Introduction and a question about Stumptown's "Holler Mountain" Coffee


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Jun 4, 2021
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Hello all,

My name is Mark and I began drinking coffee later in life, which was about three years ago at age 45. Up until a few months ago, I just drank what my Mother - in - law had on hand, which was Starbuck's Sumatra. It seemed okay, for roughly 16 oz of coffee, I would add two teaspoons of sugar and a good amount of half and half :) Earlier this year, I began to think that, despite what I was adding to my coffee, it still seemed bland. Around the same time, a friend told me he started drinking his coffee black. I agreed with his take in that, one is masking the true flavor of coffee once you start adding stuff to it. To put things in motion, I began buying either medium or light roasted coffee and attempting to drink it with less additions. Giving up the half and half was easy for me, as I soon realized that even a drop of it can really alter the flavor of coffee and not necessarily in a good way. I still needed the sugar however, but now only one teaspoon for 16 oz. After trying about a dozen coffees, my current favorites are Wicked Joe's "Bella Maria" and Gevalia's "Guatemala" single origin, both pre ground.

Now onto my question, my buddy recently told me his new favorite is Stumptown's "Holler Mountain". So I immediately went out to Whole Foods and bought a bag with a very recent roasted date. (At this time I also bought a hand grinder as these are whole beans). Thus far, I've used a course, med, and fine grind, but this coffee, drunk black, just seems mediocre to me and what I find very odd, is that once I add sugar, it seems to take on a slightly sour flavor! This brand and particular blend gets great reviews on Amazon, plus my buddy really likes it, so I feel I am doing something wrong. I will mention that I use a Mr. Coffee while he uses a French Press.

So, if anyone could point out my missteps and/or comment on the coffees I have mentioned, or recommend a favorite, I'm all ears.



Just wanted to add that I'm using 1.5 tablespoons of coffee to 16oz of water
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I remember someone once said: "As long as there is coffee in the world, how bad can things be." He is definitely a big fan of coffee. Famous coffees that I like are Peet's Coffee, Costa Coffee, the first time we tried it we loved it from the first try. Personally, I like to try different coffees. I usually drink coffee in the morning, before going to work. In addition, coffee can help me feel less tired and increase my energy. Coffee also has other benefits such as: reducing the risk of diabetes, providing essential nutrients, helping you burn fat, …
Mark: The Sumatra from Starbucks is much much darker than Stumptowns Holler Mountain, I believe. With Starbucks dark roasts it's easy to get the flavor out no matter how you brew it, with lighter roasts things get trickier. You need hot water around 205 degrees Fahrenheit and an appropriate grind. Too coarse of a grind and it will taste sour, too fine of a grind and you will run into issues with it not brewing properly. I would suggest using more coffee to water, it's common to use 2 Tablespoons (not heaping) for every 8oz of water. Grind medium/fine. If you don't like that it is one of two things: your brewer or the coffee itself. You might have more of a taste for darker roasts so seek those out. If you ever want to try brewing a french press use a medium/coarse grind and let it sit for at least 4 minutes, then stir it gently and press.
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If you are going to get into it you have to get into it. Get a digital scale. They are around $20.00 sometimes less. Measure your grams of beans going into the grinder and measure the amount of water that will hit the grounds. Don't rely on spoons or on the sides of carafes or pitchers. Grams to grams. Should start at something like 16 to one for a pour over or drip machine.

For a dark roast you want to grind a little coarser but use a little more for the same amount of water.

I think if you take on this bit of rigour you will find lots of coffee brands taste better. More importantly you can more accurately change your recipe if the particular brand is not to your liking.

I haven't tried Stumptown's coffees but they are on my list.