How to make better coffee than your competitor?

evolve

New member
Jan 20, 2008
7
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What is good coffee?
How can I make better coffee than my competitor?
Where to not-cheap-out is what I'm trying to ask..

Should I include more coffee?
Grind the beans before I make the coffee?
Or what tips & tricks do you recommend that will result in a better tasting coffee?
 

ElPugDiablo

New member
Jul 16, 2004
991
0
Hartford and New Haven, CT
evolve said:
What is good coffee?
How can I make better coffee than my competitor?
Where to not-cheap-out is what I'm trying to ask..

Should I include more coffee?
Grind the beans before I make the coffee?
Or what tips & tricks do you recommend that will result in a better tasting coffee?
1) Test your water and get water system if needed.
2) Clean, well maintained and well calibrated equipment. Dirty equipment = dirty coffee.
3) Use the correct amount of coffee, not more and certainly not less.
4) Use fresh roasted coffee.
5) Taste lots of coffee to learn what is good and what is bad coffee. Trust your own taste. If the coffee taste good to you, then it is good.
6) Find a good roasting company that can supply you with good coffee.
 

John P

New member
Jan 5, 2007
1,045
0
Salt Lake City
[while in the midst of typing ElPugDiablo put an excellent post! ... What he said]


Short answer:

If you use fresh roasted beans, good burr grinder--properly adjusted, grind to order, with proper brewing techniques you will put yourself in the top 10% easily.

Semi-detailed

Quality, Freshness, Machinery, Proper Technique

I think you have to have quality coffee, fresh, properly brewed to know what it should taste like. The coffee is where you don't skimp. Expect to pay avg. of $3.00++ per pound if you roast your own, and $8+ wholesale from a quality roaster. Beware of anyone hocking $5.00 roasted coffee, it will not be good.

1) Go to a "known" quality shop (look to Coffeegeek or the BGA boards for recommendations) and try different origins, brewing methods, etc. of coffee OR

1a) Order fresh coffee from a known quality shop and brew at home to test.

2) After that it's pretty simple.

A) Quality of beans (No generic beans. -- (ok)Guatemala vs. (better)Guatemala Huehuetenango vs. (best)Guatemala Finca El Injerto)

B) Freshness -- order fresh, maybe once a week or every ten days. Throw out anything that hits three weeks from roast date. If your truly quality oriented 7-10 days post roast.

C) Clean, well-maintained adjustable burr grinder.

D) Correct coffee to water ratio, brewing temperatures, time, and methodology for all brewing methods you may use.

"D" is an entire book on its own, but suffice to say, make healthy use of the "search" function on every coffee board you can, along with a good dose of reading, watching, visiting shops.

The fact that you are exploring this will put you ahead of many. Happy caffeinating!
 
OP
E

evolve

New member
Jan 20, 2008
7
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  • Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies! some good things i've learned allready :)

I have one question that just came to mind...

Mixing beans ... and brewing mixed coffee.. has anyone done it, or is that a bad idea?
 

Davec

New member
Oct 18, 2006
314
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Old England (UK)
Grinder should be costing you around £380-£700....if you can try to get a doserless grinder such as the Mahlkoneigs. This way you only grind coffee when you need it. If your volumes are good, then a doser grinder will be OK, but never never leave the coffee sitting for hours in the doser!

Coffee must be fresh and in many respects the roasting of the beans is even more important than the absolute quality (even the best coffee will taste rubbish if badly roasted). Take the trouble to absolutely understand what your roaster is doing for you and use a local one if possible. If coffee is fresh, then there should be decent crema on extraction. If you find you have to grind really fine and the crema is not good, suspect the coffee is not as fresh as you think.

e.g. If you get sent medium to Medium dark roasted coffee and there is no oil spotting on the beans and then this develops a few days after you receive it, then the coffee was probably roasted a couple of days ago. There are also other indicators of freshness.

Examine the roast, look for large numbers of quakers, brokens, insect damaged. Check the roast for tipping and scorching or lots of spalling (pop offs). The coffee is the number one ingredient and without reasonable to good quality WELL roasted coffee you are unlikely to make a decent beverage. Avoid fluid bed roasted coffee and go for drum roasted if you can. Some roasters spray water on the beans to quickly cool them in the roasters tray after dumping the batch....avoid roasters who do this if you can (it damages the coffee and adds weight!). Ensure you use a good blend, single origin coffees are OK, but a good blend will give you consistency. Don't go for a blend with robusta coffee, but if it's unavoidable 10% at most, robusta normally gives better crema, but harder to tell if the coffee is fresh. Avoid coffee that's roasted very dark, it goes off quick, usually tastes more of roast rather than coffee and is a common method to disguise cheap beans. Pay twice to 3 times as much for the coffee if you have to.

Then of course all usual stuff, deceent machine, good water, trained barista etc..
 

Davec

New member
Oct 18, 2006
314
0
Old England (UK)
ElPugDiablo said:
Davec said:
Avoid fluid bed roasted coffee and go for drum roasted if you can.
Sivetz fans will not like that.

OK lets qualify that a little.

I spoke to a chap once a sales rep for a very large roaster (who shall remain nameless). He waxed lyrical about the 150kg fluid bed roaster that could roast up a batch in 8 minutes or so and then quenched it with god knows how many Kg of water in a spray system......avoid that type of coffee.

As I have never used a Sivetz I haven't a clue how long they take to roast, and whether the coffee that comes out of them is anything like the large commercial fluid bed roasters (or constant feed systems). What I do know is that drum roasted coffee (to me) always tastes superior to those large commercial fluid bed systems.

Mabye it's because I remember how the microwave and the radio frequency oven was touted as a revolution in rapid cooking. On those science programs we had people cooking bits of chicken in them and stating how although they didn't go brown they were juicy and tender (and cooked in like 5 minutes).........40 years on, we all know how wrong they were. :lol: Perhaps this has altered my perception of fluid bed roasting?

So it's just my opinion, for what it's worth, and if the person wants to buy FB roasted coffee....then they just need to grind a bit finer and not worry about it :wink:
 

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