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Date: 23 Oct 2006 19:59:21
From: rasqual
Subject: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
I recently started brewing coffee in a church where the congregation --
mostly older folk -- had a long tradition of tolerating the effluence
of antiquated percolators charged with Folgers drawn from cans first
opened during the Great Depression. That is, the one in Holland before
these folks' grandparents migrated to the U.S. in their mothers' wombs
. . .

OK, hyperbole aside, it was bad coffee.

So Mr. Benefactor decided to do them a favor and offer delicious,
recently craft-roasted brew, lovingly extracted with proper attention
to all the variables. And I did a masterful job, for which their
delighted praise was absent on account of the hue and cry over how
strong it was. I won't say they were quite in high dudgeon, but it was
at least a low dudgeon -- or to put a temperature on it, you couldn't
roast at their temperature but you could probably brew there.

OK, hyperbole aside, I had miscalculated. They liked their coffee weak.

Here's my theory: the reason they liked their coffee so weak was that
it was so bad. They hadn't been brewing with a view to obtaining a
concentration where the qualities were fully present; no, they were
brewing so as to minimize the presence of palpable evil. It wasn't "how
much of this great flavor can we extract before its strength argues
with its virtues," it was "how weak can we make this dreck without
people complaining that it's just dirty water?" To serve the celebrated
social lubricant is de rigeur -- what alternative had they?

I suspect it's possible that their notion of strong coffee as a bad
thing arose from an inarticulate dread that their traditional coffee
might on some ill-fated day be brewed in darkness by an incautious noob
to the percolator's infernal ways. Such fear on their part, if so it
is, counsels me to be patient, gentle, humble, and cunningly
manipulative.

With that in mind, here's my plan. I've already increased the ratio
from 7.5 ounces to 2 gallons of water (!) to 8.5 to 2. No murmers of
suspicion have attended this subtle change, though perhaps I flatter my
roasting and brewing talent in supposing this is due to increased
quality soothing the angst of their guarded palates. But emboldened
nonetheless, this next weekend I intend to take it to 9. YES! All the
way to 33 grams per liter! :-\

Henceforth, I'm going to treat 50 (no, not 55) like an asymptote and
increase the ratio each week by 10% of the remaining difference, until
I get the first complaint that the coffee is too strong. I will
subjectively account for whether this feedback may have been driven by
an unusual roast/brew, and I'll actively question a sample of the
population in search of a cohort who may be of the same mind as the
first herald, but were more reticent (or perhaps who, in solemn
colloquy delegated the herald to bear the bad tidings).

Would anyone like to reply with their guess of which concentration will
end the experiment? How many grams/liter will the final concentration
be, before that first outlier raises the alarm? Before the first "hear,
hear" is heard? Before I am forced to flee? Or will they by this time
be healed of their fears, and merely smile at me and rek (between
only slightly less satisfied sips) that it's a bit strong? ;-)

BTW, I'm fortunate enough to have a superb stock decaf. The church had
only served decaf hitherto, and one of the first things I've done is to
empirically determine -- repeatably so -- that decaf is only preferred
by 1/3 of the coffee drinkers. So we're doing both now -- though that
has complicated things because for centuries no one ever needed to
differentiate what was available. Their serving habits and logistics
are presenting quite a challenge to this change -- but the change is
welcome.

All humor aside, this is a great crowd of fine people who really do
love coffee, and are enjoying the change. I'm serious about gradually
increasing the strength, but I definitely don't want to get pushy about
it. It's interesting to figure out how to transition people toward
better coffee, while not being preachy about what they should expect
from it. They've been on the earth long enough that what they expect
deserves some respect! :-)





 
Date: 30 Oct 2006 15:06:05
From: rasqual
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
No complaints at 9. In fact, to the contrary a couple ladies attempt to
fete me on the spot.

OK, hyperbole aside, the coffee was very well liked.

The decaf is always a Costa Rica SW, the "regular" varies. This week it
was a Chiapas at a city plus or so.

This was also an occasion for me to use a Kitchen Aide Proline for the
first time for this crew. I ground too fine for the first brew -- but
my polyester filter's throughput allowed me to get a full extraction
without stalling. At a setting of about 4, for the second batch, things
were better -- but despite some preinfusion the bloom was pretty bad on
this one and I had to stir like a nut case. I usually do anyway -- but
not like a nut case. ;-)

I'll try to remember to chronicle how this progresses -- a longitudinal
study, you'll recall. ;-D

- Scott

On Oct 23, 8:59 pm, "rasqual" <scott.qua...@gmail.com > wrote:
> With that in mind, here's my plan. I've already increased the ratio
> from 7.5 ounces to 2 gallons of water (!) to 8.5 to 2. No murmers of
> suspicion have attended this subtle change, though perhaps I flatter my
> roasting and brewing talent in supposing this is due to increased
> quality soothing the angst of their guarded palates. But emboldened
> nonetheless, this next weekend I intend to take it to 9. YES! All the
> way to 33 grams per liter! :-\



 
Date: 27 Oct 2006 15:20:32
From: Phil P
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)

Jack Denver wrote:

[snip]

> gave you hope that there really is an
> "eternal France" that is impervious to change.

Oh it's still there all right :) With the emphasis on European
integration here now, Brussels comes out with all sorts of Directives
on things like an end to producing traditional unpasturised cheeses, no
more pricing of groceries in imperial units (people have been hauled up
in court over this), or cucumbers must be this size/shape, etc.

While us Brits are generally still skeptical on integration, we
dutifully implement and enforce the rules no matter how stupid. The
French on the other hand are very pro-European integration, but any
directives they don't like they just ignore. Plus ca change . . .



  
Date: 28 Oct 2006 10:07:31
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
"Phil P" <charneybarn@yahoo.com > wrote in message
news:1161987632.147155.125560@i3g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
>
> Jack Denver wrote:
>
> [snip]
>
>> gave you hope that there really is an
>> "eternal France" that is impervious to change.
>
> Oh it's still there all right :) With the emphasis on European
> integration here now, Brussels comes out with all sorts of Directives
> on things like an end to producing traditional unpasturised cheeses, no
> more pricing of groceries in imperial units (people have been hauled up
> in court over this), or cucumbers must be this size/shape, etc.
>
> While us Brits are generally still skeptical on integration, we
> dutifully implement and enforce the rules no matter how stupid. The
> French on the other hand are very pro-European integration, but any
> directives they don't like they just ignore. Plus ca change . . .
>

The real truth is that France HAS changed tremedously in the last couple of
decades, largely not for the better if what we are talking about are the
sorts of things that would attract a tourist to come for a visit. One never
used to see overweight people here (I'm saying "here" because I'm in France
at the moment) but they are all over the place now, although less evident in
chic parts of major cities. The French diet has deteriorated and is now
heavily composed of overprocessed food and McDo type meals for a very large
percentage of the population. French cuisine has declined as well with an
increasingly smaller and smaller percentages of places providing high
quality traditional styled French food that is actually prepared in house.
If you just walk into a randomly selected bakery you are very likely to find
unattractive pastries and bread that is no better than at the corner grocery
store in your home town. The chefs at all but the very best of the good
places are prepared to make only a handful of dishes at any given time, and
appear to lack the food stock and/or the skill to deviate much from what is
on the menu (I mean the "carte" in this case). Capable wait staff are
increasingly harder and harder to find as restaurant type jobs come to be
viewed more and more as being unattractive, hard, work.

French housewives don't cook real French food from scratch anymore, largely
because there are no real French housewives anymore. In order to provide
for a family in modern France, both spouses work and there is little time
for cooking.

If you want to see how similar the modern French lifestyle is to the life in
other countries, just spend a little time in a French superket or
hyperket and have a look at the foods for sale and what people are
actually putting into their carts and buying; for the most part it is the
same sort of junk that the average American buys for a rushed household.

People have all sorts of romantic visions of France that were maybe true 20
or 30 years ago but the current reality is a bit less enchanting, although
the old sorts of things for which the country is valued (by tourists) can
still be found, at a price.

ken




   
Date: 29 Oct 2006 16:19:34
From: B. Wright
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
Ken Fox <morceaudemerde@snipthispleasehotmail.com > wrote:

> chic parts of major cities. The French diet has deteriorated and is now
> heavily composed of overprocessed food and McDo type meals for a very large
> percentage of the population. French cuisine has declined as well with an
> increasingly smaller and smaller percentages of places providing high
> quality traditional styled French food that is actually prepared in house.
>

Have you ever been to seille? A friend and I passed through
there while driving down the coast. Let me tell you, the place was a
dump hole, especially the food. We walked around in the center part of
town, down the main street, through side roads, for at least an hour
looking for food. All we found were these "kebab shop" style places
that serve complete shite food and nothing that looked like a place with
real food. We kept making jokes about "Hey, this is France right?
Famous for good food?!".

To be fair other small cities up and down the coast weren't
nearly as bad so maybe seille is just exceptionally dumpy for some
reason.



    
Date: 29 Oct 2006 17:09:04
From: Jack Denver
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
seille is not exactly the garden spot of the universe but I would never
go into any big city without some sort of guide book. I could wander the
streets of Philadelphia for hours and my chances of randomly happening upon
a great restaurant would be tiny, but five minutes with a guidebook would
get you ten terrific places in the cuisine of your choice. seille is
justly famous for its Bouillabaisse and other Provencal cuisine, as well as
for its Pizza (not to mention all the different ethnic restaurants - not
just N. African but many others). If you couldn't find anything good to eat
in seille , that's your problem, not seille's.


"B. Wright" <bmwright@xmission.com > wrote in message
news:ei2kam$qpo$1@news.xmission.com...
> Ken Fox <morceaudemerde@snipthispleasehotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> chic parts of major cities. The French diet has deteriorated and is now
>> heavily composed of overprocessed food and McDo type meals for a very
>> large
>> percentage of the population. French cuisine has declined as well with
>> an
>> increasingly smaller and smaller percentages of places providing high
>> quality traditional styled French food that is actually prepared in
>> house.
>>
>
> Have you ever been to seille? A friend and I passed through
> there while driving down the coast. Let me tell you, the place was a
> dump hole, especially the food. We walked around in the center part of
> town, down the main street, through side roads, for at least an hour
> looking for food. All we found were these "kebab shop" style places
> that serve complete shite food and nothing that looked like a place with
> real food. We kept making jokes about "Hey, this is France right?
> Famous for good food?!".
>
> To be fair other small cities up and down the coast weren't
> nearly as bad so maybe seille is just exceptionally dumpy for some
> reason.
>




    
Date: 29 Oct 2006 09:31:37
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
"B. Wright" <bmwright@xmission.com > wrote in message
news:ei2kam$qpo$1@news.xmission.com...
>>
> Have you ever been to seille? A friend and I passed through
> there while driving down the coast. Let me tell you, the place was a
> dump hole, especially the food. We walked around in the center part of
> town, down the main street, through side roads, for at least an hour
> looking for food. All we found were these "kebab shop" style places
> that serve complete shite food and nothing that looked like a place with
> real food. We kept making jokes about "Hey, this is France right?
> Famous for good food?!".
>
> To be fair other small cities up and down the coast weren't
> nearly as bad so maybe seille is just exceptionally dumpy for some
> reason.
>

I've passed through it but not spent any time in it. seille has a
relatively high population of Muslims which may account for the plethora of
kebab shops. It is also a prototypical large Mediteranian port city, and
like most all of them, is not the sort of place a tourist would want to
spend much time in. There's reputedly some very good food to be had there
if you know where you are going, but the same could be said of Naples and
the idea of a vacation spent in either is not very attractive to me.

ken






 
Date: 27 Oct 2006 07:41:01
From: arnie@avradionet.com
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)

rasqual wrote:
> I recently started brewing coffee in a church where the congregation --
> mostly older folk -- had a long tradition of tolerating the effluence
> of antiquated percolators charged with Folgers drawn from cans first
> opened during the Great Depression. That is, the one in Holland before
> these folks' grandparents migrated to the U.S. in their mothers' wombs
> . . .
>
> OK, hyperbole aside, it was bad coffee.
>
> So Mr. Benefactor decided to do them a favor and offer delicious,
> recently craft-roasted brew, lovingly extracted with proper attention
> to all the variables. And I did a masterful job, for which their
> delighted praise was absent on account of the hue and cry over how
> strong it was. I won't say they were quite in high dudgeon, but it was
> at least a low dudgeon -- or to put a temperature on it, you couldn't
> roast at their temperature but you could probably brew there.
>
> OK, hyperbole aside, I had miscalculated. They liked their coffee weak.
>
> Here's my theory: the reason they liked their coffee so weak was that
> it was so bad. They hadn't been brewing with a view to obtaining a
> concentration where the qualities were fully present; no, they were
> brewing so as to minimize the presence of palpable evil. It wasn't "how
> much of this great flavor can we extract before its strength argues
> with its virtues," it was "how weak can we make this dreck without
> people complaining that it's just dirty water?" To serve the celebrated
> social lubricant is de rigeur -- what alternative had they?
>
> I suspect it's possible that their notion of strong coffee as a bad
> thing arose from an inarticulate dread that their traditional coffee
> might on some ill-fated day be brewed in darkness by an incautious noob
> to the percolator's infernal ways. Such fear on their part, if so it
> is, counsels me to be patient, gentle, humble, and cunningly
> manipulative.
>
> With that in mind, here's my plan. I've already increased the ratio
> from 7.5 ounces to 2 gallons of water (!) to 8.5 to 2. No murmers of
> suspicion have attended this subtle change, though perhaps I flatter my
> roasting and brewing talent in supposing this is due to increased
> quality soothing the angst of their guarded palates. But emboldened
> nonetheless, this next weekend I intend to take it to 9. YES! All the
> way to 33 grams per liter! :-\
>
> Henceforth, I'm going to treat 50 (no, not 55) like an asymptote and
> increase the ratio each week by 10% of the remaining difference, until
> I get the first complaint that the coffee is too strong. I will
> subjectively account for whether this feedback may have been driven by
> an unusual roast/brew, and I'll actively question a sample of the
> population in search of a cohort who may be of the same mind as the
> first herald, but were more reticent (or perhaps who, in solemn
> colloquy delegated the herald to bear the bad tidings).
>
> Would anyone like to reply with their guess of which concentration will
> end the experiment? How many grams/liter will the final concentration
> be, before that first outlier raises the alarm? Before the first "hear,
> hear" is heard? Before I am forced to flee? Or will they by this time
> be healed of their fears, and merely smile at me and rek (between
> only slightly less satisfied sips) that it's a bit strong? ;-)
>
> BTW, I'm fortunate enough to have a superb stock decaf. The church had
> only served decaf hitherto, and one of the first things I've done is to
> empirically determine -- repeatably so -- that decaf is only preferred
> by 1/3 of the coffee drinkers. So we're doing both now -- though that
> has complicated things because for centuries no one ever needed to
> differentiate what was available. Their serving habits and logistics
> are presenting quite a challenge to this change -- but the change is
> welcome.
>
> All humor aside, this is a great crowd of fine people who really do
> love coffee, and are enjoying the change. I'm serious about gradually
> increasing the strength, but I definitely don't want to get pushy about
> it. It's interesting to figure out how to transition people toward
> better coffee, while not being preachy about what they should expect
> from it. They've been on the earth long enough that what they expect
> deserves some respect! :-)



 
Date: 25 Oct 2006 19:29:04
From: Felix
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
rasqual mentions:
> This is the last week for the season!

I know, but couldn't get my ducks aligned as it were. If another
Chicago dwelling almond lover sends me email before it's too late ...


Felix



 
Date: 25 Oct 2006 11:51:49
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)

Ken Fox wrote:
> The appetizer I
> selected was a special preparation of foie gras (duck liver in this case)
> that was lightly battered and deep fried (or possibly pan fried but I doubt
> it).

GLURK!

I don't know what it is with this frying of foie gras but the results
are nasty. I had some at Apicius in Paris a year or so ago and it was
precisely as you describe: a shell filled with melted goose fat. It
was presented with great aplomb and was obviously just as the chef
intended it to be. What a waste.

When I was a student at the CIA, we were cautioned never to try to
serve foie gras warmer than just slightly above room temperature. My,
how times have changed. Of course, that was so long ago that we had a
kerosene powered TV in the student lounge.

Will



 
Date: 24 Oct 2006 21:46:38
From: rasqual
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)


On Oct 24, 8:29 pm, "Felix" <felix...@hotmail.com > wrote:

> By the way, I'm surprised and dismayed about not seeing you at the
> ket yet. Having trouble arranging transportation ... hope to see you
> this Saturday.

This is the last week for the season!

If my Idido comes in, the day will feature three Ethiopian DPs. The
classics have become very, very popular -- to the point where some
people are downright depressed if I don't have a Harrar (for example)
on hand on any given Saturday. Geez, if I could get enough of it, I'd
have it all the time. Not possible!

That's just for brewing, mind you. No way I'd ever have enough to sell
whole bean of it.

I'll be roasting almonds as well, as usual since Labor Day.

Should be a fun day, though some of our vendors have already bailed for
the season.



 
Date: 24 Oct 2006 18:29:25
From: Felix
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
rasqual writes:
> So easy to put out a carafe of hot water. However, [...]

It wouldn't just be inconvenient. It would also be vaguely demeaning.

By the way, I'm surprised and dismayed about not seeing you at the
ket yet. Having trouble arranging transportation ... hope to see you
this Saturday.


Felix



 
Date: 24 Oct 2006 07:09:47
From: rasqual
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
Ack'ing Dave & Tony; thanks for feedback.

Danny wrote:
> rasqual wrote:

> So that's two points - Firstly, don't assume that they like it even if
> the don't say otherwise, and definitely be suspicious if they say it's
> lovely - they are just being polite!

No kidding.

At the farmer's ket, I have a guarantee -- if you don't like what I
brew you (for any reason), I'll brew one of the other origins I have on
hand (I Aeropress every cup). For weeks this past year, I never had a
taker on that. Then one day, a gal came back with a half empty 16 oz.
Kenya. "It's a bit bitter," she said. And she was right. I had tried
something a bit different with the roast, and hadn't cupped it (another
lesson learned).

Several times after that, she has smiled when I've drawn attention to
her. During the "roast-off" the weekend before labor day, I actually
asked everyone to pay attention while I praised her for that. All in
fun, and she's gotten a kick out of it.

But the point behind the praise was to point out how rare honest
criticism is. It's one thing for your customer to point out that your
wife does a better job with her cup -- yes, what a blow. It would have
been infinitely less of a blow for her to have told you WHY, and to
have told you early on.

But acknowledging that frank customers are rare, we're left to read
their faces, their choices, and their very minds if possible. And
acknowledging that this is difficult, I've sometimes wondered if I
should serve absolute dreck one day, just to shake out the most
reticent of these flatterers. [sips cheap robusta taken to 465 degrees
in a 40 minute roast, then rested for a month] -- "No, it's fine.
Really!"

LOL

And yes, I think this is a good course:

> Secondly, don't assume that everyone wants the brew at the strength
> you aspire to. Jacks idea of having hot water ready to weaken the
> coffee for those that prefer (with some pretty positive customer
> interaction needed) is a good one.

So easy to put out a carafe of hot water. However, I'd like to keep the
strength to where only one or two outliers would feel the need of this.
I have a feeling the normal curve is skewed with this crew, toward
tolerating weak brew more than tolerating it a bit strong. Erring on
the side of strength would make a water spike necessary for more people
-- an inconvenience. Brewing short of such strength probably wouldn't
offend folks who will be getting better and stronger coffee than ever
before anyway.

- S



 
Date: 24 Oct 2006 09:38:40
From: Tony Verhulst
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants
rasqual wrote:

> OK, hyperbole aside, I had miscalculated. They liked their coffee weak.

I suspect that "weak" isn't the right word and that, perhaps, the word
is "flavorless". I bring freshly roasted coffee to work in the morning,
ground just before I go out the door, and brew it in a 1 cup Melitta
pour over in our office kitchenette. On several occasions, one just
yesterday, a coworker will walk in and say "wow, that smells strong, is
it?". My response is "nope, it's just as strong as the stuff you're
pouring now. It's just fresh".

Tony V.


 
Date: 24 Oct 2006 05:27:28
From: daveb
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
simple: Brew 2 different pots:

1 good
and
1 weak crap

Label them say: "Rich" or "robust" and the other - the crap - "House
blend"

then measure how much of each you throw away at the end.

Not my idea -- but that of Starbucks and Krispy Kreme, and others

enjoy the humor!

Dave
877 286 2833


rasqual wrote:
> I recently started brewing coffee in a church where the congregation --
> mostly older folk -- had a long tradition of tolerating the effluence
> of antiquated percolators charged with Folgers drawn from cans first
> opened during the Great Depression. That is, the one in Holland before
> these folks' grandparents migrated to the U.S. in their mothers' wombs
> . . .
>
> OK, hyperbole aside, it was bad coffee.
>
> So Mr. Benefactor decided to do them a favor and offer delicious,
> recently craft-roasted brew, lovingly extracted with proper attention
> to all the variables. And I did a masterful job, for which their
> delighted praise was absent on account of the hue and cry over how
> strong it was. I won't say they were quite in high dudgeon, but it was
> at least a low dudgeon -- or to put a temperature on it, you couldn't
> roast at their temperature but you could probably brew there.
>
> OK, hyperbole aside, I had miscalculated. They liked their coffee weak.
>
> Here's my theory: the reason they liked their coffee so weak was that
> it was so bad. They hadn't been brewing with a view to obtaining a
> concentration where the qualities were fully present; no, they were
> brewing so as to minimize the presence of palpable evil. It wasn't "how
> much of this great flavor can we extract before its strength argues
> with its virtues," it was "how weak can we make this dreck without
> people complaining that it's just dirty water?" To serve the celebrated
> social lubricant is de rigeur -- what alternative had they?
>
> I suspect it's possible that their notion of strong coffee as a bad
> thing arose from an inarticulate dread that their traditional coffee
> might on some ill-fated day be brewed in darkness by an incautious noob
> to the percolator's infernal ways. Such fear on their part, if so it
> is, counsels me to be patient, gentle, humble, and cunningly
> manipulative.
>
> With that in mind, here's my plan. I've already increased the ratio
> from 7.5 ounces to 2 gallons of water (!) to 8.5 to 2. No murmers of
> suspicion have attended this subtle change, though perhaps I flatter my
> roasting and brewing talent in supposing this is due to increased
> quality soothing the angst of their guarded palates. But emboldened
> nonetheless, this next weekend I intend to take it to 9. YES! All the
> way to 33 grams per liter! :-\
>
> Henceforth, I'm going to treat 50 (no, not 55) like an asymptote and
> increase the ratio each week by 10% of the remaining difference, until
> I get the first complaint that the coffee is too strong. I will
> subjectively account for whether this feedback may have been driven by
> an unusual roast/brew, and I'll actively question a sample of the
> population in search of a cohort who may be of the same mind as the
> first herald, but were more reticent (or perhaps who, in solemn
> colloquy delegated the herald to bear the bad tidings).
>
> Would anyone like to reply with their guess of which concentration will
> end the experiment? How many grams/liter will the final concentration
> be, before that first outlier raises the alarm? Before the first "hear,
> hear" is heard? Before I am forced to flee? Or will they by this time
> be healed of their fears, and merely smile at me and rek (between
> only slightly less satisfied sips) that it's a bit strong? ;-)
>
> BTW, I'm fortunate enough to have a superb stock decaf. The church had
> only served decaf hitherto, and one of the first things I've done is to
> empirically determine -- repeatably so -- that decaf is only preferred
> by 1/3 of the coffee drinkers. So we're doing both now -- though that
> has complicated things because for centuries no one ever needed to
> differentiate what was available. Their serving habits and logistics
> are presenting quite a challenge to this change -- but the change is
> welcome.
>
> All humor aside, this is a great crowd of fine people who really do
> love coffee, and are enjoying the change. I'm serious about gradually
> increasing the strength, but I definitely don't want to get pushy about
> it. It's interesting to figure out how to transition people toward
> better coffee, while not being preachy about what they should expect
> from it. They've been on the earth long enough that what they expect
> deserves some respect! :-)



 
Date: 24 Oct 2006 07:17:23
From: Danny
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants
rasqual wrote:
-snip nice tale of woe-

You need to ensure that you get honest and forthright feedback - I've
learnt this (again) in the trailer only this week.

I've been making two cups of tea many times a week for a regularly
visiting couple. I know that he likes his tea "normal" and that she
prefers hers weak and milky. Nothing has ever been said to the
contrary, nay, the lady has even said "that's just how I like it" on
more than one occasion. This week I'm in the trailer with Charlotte
when the lady comes to the counter. "Usual?" I enquire, reaching for
two mugs. "Get off them, I want Charlotte to make my tea, it's so
much better than yours" !!! It was like a body blow. I was honestly
offended. I sulked away. Charlotte and I don't know what the
difference is between our two preparations - they are both weak and
milky, but that's not the point. At no time in a few years has the
customer ever engaged with me about the tea making - you know - "can I
have it a bit stronger than last time" etc etc. We even obtain
feedback during the ordering *and* making process, asking the customer
if that's enough milk, would they like a little more etc. But they
never said once that my tea was anything other than her requirement.

I've had customers have tea for ages, and when I enquire whether they
don't like coffee, they've said, it's always too strong, thus giving
me the chance to craft an Americano to their tastes, and they are
usually converted, so we have another customer with their own special
drink. We love it.

So that's two points - Firstly, don't assume that they like it even if
the don't say otherwise, and definitely be suspicious if they say it's
lovely - they are just being polite!

Secondly, don't assume that everyone wants the brew at the strength
you aspire to. Jacks idea of having hot water ready to weaken the
coffee for those that prefer (with some pretty positive customer
interaction needed) is a good one.

You will have to proactively ensure that everyone actually likes the
coffee you are providing, otherwise ther will be an undercurrent of
people with smiles on their faces, sipping a coffee they really don't
like, whilst talking between themselves elsewhere that the coffee
really has gone downhill. Even now I get customers asking if we "do
instant" since they don't like "fancy" coffee.


--
Regards, Danny

http://www.gaggia-espresso.com (a purely hobby site)
http://www.malabargold.co.uk (UK/EU ordering for Malabar Gold blend)



  
Date: 24 Oct 2006 15:40:59
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
On Tue, 24 Oct 2006 07:17:23 +0100, Danny
<danny@nospam.gaggia-espresso.com > wrote:

>rasqual wrote:
>-snip nice tale of woe-
>
>You need to ensure that you get honest and forthright feedback - I've
>learnt this (again) in the trailer only this week.
>
>I've been making two cups of tea many times a week for a regularly
>visiting couple. I know that he likes his tea "normal" and that she
>prefers hers weak and milky. Nothing has ever been said to the
>contrary, nay, the lady has even said "that's just how I like it" on
>more than one occasion. This week I'm in the trailer with Charlotte
>when the lady comes to the counter. "Usual?" I enquire, reaching for
>two mugs. "Get off them, I want Charlotte to make my tea, it's so
>much better than yours" !!! It was like a body blow. I was honestly
>offended. I sulked away. Charlotte and I don't know what the
>difference is between our two preparations - they are both weak and
>milky, but that's not the point. At no time in a few years has the
>customer ever engaged with me about the tea making - you know - "can I
>have it a bit stronger than last time" etc etc.

Customers (and clients) generally avoid uncomfortable encounters. They
rarely complain or "fire" you. They just start taking their business
elsewhere.

shall


   
Date: 25 Oct 2006 01:15:43
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
"shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote in message
news:1scsj25llohlf3gmh8beadg7it8jaiesh7@4ax.com...
>>
> Customers (and clients) generally avoid uncomfortable encounters. They
> rarely complain or "fire" you. They just start taking their business
> elsewhere.
>
> shall

Ain't that the truth.

A good example of that would be a meal I had a couple of nights ago here in
Lyon France, at one of the better restaurants in the area. The appetizer I
selected was a special preparation of foie gras (duck liver in this case)
that was lightly battered and deep fried (or possibly pan fried but I doubt
it). Had I understood the nuances of the waiter's description, I would not
have ordered it. For those unfamiliar with foie gras, it is mostly fat, and
melts easily. Whenever you cook it, you have to be extremely careful or it
just "melts."

In any event, what I received was basically a round ball of batter shell
with melted ooze in the middle and shards of foie gras deeper in the center.
It was little bit better than "disgusting."

I ate most of it, and never said anything.

This is a place I've eaten in enough times over the last year that they
would have (without question) been extremely gracious, made me something
else, and that would have been that. I even have the language skills at
this point to explain the problem. But did I?

No.

I'll go back because one screw up is not enough with a place that is
generally very good to excellent; they have built up a reservoir of good
will with me, as I am sure that Danny has built up with many or most of
regular customers. But had it been my first or even second visit, I think I
would probably have, again, said nothing but would not even think about
returning.

ken




    
Date: 26 Oct 2006 13:02:35
From: Jack Denver
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
At a better restaurant (and for "better" prices) you have every right to
have every dish to your personal liking. You should have spoken up and
politely asked for another dish - as you say, they would have been pleased
to do so, because they value customer goodwill much higher than the cost of
a replacement appetizer. So why didn't you? You can bet your last franc (or
euro) that most Frenchmen (is it Frenchpersons nowadays?) would have - they
are very demanding in such matters and take eating very seriously.

I suppose if it is possible to do baked alaska and deep fried ice cream it
should be possible to do the dish you described (though I don't think I
would have ordered it in the first place - foie gras is fatty enough without
being fried - are you trying to do in your coronary arteries?). I believe
the secret in the case of fried ice cream is to start with super hard frozen
ice cream - they should have frozen or chilled the foie gras as well. From
there, it's just a matter of experimentation on timing as to how long you
have to leave the foi gras in the fryer to get it warmed up just enough and
then you have to be rigorous in the future as to using the same oil
temperature and timing. The minimum wage illegal alien cooking staff does
this all the time (the ice cream, not the foie gras) at Chi Chis all across
America (I imagine they must use an automatic deep fryer that raises the
basket after the pre-set time has elapsed) so it is not exactly rocket
science. A large ball might not have been the ideal shape because it would
lead to too big a differential between inside and outside - probably a
flat slice would have been better.




"Ken Fox" <morceaudemerde@snipThisPleaseHotmail.com > wrote in message
news:4q8h8vFlrbmmU1@individual.net...
> "shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote in message
> news:1scsj25llohlf3gmh8beadg7it8jaiesh7@4ax.com...
>>>
>> Customers (and clients) generally avoid uncomfortable encounters. They
>> rarely complain or "fire" you. They just start taking their business
>> elsewhere.
>>
>> shall
>
> Ain't that the truth.
>
> A good example of that would be a meal I had a couple of nights ago here
> in Lyon France, at one of the better restaurants in the area. The
> appetizer I selected was a special preparation of foie gras (duck liver in
> this case) that was lightly battered and deep fried (or possibly pan fried
> but I doubt it). Had I understood the nuances of the waiter's
> description, I would not have ordered it. For those unfamiliar with foie
> gras, it is mostly fat, and melts easily. Whenever you cook it, you have
> to be extremely careful or it just "melts."
>
> In any event, what I received was basically a round ball of batter shell
> with melted ooze in the middle and shards of foie gras deeper in the
> center. It was little bit better than "disgusting."
>
> I ate most of it, and never said anything.
>
> This is a place I've eaten in enough times over the last year that they
> would have (without question) been extremely gracious, made me something
> else, and that would have been that. I even have the language skills at
> this point to explain the problem. But did I?
>
> No.
>
> I'll go back because one screw up is not enough with a place that is
> generally very good to excellent; they have built up a reservoir of good
> will with me, as I am sure that Danny has built up with many or most of
> regular customers. But had it been my first or even second visit, I think
> I would probably have, again, said nothing but would not even think about
> returning.
>
> ken
>
>




     
Date: 27 Oct 2006 01:08:47
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
Well of course you are right that I "should have" complained although I
think you would find that your stereotype of "Frenchmen" is no more likely
to be correct than a stereotype of "Americans." Judging by how much time I
spend at the table in better restaurants over here, I'd say I take my fine
dining here much more seriously than the average French person who tends to
eat about 2x as fast as I do.

There were several other things coming and it took me a few minutes to
figure out exactly what was wrong with the dish and to what extent, by which
time the thought of yet another plate to have to eat wasn't enthralling that
evening. As to the description of the dish, it was of a "nougat" of foie
gras. Anyone familiar with the flowery language used in better French
restaurants (in France) realizes that much is left to the imagination and
that details of preparation are quite often omitted (as was true in this
case). The serving size was quite small which in this case was a real
plus:-) Cooked foie gras is a real delicacy, you just have to do it right
and not too much, as was not the case with this dish.

As to the health consequences of eating foie gras, lets just say that you
don't do it because your cardiologist recommended it. In fact, I made a
joke about that with a waiter recently, something to the effect of, "je
cherche un cardiologue qui m'ordonnera manger le foie gras," loosely
translated as, "I'm looking for a cardiologist who will order me to eat foie
gras."

ken


"Jack Denver" <nunuvyer@netscape.net > wrote in message
news:9ZudnYXnX4Cxd93YnZ2dnUVZ_vGdnZ2d@comcast.com...
> At a better restaurant (and for "better" prices) you have every right to
> have every dish to your personal liking. You should have spoken up and
> politely asked for another dish - as you say, they would have been
> pleased to do so, because they value customer goodwill much higher than
> the cost of a replacement appetizer. So why didn't you? You can bet your
> last franc (or euro) that most Frenchmen (is it Frenchpersons nowadays?)
> would have - they are very demanding in such matters and take eating very
> seriously.
>
> I suppose if it is possible to do baked alaska and deep fried ice cream
> it should be possible to do the dish you described (though I don't think I
> would have ordered it in the first place - foie gras is fatty enough
> without being fried - are you trying to do in your coronary arteries?). I
> believe the secret in the case of fried ice cream is to start with super
> hard frozen ice cream - they should have frozen or chilled the foie gras
> as well. From there, it's just a matter of experimentation on timing as
> to how long you have to leave the foi gras in the fryer to get it warmed
> up just enough and then you have to be rigorous in the future as to using
> the same oil temperature and timing. The minimum wage illegal alien
> cooking staff does this all the time (the ice cream, not the foie gras) at
> Chi Chis all across America (I imagine they must use an automatic deep
> fryer that raises the basket after the pre-set time has elapsed) so it is
> not exactly rocket science. A large ball might not have been the ideal
> shape because it would lead to too big a differential between inside and
> outside - probably a flat slice would have been better.
>
>
>
>
> "Ken Fox" <morceaudemerde@snipThisPleaseHotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:4q8h8vFlrbmmU1@individual.net...
>> "shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote in message
>> news:1scsj25llohlf3gmh8beadg7it8jaiesh7@4ax.com...
>>>>
>>> Customers (and clients) generally avoid uncomfortable encounters. They
>>> rarely complain or "fire" you. They just start taking their business
>>> elsewhere.
>>>
>>> shall
>>
>> Ain't that the truth.
>>
>> A good example of that would be a meal I had a couple of nights ago here
>> in Lyon France, at one of the better restaurants in the area. The
>> appetizer I selected was a special preparation of foie gras (duck liver
>> in this case) that was lightly battered and deep fried (or possibly pan
>> fried but I doubt it). Had I understood the nuances of the waiter's
>> description, I would not have ordered it. For those unfamiliar with foie
>> gras, it is mostly fat, and melts easily. Whenever you cook it, you have
>> to be extremely careful or it just "melts."
>>
>> In any event, what I received was basically a round ball of batter shell
>> with melted ooze in the middle and shards of foie gras deeper in the
>> center. It was little bit better than "disgusting."
>>
>> I ate most of it, and never said anything.
>>
>> This is a place I've eaten in enough times over the last year that they
>> would have (without question) been extremely gracious, made me something
>> else, and that would have been that. I even have the language skills at
>> this point to explain the problem. But did I?
>>
>> No.
>>
>> I'll go back because one screw up is not enough with a place that is
>> generally very good to excellent; they have built up a reservoir of good
>> will with me, as I am sure that Danny has built up with many or most of
>> regular customers. But had it been my first or even second visit, I
>> think I would probably have, again, said nothing but would not even think
>> about returning.
>>
>> ken
>>
>>
>
>




      
Date: 27 Oct 2006 12:28:02
From: Jack Denver
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
Of course all stereotypes are wrong in that no group conforms 100% to the
stereotype, but usually sterotypes also contain at least a "morceau" or a
"nougat" of truth or they wouldn't resonate at all. To some extent these
things can be documented statistically - for example the French spend a
higher % of their earnings on food than almost any other developed country.
In part this is a reflection of prices, but partly this is because the
French see spending money on high quality food and dining as money well
spent. I never noticed the speed eating thing but I have sat in restaurants
in France where the next table was making all sorts of demands from the
kitchen, to the point where I felt bad for the staff. The waiters seemed to
accept this stoically and professionally if not exactly happily.

French menus do tent to the poetical vs. the recent American trend to
overdescribe the dish and its pedigree("Niman Ranch pork shoulder with Walla
Walla onions in a reduction of organic verjus of Central Valley Chardonnay
grapes sprinkled with Hawaiian black salt, blah, blah, blah). Sometimes
when the dish is traditional everyone knows what the poetical name means (a
la Florentine - with spinach, etc.) but other times you really don't have a
clue. I'm not a big fan of "surprise" dishes so when I can't figure out what
a dish is I'll ask the waiter for a description before ordering.

In general, French restaurant serving sizes are noticeably smaller than
American. In part this is to allow you to have a reasonable chance of
getting thru all the many courses, in part I'm sure because restaurant
managements are cheap and don't want to run up the provisions bill, in part
because French people don't want to be "super-sized". One of my favorite
French memories is dining in a restaurant in Rouen (otherwise an armpit of a
town) on the square opposite the hideous modern Joan of Arc church. In the
traditional way, two waiters approached our table with enormous silver domes
and lifted them with a flourish to reveal the first course, which was some
kind of puff pastry. In the middle of the plate sat the pastry which was,
and I'm not kidding, no bigger than a Pepperidge Farm goldfish cracker. My
wife and I just burst out laughing.

Perhaps if Dr. Atkins were not dead, he'd order you to eat foie gras but
hold the baguette.



"Ken Fox" <morceaudemerde@snipThisPleaseHotmail.com > wrote in message
news:4qdpk0Fmkec3U1@individual.net...
> Well of course you are right that I "should have" complained although I
> think you would find that your stereotype of "Frenchmen" is no more likely
> to be correct than a stereotype of "Americans." Judging by how much time
> I spend at the table in better restaurants over here, I'd say I take my
> fine dining here much more seriously than the average French person who
> tends to eat about 2x as fast as I do.
>
> There were several other things coming and it took me a few minutes to
> figure out exactly what was wrong with the dish and to what extent, by
> which time the thought of yet another plate to have to eat wasn't
> enthralling that evening. As to the description of the dish, it was of a
> "nougat" of foie gras. Anyone familiar with the flowery language used in
> better French restaurants (in France) realizes that much is left to the
> imagination and that details of preparation are quite often omitted (as
> was true in this case). The serving size was quite small which in this
> case was a real plus:-) Cooked foie gras is a real delicacy, you just
> have to do it right and not too much, as was not the case with this dish.
>
> As to the health consequences of eating foie gras, lets just say that you
> don't do it because your cardiologist recommended it. In fact, I made a
> joke about that with a waiter recently, something to the effect of, "je
> cherche un cardiologue qui m'ordonnera manger le foie gras," loosely
> translated as, "I'm looking for a cardiologist who will order me to eat
> foie gras."
>
> ken
>
>
> "Jack Denver" <nunuvyer@netscape.net> wrote in message
> news:9ZudnYXnX4Cxd93YnZ2dnUVZ_vGdnZ2d@comcast.com...
>> At a better restaurant (and for "better" prices) you have every right to
>> have every dish to your personal liking. You should have spoken up and
>> politely asked for another dish - as you say, they would have been
>> pleased to do so, because they value customer goodwill much higher than
>> the cost of a replacement appetizer. So why didn't you? You can bet your
>> last franc (or euro) that most Frenchmen (is it Frenchpersons nowadays?)
>> would have - they are very demanding in such matters and take eating very
>> seriously.
>>
>> I suppose if it is possible to do baked alaska and deep fried ice cream
>> it should be possible to do the dish you described (though I don't think
>> I would have ordered it in the first place - foie gras is fatty enough
>> without being fried - are you trying to do in your coronary arteries?).
>> I believe the secret in the case of fried ice cream is to start with
>> super hard frozen ice cream - they should have frozen or chilled the foie
>> gras as well. From there, it's just a matter of experimentation on
>> timing as to how long you have to leave the foi gras in the fryer to get
>> it warmed up just enough and then you have to be rigorous in the future
>> as to using the same oil temperature and timing. The minimum wage illegal
>> alien cooking staff does this all the time (the ice cream, not the foie
>> gras) at Chi Chis all across America (I imagine they must use an
>> automatic deep fryer that raises the basket after the pre-set time has
>> elapsed) so it is not exactly rocket science. A large ball might not have
>> been the ideal shape because it would lead to too big a differential
>> between inside and outside - probably a flat slice would have been
>> better.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> "Ken Fox" <morceaudemerde@snipThisPleaseHotmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:4q8h8vFlrbmmU1@individual.net...
>>> "shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote in message
>>> news:1scsj25llohlf3gmh8beadg7it8jaiesh7@4ax.com...
>>>>>
>>>> Customers (and clients) generally avoid uncomfortable encounters. They
>>>> rarely complain or "fire" you. They just start taking their business
>>>> elsewhere.
>>>>
>>>> shall
>>>
>>> Ain't that the truth.
>>>
>>> A good example of that would be a meal I had a couple of nights ago here
>>> in Lyon France, at one of the better restaurants in the area. The
>>> appetizer I selected was a special preparation of foie gras (duck liver
>>> in this case) that was lightly battered and deep fried (or possibly pan
>>> fried but I doubt it). Had I understood the nuances of the waiter's
>>> description, I would not have ordered it. For those unfamiliar with
>>> foie gras, it is mostly fat, and melts easily. Whenever you cook it,
>>> you have to be extremely careful or it just "melts."
>>>
>>> In any event, what I received was basically a round ball of batter shell
>>> with melted ooze in the middle and shards of foie gras deeper in the
>>> center. It was little bit better than "disgusting."
>>>
>>> I ate most of it, and never said anything.
>>>
>>> This is a place I've eaten in enough times over the last year that they
>>> would have (without question) been extremely gracious, made me something
>>> else, and that would have been that. I even have the language skills at
>>> this point to explain the problem. But did I?
>>>
>>> No.
>>>
>>> I'll go back because one screw up is not enough with a place that is
>>> generally very good to excellent; they have built up a reservoir of good
>>> will with me, as I am sure that Danny has built up with many or most of
>>> regular customers. But had it been my first or even second visit, I
>>> think I would probably have, again, said nothing but would not even
>>> think about returning.
>>>
>>> ken
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>
>




       
Date: 27 Oct 2006 18:17:30
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
On Fri, 27 Oct 2006 12:28:02 -0400, "Jack Denver"
<nunuvyer@netscape.net > wrote:

> In the
>traditional way, two waiters approached our table with enormous silver domes
>and lifted them with a flourish to reveal the first course, which was some
>kind of puff pastry. In the middle of the plate sat the pastry which was,
>and I'm not kidding, no bigger than a Pepperidge Farm goldfish cracker. My
>wife and I just burst out laughing.

Probably an "amuse bouche," rather than a first course. It certainly
"amused" you!

shall


        
Date: 27 Oct 2006 16:14:21
From: Jack Denver
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
I vaguely remember the item being listed on the menu as a first course (it
was a multicourse package deal type of thing) but they may have wanted to up
the number of courses so they listed it separately. But this was years ago
and I couldn't swear to it.

Part of what made it so funny was the fact that they took it all so
seriously - they were not being ironic or post modern, just totally French
in a way that was almost innocent - the fact that you could still muster the
heart to do this kind of traditional presentation in a place that had been a
bombed out ruin a few decades ago (the horrid modern church replaced one
that was bombed out in the war and it took them until the late 70s to
rebuild - the timing was unfortunate because the 70s were probably the all
time low point for architeture IMHO) gave you hope that there really is an
"eternal France" that is impervious to change. This same inflexible quality
also makes the French totally maddeningly at times and is one of the reason
why Americans have a real "love-hate" relationship with them.



"shall" <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote in message
news:86j4k2p6vc121m73qaqr3gs98dieeod2ut@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 27 Oct 2006 12:28:02 -0400, "Jack Denver"
> <nunuvyer@netscape.net> wrote:
>
>> In the
>>traditional way, two waiters approached our table with enormous silver
>>domes
>>and lifted them with a flourish to reveal the first course, which was some
>>kind of puff pastry. In the middle of the plate sat the pastry which was,
>>and I'm not kidding, no bigger than a Pepperidge Farm goldfish cracker. My
>>wife and I just burst out laughing.
>
> Probably an "amuse bouche," rather than a first course. It certainly
> "amused" you!
>
> shall




 
Date: 23 Oct 2006 20:40:55
From: rasqual
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)

On Oct 23, 10:20 pm, "Jack Denver" <nunuv...@netscape.net > wrote:
> People like what they are used to. At some point during WWII coffee was in
> short supply so the gov. suggested that people brew it weaker - this was the
> beginning of the end.
>
> I would suggest that rather than overextract your coffee (which is what you
> are doing)

Aaack!

Now how on earth do you come by THAT conclusion?

> you should brew at the proper 55g/liter and then add hot water

What does that MEAN? Large machines that brew "at that ratio"
frequently have a bypass to achieve this [final] ratio in order to
avoid over-extraction.

Basically, what you're saying is what I'm doing. I assure you, there's
no over-extraction going on here at all.

I really should do a pictorial of this. I'm using two Fetco 2 gallon
containers -- and a manual pour through 5 micron polyester stitched
into shape as an oversized (call it a #10) cone filter, using a
three-hole Melitta 103 (rare things I wish I had a dozen of). The
throughput on that material with that cone is staggeringly fast, which
permits me to get a superb extraction, then add water to get my final
ratio. I also pre-infuse -- need to.

As for the percolators -- a few huge of which the church has collected
over the years -- I can see that they're glaring at me from their
honored storage spot atop the big stove. I'm not sure I want to leave
my Fetcos overnight; they'd probably be smashed and dented in the
morning. These percolators are evil; they have no place in a church.
;-)

> (or allow the folks to add their own). If you had an extra airpot or
> whatever you could decant off half of the full strength brew and dilute it
> and then label the two pots accordingly ("Regular" and "HiTest", "Weak Horse
> and Strong Horse", etc.) Osama said that people prefer the strong horse so
> now's your chance to test out his theory of coffee brewing.

;-)



  
Date: 25 Oct 2006 09:18:57
From: Brent
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
>> you should brew at the proper 55g/liter and then add hot water
>
> What does that MEAN? Large machines that brew "at that ratio"
> frequently have a bypass to achieve this [final] ratio in order to
> avoid over-extraction.
>

brew the coffee then dilute it to taste for the masses




 
Date: 23 Oct 2006 23:20:36
From: Jack Denver
Subject: Re: A longitudinal behavioral experiment with captive participants ;-)
People like what they are used to. At some point during WWII coffee was in
short supply so the gov. suggested that people brew it weaker - this was the
beginning of the end.

I would suggest that rather than overextract your coffee (which is what you
are doing) you should brew at the proper 55g/liter and then add hot water
(or allow the folks to add their own). If you had an extra airpot or
whatever you could decant off half of the full strength brew and dilute it
and then label the two pots accordingly ("Regular" and "HiTest", "Weak Horse
and Strong Horse", etc.) Osama said that people prefer the strong horse so
now's your chance to test out his theory of coffee brewing.


"rasqual" <scott.quardt@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1161658761.839518.199670@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>I recently started brewing coffee in a church where the congregation --
> mostly older folk -- had a long tradition of tolerating the effluence
> of antiquated percolators charged with Folgers drawn from cans first
> opened during the Great Depression. That is, the one in Holland before
> these folks' grandparents migrated to the U.S. in their mothers' wombs
> . . .
>
> OK, hyperbole aside, it was bad coffee.
>
> So Mr. Benefactor decided to do them a favor and offer delicious,
> recently craft-roasted brew, lovingly extracted with proper attention
> to all the variables. And I did a masterful job, for which their
> delighted praise was absent on account of the hue and cry over how
> strong it was. I won't say they were quite in high dudgeon, but it was
> at least a low dudgeon -- or to put a temperature on it, you couldn't
> roast at their temperature but you could probably brew there.
>
> OK, hyperbole aside, I had miscalculated. They liked their coffee weak.
>
> Here's my theory: the reason they liked their coffee so weak was that
> it was so bad. They hadn't been brewing with a view to obtaining a
> concentration where the qualities were fully present; no, they were
> brewing so as to minimize the presence of palpable evil. It wasn't "how
> much of this great flavor can we extract before its strength argues
> with its virtues," it was "how weak can we make this dreck without
> people complaining that it's just dirty water?" To serve the celebrated
> social lubricant is de rigeur -- what alternative had they?
>
> I suspect it's possible that their notion of strong coffee as a bad
> thing arose from an inarticulate dread that their traditional coffee
> might on some ill-fated day be brewed in darkness by an incautious noob
> to the percolator's infernal ways. Such fear on their part, if so it
> is, counsels me to be patient, gentle, humble, and cunningly
> manipulative.
>
> With that in mind, here's my plan. I've already increased the ratio
> from 7.5 ounces to 2 gallons of water (!) to 8.5 to 2. No murmers of
> suspicion have attended this subtle change, though perhaps I flatter my
> roasting and brewing talent in supposing this is due to increased
> quality soothing the angst of their guarded palates. But emboldened
> nonetheless, this next weekend I intend to take it to 9. YES! All the
> way to 33 grams per liter! :-\
>
> Henceforth, I'm going to treat 50 (no, not 55) like an asymptote and
> increase the ratio each week by 10% of the remaining difference, until
> I get the first complaint that the coffee is too strong. I will
> subjectively account for whether this feedback may have been driven by
> an unusual roast/brew, and I'll actively question a sample of the
> population in search of a cohort who may be of the same mind as the
> first herald, but were more reticent (or perhaps who, in solemn
> colloquy delegated the herald to bear the bad tidings).
>
> Would anyone like to reply with their guess of which concentration will
> end the experiment? How many grams/liter will the final concentration
> be, before that first outlier raises the alarm? Before the first "hear,
> hear" is heard? Before I am forced to flee? Or will they by this time
> be healed of their fears, and merely smile at me and rek (between
> only slightly less satisfied sips) that it's a bit strong? ;-)
>
> BTW, I'm fortunate enough to have a superb stock decaf. The church had
> only served decaf hitherto, and one of the first things I've done is to
> empirically determine -- repeatably so -- that decaf is only preferred
> by 1/3 of the coffee drinkers. So we're doing both now -- though that
> has complicated things because for centuries no one ever needed to
> differentiate what was available. Their serving habits and logistics
> are presenting quite a challenge to this change -- but the change is
> welcome.
>
> All humor aside, this is a great crowd of fine people who really do
> love coffee, and are enjoying the change. I'm serious about gradually
> increasing the strength, but I definitely don't want to get pushy about
> it. It's interesting to figure out how to transition people toward
> better coffee, while not being preachy about what they should expect
> from it. They've been on the earth long enough that what they expect
> deserves some respect! :-)
>