Best process for great coffee at home?

richedie

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Jan 25, 2005
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Hey guys! Money is a bit tight but I LOVE coffee and love having the ability to make a great cup at home. We have some nice coffee roasters and some great cafe's in the area around Philadelphia, PA and I always try to get a similar cup at home.

I try to get the freshest and best tasting beans. Locally I can get La Calombre, Torreo, Green Mountain, Starbucks beans and believe it or not, the ACME carries this JAVA Trading brand which has great beans.

I use a Cuisinart Grind Central Coffee Grinder that only cost $29. Now, I was told you need an expensive grinder for good coffee. True??? I am worried now, so should I let the local shops grind my coffe and only buy enough for a week?

I tried a Perc but too bitter! I used a cheap drip and too weak and bland. We started using a cold brew Toddy but not enough caffeine jolt! I am back to using a $19 French Press and grinding my beans with the $29 grinder.

Can I do a lot better? My father in law uses a small, cheap grinder an $80 brushed stainless steel Cuisinart drip and makes incredibly good coffee at home.

I was told by a local coffee shop that he recommends to all of his customers to make certain they buy fresh beans of choice and use a french press. He feels this is the way to make coffe at home.

Should I switch to espresso which I hear is more flavorful and very rich.

Thoughts on any of this? Thank you!

-Rich
 

Night Guy

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Winnipeg manitoba Ca.
I am not sure if you need an expensive grinder I am useing a midd;le of the road blade grinder it took some time to to get the grine right, I guess it would be easier to buy a bur grinder :roll: I wouldn't let the store grind your beens you will have stale coffee that is another problem.

For me an espresso is always the right choice :-D
 
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richedie

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I am not familiar with espresso - is that the way to go at home? Isn't it small quantities?
 
In my opinion there is no wrong or right way to drink coffee. For some of us espresso is our preferred method of drinking coffee, but both french press and drip methods have their fans and the coffee drunk this way can be very good. I guess for drip coffee grind is indeed important. If you grind too fine the water will take a long time passing through the grinds, making the coffee bitter- too coarse and the cup will be too weak. Just experiment and see how you go. French Press is quite an acceptable way, and a reasonably priced way, to drink your coffee.
 
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richedie

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I find that I can usually get a good tasting french press cup regardless of the grind....course leaves a smoother, less dirty cup while a more fine grind makes a dirtiercup. I have some family members who make great coffee who always grind very fine......even for drip because they say you have more surface area to interact with the water.
 
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richedie

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I still find that a French Press will leave a dirty or gritty cup of coffee and not as good as a smooth, grit free cup. That is half my problem....I can't seem to make the coffee as good at home as my favorite coffee shops and I am sure they use expensive drip machines. Maybe I have to deal with the french press and gritty coffe.

I have to get my father in law's secret - his coffee is outstanding.
 
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richedie

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I asked the makers of La Colombe which is arguably some of the best locally roasted coffee in Philadelphia and they recommend a French Press saying, "French Press is the best way to extract all the flavors and aromas out of the coffee."
 

mrgnomer

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Jan 22, 2006
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I believe the more even the grind the more even the extraction so a good grinder that shaves coffee instead of chopping it up or pulverizing it would be the best choice. Burr grinders shave coffee and the better the grinder the more even the grind. Uneven grinds lead to overextraction and underextraction in the cup that could be noticable as bitter and sour flavours.

French press is a great method for brewing coffee but I find that the cup can be a bit raw. Vacuum press brewing makes for a very smooth cup and, as far as I know, is more effective at screening out the grounds so you don't get the same amount of sludge as with the french press. Vacuum press brewing is also cool to watch.
 

mrgnomer

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still find that a French Press will leave a dirty or gritty cup of coffee and not as good as a smooth, grit free cup. That is half my problem....I can't seem to make the coffee as good at home as my favorite coffee shops and I am sure they use expensive drip machines. Maybe I have to deal with the french press and gritty coffe.

I have to get my father in law's secret - his coffee is outstanding.

How are you using the french press? At what temperature is the water when you pour it in? How even/fresh are the grounds? How long do you steep before plunging the handle?

Water at the boil is too hot. Let it sit for about 25sec and it'll fall into the ideal range then pour it over the grounds. Stir the grounds to saturate and steep for 3 minutes. Plunge after 3 minutes and enjoy.

The only advantage I'm aware of with expensive drip machines is that they are calibrated to brew at ideal temperatures and designed to fully saturate grounds during extraction. You can do the same manually with greater reliabiltiy and accuracy. I would guess too that coffee shops also have commercial grinders to evenly grind their coffee or use evenly pre-ground coffee.
 
Feb 14, 2006
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Duluth, Minnesota
I generally prefer to drink from a french press at home, and espresso shots while at work. Most of that is a time factor, I can pull a shot in a minute and drink it in thrity seconds which wont interupt my work day to bad, but when I am at home I want to enjoy my coffee. I grind my coffee at work because I only have one of those cheesy grinders at home that would be best suited for pulverising things, but I drink it fast enough that it does not have time to go bad.
When I use the french press I always get that layer of sludge in the bottom of the cup, although with a good grinder it is not nearly as thick. But that sludge is the best part, that is the zip you need to make it through the day!
I am actually going to go and get a larger press when I make it to a store, The one I have will do one cup, but who ever heard of drinking just one cup of coffee?
 
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richedie

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Lately, the Percolator has been pushed to the side. I find the coffees all to taste similar in my perc and not their best. My french press and manual drip do a better job of preserving the flavor and richness of the individual coffees. In fact, the coffee I have been making with the manual dripo has been stunning. Loving it! I just wish there was an easier way to make a larger quantity that remained hot and tasty. I can make about 3 full size mugs worth with the manual drip but once in the glass pot, it cools quickly and changes flavor. The hot plate type warmers just re-heat the coffee. Maybe a carafe? It is also a pain to try and make a large quantity of manual dripo for guests! Luckily that is rare! Mostly me and my wife....and the small manual and french press makes better coffee than any expensive machine I have tried. Go figure. That is a big reason i won't spwnd for an expensive auto drip. French Press is limited in that you have to pour and drink it before it sits too long.

Any thoughts on making and preserving large amounts of coffee via manual drip? Maybe even a large french press, but maybe I am getting ahead of myself since it is really just two of us drinking.....
 

javayankee

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Aug 25, 2005
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Seacoast of New Hampshire
My machine of choice is my Krups MokaBrew...sorta vacuum, sorta Moka pot. Makes a nice rich cup and no sediment. On the pricey side though for an auto coffee maker.

Has anyone here tried the new Aeropress. Can't beat the price, and the reviews on CoffeeGeek seem to be good, though they seem to be a bit reluctant to admit a $26 plastic manual device can make a decent cuppa. ;-)
 

mrgnomer

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Jan 22, 2006
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richedie said:
I just wish there was an easier way to make a larger quantity that remained hot and tasty. Any thoughts on making and preserving large amounts of coffee via manual drip? Maybe even a large french press, but maybe I am getting ahead of myself since it is really just two of us drinking.....

A guy at a coffee equipment/green bean supplier showed me something interesting once. He fresh roasted some beans, ground them and brewed with a cloth filter. He used enough grinds for about 5 mugs but caught the brew in a smaller container. Of course the coffee was very strong. He poured about 1/2 a cup full of very strong brewed coffee into each mug and topped it off with water.

What he showed me and explained is that coffee can be diluted with water to taste after brewing without having any effect on the cup other than dilution. Brew strong for company and dilute with boiled water at the appropriate temperature. You could even pour a really strong brew into a large vacuum carafe and dilute it to taste, stir it up and stretch a 6 cup french press to 12 cups to serve company.
 
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