Saturday, November 24, 2012

Purchasing a French Press

The best way to brew coffee (not espresso) is with a French Press. With a French Press, you can control the extraction of all of the coffee flavor and you can control the temperature of the water. Here's a video of how to use a French Press.

There are so many places, online and brick and mortar stores, that sell French Presses. However, the advantage of using Chazzano French Presses is that if you break the glass, we can replace it.

2-cup, 4-cup, and 8-cup Chazzano French Presses

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

To Grind or not to Grind, that is the question...

One common question at Chazzano Coffee Roasters is, "Should I grind the beans at home, or should we have you grind them?" I then ask, "How are you brewing the coffee?" And then, "What kind of grinder do you have, a burr or whirly blade?" Who should grind your fresh roasted coffee? The answers are found below.

Grind them at home if:

  • You brew espresso. It is difficult to get an awesome shot if the espresso is not absolutely freshly ground immediately before extraction. Before you buy an expensive espresso machine, make sure you have a quality burr grinder.
  • You enjoy the aroma of freshly ground coffee filling your home with the sweet smell of freshly roasted coffee and....
  • You have a burr grinder that can grind the beans perfectly to the proper consistency for your particular brewing method.

Burr blades grind the coffee bean consistently and do not heat up the grounds. They are more expensive than the whirly blade grinders, but a great grinder is a must for a coffee fanatic.

Whirly blade grinders are cheaply priced, but you get what you pay for. The ground coffee is course on the top, fine on the bottom, and the grounds are warm to the touch. The warmth of the beans is a sign that they are cooking a bit, and therefore there is a chance for a change of flavor profile. Not good for espresso or French Press- not fine or coarse enough!

Let us grind your coffee if:
  • You brew your coffee using either French Press, Pourover, or Drip and your pound of freshly roasted Chazzano Coffee is consumed within 1.5 weeks.
  • You have a whirly blade grinder and the flavor of your coffee will be compromised if you grind it.
  • You're unsure about how to properly grind your coffee at home and fear making a less than perfect cup of coffee.
  • You live with a light sleeper and you don't want to wake them up.

"Is the coffee fresher if I grind it at home or if you grind it for me?" This question also gets asked with this one, "Do the beans need to degas for 1,2,3 days...or can you use them immediately?"

The interesting aspect about freshly roasted coffee is that the flavor profile changes constantly, not wildly, from the time that it is roasted until it's staling after 2 1/2  to 3 weeks. So, bring home a pound of freshly roasted Chazzano Coffee, brew it one way (French Press, Pourover, Espresso) for 7-10 days afterwards and you may enjoy a slightly different cup of coffee each day. The natural flavor components of the coffee continue to break down and morph into different combinations throughout its short, fresh life. Some coffee lovers experience a complete break down of flavor after just one week, others prefer their beans three days after roasting. Do the beans need to degas (expel carbon dioxide) for a few days after roasting? It depends on your palate. In my opinion, not with medium roasted coffee. There are some extremely light roasts that I've felt needed to "breathe" a bit before brewing, but that is rare. My advice is to use the coffee immediately unless you believe that the flavor is preferred after a certain number of days. If you have strong opinions either way, please comment below. Let's discuss it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Tea at Chazzano Coffee Roasters

When you look at the new item that came in the mail from Zen Tea Traders, you may be confused about what Chazzano Coffee is selling these days?!?!

Are you finished guessing? It's a Pu-er cake aged since 2004 from the Yunnan Province, in the town of Xishuangbanna (pronounced sig-song-banna). Xishuangbanna means "twelve thousand rice fields." (You'll rock the crossword puzzle in the Shanghai version of the New York Times.) This tea is grown on one of the six famous tea mountains in Xishuangbanna. These mountains provide excellent growing conditions for Pu-er and the soil quality helps with the unique taste profiles. Like the movie, "There's Something about Mary," the same could be said about the soil for various tea, coffee, and wine growing regions, "There's something about the soil." The reason that some Ethiopian coffees have notes of blueberries is that the same chemical that makes blueberries taste like blueberries is found in the soil in that region and when the coffee is roasted a certain way, those chemicals can be part of the aromatic signature of the coffee. The age of the tea, the terroir (region), the altitude grown, and brewing duration dictate the flavor profile.

Tea is crazy complicated and complex- the brewing times, the amount of steeps, and the temperature depend on the type of tea. For Pu-er, we brew it at boiling, eight different brewing  times.

Here is the schedule of steepings:

1st- 20 secs
2nd-30 seconds
3rd-60 seconds
4th-1 min 20 seconds
5th 2-minutes
6th-3 minutes
7th-4 minutes
8th-6 minutes

The tea is removed from the wrapping and we use the Pu-er knife to extract a small amount from the cake.

We brew our coffee and tea in French Presses because it looks great and it is easy to get the full extraction of the coffee/ tea flavor.

Here is the first steeping of the Pu-er tea.

Here are my cupping notes for this awesome tea, aged since 2004.

1st steep: sweet, with a melon ball finish
2nd steep: bold in back of palate, tremendous richness
3rd steep: sweeter, more mouthfeel in front
4th steep: creamy, no bite- very minty
5th steep: sweeter than the 4th, mint note remains
6th steep: light, light colored cup, sweet honeydew notes linger
7th steep: even more honeydew notes, very light body
8th steep: It reminds me of the 4th steep- creamy with no bite, but a bit of roughness in the middle of your palate.

Here is a map of the region where this tea was grown...

View Larger Map