The coffee making thread

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The coffee making thread

#1  Postby The_Metatron » May 27, 2011 9:17 am

There are the coffee drinking threads, which seem to have nothing to do with making coffee. So, here's a new topic for that purpose.

I recently started another little adventure at home, trying to see how good a cup of coffee I could make at home.

For a few years, I had been using a Senseo coffee maker. It's one of those coffee makers that uses the coffee pads, and can make one or two cups at a time. I have to say, it has it's attractions. It's very consistent. Every cup is the same. It's quick and convenient. There's no waste. Cleanup is a snap. However, the limiting factor is the coffee pads. Per cup, they can be expensive, though that is mitigated by the fact there is no waste. You make a cup, you drink it all. But, no matter, you're limited to the coffee that you can buy in those little manufactured paper pads. Not bad coffee, to be sure. Just, not great coffee. I have heard of little clamshell screen things that are available to use your own coffee grounds in, but that isn't too workable. That coffee infusion chamber works under considerable pressure. The outlet orifice for the coffee is small. Plug it with one single grain of coffee, and you cannot open the lid until the pressure bleeds off.

Our first step was ditch the Senseo machine and find a decent steel percolator coffee pot. One that would work on my induction stovetop. That requirement complicated things a bit, but I found one:

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My parents used one like this when I was a boy, before the days of the drip coffee makers like the Mr. Coffee. But, here's what's stupid about the one I have. The numbers on the side are readable from the outside of the pot, not the inside. You can't see how much water is in the fucking thing from the outside, dumbasses! The numbers need to be stamped into the pot to be readable from the inside, as you're filling it!

The problem with using this kind of pot now is the ground coffee that's available. All the packaged coffee available is ground for optimum performance in the drip coffee makers. That is, it's ground a little too fine for the percolator. The grains clog the holes in the coffee basket, and then you get a boil over. I needed a coarser grind of coffee.

So, I'll grind my own. Well, fuck. There's another handful of types and styles of grinders. The spinning blade types, I read around the internets, have consistency problems (some huge chunks all the way to powder in the same grinding run) and also generate a fair amount of heat as they are pulverizing the beans, which supposedly changes the essential oils and whatnot in the roasted whole beans, affecting the taste of the brewed coffee. Seems reasonable to me. So apparently, the low speed burr grinder is the way to go. Motorized or manual? Conical burr?

What I decided on was a currently manufactured manual coffee mill with a conical steel burr grinder. It is made by an Italian company called Tre Spade. I wondered what three shovels had to do with coffee, but it's their logo, three swords. Spade means sword in Italian.

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I opted for the side crank model because of the flywheel, and because it's a simpler motion than cranking a direct drive grinder with the handle attached to the vertical burr shaft. It takes about three and a half minutes to grind a basket full of coffee for the percolator pot I use. The weight of the flywheel makes it easy to keep a consistent speed when grinding.

What beans, then? At our American military commissary nearby, available in whole bean is Dunkin' Donuts and Seattle's Best. The Dunkin' Donuts coffee is crap. I'm glad that bag is gone. Weak. I haven't opened the Seattle's Best bag yet. I was looking locally for beans, and found at a local grocery chain called Colruyt, beans from Graind'or.

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I bought a bag of Moka, Espresso, and one other that I can't remember the name of. Wonderfully strong coffee. This is what I was after.

I also bought a stovetop moka pot, which seem to also be called espresso pots, that would work on my induction stove. It's the Aroma model by Stella.

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I bought the six cup size, which makes two proper sized coffee cups of wicked strong moka. I've tried it with the beans I grind, but I think I need to experiment with the grind coarseness to get it stronger out of that moka pot.

I've concluded that fresh ground coffee beans are worth the time and effort. Not only for taste, but it also makes the task of getting a pot of coffee into a sort of a production. I like to take the time to do it right, the reward is worth the time spent.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#2  Postby Tyrannical » May 27, 2011 9:29 am

I'm too cheap and lazy to buy one, but these are wonderful.

It's an old style vacuum coffee maker.

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Re: The coffee making thread

#3  Postby The_Metatron » May 27, 2011 10:44 am

I would like to try one of those, but I need one in steel to work on my stovetop. What do you normally make a coffee in?
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Re: The coffee making thread

#4  Postby 95Theses » May 27, 2011 10:46 am

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Expensive, but brilliant.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#5  Postby Tyrannical » May 27, 2011 10:51 am

The_Metatron wrote:I would like to try one of those, but I need one in steel to work on my stovetop. What do you normally make a coffee in?


A four cup electrical coffee maker that I keep under my desk at work. I don't think I've ever seen a stovetop coffee make outside of an old movie. My parents swear by their french press though. I only drink coffee at work, so I don't even brew it at home.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#6  Postby Blip » May 27, 2011 11:01 am

I've just invested in a Cafetiere and am using Monsooned Malabar coffee, which is without doubt the best coffee I've ever tasted.

My problem, such as it is, is cleaning out the cafetiere as I don't like to swill coffee grounds down the sink. But that's a small price to pay for such lovely coffee. :)
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Re: The coffee making thread

#7  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 27, 2011 11:09 am

I have had umpteen filter coffee makers, all of which go bust. And the coffee always goes off after a while sitting on the hot plate. But I like filter coffee, so I just grind my own beans (I drink decaff, but I buy flavoured decaff beans) and then filter it myself with a simple plastic filter over a pot using water boiled in a stove-top kettle.

The first cup is hot, but thereafter I give a mug-full a brief zap in the microwave and it's fine, tastes fresh.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#8  Postby Precambrian Rabbi » May 27, 2011 11:47 am

Blip wrote:My problem, such as it is, is cleaning out the cafetiere as I don't like to swill coffee grounds down the sink. But that's a small price to pay for such lovely coffee. :)


I have an almost obsessive dislike for coffee grounds - the icky little things just seem to stick to everything. They are a little easier to get dispose of from a moka though, which I tend to use.

In Florence I was taught to pour the first drops of coffee to form (has to be the first drops apparently) into a couple of teaspoons of sugar and beat it quickly to create a creamy froth for the top of the coffee. This was delicious but I find it a little too sweet for my everyday taste. As I understand the Italian pov, you can't get real coffee without the forced pressure of a proper espresso machine, although the moka is an acceptable substitute. For my simple tastes, I use pre-ground coffee (as long as it's freshly opened) in a four (espresso) cup moka to make a single long cup and add a fair bit of warmed milk.

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Re: The coffee making thread

#9  Postby PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn » May 27, 2011 5:08 pm

filter if making for lots of people (its simply easier)
but just for myself or 2 people use the espresso maker, using the "double shot" holder and just run it for longer (so its half way between espresso and americano) and black, no sugar,

despite having a cheap espresso maker (less that £30) it does 15 bar and produces good coffee, whereas another one I bought managed only 3bar and wasn't great. you do get a decent crema on the coffee from the machine
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Re: The coffee making thread

#10  Postby mmmcheezy » May 27, 2011 5:19 pm

recently purchased a keurig coffee maker. i don't really care much for standard black coffee, and there's loads of VERY STRONG flavored varieties. i know it's not "real" coffee, but it's a nice in-between for those who don't like foldgers and can't afford to make a stop at a cafe every day for a latte. there are plenty of varieties of "real" coffee available for the keurig, and you can even brew "regular" grounds with a cheap adapter. the only thing i've found disappointing is cold brewing. supposedly if you brew over ice, you can make an iced coffee/tea/whatever and i find that it's not remotely cold.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#11  Postby The_Metatron » May 27, 2011 6:40 pm

Jesus christ! Those Kuerig K-cup capsules are fucking expensive! Four or five times the price of the Senseo pads, apiece. As far as price goes, my setup was not cheap, but it will ammortize. The percolator pot was twenty bucks. The stovetop espresso pot was $120. That grinder was $250.

I just bought 1.5 kilos of beans last week for 11 Euros. What's that, around 14 bucks? I'm just about to finish the first 500 gram bag of beans this weekend, making seven cups a day, plus the occasional pot of espresso.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#12  Postby The_Metatron » May 27, 2011 6:43 pm

Blip wrote:I've just invested in a Cafetiere and am using Monsooned Malabar coffee, which is without doubt the best coffee I've ever tasted.

My problem, such as it is, is cleaning out the cafetiere as I don't like to swill coffee grounds down the sink. But that's a small price to pay for such lovely coffee. :)

That's the biggest problem I have with using a French press, also. They are a pain in the ass to clean. Unless you just take them out to the compost pile and fling the dregs and grounds onto the pile.

That's where all of our used grounds end up anyway, but they're pretty easy to manage, dumping out the grounds basket of a percolator, or knocking out the grounds from the basket in the espresso pot.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#13  Postby Blip » May 27, 2011 6:43 pm

Nora, you do realise that the methods used to decaffeinate coffee involve substances you wouldn't want to ingest? I would never drink decaf, even to be polite...
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Re: The coffee making thread

#14  Postby Blip » May 27, 2011 6:45 pm

The_Metatron wrote:
Blip wrote:I've just invested in a Cafetiere and am using Monsooned Malabar coffee, which is without doubt the best coffee I've ever tasted.

My problem, such as it is, is cleaning out the cafetiere as I don't like to swill coffee grounds down the sink. But that's a small price to pay for such lovely coffee. :)

That's the biggest problem I have with using a French press, also. They are a pain in the ass to clean. Unless you just take them out to the compost pile and fling the dregs and grounds onto the pile.

That's where all of our used grounds end up anyway, but they're pretty easy to manage, dumping out the grounds basket of a percolator, or knocking out the grounds from the basket in the espresso pot.


I haven't been composting ours because of the caffeine: I'll check with my composting chums to see if I could do this. I have two worm bins and, while they are brilliant, you can't put certain things in them. :ask:
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Re: The coffee making thread

#15  Postby The_Metatron » May 27, 2011 6:49 pm

Holy shit. My brother and I got to skip sunday school one weekend after a rain had left thousands of night crawlers (big damn earthworms) all over the place.

We farmed them that summer and sold them for 35 cents a dozen to guys on their way to fishing. We fed them coffee grounds that we'd occasionally just dump on top of the dirt boxes we used. They were breeding like crazy. Had more earthworms than we knew what to do with.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#16  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 27, 2011 6:58 pm

Blip wrote:Nora, you do realise that the methods used to decaffeinate coffee involve substances you wouldn't want to ingest? I would never drink decaf, even to be polite...


Well, I'm already taking beta blockers to keep my heart rate down, so drinking caffeine just isn't on.

Anyway, there are so many things bad for you that I don't do...so please don't take this pleasure away from me, Blip!
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Re: The coffee making thread

#17  Postby ConnyRaSk » May 27, 2011 7:29 pm

We use the coffee machine (hot water slowly drips onto fine ground coffee). The machine has a gold mesh filter which is fantastic.( saves paper, and rinses off very quickly)

We alternate buying Fair trade coffee (tends to be from central America) or Columbian.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#18  Postby Blip » May 27, 2011 7:30 pm

Nora_Leonard wrote:
Blip wrote:Nora, you do realise that the methods used to decaffeinate coffee involve substances you wouldn't want to ingest? I would never drink decaf, even to be polite...


Well, I'm already taking beta blockers to keep my heart rate down, so drinking caffeine just isn't on.

Anyway, there are so many things bad for you that I don't do...so please don't take this pleasure away from me, Blip!


:hug:

But nothing on earth would persuade me to drink decaf: how about drinking a weaker brew instead :ask:
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Re: The coffee making thread

#19  Postby The_Metatron » May 27, 2011 7:37 pm

Ok, listen up. Do not try to brew weak coffee. Brew it properly, then cut it with boiling water to the desired weakness. Running too much water through too little ground coffee makes weak, bitter, coffee.
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Re: The coffee making thread

#20  Postby Aern Rakesh » May 27, 2011 7:46 pm

Blip wrote:
Nora_Leonard wrote:
Blip wrote:Nora, you do realise that the methods used to decaffeinate coffee involve substances you wouldn't want to ingest? I would never drink decaf, even to be polite...


Well, I'm already taking beta blockers to keep my heart rate down, so drinking caffeine just isn't on.

Anyway, there are so many things bad for you that I don't do...so please don't take this pleasure away from me, Blip!


:hug:

But nothing on earth would persuade me to drink decaf: how about drinking a weaker brew instead :ask:


If decaf coffee was really that bad for you it would carry a warning like cigarettes surely??? Next you'll be trying to make me a vegetarian!! :nono:

:hugs:
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