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Ask A Coffee Fanatic

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Formaldehyde, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I have been roasting my own coffee for well over 10 years now. My old standby, an I-Roast 2, just bit the dust after 3 years of loyal service. Unfortunately, they are now out of business so I had to come up with an alternative.



    I decided to replace it with a Behmor 1600, which is a bit more expensive. But it should last even longer. Here is an excellent video showing its operation:


    Link to video.

    This is one amazing machine. I have always roasted out on my patio in the past due to the smell and the smoke. But the Behmor really eliminates that almost entirely unless you go into the second crack as Josh did in the video. You can roast one pound at a time with this machine. But most of the experts tell you to only do a half-pound at a time, which is twice the capacity of the I-Roast 2.

    If you have any questions about coffee roasting or coffee in general, I'll be happy to answer them. I am far from being an expert on the subject, but I am familiar with the basics.
     
  2. rugbyLEAGUEfan

    rugbyLEAGUEfan Chieftain

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    Is there actually a benefit to self-roasting as opposed to buying? Unless you roast then brew in one go I don't get it? Is it due to the coffee tasting better or enjoyment of the roasting process?
     
  3. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    Wow! This has been a life-altering experience! You roast your own coffee beans! How that must taste. Presumably you have to grind the beans? $299 for the Behmor doesn't seem too expensive, but what else is involved?

    Where does one by raw (green?) coffee beans? Do you have to also order from Sweetmarias? How does it taste, compared to store-bought? Wow!
     
  4. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    What grinder do you use?

    How do you prepare your coffee?

    What do you put in your coffee?

    How long do green bean store for? Self-roasting might fix my problem where I enjoy coffee but don't drink it often enough to justify single-pound bags of pre-roasted beans.
     
  5. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    So this explains your erratic behaviour. ;)
     
  6. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Are you a thrall to caffeine?
     
  7. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

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    What is your country of choice?
     
  8. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Does mixing different types of beans produce a compound effect?
     
  9. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    In the same way mixing booze produces a compound effect.

    So not at all.
     
  10. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    There are numerous benefits. Coffee should be consumed within a week or so of being roasted to achieve the full flavor. That means that unless you visit a specialty shop like Oren's Daily Roast in Manhattan, you are likely buying roasted beans far older than that. And even Oren's doesn't throw out their beans that don't sell, so you really have to pick a type that is consumed in mass quantity to assure the beans are fresh. This is the primary reason why the coffee in specialty shops typically tastes much better than the same beans you can buy in the supermarket. They are constantly running through their inventory and are using beans that have been roasted in the past week or so.

    I doubt anybody really enjoys the roasting process. It is typically done in factories that are far from any discerning noses because it smells, and there is frequently a great deal of smoke produced if you like darker roasts. That is what makes this particular machine so special. I can finally roast inside my house that doesn't even have an external fume hood in the kitchen.

    Green coffee beans are also far cheaper. If you like specialty coffees like I do, you can save a substantial amount of money by roasting yourself. I used to order my roasted beans from Oren's in NY. They charge $19 a pound now for Kenya AA.

    Freshly grinding your own beans is by far the biggest improvement you can make to your own coffee. If you don't get into roasting your own, this is by far the best way to improve your own coffee drinking. You can also save substantial money by fully grinding your own beans because it takes less coffee if you use a really good burr grinder.

    On the consumer market, the grinder of choice among coffee experts is the Solis Maestro:

    http://www.coffeegeek.com/proreviews/detailed/solismaestro



    I have had mine for about 8 years now. While it costs far more than the cheapo ones you can buy at any department story, it will likely last you a lifetime if you replace the burr now and then. I just replaced mine recently.

    I would estimate that it takes 30-40% less coffee than it does with the cheaper grinders if you grind it fairly fine and use a drip coffee system.

    You can buy the green beans at a variety of places. When I first started, I used Sweet Maria's exclusively. There were very few places where you could get green coffee beans back then.

    Then, one day they were completely out of Kenya AA beans, as they currently are. This is by far my favorite coffee so I desperately searched elsewhere for a source. I stumbled upon a local coffee roaster that was selling them for a song, didn't charge sales tax if they shipped, and which also offered far less expensive shipping. Unfortunately, they have since raised all their prices to be more competitive with the rest. But they are still typically less expensive than Sweet Maria's.

    I purchased the Behmor at Roastmasters because they offered free shipping. I see they offer even cheaper prices for Kenya AA in quantity, so I will likely use them for my next order if their shipping is reasonable.

    It seems that more and more internet sites are offering green beans these days.

    Green coffee beans can last for years if they are stored properly, so there is no problem with buying in quantity. I usually buy 20-25 pounds at a time.

    I have answered some of your questions above.

    I try to roast the beans at least 2 days ahead of time so they will have sufficient time to "cure".

    I grind the roasted beans immediately before making the coffee.

    I used to use automated drip coffee makers but I found they don't last all that long. Part of the reason may be that the water where I live has an abnormally high calcium content. But even when I lived in other areas, I found that coffee makers tend not to last more than a few years. So I switched about 5 years ago to using an electric pot for boiling water and a large Melitta coffee cone that can make 10 cups at a time, and which uses #6 filters:



    But I only use 4 cups of water and drip it into a stainless steel thermos. The thermos will keep the coffee warm enough to be enjoyable for about 4 hours. I usually limit myself to those 4 cups a day which I drink with my breakfast. If I feel the need for a cup during the day, I use the single-cup Melitta cone. I have my grinder set to about 4 notches from the finest it can grind, and one full cycle of the automatic grinding operation makes just the right amount for my tastes for that much water.

    Roasting your own coffee would indeed solve the problem of coffee shelf life. You could even get the Freshroast or Nesco coffee roasters that make even less than a quarter pound per batch. But if you like your beans darker, you will probably need to do so in a garage or on a patio due to the smoke. And I don't particularly like the odor of roasting coffee, although the Behmor limits this to a great extent. If you have a fume hood that vents to the outdoors, the former will probably be no problem.

    I used to drink coffee excessively when I was young. Now I just use it to get my motor running in the morning and for an occasional pick-me-up during the afternoon. I won't deny that caffeine is a very potent drug, but like all others it is just a matter of proper moderation.

    Coffee does have more caffeine than tea does. But you can get the same effect from simply drinking a bit more tea, or even drinking most soft drinks.

    I think I covered this one with the above response.
     
  11. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    You really did not need to respond to my joke comment about coffee.
     
  12. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    Kenya AA is by far my favorite, but I must admit I've never had the outrageously expensive Jamaica Blue Mountain. It has a citrus / slightly acidic / chocolately flavor that is completely absent from Columbian Supremo, for instance. But others prefer the smoother taste of coffees from that region. They are by far the most popular in the US.

    As Zelig posted above, no. I think just about any coffee that isn't decaffeinated has essentially the same amount of caffeine. But mixing different beans is quite popular to modify the taste. Oren's Daily Roast that I mentioned above has an excellent special blend that I like almost as much as I do Kenya AA.

    Well, you weren't the only one. And it frequently comes up in any discussion about coffee, so it bears mentioning.
     
  13. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

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    I never liked acidic coffee, I'm more into the richer flavors. With that said, I like Kenyan and Sumatran coffees. I once tried Ethiopian, and it was pretty good.
     
  14. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    There is a vast difference between acidic coffee which usually results from being left on a hot plate for far too long, and coffee that has a slightly citrus acid taste. Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Sumatran coffees are actually examples of the latter.
     
  15. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

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    I don't drink coffee when it's too hot (my tongue is a coward), so that might explain some of my bad experiences.
     
  16. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    No, its not that it is too hot. Although that is bad for different reasons as you suggest. McDonalds used to keep their coffee super-heated because it lasts longer that way without becoming acidic.

    You can usually tell right away in a restaurant if the coffee has been brewed in the past 30 minutes or so, or it has been sitting on the hot plate that they all use to keep the coffee warm enough to drink. There is so much acid that you typically need milk to try to overcome the bitterness enough to even drink it.

    This is the primary reason why stainless steel flasks are so invaluable. There is no need for a hot plate to keep the coffee warm. If your drip coffee maker has a hot plate, as they all do that don't use stainless steel containers, you must drink it in the first hour or so. With a stainless steel flask or carafe, it will still stay warm enough to drink for hours. If you do use a drip coffee maker spend the few extra dollars for the stainless steel carafe, or transfer it into a stainless steel container before it is ruined.
     
  17. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Does coffee always have to be hot to savor it? I don't like my taste buds getting put out of commission for a day becase they got scalded.
     
  18. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    There are other consumables with inactive-yet-potent ingredients that accentuate each other when compounded, but good to know.
     
  19. Virote_Considon

    Virote_Considon The Great Dictator

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    My bladder doesn't allow me to drink coffee anymore. :sad:

    What do?
     
  20. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    Coffee should never be so hot that it can scald your taste buds. Just waiting long enough for the water to work its way through the ground coffee and pass into the carafe should cool it almost nearly enough for it to never scald you, even though it may still be too hot to enjoy.

    Many people enjoy iced coffee though. Give it a try if warm coffee is still too hot for your personal tastes.

    Wow. That's a shame. I certainly hope that never happens to me.
     

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