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Old 11-03-2005, 01:18 AM   #1
poison
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Amended and revised 1.30.15

OK, since there seems to be a weekly "Help A N00b With Coffee" thread, and I field a lot of questions about which coffee, what grinder, how to brew, etc, I thought I'd put together a master thread that will consolidate all this info and put it at your fingertips (and give my two-finger typing a break ).

To get the most enjoyment and flavor from your coffee, you need four things: good water; fresh, good quality beans; good equipment; and the knowledge to put it all together right and produce a cup of excellence.

WATER ----

The basis of good coffee is of course good, fresh water. Drip coffee is 98% water, so of course good water is essential. Tap water has chlorine and lots of other impurities which affect the flavor of your brew. Distilled water, the most pure form, is not good either: it tastes 'flat', and is lacking minerals instrumental in extracting maximum flavor from your cuppa.

I recommend spring water, the best being Fiji and Ice Age. Arrowhead, Dasani, and similar waters are fine. (Incidentally, the Bay Area has very good water for coffee brewing, straight from the tap- everyone else, don't do it! ).


COFFEE ----

Ah, the coffee! This section could take up pages, but I'll try to keep it simple: Www.westcoastroasting.com

YOU NEED FRESH BEANS!!!

That's more or less it. You can have the best beans in the world, roasted by a master roaster, but if they've sat on the shelf for 2 months, it isn't worth squat. Beans are best from day 2 out of the roaster, through day 10. The longest I'd go is 3 weeks, and that is REALLY pushing it.

They should always be stored as whole beans (never ground- ground beans go stale in hours), in tin-tie coffee bags, or better yet in an air-tight container, away from light and heat. Freezing beans is not ideal, unless you'll have them around for more than 2-3 weeks, in which case freeze away. If you freeze, take 1/4-1/2lb out at at time, so you're not pulling the beans out every day; this allows condensation to form on the beans, which leaches flavor.

I won't make bean recommendations here. Oh wait, I already did.

GEAR ----
I won't post links, because those change over time. A quick Google should bring up my recommendations, if you need help, ask.

Grinder -

There are a TON of different methods of brewing coffee, all of which require their own gear. I'll cover the most popular methods. Everyone loves shiny new gear, so I'll definately be recommending stuff, some of which I've personally used and vouch for, others that I have researched and know to be good.

The most important piece of gear a coffee lover can own, and should not skimp on, is the grinder. THe quality of the grinder is almost more important than the quality of the brewer. A poor grind is inconsistent. The particles of ground coffee are different sized; some particles will over-extract when brewed, some will under extract. Neither is good, and you will get sour, bitter, nasty coffee. (Just because your coffee isn't outright nasty doesn't mean you shouldn't buy a good grinder; like I said, your coffee can ALWAYS be better). If all you can afford is a nut-type grinder, do it; the important thing is to grind just before brewing.

If you can spend a bit more, a $90 burr grinder will be a great improvement in your coffee flavor. Cheap burr grinders grind into consistent sized particles; expensive ones actually shave slices off of the beans. Once you dial in the right grind for your machine, all the evenly ground particles will extract evenly, and you'll have better tasting coffee.

Here are my recommendations:

Cheapest - hario hand mill $30

Cheap - Capresso infinity

Best choice for drip for most people- baratza encore

Espresso - baratza preciso, cunill tranquilo, any mazzer



Drip Machines-

I'll recommend three. All can brew nearly equally well.

The reason you need one of these machines, even if you just bought what you thought was a good machine yesterday: drip coffee needs to be brewed at a specific temperature, namely 195-200 degrees. No more, no less. Few drip machines start brewing at that temperature, and other than those listed above, virtually none keep 195 degrees throughout the brew cycle. Lesser temperature, lesser coffee. (More than 200 degrees will over extract and 'cook' the coffee.) These machines keep a rock-steady 195 degrees throughout the cycle.

Bunn HG Phase Brew - $100

Bonavita - $160

Technivorm - $$300





Espresso machines -

The best starter espresso machine is the cheapest gaggia you can find. I used a cheap Gaggia for years, and it works very well for the price. Just don't expect to serve 15 lattes at a party: it is very slow for more than 1-2 drinks. I highly recommend these as your first machine.

Next step up is the astra pro for $1100. Is $200 to $1100 a big jump? Yes it is. But in between there is nothing good, you're either paying more for similar performance to a cheap gaggia, or you're buying a seriously flawed machine that requires a lot of tweaking to get it to work right, or you are only a few hundred dollars away from the astra pro, which is aeons better than whatever junk you're considering. Gaggia, astra, or bust. Trust me.

Please ask before buying, I'm more than happy to help. Please don't buy a silvia, it's junk. And if you want an astra, let me know.



Knowledge ----

There are so many new brew methods today, there's no point in trying to cover them in detail. The Internet is a big place, and learning how to brew a good cup is a Google search or youtube video away. So I'll be very general:

When looking at a brew method, there are two things it must give you to create a good cup of coffee: control of the brew time, and brew temp (or be accurately calibrated to provide the correct time and temp). Here are some methods that provide that:

Chemex
French Press
Clever Dripper
Bonavita Dripper
Able Cone
Hario
Aeropress
Any of the drip brewers I listed above
Espresso

There are many more, but those are popular, for good reason. If you control the brew time and water temp, and you're using good beans and good water, you'll get a good cup. I'm personally partial to espresso, clever, and the technivorm.
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Last edited by poison; 01-30-2015 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 11-03-2005, 01:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poison

WATER ----

The basis of good coffee is of course good, fresh coffee.
I concur.

I'll get around to reading your thread when I can drink coffee again.
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Old 11-03-2005, 02:20 AM   #3
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Deleted for brevity

Last edited by poison; 01-30-2015 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 11-03-2005, 02:21 AM   #4
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And this.
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Old 11-03-2005, 02:45 AM   #5
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I think some of your grinder links are t3h borked.
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxcider
I think some of your grinder links are t3h borked.
fixed
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxcider
I think some of your Amazon links are t3h borked.
fixed
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:29 AM   #8
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Hmm.. I need to get a grinder. I get my beans ground at the local coffee place and freeze them.

I brew using a Braun FlavorSelect.
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:45 AM   #9
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Is it bad that I use Folgers and tap water in my Mr. Coffee that cost $8 at Wal Mart, with one of those mesh "forever coffee filters"?
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:49 AM   #10
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Buy the most expensive one from the list above. If you have questions about a specific grinder, let me know.
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Old 11-03-2005, 04:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unabomber
Is it bad that I use Folgers and tap water in my Mr. Coffee that cost $8 at Wal Mart, with one of those mesh "forever coffee filters"?
Not if you think it tastes good. I assure you if you tried a better setup, you'd never go back.
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Old 11-03-2005, 05:13 AM   #12
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I posted a rant about how ridiculous this coffee thing is, but I deleted it because I love you, poison. And you clearly put a lot of work into explaining it, so continue with your thread, un-eurojax'd.
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Old 11-03-2005, 07:52 AM   #13
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*Smooches* I'm not done either!
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:21 PM   #14
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Anything else you all want covered?
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unabomber
Is it bad that I use Folgers and tap water in my Mr. Coffee that cost $8 at Wal Mart, with one of those mesh "forever coffee filters"?
Thank goodness someone got to the coffee FAQ before you did.
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:31 PM   #16
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The Capresso model #555 is a burr grinder with portion control.



I'm been using this one for a couple of yrs now. Add the beans in the night before. Set it and forget it!!!

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Old 11-03-2005, 12:38 PM   #17
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Waitasec... Were you the guy with the "name my coffee company" thread a while back?
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poison
OK, since there seems to be a weekly "Help A N00b With Coffee" thread,
You talking about me!!!!

Thanks for the help poison!
<------------- Coffee n00b
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:42 PM   #19
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Your costco grinder link is still bork3d. Good thread, btw! I just got a few holiday gift ideas from this one.

You rock, poison. I may have to order some coffee from you for my folks as a stocking-stuffer.
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:43 PM   #20
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nice write up mang! I didn't click all your links, but did you do any French Press recomendations? Seems kinda stupid to many people, but screen quality, beaker quality, and long-lastingness are important.

Also, you left out water Temp I think (again, maybe I overlooked it, and again this is really only important if you're using a french press, most machines regulate their own temps)
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unabomber
Is it bad that I use Folgers and tap water in my Mr. Coffee that cost $8 at Wal Mart, with one of those mesh "forever coffee filters"?
I do that too for my morning coffee. It works for restoring myself to a human state.

After that I drink the good stuff.
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:51 PM   #22
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I bet you named your coffee company:

Upscale Oontz Coffee: for people with enough money to piss away $300 on a ****ing grinder.
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Old 11-03-2005, 01:15 PM   #23
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Percolator!



It may be low-brow, but you can make a damn fine pot of coffee with a percolator.


(poison's head is about to explode )

(this post is a joke for those of you who aren't coffee people... percolating is not the best way to make coffee)

Last edited by Porter; 11-03-2005 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 11-03-2005, 01:16 PM   #24
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Sticky!
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Old 11-03-2005, 01:26 PM   #25
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Balancing Vacuum Siphon Brewing for the win!

http://www.royalcoffeemaker.com/copp...fee-maker.html



Actually, this is supposed to be really cool and make excellent coffee.

Check out the history: http://www.royalcoffeemaker.com/hist...ffeemaker.html

Last edited by Porter; 11-03-2005 at 01:44 PM.
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