Saturday, March 24, 2007

A French Press or Press Pot

There cannot be a simpler way to make excellent coffee consistently. Here is one model of a press pot. I just purchased a 32 oz. stainless steel press pot from Starbucks that will come with me for vacations or business trips.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Highlander and the Golden Cup of Coffee

The TV show "Highlander" was one of my favorite shows ever. The main character would say after a battle to the death (of his foe) and after he cut off the other highlander's head, "There can only be one!" That is how I feel about the French Press method of brewing coffee. For me, there is only one way to brew coffee. The French Press is ideal because you can control the temperature of the water carefully. There is no paper filter basket that causes the flavor oils to remain in the basket. With the French Press, one has complete control over the brewing time.

Here is the simple formula for making excellent coffee.
1. First, use fresh and expertly roasted specialty coffee.
2. Grind the coffee in a burr grinder a few minutes before you need it (if possible), not too coarse, not too powdery. Coarse grinds will be under-extracted and powdery grounds (espresso) will be over-extracted and will produce gritty tasting coffee.
3. Measure 5 somewhat heaping scoops of freshly ground coffee into the 32 oz. French press.
4. Pour water that is between 195-202 degrees Fahrenheit into the press.
5. Let it steep for 1.5 minutes

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Decent Decaf? Maybe...

I just roasted 2 lbs of decaf Panama. It is not bad- a bit smoky and a bit sweet but not very interesting. There are no flavors that are comforting or intriguing. I will continue to experiment until I can roast and brew a decaf that is worth drinking. Life is too short to drink mediocre coffee.

Cupping and Blending- The Best Blend, so far...

At the Chicago CoffeeFest, I learned how to cup coffee. Cupping is just advanced tasting. The goal is to carefully document the flavor, aftertaste, and defects of each single origin coffee. Cupping is very similar to wine tasting. In fact, coffee has twice the amount of flavors and chemicals than wine has. Coffee is actually more interesting to cup or to taste than wine. Great coffee should be interesting to drink. One should be able to taste different flavors without adding milk, sugar, or artificial flavors.
I have finally developed a blend of Central American coffees with some African coffees that is creamy and sweet and has an incredible floral aroma. I have been told that blending more than a few coffees is not recommended. However, I added a few scoops of another coffee to my Giggles Blend which includes 5 different coffees and I truly found the best coffee that I have ever had. I have read that blending should be done after each individual coffee is roasted. Again, I roast them all together. The new "Rock the House" blend will help you give up adding milk- I hope.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Decent Decaf Coffee?

I have roasted some of the most interesting single origin or blends with notes of chocolate, sometimes berry, sometimes with hints of nuts, sometimes just a smooth full bodied elixir. I have never tasted a good decaf coffee. The hunt is on for a decaf coffee that one can compare to a complex and intriguing glass of wine. Will I succeed? Stay tuned.