, but for weekends I'd break out a cheap Krups espresso maker. Kids would like it--cappucinos and decaf espresso. I could put anything in it. But now, making espresso is like a finely tuned science experiment and I have to order everyone to be silent while I work the arcane magic necessary to get a shot that falls in the "espresso zone" reading on the pressure gauge. I've given up on grinding beans--too fine and consistent a grind required for this block of cold, mocking steel. I only get a good shot with the most expensive Illy cafe--Lavazza is lotsa sour and astringent ounces of bad coffee.

You haven't had bad coffee until you've had an overextracted espresso.

Anyway, I'm down to my last week or so before I put this up for resale. My wife is convinced we've got a bum unit, I'm thinking its all in the operator. Breville won't help because we purchased from Dealdash, an online semi-legal bidding site. I have not idea if I got a returned unit, an overrun, a stolen one, or something legit. But if anyone has one, and has advice for getting theirs to work, or can share how long it took to learn it, or even what "20-30 lbs of pressure" looks like, I'd appreciate it!

#195 Christian

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 12:23 PM

Sounds real familiar! Sometimes I'll give up sugar in an attempt to be "healthy". In the end I find being "happy" more compelling. ...

The good news is, good coffee tastes good black or light and sweet, so I wouldn't get too worked up over it.

Just noticed this, Joe, and yes, I agree all around. I spent six months drinking coffee black, except on Sundays, when I'd allow some sweetener. But I found that I liked the coffee black just fine -- as long as it was good coffee. The Starbucks stuff I was drinking qualified.

However, once the Starbucks card ran out, I was back to office coffee and home brew. My home brew is pretty good, but the office coffee needs help. After a while, I started adding sweetener back in regularly. Now when I drink coffee black, it's the exception, not the rule. And that's OK. Fine. I like knowing that I can drink it black, even if, given the choice, I'll usually doctor the stuff.

#196 Jason Panella

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:04 PM

Anyone out there have a Breville espresso maker? I got one (the Infuser--#840XL) a couple of months back, and am batting .100 at getting good shots. My morning coffee routine is a Bunn drip maker, but for weekends I'd break out a cheap Krups espresso maker. Kids would like it--cappucinos and decaf espresso. I could put anything in it. But now, making espresso is like a finely tuned science experiment and I have to order everyone to be silent while I work the arcane magic necessary to get a shot that falls in the "espresso zone" reading on the pressure gauge. I've given up on grinding beans--too fine and consistent a grind required for this block of cold, mocking steel. I only get a good shot with the most expensive Illy cafe--Lavazza is lotsa sour and astringent ounces of bad coffee.

You haven't had bad coffee until you've had an overextracted espresso.

Anyway, I'm down to my last week or so before I put this up for resale. My wife is convinced we've got a bum unit, I'm thinking its all in the operator. Breville won't help because we purchased from Dealdash, an online semi-legal bidding site. I have not idea if I got a returned unit, an overrun, a stolen one, or something legit. But if anyone has one, and has advice for getting theirs to work, or can share how long it took to learn it, or even what "20-30 lbs of pressure" looks like, I'd appreciate it!


Have you checked out any threads on Coffee geek? It's often a treasure trove of answers. I'm going to send this to a friend, too — he might have an answer.

#197 jfutral

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:55 PM

Also check out home-barista.com. Pretty good balance of professionals, serious coffee nerds, and DIYers. Many people there who think $500 for an espresso machine is a guarantee of failure (not that this is the case, just a comment on some of the people who frequent through there). Weed out the snobbery and there is usually good advice and conversations.

Joe

#198 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 03:18 PM

Thanks, I figured there'd be some pointers here. I've watched a couple of videos and checked out a few sites, but sifting through all that info is daunting (probably analogous to a new visitor to Arts and Faith wanting to find conversation about Transformers 2: Rise of the Dark Side of the Moon.)

#199 Jason Panella

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:43 PM

I've given up on grinding beans--too fine and consistent a grind required for this block of cold, mocking steel.


Forgot to add this before. You pretty much need a medium-high to higher-end grinder to get a consistent enough grind at home. Which, in reality, is why I've seen a lot of people just buy beans from a good place and have them grind there. Cheaper (good) home models are going to cost $150 or more. I know some folks who tend to prioritize the grinder over the actual espresso machine.

#200 Christian

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:14 AM

Who wants to explain K-Cups to me? My in-laws recently bought a Keurig coffee maker, with a variety of different K-Cups. I've had a couple of K-Cups over the years while waiting for my car to be serviced, etc. -- Green Mountain coffee, IIRC. Didn't make a big impression on me at the time, and when I've investigated the per-cup cost, I've ruled out K-Cups.

But my in-laws are quite taken with the simplicity of the Keurig system, and because I reacted positively to my first two cups -- last night I had Folgers (!!) decaf, this morning Starbucks Breakfast Blend -- I can see the wheels turning in my mother-in-law's head, and in my wife's head. I sense that I very well could end up with a Keurig later this year, even though I'm content with my French press at home.

My in-laws are Greatest Generation penny-pinchers, so their move toward a per-cup coffee system, given the cost per cup, is a landmark of sorts. They buy packs at the PX that are on sale, and we calculated that the per-cup cost, on the low end, was 40 cents. It goes up from there. The K-Cups I've seen on sale at Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks run about $1 a cup -- no bargain, but the coffee does taste pretty good to me for "home-brewed." Not AS good as French press, mind you, but better than my coffee maker.

Anyone want to go to bat for K-Cups? Give reasons to avoid them?

Edited by Christian, 11 May 2013 - 08:14 AM.