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Mojo Hand

Coffee/Espresso hipsters

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Whoa, Aphelion is bringing the knowledge.  That was awesome.

So for my home brew coffee, which is a pourover through a perforated stainless steel cone, I've had my best luck with Kenyan AA.  What other beans and roasts might be in that ballpark?

I need to try better water and maybe go back to a Chemex filter.  I broke my Chemex caraffe.

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7 hours ago, thrillhammer said:

$17 for 12 oz seems kinda expensive to me.  $17/lb would even be too pricey in my book.  

$17 for 12 oz is on the high end, but fresh roasted specialty coffee is going to be high compared to typical grocery store coffee.  It is usually anywhere from $15-$22/lb.  However, this is much cheaper than k cups, which are closer to a whopping $40/lb.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/

However, I think fresh roasted specialty coffee is worth the extra you pay.  Here are some rough numbers:

If you stick with the 18:1 mass ratio for brewing, you will need 20 g of beans for a 12 ounce cup of coffee.  This comes out to about 23 cups (using 12 oz cups) of coffee per lb.  So even at $19/lb (and you can find some fantastic coffees at $19/lb), you are only paying 83¢ per 12 ounce cup.  If you buy grocery store coffee at half the price, you only save about 40¢ per cup of coffee.  If you work from the house and drink 3 pots a day, this does add up.  But most consumers only drink a cup or two a day from the house.  So for about an extra $26 per month (using 2 cups per day on average for 30 days), you can get top quality, micro-lot/family farmed, fresh roasted coffee instead of low grade plantation coffee that was roasted last year.  Compared to getting quality wine, liquor, and tobacco, you can get quality coffee for much less money in comparison. 

 

7 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Whoa, Aphelion is bringing the knowledge.  That was awesome.

So for my home brew coffee, which is a pourover through a perforated stainless steel cone, I've had my best luck with Kenyan AA.  What other beans and roasts might be in that ballpark?

I need to try better water and maybe go back to a Chemex filter.  I broke my Chemex caraffe.

For the water, brew with some Volvic or Crystal Geyser water and see if you notice a difference.  If the water you are using is high in pH or high in bicarbonates, it will make the coffee taste flat and/or chalky.  

As for the Kenyan AA, that is a coffee which is known for its great acidity.  If you like it (I also think its great), then try these types:  Yemen Mocha (it's usually pricey), Ethiopian Harrar, Guatemala Highland Huehuetenango, Ethiopia Amaro Natural, Bali Kintamani Natural.  

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dude, it's way too early in the morning for that much math, but i do appreciate you spinning it in a different light.  when you break it down to the price per cup it does seem worth it.  on a side note, who the fuck is drinking three pots of coffee a day?  

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On 4/5/2018 at 8:27 AM, thrillhammer said:

dude, it's way too early in the morning for that much math, but i do appreciate you spinning it in a different light.  when you break it down to the price per cup it does seem worth it.  on a side note, who the fuck is drinking three pots of coffee a day?  

There's some major coffee addicts out there that always have a cup nearby.  Thunderlounge is drinking more than the ground coffee/caffeine equivalent of 3 pots a day with his 2-3 mammoth 8-10 shot lattes.  I used to have this pair that would come to the shop and order a pitcher of straight espresso.  At first we told them we have no pitcher to serve espresso from; they seemed confused why we wouldn't have one, like it was a common way to consume it.  We went and bought a special pitcher just for them.  We'd load that thing up with numerous double shots and they would sit at the table and pour espresso after espresso like it was green tea.  

 

On 4/5/2018 at 11:33 AM, Mojo Hand said:

Just looked it up and Nespresso is freaking $51/pound.  Damn. 

Pods are the worst thing to happen to coffee.  They are expensive, not very good quality, and very environmentally wasteful.  Go to any office that has pod coffee and their trash bags will be filled with discarded pods.  Their only advantage is convenience.

Pods are the product of corporate marketing genius.  They've figured out a way to take garbage plantation coffee that they buy for $1-2 per pound and sell it for twice the amount of some of the world's best coffees.  It's the coffee equivalent of taking the cheapest pouch tobacco on the market, putting it into individual sized capsules, and selling it for twice the amount of hand rolled Cuban cigars.  

 

23 hours ago, Mojo Hand said:

Wait, does that mean a $1.75 shot of espresso at Starbucks works out to $100/lb?   Can that be right?? 

I haven't done the math, but that's probably about right.  But when you buy an espresso from a shop, what you are really paying for is labor and shop rent & overhead.  The coffee beans are behind those two things in terms of contributing cost.  It's like comparing steak from a butcher vs a restaurant.  A restaurant could never compete on a per pound price basis because the cost structure is completely different.  

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48 minutes ago, Aphelion said:

I haven't done the math, but that's probably about right.  But when you buy an espresso from a shop, what you are really paying for is labor and shop rent & overhead.  The coffee beans are behind those two things in terms of contributing cost.  It's like comparing steak from a butcher vs a restaurant.  A restaurant could never compete on a per pound price basis because the cost structure is completely different.  

No doubt, but I'm guessing your shop is better than Starbucks.  Hell, the Nespresso made better espresso than Starbucks (though not better foam).   And after your advice, my Breville Express is making better on both, though I still have a ton of room for improvement.   From a good shop, with quality beans, machines, and baristas, the cost is definitely worth it.  But not Starbucks IMO.  The first time I went to a real coffee shop was a revelation. 

Edited by Mojo Hand

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I had the Keurig Rivo and have replaced it with a Nespresso Latissima. I almost exclusively drink lattes. The Rivo was pretty good but the milk frother didn't seem to be producing as much heat as when it started. Initially, I liked the Latissima but I've noticed it just seems off when it comes to flavor richness -- but it does a good job on the foamed milk. I'm not making nearly as many lattes at the house as I did when I had the Rivo. I think I'm going to try the special water mentioned above because my lattes just don't seem as creamy as they used to. At some point I'd like to upgrade to something like the Breville. I was "gifted" a Capressio (or something like that) when a guy who worked for my dad left the firm and didn't want to take the machine with him but I haven't tried to use it. I've fallen back on the convenience of the other machines.

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3 hours ago, Aphelion said:

Thunderlounge is drinking more than the ground coffee/caffeine equivalent of 3 pots a day with his 2-3 mammoth 8-10 shot lattes.

 

Eh, I do aight.

 

 

3 hours ago, Aphelion said:

Pods are the worst thing to happen to coffee.  They are expensive, not very good quality, and very environmentally wasteful.  Go to any office that has pod coffee and their trash bags will be filled with discarded pods.  Their only advantage is convenience.

 

I have a Keurig for a quick cup on the run. However, I ground my own and use one of the "fill your own" pods. Using one in that sense I can tolerate. K-cups? Oh fuck no.

 

 

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Use a Hario V60 pour over, it's a simple way to make coffee for the three people in the house that like their brew at different strengths. Been getting my beans from the closest  roasters to me; Greater Goods, Summer Moon, Austin Java and  Third Coast. There may be others that I haven't discovered yet but pretty happy with these. Nice to have a good source of info on all things java related, Surly delivers. 

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Mr. Aphelion, you may have already covered this and I apologize if I missed it but you mentioned "traditional Euro espresso", can you be more specific on what that is exactly? Because that's the only place I've ever had espresso and I liked it. A lot.

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On 4/6/2018 at 2:10 PM, Mojo Hand said:

No doubt, but I'm guessing your shop is better than Starbucks.  Hell, the Nespresso made better espresso than Starbucks (though not better foam).   And after your advice, my Breville Express is making better on both, though I still have a ton of room for improvement.   From a good shop, with quality beans, machines, and baristas, the cost is definitely worth it.  But not Starbucks IMO.  The first time I went to a real coffee shop was a revelation. 

I hate to be overly critical of how others produce and consume coffee, but I'm not a big fan of mass produced fast food coffee chains.  Mostly because as they grow, these monster chains continue to reduce the quality of their base ingredients while maintaining or increasing their price point.  So consumers pay similar prices at the large chains as they would for top quality specialty coffee, but what they are getting is burnt mass produced coffee.

 

On 4/6/2018 at 4:14 PM, C-Man said:

I had the Keurig Rivo and have replaced it with a Nespresso Latissima. I almost exclusively drink lattes. The Rivo was pretty good but the milk frother didn't seem to be producing as much heat as when it started. Initially, I liked the Latissima but I've noticed it just seems off when it comes to flavor richness -- but it does a good job on the foamed milk. I'm not making nearly as many lattes at the house as I did when I had the Rivo. I think I'm going to try the special water mentioned above because my lattes just don't seem as creamy as they used to. At some point I'd like to upgrade to something like the Breville. I was "gifted" a Capressio (or something like that) when a guy who worked for my dad left the firm and didn't want to take the machine with him but I haven't tried to use it. I've fallen back on the convenience of the other machines.

If the steam production seems to be dropping off in a machine, remove the steam wand and clean it thoroughly with a cleaner designed to break down milk residue.  That stuff can be hard to spot and is pretty tenacious.  Do a thoroughly cleaning and brush out/scrape the internal steam flow path and steam tip/ports and you may find that the steam production is like new again. 

 

On 4/6/2018 at 4:40 PM, thunderlounge said:

I have a Keurig for a quick cup on the run. However, I ground my own and use one of the "fill your own" pods. Using one in that sense I can tolerate. K-cups? Oh fuck no.

Pods are incredibly convenient and I don't have any objection to this type of system in and of itself; although you often don't have as much control overall mass ratio and extraction time as some other methods.  But if you use the fill your own pod system and put in good coffee, as you do at the house, then you certainly can get good coffee from this brewing system.  My objection is against the crazy mark up on low quality, old roasted coffee.  

 

11 hours ago, El Diablo said:

Mr. Aphelion, you may have already covered this and I apologize if I missed it but you mentioned "traditional Euro espresso", can you be more specific on what that is exactly? Because that's the only place I've ever had espresso and I liked it. A lot.

Traditional Italian espresso is characterized  by the following:  short volume shots (typically 2/3 - 1 oz), lower coffee mass doses (6-7 grams per shot), dark roast profiles,  blends of non identified coffee beans (not single origins), little to no sourness or pronounced acidity, smooth & balanced overall flavor with some bitterness on the aftertaste (it is common for consumers to mix in sugar vigorously to cancel any bitterness), heavy body (i.e. good mouthfeel, high viscosity).  If a shot is mixed with milk, it is typically a very short drink, such as a 4-6 oz cappuccino.  

Specially coffee in the US typically offers larger shot sizes (anywhere from 1-2 oz), much larger doses per shot (15-23 g), lighter roast profiles, single origin coffees (or a blend of a few SO's which are often identified), and much brighter acidity with the corresponding floral and fruit flavors.  The US specialty market likes big, bold shots that highlight the characteristics of a bean's origin.  Mixed drinks are often larger, with 12-16 oz lattes being common, although 4-8 oz drinks are becoming more popular.   

I started out with the intent to perfectly replicate Italian espresso, but consumers in the US tend to want much larger drinks and bolder flavors.  If you serve them a 3/4 oz espresso, they will wonder why you served them a thimble of coffee.  If you mix that espresso into a 12-16 oz latte, it will taste like a cup of heated milk.  Even the US customers who travel a lot and are really into espresso often are drawn to the bright and complex coffees like a Ethiopian natural that tastes like blueberry jam.   I also like bold and complex espressos and I love the naturals with all their berry flavors, but a massive dosed light roasted SO is much different than traditional Italian espresso.  It's not a matter of quality or a right or wrong way to serve it; they both have their advantages.  But it's hard to set up a shop that serves both styles and so you are forced to pick how you will serve it.

Edited by Guest

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56 minutes ago, Aphelion said:

My objection is against the crazy mark up on low quality, old roasted coffee

 

Absolutely. It’s fine with your own roast/grind when time is short and you need the gogo juice, but definitely agree the pods are utter shit.

 

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this is a corporate shot but the crema profile - including the guiness-like foam - is identical to how we get  it at home

A-0070-zoom-1448x892.jpg

average cost of a grand cru here costs less than <50c each.  (compared to say around 90c in a cafe in italy, up to 1.50 or 2.50 served in restaurants.)

*** 

cannot be compared to bulk coffee on a weight basis.  because you are not buying bags of beans and grinding and dumping spoonfuls into your aerofrenchdrippress*. 

50c for a serving is a stonking deal considering there is no measuring and tamping and cleaning and etc.  

nespresso providers containers for recycling, shipped to them or dropped off at the stores.

****

*by the way, there are reusable pods if you want to fill and use your own beans....

**also, starbucks espresso tastes like sour ass.

Edited by 52-80

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I live across the street from Roasting Plant Coffee.  https://roastingplant.com

Really delicious and strong 'drip' coffee with crema on top.  After spend buckets of $$ on coffee everyday from there, we moved into a french press with their coffee.  Then tried pour over, then finally got lazy and settle on a Bonavita machine that makes damn good coffee for a simple machine.  

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Thanks for the explanation re: Italian espresso. It's about what I guessed, coffee for the masses Italia style. I like old fashioned American style too so I'm not surprised as far as my liking the Italian, I'm cheap and have an undeveloped palate.

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On 3/28/2018 at 8:04 AM, Mojo Hand said:

Recently got a Breville Express and it's rocking my world.  Plus I have a beard so this is apparently me now. 

Will someone kindly point me to the neg button?

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I don't like ironic references to historical nostalgia, though, so I have that going for me.   But I'm all in on espresso. 

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I just want to say, for the record, that Kahlua Especial makes a damn fine Caucasian.  

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2 hours ago, zork said:

I just want to say, for the record, that Kahlua Especial makes a damn fine Caucasian.  

So much racism.

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I took a big gulp before adding the half and half.  The black russian, in its own way, was very tasty(again the Especial gave it an extra coffee punch) as well before adding the creamy goodness to fulfill 'the dude's' favorite concoction (tipping a few today in memory of the sainted Augie G(RIP)).

Edited by zork

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On 3/31/2018 at 8:05 PM, Mojo Hand said:

This thread has already greatly improved my espresso making.  I'm still waiting for the kitchen scale to be delivered, but I went finer and added more and got a 30 second extraction that was so much better than the shit I was making before.

How soon after they're roasted do they come?   I need some sort of Internet delivery.

Probably already answered, but you get them a few days after roasting.  I have bought from them for over 5 years on and off. 

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On 4/8/2018 at 10:01 PM, Aphelion said:

 

Aphelion, when you talk extraction time, do you start the clock when the coffee starts dripping, or when you press the button, including the pre-infusion phase before the drips start?

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On 4/4/2018 at 5:02 PM, Aphelion said:

$17 for 12 oz is on the high end, but fresh roasted specialty coffee is going to be high compared to typical grocery store coffee.  It is usually anywhere from $15-$22/lb.  However, this is much cheaper than k cups, which are closer to a whopping $40/lb.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/

However, I think fresh roasted specialty coffee is worth the extra you pay.  Here are some rough numbers:

If you stick with the 18:1 mass ratio for brewing, you will need 20 g of beans for a 12 ounce cup of coffee.  This comes out to about 23 cups (using 12 oz cups) of coffee per lb.  So even at $19/lb (and you can find some fantastic coffees at $19/lb), you are only paying 83¢ per 12 ounce cup.  If you buy grocery store coffee at half the price, you only save about 40¢ per cup of coffee.  If you work from the house and drink 3 pots a day, this does add up.  But most consumers only drink a cup or two a day from the house.  So for about an extra $26 per month (using 2 cups per day on average for 30 days), you can get top quality, micro-lot/family farmed, fresh roasted coffee instead of low grade plantation coffee that was roasted last year.  Compared to getting quality wine, liquor, and tobacco, you can get quality coffee for much less money in comparison. 

 

For the water, brew with some Volvic or Crystal Geyser water and see if you notice a difference.  If the water you are using is high in pH or high in bicarbonates, it will make the coffee taste flat and/or chalky.  

As for the Kenyan AA, that is a coffee which is known for its great acidity.  If you like it (I also think its great), then try these types:  Yemen Mocha (it's usually pricey), Ethiopian Harrar, Guatemala Highland Huehuetenango, Ethiopia Amaro Natural, Bali Kintamani Natural.  

Yeah, but the K-cups are so much better for the environment 

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On 4/9/2018 at 7:11 AM, 52-80 said:

this is a corporate shot but the crema profile - including the guiness-like foam - is identical to how we get  it at home

A-0070-zoom-1448x892.jpg

average cost of a grand cru here costs less than <50c each.  (compared to say around 90c in a cafe in italy, up to 1.50 or 2.50 served in restaurants.)

*** 

cannot be compared to bulk coffee on a weight basis.  because you are not buying bags of beans and grinding and dumping spoonfuls into your aerofrenchdrippress*. 

50c for a serving is a stonking deal considering there is no measuring and tamping and cleaning and etc.  

nespresso providers containers for recycling, shipped to them or dropped off at the stores.

****

*by the way, there are reusable pods if you want to fill and use your own beans....

**also, starbucks espresso tastes like sour ass.

If you are happy with the product and the price level, then this is what ultimately matters; it's never my intent to condescend someone's preferred coffee type. 

In the case of nespresso, my objection is that they charge incredibly high prices for 5 grams of average coffee (crema layer is not an indicator of the quality of the coffee bean).  Even compared with the pricing of a shot of espresso at most specialty coffee shops, the price per gram is similar to what nespresso charges for their pods.  At my shop, we are around 13c/gram for an epsresso, while nespresso is anywhere from 10-14c/gram.   Most specialty coffee shops are paying anywhere from 2-4 times the price per pound for their green coffee; if you were to do a cupping with Q80+ specialty coffee compared to the lower scored coffee bought in bulk by the major consumers, you would immediately notice the monumental difference.  These shops also use optimized water produced from an elaborate water system, they have high end grinders to fresh-grind the coffee before preparation, calibrated machines that optimize the extraction process, and they have trained labor executing the process to serve you a final product.  They offer all of this, which produces a vastly superior end product, and yet they offer it at a similar price per gram of coffee as nespresso. 

I agree with you on starbucks.  I do not like their espresso at all.  I think it's more astringent and excessively bitter than sour, though. 

 

6 hours ago, Mojo Hand said:

Aphelion, when you talk extraction time, do you start the clock when the coffee starts dripping, or when you press the button, including the pre-infusion phase before the drips start?

Extraction time does not include the pre-infusion phase.  At the shop, we do a 6 second pre-infusion at 1.5 bar and then start the 25-30 second extraction process, which starts at 9 bar and slowly decreases during extraction.  I would do anywhere from a 3-10 second pre-infusion.  Play around with it and see what works best on your machine.  

Edited by Guest

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23 hours ago, Aphelion said:

If you are happy with the product and the price level, then this is what ultimately matters; it's never my intent to condescend someone's preferred coffee type. 

In the case of nespresso, my objection is that they charge incredibly high prices for 5 grams of average coffee (crema layer is not an indicator of the quality of the coffee bean).  Even compared with the pricing of a shot of espresso at most specialty coffee shops, the price per gram is similar to what nespresso charges for their pods.  At my shop, we are around 13c/gram for an epsresso, while nespresso is anywhere from 10-14c/gram.   Most specialty coffee shops are paying anywhere from 2-4 times the price per pound for their green coffee; if you were to do a cupping with Q80+ specialty coffee compared to the lower scored coffee bought in bulk by the major consumers, you would immediately notice the monumental difference.  These shops also use optimized water produced from an elaborate water system, they have high end grinders to fresh-grind the coffee before preparation, calibrated machines that optimize the extraction process, and they have trained labor executing the process to serve you a final product.  They offer all of this, which produces a vastly superior end product, and yet they offer it at a similar price per gram of coffee as nespresso. 

I agree with you on starbucks.  I do not like their espresso at all.  I think it's more astringent and excessively bitter than sour, though. 

 

Extraction time does not include the pre-infusion phase.  At the shop, we do a 6 second pre-infusion at 1.5 bar and then start the 25-30 second extraction process, which starts at 9 bar and slowly decreases during extraction.  I would do anywhere from a 3-10 second pre-infusion.  Play around with it and see what works best on your machine.  

Do you have any opinion on Coffee liqueurs?

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15 hours ago, zork said:

Do you have any opinion on Coffee liqueurs?

No, I seldom drink coffee liqueurs.  I used to drink correttos, which is espresso mixed with liquor, typically either grappa or brandy.  I would usually mix them with whiskey or bourbon.  Although I really like them, I  haven't drunk correttos in a while; I had some 4 loko type experiences that I'd rather not repeat. 

Edited by Guest

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On 4/11/2018 at 3:08 AM, Aphelion said:

If you are happy with the product and the price level, then this is what ultimately matters; it's never my intent to condescend someone's preferred coffee type. 

In the case of nespresso, my objection is that they charge incredibly high prices for 5 grams of average coffee (crema layer is not an indicator of the quality of the coffee bean).  Even compared with the pricing of a shot of espresso at most specialty coffee shops, the price per gram is similar to what nespresso charges for their pods.  At my shop, we are around 13c/gram for an epsresso, while nespresso is anywhere from 10-14c/gram.   Most specialty coffee shops are paying anywhere from 2-4 times the price per pound for their green coffee; if you were to do a cupping with Q80+ specialty coffee compared to the lower scored coffee bought in bulk by the major consumers, you would immediately notice the monumental difference.  These shops also use optimized water produced from an elaborate water system, they have high end grinders to fresh-grind the coffee before preparation, calibrated machines that optimize the extraction process, and they have trained labor executing the process to serve you a final product.  They offer all of this, which produces a vastly superior end product, and yet they offer it at a similar price per gram of coffee as nespresso. 

I agree with you on starbucks.  I do not like their espresso at all.  I think it's more astringent and excessively bitter than sour, though. 

 

Extraction time does not include the pre-infusion phase.  At the shop, we do a 6 second pre-infusion at 1.5 bar and then start the 25-30 second extraction process, which starts at 9 bar and slowly decreases during extraction.  I would do anywhere from a 3-10 second pre-infusion.  Play around with it and see what works best on your machine.  

Crema does not an espresso make, but for me it's an essential part of one.  Like a perfectly cooked interior on a steak or brisket...still needs a crust or bark to make it complete.

The price comparison goes against direct competitors, which are home machines, particularly the pod systems of douwe Egberts, Keurig, and all the others out there.  Comparisons cannot be made against shops, unless the shops deliver a finished product to homes, where I consume one before work, after work, after dinner, on a whim, etc.  Also, not all shops have 'elaborate' water systems or trained labor.  That's really a bit or miss.  Even in Italy.  

To me with Nespresso you pay for convenience.  At a shop you pay for the space.  And where I live is the rare case I pay for the drinks itself, where there are concoctions I don't bother making at home (Fiaker, Franziskaner, Maria Theresia, etc)

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For the regular espresso drinkers, I'm working on a new roast and I have a few samples that I'm looking for some feedback on.  If you make espresso from the house and would like to try it and give me some feedback, PM me an address I'll mail you a sample.  You can give the feedback in this thread or via PM; either is fine with me, but I'll of course keep any of your information private. 

Edited by Guest

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10 minutes ago, Aphelion said:

For the regular espresso drinkers, I'm working on a new roast and I have a few samples that I'm looking for some feedback on.  If you make espresso from the house and would like to try it and give me some feedback, PM me an address I'll mail you a sample.  You can give the feedback in this thread or via PM; either is fine with me, but I'll of course keep any of your information private. 

I'd love to, but I've been doing such a terrible job with my home machine lately that my feedback would be useless until I get some consistency with my skills.   I'm making good beans come out bad.  To my great shame, my wife has gone back to the nespresso.

Speaking of, I've been getting very sour results lately with locally roasted beans.   As I understand it, that means I should go finer to get more extraction time, but I've gone from 5 to 3 on the dial (1 being finest, 10 being coarsest), and I'm still getting 15-18 second extraction time with 20g.   Do I need to tamp down harder or something?

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41 minutes ago, Mojo Hand said:

I'd love to, but I've been doing such a terrible job with my home machine lately that my feedback would be useless until I get some consistency with my skills.   I'm making good beans come out bad.  To my great shame, my wife has gone back to the nespresso.

Speaking of, I've been getting very sour results lately with locally roasted beans.   As I understand it, that means I should go finer to get more extraction time, but I've gone from 5 to 3 on the dial (1 being finest, 10 being coarsest), and I'm still getting 15-18 second extraction time with 20g.   Do I need to tamp down harder or something?

You need to grind finer.  With many home grinders, you often have to grind at or near their finest setting.  Some actually can't grind fine enough to achieve proper extraction time. A grown man pushing down firmly on a tamper normally produces plenty of force.  If you are concerned about it, put a bathroom scale under the PF when you tamp and see how much force you are applying.  20 lbs is plenty.  

Short extractions can produce less balanced shots, but the sour flavor may also be a result of light roasted, high acid coffee.  You may just prefer the darker roast profiles that are common with traditional espresso.  Or it could just be an underdeveloped roast.  I've had some coffees that, based on the particular bean's characteristics, were roasted way too light for espresso and tasted damn near like sucking on a lemon.  

Edited by Guest

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On 3/28/2018 at 10:13 PM, Aphelion said:

Water - Coffee is made from just two ingredients:  coffee beans and water.  Every type of unmixed brewed/extracted coffee beverage is over 95% water.  Many people ignore it for some reason.  The science behind what makes for ideal water is actually very complex.  I'm not going to type out all the details because it would be a novel.  If you think your water might be an issue, I'll save you some time and say just brew with Volvic water and see if you notice a difference.  There is nothing magic about Volvic - it is just a commonly available water that has all the properties in the range suited for great coffee preparation and equipment protection (i.e. it won't scale).  DO NOT use straight Texas tap water in an espresso machine.  It will scale.  

http://volvic-na.com/

(disclaimer: I have no commercial investment or interest in Volvic and no affiliation with them). 

 

 

Just walked past Volvic at Whole Foods the other day, remembered this thread and picked up a big bottle. Used it for the first time in my Lattissima this morning and it worked great (I think). Is the purpose of using something like Volvic to improve the taste or is it simply to keep the machine from scaling ultimately?

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45 minutes ago, Aphelion said:

You need to grind finer.  With many home grinders, you often have to grind at or near their finest setting.  Some actually can't grind fine enough to achieve proper extraction time. A grown man pushing down firmly on a tamper normally produces plenty of force.  If you are concerned about it, put a bathroom scale under the PF when you tamp and see how much force you are applying.  20 lbs is plenty.  

Short extractions can produce less balanced shots, but the sour flavor may also be a result of light roasted, high acid coffee.  You may just prefer the darker roast profiles that are common with traditional espresso.  Or it could just be an underdeveloped roast.  I've had some coffees that, based on the particular bean's characteristics, were roasted way too light for espresso and tasted damn near like sucking on a lemon.  

It wasn't sour at the coffee shop I got it from, so it must be me.   (Actually, I thought it was slightly too bitter, but I had already gotten into a long conversation with the guy at the shop so I felt obligated to buy the beans).   Thanks for the info -- I was scared to go that fine, but I'll try it out.   It's helpful to know it isn't my tamping, as I'm definitely in the 20-30 lbs range.

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On 4/3/2018 at 10:27 AM, 'stache said:

I use this and am really happy with it. My compromise between weak shitty k-cup coffee and single serve fast convenience. I can buy grind and use my own beans and it brews in a few minutes and easy to clean. I’m buying a French press for the weekends for a stronger brew when I have more time.

4d55930d60d57c2d7404bf1a13f41290.jpg

I can confirm Bunn makes damn good coffee products, got a dripper.  Shit every diner in America uses Bunn.

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22 hours ago, C-Man said:

Just walked past Volvic at Whole Foods the other day, remembered this thread and picked up a big bottle. Used it for the first time in my Lattissima this morning and it worked great (I think). Is the purpose of using something like Volvic to improve the taste or is it simply to keep the machine from scaling ultimately?

Both.  Having water with the right balance of numerous properties will make much better tasting coffee than water that isn't well suited for coffee extraction.  There are many spring waters and tap waters that taste great when drinking straight, but they make terrible coffee.  So there is more to it than simply not having dirty or noticeably poor tasting water.  To give a couple of examples, waters with high pH or high alkalinity from bicarbonates can taste fine on their own, and many people prefer drinking high pH waters, but they make flat and/or chalky tasting coffee.  So if your tap water is not well-suited for coffee preparation, switching to volvic can make a big difference on the flavor of your espresso and drip coffee.  

Good water will also protect your machine from scale buildup (which is a potential problem for any machine, home or commercial) and long term issues with your boiler (this is mostly a concern for shop machines which have heated water in their boilers for years). 

http://users.rcn.com/erics/Water Quality/Water FAQ.pdf

 

20 hours ago, thunderlounge said:

@Aphelion What’s the profile of your new roast? If it’s up to/just past 2nd crack, I might give it a try. If it’s too dark I wouldn’t be a good test subject. 

It's well below 2nd crack.  I don't normally use the terms, but probably what would be classified as a city roast.  

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4 hours ago, Aphelion said:

Both.  Having water with the right balance of numerous properties will make much better tasting coffee than water that isn't well suited for coffee extraction.  There are many spring waters and tap waters that taste great when drinking straight, but they make terrible coffee.  So there is more to it than simply not having dirty or noticeably poor tasting water.  To give a couple of examples, waters with high pH or high alkalinity from bicarbonates can taste fine on their own, and many people prefer drinking high pH waters, but they make flat and/or chalky tasting coffee.  So if your tap water is not well-suited for coffee preparation, switching to volvic can make a big difference on the flavor of your espresso and drip coffee.  

Good water will also protect your machine from scale buildup (which is a potential problem for any machine, home or commercial) and long term issues with your boiler (this is mostly a concern for shop machines which have heated water in their boilers for years). 

http://users.rcn.com/erics/Water Quality/Water FAQ.pdf

 

It's well below 2nd crack.  I don't normally use the terms, but probably what would be classified as a city roast.  

Cool. It might be a placebo effect but they seem to be creamier than they were. I've also noticed I'm trying to drink them out of mugs at the house now rather than putting them in travel containers. I think the one from Starbucks gives it a weird taste. Never noticed it before.

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11 hours ago, Aphelion said:

It's well below 2nd crack.  I don't normally use the terms, but probably what would be classified as a city roast.

Sounds good. I’ll give it some bars. 

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Thanks, Aphelion. Pos rep for all the knowledge you've been dropping. Have you said where your shop is located?

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The wife and I lived in europe for a few years, a lot of it out of hotels. We got used to the fancy super automatic espresso machines that a lot of hotels have in their lobbies over there. When we moved back to the states, we purchased one of our own but it eventually broke down and I was able to convince her to switch to a double boiler machine with a separate grinder. We went with a Lucca m58 espresso machine and a eureka zenith grinder. Very happy with the set-up but my skills need boosting so this thread has been great. 

The lucca m58 has an integrated shot timer which is very convenient. Also I needed a direct plumb option because of our kitchen set up. We added an in-line filter. 

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19 hours ago, Chopper said:

Thanks, Aphelion. Pos rep for all the knowledge you've been dropping. Have you said where your shop is located?

I did not say.  I prefer to not say, because then I can talk freely without concern for promotion or any associated perceived bias; also, one has to think more carefully when speaking as a representative and when I post here I like to be able to just speak what's on my mind without concern for how it may be perceived.  

 

19 hours ago, Chopper said:

We went with a Lucca m58 espresso machine and a eureka zenith grinder. Very happy with the set-up but my skills need boosting so this thread has been great. 

The lucca m58 has an integrated shot timer which is very convenient. Also I needed a direct plumb option because of our kitchen set up. We added an in-line filter. 

That is a serious home setup.  It's like a miniature coffee shop in your house.  What type of filter system do you have?  Is it an ion exchange type?  Ion exchange is preferred for scale prevention.  You can also do RO plus mineral addition, but those systems are expensive and typically only found in shops.  

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On ‎3‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 10:13 PM, Aphelion said:

I am in the coffee business.  When asked, here is the advice I give on at home coffee preparation:

On ‎3‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 10:13 PM, Aphelion said:

I am in the coffee business.  When asked, here is the advice I give on at home coffee preparation:

Beans - As mentioned by others above, find some local roasters and buy from them.  If the coffee you're buying doesn't have a roast date stamped on the bag, it is not good coffee.  I don't know of any exceptions to this rule.  Always buy whole bean and grind yourself immediately before preparation.  As a general guideline, you should be consuming the coffee within a month of the roasted date.   

In addition to the country of origin, pay attention to the varietal (caturra, catuai, bourbon, harar, marargogipe, &c) and especially the bean processing type, of which there are three primary methods: dry/natural, honey/pulped, wet/washed.  These factors have a big impact on the flavor profiles and body (viscosity) of the coffee and noting them will help you zero in on what types of coffees you will like.   

Water - Coffee is made from just two ingredients:  coffee beans and water.  Every type of unmixed brewed/extracted coffee beverage is over 95% water.  Many people ignore it for some reason.  The science behind what makes for ideal water is actually very complex.  I'm not going to type out all the details because it would be a novel.  If you think your water might be an issue, I'll save you some time and say just brew with Volvic water and see if you notice a difference.  There is nothing magic about Volvic - it is just a commonly available water that has all the properties in the range suited for great coffee preparation and equipment protection (i.e. it won't scale).  DO NOT use straight Texas tap water in an espresso machine.  It will scale.  

http://volvic-na.com/

(disclaimer: I have no commercial investment or interest in Volvic and no affiliation with them). 

Drip Coffee Preparation - This is the typical way most Americans prepare and drink coffee.  It's actually a pretty forgiving process and has a wide margin of error because it produces a dilute beverage at low pressure.  Beyond the bean selection, the main things to focus on is the water to coffee mass ratio and extraction time.  A good guideline to start with on ratio is a water to coffee mass ratio of 18:1 (55 g of coffee per liter of water).  From there you can make it stronger or weaker to taste.  Extraction time for drip should be between 4-6 minutes.  Once you have the mass ratio you prefer, you control the extraction time with your grind level (finer grinds lengthen the extraction time).  Water temps for extraction should be between 195 and 205 F.  This should be controlled by your machine; this is pretty much the only thing a drip machine needs to get right (along with having a basket large enough to achieve the desired coffee to water ratio; sometimes they are too small); most are pretty decent at hitting this temp range, so if it's not it is either broken or just a crap machine. Either way, get a new one if this is a problem.  If you want to get into more details on the brewing, visit the SCAA website:

http://www.scaa.org/?page=resources&d=brewing-standards

Espresso Preparation -  Compared to drip coffee, proper espresso preparation is difficult and has a very small margin for error.  This is because it is very concentrated (so any flaw is magnified) and it is brewed under pressure (8-10 atmospheres).  The biggest thing to focus on is mass ratio and extraction time.  For mass ratio, start with 7-9 grams per 30 ml (1 fluid ounce).  Extraction time should be 25-30 seconds.  Once you get the mass dialed in, you adjust extraction time by the grinder setting.  You need a stepless burr grinder for good espresso preparation.  I prefer conical burr grinders, but flat burrs work well too.  At the house I use a Lelit PL53. 

Lots of folks focus on the espresso machine itself, but I've had great espresso from just about every machine imaginable.  A high end machine gets you more thermal stability over a large number of shots (which is typically only needed in a commercial setting) and better milk steaming/texturing for making microfoam.  Most home machines are crappy at making quality microfoam.  Microfoam is the steamed milk that almost looks like wet paint that high end shops serve, typically with hearts and fern leaf art showing off the milk prep.  This is very hard to reproduce at the house.  But if you are interested in making a just few straight shots of espresso per day, almost any espresso machine will work and a high end machine won't produce a notable difference.  

On tamping, the main thing is that it needs to be level.  Don't focus too much on the force; anywhere from 15-40 lbs is fine (I normally aim for the lower end because there is no need to go higher).  Just do a good firm tamp.  Again, focus more on it being level than the amount of force.  Non-level tamps can produce channeling, which is when the water doesn't flow through the coffee cake evening and forms channels.  

I'm tired of typing and can't think of anything else at the moment.  Ask me any questions if you like and I'll do my best to answer.  I have no interest in promoting my products; in fact I will not name mine or promote them in any way on here, because then it would just become work and I don't come to the internet for work.  I just like to talk coffee.  

 

Always buy whole bean and grind yourself immediately before preparation.  As a general guideline, you should be consuming the coffee within a month of the roasted date.   

In addition to the country of origin, pay attention to the varietal (caturra, catuai, bourbon, harar, marargogipe, &c) and especially the bean processing type, of which there are three primary methods: dry/natural, honey/pulped, wet/washed.  These factors have a big impact on the flavor profiles and body (viscosity) of the coffee and noting them will help you zero in on what types of coffees you will like.   

Water - Coffee is made from just two ingredients:  coffee beans and water.  Every type of unmixed brewed/extracted coffee beverage is over 95% water.  Many people ignore it for some reason.  The science behind what makes for ideal water is actually very complex.  I'm not going to type out all the details because it would be a novel.  If you think your water might be an issue, I'll save you some time and say just brew with Volvic water and see if you notice a difference.  There is nothing magic about Volvic - it is just a commonly available water that has all the properties in the range suited for great coffee preparation and equipment protection (i.e. it won't scale).  DO NOT use straight Texas tap water in an espresso machine.  It will scale.  

http://volvic-na.com/

(disclaimer: I have no commercial investment or interest in Volvic and no affiliation with them). 

Drip Coffee Preparation - This is the typical way most Americans prepare and drink coffee.  It's actually a pretty forgiving process and has a wide margin of error because it produces a dilute beverage at low pressure.  Beyond the bean selection, the main things to focus on is the water to coffee mass ratio and extraction time.  A good guideline to start with on ratio is a water to coffee mass ratio of 18:1 (55 g of coffee per liter of water).  From there you can make it stronger or weaker to taste.  Extraction time for drip should be between 4-6 minutes.  Once you have the mass ratio you prefer, you control the extraction time with your grind level (finer grinds lengthen the extraction time).  Water temps for extraction should be between 195 and 205 F.  This should be controlled by your machine; this is pretty much the only thing a drip machine needs to get right (along with having a basket large enough to achieve the desired coffee to water ratio; sometimes they are too small); most are pretty decent at hitting this temp range, so if it's not it is either broken or just a crap machine. Either way, get a new one if this is a problem.  If you want to get into more details on the brewing, visit the SCAA website:

http://www.scaa.org/?page=resources&d=brewing-standards

Espresso Preparation -  Compared to drip coffee, proper espresso preparation is difficult and has a very small margin for error.  This is because it is very concentrated (so any flaw is magnified) and it is brewed under pressure (8-10 atmospheres).  The biggest thing to focus on is mass ratio and extraction time.  For mass ratio, start with 7-9 grams per 30 ml (1 fluid ounce).  Extraction time should be 25-30 seconds.  Once you get the mass dialed in, you adjust extraction time by the grinder setting.  You need a stepless burr grinder for good espresso preparation.  I prefer conical burr grinders, but flat burrs work well too.  At the house I use a Lelit PL53. 

Lots of folks focus on the espresso machine itself, but I've had great espresso from just about every machine imaginable.  A high end machine gets you more thermal stability over a large number of shots (which is typically only needed in a commercial setting) and better milk steaming/texturing for making microfoam.  Most home machines are crappy at making quality microfoam.  Microfoam is the steamed milk that almost looks like wet paint that high end shops serve, typically with hearts and fern leaf art showing off the milk prep.  This is very hard to reproduce at the house.  But if you are interested in making a just few straight shots of espresso per day, almost any espresso machine will work and a high end machine won't produce a notable difference.  

On tamping, the main thing is that it needs to be level.  Don't focus too much on the force; anywhere from 15-40 lbs is fine (I normally aim for the lower end because there is no need to go higher).  Just do a good firm tamp.  Again, focus more on it being level than the amount of force.  Non-level tamps can produce channeling, which is when the water doesn't flow through the coffee cake evening and forms channels.  

I'm tired of typing and can't think of anything else at the moment.  Ask me any questions if you like and I'll do my best to answer.  I have no interest in promoting my products; in fact I will not name mine or promote them in any way on here, because then it would just become work and I don't come to the internet for work.  I just like to talk coffee.  

 

 

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3 hours ago, Aphelion said:

What type of filter system do you have?  Is it an ion exchange type?  Ion exchange is preferred for scale prevention.  You can also do RO plus mineral addition, but those systems are expensive and typically only found in shops.  

Just an undersink RO system dedicated for the coffee machine. 

Reading this thread makes me realize how much about making espresso I don't know...I need to take a class or hire a local barista as a tutor. 

Thanks for dropping knowlege, Aphelion! 

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Is there such a thing as an all in one grinding brewing machine that is worth a shit/won't break immediately?  I require my coffee to brew on a timer so that it can be ready for me to stumble over to and pour when I wake up.  I used to get beans from Andersons when I lived up north (and drank much less coffee), but now that I'm south, I discovered Third Coast and love their medium roasts.  But I think I'm still a relative heathen getting them ground for my black and decker basket drip.

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On 4/23/2018 at 2:42 PM, Chopper said:

Just an undersink RO system dedicated for the coffee machine. 

Reading this thread makes me realize how much about making espresso I don't know...I need to take a class or hire a local barista as a tutor. 

Thanks for dropping knowlege, Aphelion! 

I'm so jealous.  Is it connected to a drain too, to get rid of the excess water? 

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On 4/4/2018 at 6:02 PM, Aphelion said:

$17 for 12 oz is on the high end, but fresh roasted specialty coffee is going to be high compared to typical grocery store coffee.  It is usually anywhere from $15-$22/lb.  However, this is much cheaper than k cups, which are closer to a whopping $40/lb.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/

However, I think fresh roasted specialty coffee is worth the extra you pay.  Here are some rough numbers:

If you stick with the 18:1 mass ratio for brewing, you will need 20 g of beans for a 12 ounce cup of coffee.  This comes out to about 23 cups (using 12 oz cups) of coffee per lb.  So even at $19/lb (and you can find some fantastic coffees at $19/lb), you are only paying 83¢ per 12 ounce cup.  If you buy grocery store coffee at half the price, you only save about 40¢ per cup of coffee.  If you work from the house and drink 3 pots a day, this does add up.  But most consumers only drink a cup or two a day from the house.  So for about an extra $26 per month (using 2 cups per day on average for 30 days), you can get top quality, micro-lot/family farmed, fresh roasted coffee instead of low grade plantation coffee that was roasted last year.  Compared to getting quality wine, liquor, and tobacco, you can get quality coffee for much less money in comparison. 

 

For the water, brew with some Volvic or Crystal Geyser water and see if you notice a difference.  If the water you are using is high in pH or high in bicarbonates, it will make the coffee taste flat and/or chalky.  

As for the Kenyan AA, that is a coffee which is known for its great acidity.  If you like it (I also think its great), then try these types:  Yemen Mocha (it's usually pricey), Ethiopian Harrar, Guatemala Highland Huehuetenango, Ethiopia Amaro Natural, Bali Kintamani Natural.  

Is there supposed to be a correlation between the way the beans smell and how the espresso tastes?   I just made my best tasting one ever with locally roasted beans I just got that smell faintly like paint. 

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4 hours ago, Celery Man said:

Is there such a thing as an all in one grinding brewing machine that is worth a shit/won't break immediately?  I require my coffee to brew on a timer so that it can be ready for me to stumble over to and pour when I wake up.  I used to get beans from Andersons when I lived up north (and drank much less coffee), but now that I'm south, I discovered Third Coast and love their medium roasts.  But I think I'm still a relative heathen getting them ground for my black and decker basket drip.

 

Grind and brew from cuisinart is an option. 

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