Coffee Catch-All

It depends on the size of the scoop, but I'd do 1/2 - 1 scoop of whole beans per cup. I'd start with a scoop per cup and adjust from there.

B Dog wrote:

OK, I could use some advice.

I've been using an Aeropress for about 6 months now, and I'm relatively happy with the results. I've used the standard and inverted methods, and experimented with quantity, timing, beans, etc. and I think I can make a decent cup of espresso. Typically, I turn that into an Americano...and therein lies the problem.

I'd like to make a larger quantity of coffee with each brew -- upwards of 16-20 ounces. The Aeropress isn't really well suited for this.

I've purchased an inexpensive Melitta cone filter and I'm going to experiment with pour over into an insulated mug or carafe. Any tips on getting proportions, extraction, etc. right with pour over? Am I on a fool's errand?

There's a few reasons why pour over and drip machines (even worse) are less than ideal ways to make coffee. First off, the coffee grounds are all packed together with no way to move around. So, when each ground reacts to the hot water, its total surface area isn't being exposed. Second of all, and this is mainly an issue with a drip machine, the grounds are exposed to the hot water for too long. Bad, bitter flavors start getting into your coffee when doing this. To answer your question about length of time, using a press pot, which has ideal extraction because the coffee grounds get to move around in the water, you want to press and pour after about 4 minutes with a stir after the first to break up the initial cake. So, you should not be exposing the grounds in the cone to water for longer than that. Since it's just not a very good process, though, you're gonna be missing out on lots of good flavors because not everything is being extracted. Pouring more water through the grounds in the cone isn't ever going to get all the good flavors, however, you're just going to start adding terrible flavors after about 4 minutes.

Get a press pot for larger batches. The Aeropress has a similar concept, although I must admit, I have not used one. I don't like the fact that most of them are made of plastic. That's a terrible material to use because it retains oils no matter how well you wash it. Have you ever smelled those plastic and steel travel coffee mugs even after running them through a dishwasher? Yuck. Glass and ceramics don't have this problem.

Short answer: Yes, you are on a fool's errand.

My next venture will be a vacuum pot. That's supposed to be even better than a french press.

Thanks for the advice, complexmath and tuffalobuffalo.

I have a French press, but don't like the amount of sediment I get. The cone filter and #4 filters ran me about $10, so at least it's an inexpensive fool's errand.

Edit: Oh, and cleanup on the French press is a major pain. I want good coffee, but I'm also fairly lazy. The idea of dumping a paper filter in the trash and rinsing the cone are awfully appealing.

B Dog wrote:

Thanks for the advice, complexmath and tuffalobuffalo.

I have a French press, but don't like the amount of sediment I get. The cone filter and #4 filters ran me about $10, so at least it's an inexpensive fool's errand. ;)

Pour over coffee can still be fine. I just think it's less than ideal. I'm gonna try the vacuum pot thing because apparently it creates less sediment than a press pot.

Also, if you like dark roasts, it won't really matter so much which method you make it with as long as the coffee grounds aren't exposed to water for more than 5 minutes.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

I'm gonna try the vacuum pot thing because apparently it creates less sediment than a press pot.

I'd be interested in your experience with a vacuum pot if you get one. I've been rotating between coffee preparation methods every year or so for who-knows-how-long. Either I'm incredibly picky about my coffee or I get bored easily.

I'm leaning toward the latter.

It is probably time for another plug for the Toddy cold brew system. It is an extremely simple system(basically just a big jug with a hole and filter at the bottom), but it produces a large volume very low-acid coffee concentrate. It is really great for making iced coffee drinks, and you can mix it with hot water americano-style. It can be a pain to clean up (all the grounds are at the bottom of the plastic jug, rather like a french press) and it takes a substantial amount of fridge space, but the end product is rather nice to have handy for warm summer mornings.

Bonus edit: you definitely want to use a coarse grind with this. It has to go through a thick cloth filter, so a fine grind will just clog it. Roast choice is a matter of personal preference as far as I can tell, though I recommend lighter roasts for iced drinks.

It's a matter of preference I think. I have a french press and a fancy drip machine. The french press and the drip with a gold foil filter taste about the same, while the drip with a paper filter tastes less bitter and makes for a better cup. I think the issue with drip coffee is that you need the right coarseness of grind so the water filters through at the proper rate. Water temperature is another issue. A good drip machine will get the water to the proper temp every time, while some experimentation is needed for a press.

Back when I started roasting my own beans I went a little crazy with sorting out my coffee preparation process and got a conical burr grinder. I really didn't think it would do more than eliminate the sediment when I made press coffee, and I was surprised when the taste did actually improve. I think this has less to do with exposing the beans to heat from the blade as to getting a good even grind though.

Really, the most significant factor in getting a good tasting cup of coffee is to use freshly roasted beans, as the flavor fades fairly quickly after roasting. If you haven't already, I'd find a good local roaster that dates their batches and never buy anything more than a week old.

complexmath wrote:

Really, the most significant factor in getting a good tasting cup of coffee is to use freshly roasted beans, as the flavor fades fairly quickly after roasting. If you haven't already, I'd find a good local roaster that dates their batches and never buy anything more than a week old.

Luckily, there are plenty of good local roasters around here, and freshly roasted beans are readily accessible.

I have a burr grinder on my wish list, but I'm not ready to spend the coin just yet. Stuck with my blade grinder for now. I'm looking forward to experimenting with pour over. I'll post my results.

It's been awhile, so I can't remember just how fast those pour over things drain. This might be something you could try and still be fairly lazy. Take two mugs. Fill the first mug with a couple tablespoons of grounds and pour water over it. Let it sit for 3 minutes and give it a couple stirs once in awhile to make sure everything is swimming around nicely, then use the last minute or two to pour it through the filter in the second cup. You would add an extra cup to clean, but the results might be good.

So I got to experience one of life's simple joys this morning. A nice thing about knowing of a good coffee shop, going there often, and being friendly with the staff is them knowing how you like things.

When I walk in, I give them my mug and they know I need dark roast of the day and an extra shot.

I have a Black & Decker burr grinder. I got it months ago because it was cheap. It shouldn't be surprising then that I don't care for it much. It's kinda slow. It's kinda loud. As you near the end of the beans in the top, they start bouncing up out of the grinder and spin around the funnel instead (there's a lid so they won't bounce out completely), meaning you have to take more time if you want to grind all the beans.

There seems to be a technique to hand-pouring into one of the conical drip things too. I don't know if it's to help prevent the grounds from floating or what, but the barristas I've watched will pour a bit of hot water through the filter to get it wet before adding the grounds. If I weren't so lazy I'd ask google why.

Oh, the burr grinder I have is a Capresso. It has a timer dial, so I just drop the beans in, set it to run long enough to grind everything, then walk away for a few seconds while it runs.

From what I've read, there are three steps to the pour over:

1. Rinse the filter with hot water prior to adding grounds to get rid of the paper taste and other impurities
2. Add hot water just to the top of the grounds and then let the grounds bloom for 10-15 seconds
3. Add remaining hot water consistently until the cone filter is full and/or desired amount of coffee has been brewed

I'm waiting for a second shipment til I review it here, but I am signed up for tonx.org.

boogle wrote:

I'm waiting for a second shipment til I review it here, but I am signed up for tonx.org.

I am very curious to hear how it is!

About 10 days into my pour-over experiment, and so far, so good.

I'm still playing around with grind and proportions, but I'm getting a solid, enjoyable cup of coffee with easy preparation and minimal clean-up.

I'll probably upgrade to a ceramic cone filter pretty soon to avoid using plastic over the long-term. And a burr grinder if I can settle on a model.

Thanks for the advice all.

Tell me this ain't so.

I love Illy beans, to the point that I buy nothing else now. A friend of mine was in New York recently, and told me that she tried to buy some, but they were $25 a can, compared to the £4.90 they are over here.

I'm in Seattle, but I only pay $13 to $15 a can, depending on the type. For the range, see: http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/cof...

I checked Amazon, and their prices are all over the place: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...

I know you can buy it at my local grocery stores, too, but I haven't checked the prices.

Just heard this on NPR. The segment features North Carolina's own Counter Culture Coffee!

Okay tonx time.
Coffee has been good for the past 3 shipments and has arrived an average of 2 days after roasting.
Its an awesome deal.

jonfentyler wrote:

Just heard this on NPR. The segment features North Carolina's own Counter Culture Coffee!

And they flubbed the URL.

Just discovered the AeroPress and really like it.

knowing98h wrote:

Just discovered the AeroPress and really like it.

Coincidentally, I've also gotten to try one out lately. My first impression is that the biggest advantage over an old-school French press is that the Aeropress is easier to clean.

I'm going to experiment with brewing parameters before I make a final judgment.

It is a huge advantage, especially here at work where I can't dump grounds into the sink (no garbage disposal and grounds clog up the pipes).

knowing98h wrote:

Just discovered the AeroPress and really like it.

You're still tagged as a coffee grinder. This makes me smile 100% of the time in this thread.

I didn't know NC was such a hotbed of goodness. First I discover a bunch of good beer in this state, and now coffee too?! Go go gadget goodness!

Was running low on beans.
Bam, email from Tonx, more is on the way. I love this setup.

I'm versed in dark roast, can some of you kind folks educate me as to what I should be looking for in a quality light roast?

On a related note I've seen green (unroasted) beans cropping up in local shops lately, anyone have experience with these?

krev82 wrote:

I'm versed in dark roast, can some of you kind folks educate me as to what I should be looking for in a quality light roast?

For me, I thought I hated coffee but that's because I'd only been exposed to coffee that was dark roasted (not to mention ground long ago).

Now that I know what I like, it seems to me like the difference between getting a medium rare steak and a well-done. I can't imagine enjoying a well-done steak, it just tastes like carbon to me. You get a lot more of the subtle flavors of the beans, which is really obvious when you start sampling beans from different regions. A Columbian roast tastes like an entirely different thing from a very floral light Ethiopian roast.

krev82 wrote:

On a related note I've seen green (unroasted) beans cropping up in local shops lately, anyone have experience with these?

I've never tried roasting myself (which I assume those are for). I've heard folks do so with those air popcorn poppers for a cheap start to it?

Pour a long black into a large cup of ice. Top up with sweetened, condensed milk and enjoy.

IMAGE(http://www.sunhingfoods.com/brands/fal/img/l_falscm14oz.jpg)

Bruce wrote:

Pour a long black into a large cup of ice. Top up with sweetened, condensed milk and enjoy.

Spoiling exquisite bitterness of coffee with cloying sweetness is a huge offense in some parts of the world, you know. On the other hand, the Vietnamese do it the other way round and pour coffee into glasses with condensed milk. Enjoyable.