Coffee Catch-All

Seth wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

And DO NOT refrigerate ground coffee, EVER. No matter what your grandmother told you. The number of fights I've had with people who don't understand that temperature changes create condensation is astounding. And always with the 'my grandparents/parents have always done this' excuse.

okay dude. I know my beer, I know my whiskey, and I'm getting to know my way around a bottle of wine, but I know nothing about coffee. It is just a method by which I can get caffiene into my body. But as with all things, I'm not intentionally ignorant, just unfortunately so. And I keep my coffee in the freezer.

So I am throwing my ignorant self on the mercy of this thread, and asking, "why is that bad? What should I be doing instead?"

It really all depends on the beans. Ideally, you want beans that have been medium roasted (full city or so). The day after to a week after are when the beans are at their full potential. Later than that, the coffee will start tasting sour and eventually bitter. Most coffee beans have the sh*t burned out of them so that they will last long (months) and taste okay (Starbucks is the best example of someone who does this). When you do a dark roast you cook all of the good interesting flavors out of the coffee and get a good consistent bitter/burned flavor that will last months. If you refrigerated stuff like this (which is probably what you have), it's really not going to matter whether you refrigerate it or not. Of course, even with sh*t coffee, it's best to grind it just before you make it.

With good coffee beans I tend to use a sealed container with a pump that sucks all of the air out. Oxygen will affect your beans and turn them bad.

Never make drip coffee. Once coffee grounds have been exposed to hot water for more than 4 minutes, they start to release nasty tannins which is the bitter flavor most coffee has (this is the same for black teas). Always French press coffee or use a similar method.

That's my experience, I may not be perfectly correct, but for the most part it is.

Osiran wrote:

... they should be oily. Dry beans are not fresh.

Noooooooo!!! If they are oily and dark that means they've been roasted too long. All the interesting flavors will have been roasted out of them.

Buy some of this: Stumptown Coffee, Caffe Vita, or Heart Roasters. All 3 of those will ship you freshly roasted coffee so that by the time it gets to you it's only 2-3 days old.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Osiran wrote:

... they should be oily. Dry beans are not fresh.

Noooooooo!!! If they are oily and dark that means they've been roasted too long. All the interesting flavors will have been roasted out of them.

Buy some of this: Stumptown Coffee, Caffe Vita, or Heart Roasters. All 3 of those will ship you freshly roasted coffee so that by the time it gets to you it's only 2-3 days old.

I do prefer darker roasts - it's been my experience that the beans that have a bit of shine are fresher and taste the best. I don't think that oily and dark beans are always overroasted. My thinking is that a darker roast coffee that IS dull and dry in appearance is one that's not fresh.

Ah coffee, more an art than a science!

I have a serious coffee problem: This mug is empty.

Love my aero press, use it every day. For the time, best coffee you can make at home, i even prefer it to the french press.

wordsmythe wrote:

I have a serious coffee problem: This mug is empty.

No kidding. Only got 1.5 cups today. IMAGE(http://rps.net/QS/Images/Smilies/bomb.gif)

Had my 30oz, so I was good to go today

It is 4:45, and I am leaving the office in about an hour. Do I go make another cup or tough it out?

Seth wrote:

okay dude. I know my beer, I know my whiskey, and I'm getting to know my way around a bottle of wine, but I know nothing about coffee. It is just a method by which I can get caffiene into my body. But as with all things, I'm not intentionally ignorant, just unfortunately so. And I keep my coffee in the freezer.

So I am throwing my ignorant self on the mercy of this thread, and asking, "why is that bad? What should I be doing instead?"

Hey, nothing wrong with wanting to learn. I'm in the coffee shop trade and my one job involved very serious training, so we were taught definite right and wrong ways to do things. I just get a little testy when people defend old wives tales when I bring the science. :p

Basically, what Osiran said. If you keep beans or ground coffee in the freezer every time you take them out you let in warm moist air, which you then refrigerate so condensation forms. The moisture makes the coffee stale.

Better to keep the coffee in a cool, dry, dark place in an airtight container.

Beans you don't need to stress about too much, ground coffee goes stale quite fast. In the really anal shop I worked at we weren't allowed to have more than 15 minutes worth of espresso ground at peak times, and were supposed to grind per cup the rest of the time.

Osiran wrote:

I do prefer darker roasts - it's been my experience that the beans that have a bit of shine are fresher and taste the best. I don't think that oily and dark beans are always overroasted. My thinking is that a darker roast coffee that IS dull and dry in appearance is one that's not fresh.

Totally with you there, French or Italian roast all the way. I like my coffee sharp.

Osiran wrote:

Ah coffee, more an art than a science!

Word.

Thanks everyone for the good information. I have since thrown out my freezered coffee and am shopping for a better alternative!

That and Tanzanian Peaberry are my favorite beans.

Seth wrote:

Thanks everyone for the good information. I have since thrown out my freezered coffee and am shopping for a better alternative!

Not from Michigan, but this stuff looks like it might be ok.

Jackson Coffee Co. wrote:

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe - This spectacular coffee has layers of fruit, ripe plum and passion fruit. There’s a confectionairy quality to the wet aroma, pastry and candy-like, with the Full City roast having more berry-like tones. It’s the kind of coffee that can win competitions. The acidity is so well-defined, so articulate and fine, with lemony brightness and a bit of lime as an aftereffect. The body is very light, yet comes off refined and velvety. The aftertaste in City roast is not grainy, as some light roasts can be, but has green tea tightness, offset by sweet fading fruit. At Full City roast, the cup doesn’t have the same skyscraping high notes, but has excellent Flame grape and plum flavors. It’s a joy to cup this coffee.

Roast: Medium to Full City
Region: Ethiopia

Edit: I was looking around for other Michigan roasters out of curiosity, and it looks like pretty slim pickings. All of them seem to offer flavored coffees which sends warning bells off in my head. Just order some Stumptown Coffee and be down with it.

There's a coffee roaster based in Ann Arbor, MI -- Roos' Roast.

LiquidMantis wrote:

That and Tanzanian Peaberry are my favorite beans.

Hm. Tanzanian Peaberry and Kenyan AA are my favorites, and I don't think I've ever tried Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. I may have to pick some up.

misplacedbravado wrote:

There's a coffee roaster based in Ann Arbor, MI -- Roos' Roast.

LiquidMantis wrote:

That and Tanzanian Peaberry are my favorite beans.

Hm. Tanzanian Peaberry and Kenyan AA are my favorites, and I don't think I've ever tried Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. I may have to pick some up.

That looks like quality stuff!

I encourage everyone to check for relationship-model importers in their area. Not only do I love the idea of a business model that treats everyone from crop to cup as a human being, but you can get some pretty great coffee to boot. We buy beans imported by a Chicago company called Coffee Ambassadors, which runs maybe a buck more per pound than Intelligentsia (super awesome local chain, winners of awards, etc.), but includes a friend delivering the beans to our home.

A note about the Aeropress - following the instructions didn't yield a good cup of coffee for me. When I would pour the water in, it would immediately begin seeping through the coffee and filter into the cup.

That's weird. Are you sure the filter is on straight? I only get a tiny amount in the cup while brewing, maybe 1/8th of an inch. I use an espresso grind (4 or 5 on a Cuisinart conical burr grinder, which I like immensely.)

I find that counting to 30 or 40 stirs gives a better result for me than the 10 second brew rule. But I don't know anyone who doesn't have their own way to use the Aeropress that they know in their heart is superior to all others. It's the nature of the device to allow everyone to instantiate their own biases.

Seth, I would link you to a local roaster. Schuil Coffee. Full disclosure, I work there. Let me know if you stop by.

I didn't know anything at all about coffee before I started there, but now I've learned a ton about roasting and varieties and all of that crap.

Robear wrote:
A note about the Aeropress - following the instructions didn't yield a good cup of coffee for me. When I would pour the water in, it would immediately begin seeping through the coffee and filter into the cup.

That's weird. Are you sure the filter is on straight? I only get a tiny amount in the cup while brewing, maybe 1/8th of an inch. I use an espresso grind (4 or 5 on a Cuisinart conical burr grinder, which I like immensely.)

I'm guessing that the grind is your problem. A coarse grind is not going to seal the filter very well, so you get a lot more seepage. I've seen it happen when I used some coffee I had ground for my drip brew machine in my aeropress.

Robear wrote:

That's weird. Are you sure the filter is on straight? I only get a tiny amount in the cup while brewing, maybe 1/8th of an inch. I use an espresso grind (4 or 5 on a Cuisinart conical burr grinder, which I like immensely.)

I find that counting to 30 or 40 stirs gives a better result for me than the 10 second brew rule. But I don't know anyone who doesn't have their own way to use the Aeropress that they know in their heart is superior to all others. It's the nature of the device to allow everyone to instantiate their own biases.

Yeah, I'm still new to mine, and I've never had that problem. I was out to make espresso-style coffee in the first place though, so I went for a fine grind.

I'll have to try the 30-40 stir thing, I'm probably not letting mine steep enough. That said, it's still a damn good cup of coffee, so smooth compared to what I've gotten just here or there. I've been very happy with that Tuscan roast I started out with, and I hadn't noticed when I put it on my wishlist in the first place, but it's local. (Well, reasonably local, in Durham, so about an hour from me.) So I'll be ordering some fresh very soon, as I'm almost out of what I've got.

That said, I might hold off on that and experiment with some others since I have a baseline of contentedness with what I'm getting to see if I can improve on it. If not, I can always go back.

Kraint wrote:
Robear wrote:
A note about the Aeropress - following the instructions didn't yield a good cup of coffee for me. When I would pour the water in, it would immediately begin seeping through the coffee and filter into the cup.

That's weird. Are you sure the filter is on straight? I only get a tiny amount in the cup while brewing, maybe 1/8th of an inch. I use an espresso grind (4 or 5 on a Cuisinart conical burr grinder, which I like immensely.)

I'm guessing that the grind is your problem. A coarse grind is not going to seal the filter very well, so you get a lot more seepage. I've seen it happen when I used some coffee I had ground for my drip brew machine in my aeropress.

I'll try a finer grind next time and see if it improves things. Good suggestion.

Too lazy to go hunting backwards in the thread, but does anyone have a good, reasonably cheap grinder they'd recommend?

Tanglebones wrote:

Too lazy to go hunting backwards in the thread, but does anyone have a good, reasonably cheap grinder they'd recommend?

Don't get the Cuisinart burr grinder. It sucks and produces very uneven grinds with lots of powder. Also, the plastic on mine cracked for no reason near one of the grinder parts on the hopper screw in part (sort of hard to explain).

I had been curious about manual grinders because they are cheap. I asked about them once, and I guess they are a massive pain in the ass.

Tangle, scroll back a page or two. Krupps makes a fine bladed grinder for about 20 bucks, fine for a coarse drip. I will be investing in a manual burr grinder, suggestions are a page or two back. They look like pepper mills in fact.

This is in my amazon wishlist.

Don't get the Cuisinart burr grinder. It sucks and produces very uneven grinds with lots of powder. Also, the plastic on mine cracked for no reason near one of the grinder parts on the hopper screw in part (sort of hard to explain).

Huh. Granted, we don't use it more than a few times a week, but we bought one last summer and it's been fine...

Robear wrote:
Don't get the Cuisinart burr grinder. It sucks and produces very uneven grinds with lots of powder. Also, the plastic on mine cracked for no reason near one of the grinder parts on the hopper screw in part (sort of hard to explain).

Huh. Granted, we don't use it more than a few times a week, but we bought one last summer and it's been fine...

It definitely gets the job done which is why I've stuck with it for a couple of years. I just wouldn't buy another one and wouldn't really recommend it from my experience with it.

Once you get nicer burr grinders that would be able to give you a very even grind without powder they quickly get into the $100+ range. I suppose you get what you pay for.

I should add that I'll be using it at work for an aeropress, so I'm only going to be interested in a fine grind, probably.

Tanglebones wrote:

I can't explain appropriately what that video just did to my mouth. Its dirty.

Also, been using an AeroPress since 2007 and have never looked back, I've skipped coffee shops to get home to make my own coffee many times.

I will second/third the issue with the water seeping through the filter to fast being because of the grind. Ideal you're grinding your bean to espresso levels, and i usually stir it 10-15 seconds and have a rich foam at that point. Good lord, I JUST drank a cup and now I think I'm going to need a second. (and by second I mean 6th for the day.)

You guys are making me want to track down an Aeropress.

Oh, and 5 reasons not to quit coffee.