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- 04-24-2016, 10:39 AM #1
WHAT is good COFFEE? And How do you make them?
when people say "what is good coffee", most of people says "coffee that you like". it could be 3 in 1 instant coffee or Folgers that still my mom likes.
But scientifically speaking, what is good coffee and how can you measure it? test it?
Above charts were done by E.E. Lockhart in 1950s, MIT Chem professor and surprisingly it was confirmed and approved by SCAA. I guess that Professor Lockhart knew something about coffee, even in 1950s when instant coffee was the king.
The first chart is very easy to understand. about 17.5 water vs 1 coffee ground ratio. so, when you use normally 20 grams of coffee, the water should be around 350 grams. Very simple.
But second chart gives us bit of trouble understanding.
the % extraction is the amt of coffee extracted from the original coffee ground and the % of total dissolved solid is the % of coffee solid actually IN YOUR CUP OF COFFEE. (aka, brew strength).
So when you are brewing coffee, your goal is to get into that center square of perfection. HOW? the key is the Golden Ratio of 17.42 water to 1 unit coffee.
QUICK NOTE : Many people believes that STRONG COFFEE has to do something with bitterness, caffeine content or even roast profile, but it isn't so. It is about the ratio of coffee to water in your cup of coffee
ANOTHER NOTE : if you are wondering How the hell can you measure "Total Dissolved Solid" in your coffee, you can buy refractometer and test it. Refractometer is being used in wine and beer industry, but it works perfect for your coffee TDS measurement.
here is youtube link about refractometer. kind of interesting.
- 04-24-2016, 02:01 PM #2
Great post Alex I have a conductive TDS meter. I wondered which is better and found this thread on CG
- 04-24-2016, 02:03 PM #3
- 04-25-2016, 08:09 AM #4
- 04-26-2016, 10:49 PM #5
that's a cool flow chart right there! Thanks! This forum is already awesome!
- 04-29-2016, 06:33 AM #6
Sometimes I crave for musty & earthy coffee that is derived from sweet pungent citrus or grapefruit characters. Some says that they can taste butterscotch, cedar-toned citrus and tart berry and so forth, but unfortunately, I have not had that good of SUMATRA in L.A. yet.
if you have enough of super clean, floral with high acidity Ethiopian or Guatemalan, perhaps you should try Sumatra once in a while. It is totally opposite flavors which either you will love it or hate it.
below are couple of youtube videos which I think pretty well done and constructed. if you have time, please check it out. And it is pretty interesting and entertaining. about 9 to 10 min of each video (part 1 and 2 of Sumatra coffee trip by few Aussie coffee guys)
BTW, you might be wondering by watching the first video, why some of the women have red colored teeth.
People in these areas chew "Betel nuts" which give out some mild narcotic effects and the "red" color.
it is one of their distinctive cultures.
- 04-29-2016, 07:33 AM #7
- 04-30-2016, 08:45 AM #8
if you are interested in wet coffee processing, this is another must see video from Tom at Sweet Maria.
Rwanda coffee farm's wet coffee processing. As Tom said in the video, you have the best micro climate, soil and coffee trees, but if you do not process the coffee right, you will have the terrible tasting coffee.
This video explains how the workers sort out lighter beans (second grade beans) and heavier beans (first grade beans) by using water channels as they clean out the mucilage from parchment beans.
also, around 10 min into the video, you will find how to pick out the defective parchment beans after wet processing.
When you compare these clean parchment beans and wet processing from Rwanda coffee farms against most of Sumatra coffee farms, there are light years of difference.
- 05-07-2016, 02:26 PM #9
If you ever have visited China, unless it is Beijing and Shanghai, the idea of "good coffee" is almost a wishful thinking. Nescafe (3 in 1 powder) mixes are the favorites in all other places and that is what I am drinking in my hotel room in Hangzhou, China. Got up too early.. 2 am :+(
When I visited my customer (potential customer) couple of days ago in Shanghai, I asked him about Lhasa (that is the capital of Tibet. (Yes, that Tibet country that China "claimed" in 1950) because I always wanted to visited Lhasa, Tibet since I met Dalai Lama in Mexico city.. I think Oct or Nov 2013. (it is not like I shook his hand or anything.... I just went to his hotel to get glimpse of him. I was in Mexico D.F. for other matters)
My customer told me that there is coffee shop, called Summit Cafe, that serves some good coffee. I just googled it. By reading some article, apparently, it is a decent cafe that serves some good coffee. Someday, I am planning to take a long train ride from Shanghai (perhaps either March or Nov after coffee expo) to Lhasa. 2 days 2 hours train ride. 4400 km. about 12,000 feet altitude. (most of my customer visiting my Guatemala city, Quetzaltenango, gets some headaches due to altitude sickness, and my city is only 7500 feet high. I wonder how bad it would be at 12K feet....)
by the way, the slogan of Summit cafe : all other coffee is base camp!
No McCafe in Lhasa (about 200K people lives there). Surprisingly no McD in that city..mmmmmm.
for me, good coffee is whatever the best coffee available, at wherever you are at, and at that moment.....
- 05-07-2016, 04:44 PM #10
Hey, if 5500-7500' elevation is "base camp" then my new cafe will be called Base Camp Coffee! Sounds like a nice relaxing evening after a day of climbing mountains, with a cup of Sumatra and a smooth espresso shot...oh, for Peter & Bacchus, a nice macaduro!
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