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Date: 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Baby steps to good coffee
I used to be a truck driver and could drink black coffee of just about
any quality, as long as it would keep me awake!

Now, in my mid to late 50's I am getting more discriminating. I came
across a Keurig system at an office I was visiting about 7-8 years
ago, and I thought it did a pretty good job. I started watching for a
home unit to become available. They did but they were expensive in
the beginning, costing about $200. They finally came up with an
affordable model and about six months ago I purchased a B40.

I like the concept of the K-cups for one reason above all others. I
am somewhat of a purest when it comes to coffee. I can't stand
flavored coffees, but my wife loves them. I almost puked when I
poured a cup of coffee from a pot she made (she gets up to go to work
before I do) and discovered it was flavored. I ended up throwing an
almost full pot down the drain. Then I would make my own, but, even
with a drip maker, there would still be a hint of the flavored crap
she had made in my pot. When I got the Keurig that problem was
solved! She can have any flavored brand she wants and I can have any
regular brand I want without any lingering taste. She also likes to
drink one cup of coffee at night ( I can't or I won't sleep), which
makes the K-cup an excellent alternative.

The problem is, I like the coffee so much I am drinking much more than
I should be. It is a lot more expensive than drinking Maxwell House
or Folgers brewed in a drip maker, but SOOOO much better. I found I
am liking the stronger roasts more and more as well. Man, this can be
addictive! Trying the different brands and roasts can be fun, though.

I went from medium roast Columbian, to Timothy's Kona Blend to Green
Mountain Lake and Lodge. I ran out of Lake and Lodge and had Kona
Blend left over and now that seems too weak!

So, being a long time devotee of newsgroups I find myself here for the
first time, looking at my next level of fix! I see people are buying
their beans roasted or unroasted and completing the process at home,
before brewing it. Seems like a lot of effort to me. Is the end
result worth it? Has anyone gone the same route as I have and wished
they'd stopped where I currently am? From here I can see where it can
get to be very expensive.

I don't think I will ever get to the point where I want to go
Espresso, so at this point if I want to get into grinding freshly
roasted beans, what are my best options for grinder and brewer without
costing a fortune? I guess the quuestion of which beans to buy are
subject to taste, but the question of how much coffee to buy and how
long it stays fresh are important. If I keep the Keurig for her at
night and for her flavored coffee, I would guess that I would drink 10
cups/day when I don't have to go out. I am a field service engineer
working out of the house.

If I am never going to go for espresso, what are my options for a good
grinder? Then what is a good brewer for one or two pots per day?
Right now we have a Cuisinart DCC2000 that does a pretty decent job.
If that is a reasonably good brewer I would only need to get a grinder
to start experiencing fresh coffee beans straight from the coffee
farm! Of course while composing this, I decided I'd better get the
model number from the unit, and had it tilted against the wall on my
counter to get it from the bottom. I had to go get my glasses to read
it and while doing so, it slid off to the floor! So, who knows, I
might need a brewer after all!

Russ





 
Date: 03 Jan 2007 21:05:42
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
One small baby step for man, One giant leap for good taste!

I purchased a grinder over the weekend, a Capressa 565. I finally got
time to stop at a local roaster's shop and pick up a bag of fresh
roasted beans today. It was roasted yesterday. Brought it home and
brewed up a pot. Man, am I pissed off! I have been drinking "coffee"
for almost 40 years. Now I find out what real coffee is all about!
My luck, I'll get hit by a truck before I can get my own roaster.
Went somewhat cheap and ordered a FR8 along with the requisite sampler
of greens beans from Sweet ia's. Went one step further and ordered
a pound of Kona beans from SmithFarms.

To be continued....




On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net >
wrote:

>I used to be a truck driver and could drink black coffee of just about
>any quality, as long as it would keep me awake!
>
>Now, in my mid to late 50's I am getting more discriminating. I came
>across a Keurig system at an office I was visiting about 7-8 years
>ago, and I thought it did a pretty good job. I started watching for a
>home unit to become available. They did but they were expensive in
>the beginning, costing about $200. They finally came up with an
>affordable model and about six months ago I purchased a B40.
>
>I like the concept of the K-cups for one reason above all others. I
>am somewhat of a purest when it comes to coffee. I can't stand
>flavored coffees, but my wife loves them. I almost puked when I
>poured a cup of coffee from a pot she made (she gets up to go to work
>before I do) and discovered it was flavored. I ended up throwing an
>almost full pot down the drain. Then I would make my own, but, even
>with a drip maker, there would still be a hint of the flavored crap
>she had made in my pot. When I got the Keurig that problem was
>solved! She can have any flavored brand she wants and I can have any
>regular brand I want without any lingering taste. She also likes to
>drink one cup of coffee at night ( I can't or I won't sleep), which
>makes the K-cup an excellent alternative.
>
>The problem is, I like the coffee so much I am drinking much more than
>I should be. It is a lot more expensive than drinking Maxwell House
>or Folgers brewed in a drip maker, but SOOOO much better. I found I
>am liking the stronger roasts more and more as well. Man, this can be
>addictive! Trying the different brands and roasts can be fun, though.
>
>I went from medium roast Columbian, to Timothy's Kona Blend to Green
>Mountain Lake and Lodge. I ran out of Lake and Lodge and had Kona
>Blend left over and now that seems too weak!
>
>So, being a long time devotee of newsgroups I find myself here for the
>first time, looking at my next level of fix! I see people are buying
>their beans roasted or unroasted and completing the process at home,
>before brewing it. Seems like a lot of effort to me. Is the end
>result worth it? Has anyone gone the same route as I have and wished
>they'd stopped where I currently am? From here I can see where it can
>get to be very expensive.
>
>I don't think I will ever get to the point where I want to go
>Espresso, so at this point if I want to get into grinding freshly
>roasted beans, what are my best options for grinder and brewer without
>costing a fortune? I guess the quuestion of which beans to buy are
>subject to taste, but the question of how much coffee to buy and how
>long it stays fresh are important. If I keep the Keurig for her at
>night and for her flavored coffee, I would guess that I would drink 10
>cups/day when I don't have to go out. I am a field service engineer
>working out of the house.
>
>If I am never going to go for espresso, what are my options for a good
>grinder? Then what is a good brewer for one or two pots per day?
>Right now we have a Cuisinart DCC2000 that does a pretty decent job.
>If that is a reasonably good brewer I would only need to get a grinder
>to start experiencing fresh coffee beans straight from the coffee
>farm! Of course while composing this, I decided I'd better get the
>model number from the unit, and had it tilted against the wall on my
>counter to get it from the bottom. I had to go get my glasses to read
>it and while doing so, it slid off to the floor! So, who knows, I
>might need a brewer after all!
>
>Russ



 
Date: 31 Dec 2006 11:22:35
From: Michael Horowitz
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net >
wrote:

>Russ - if you drink a lot, consider putting the coffee in a thermos vice keeping it heating - Mike


 
Date: 31 Dec 2006 09:35:36
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
I think I made the case for the wife, since drinking mostly K-cup
coffee was getting expensive.

Question: I seem to like coffee, at least for the moment, that is
somewhere between Medium and Dark roast. Is there such a thing, or do
you have to blend medium and dark beans in the grinder?



  
Date: 31 Dec 2006 18:35:26
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Sun, 31 Dec 2006 09:35:36 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net >
wrote:

>I think I made the case for the wife, since drinking mostly K-cup
>coffee was getting expensive.
>
>Question: I seem to like coffee, at least for the moment, that is
>somewhere between Medium and Dark roast. Is there such a thing, or do
>you have to blend medium and dark beans in the grinder?

As the other Bob noted, "Full City" is a common description for
coffees roasted medium-dark. But, I think it is premature for you to
decide you have a single favorite roast level. Different origins
respond differently to specific roasts, which themselves will vary
from crop to crop. The roasters are very aware of this, and the best
of them custom-tailor their roast profiles to each bean's qualities.
There is a lot to discover out there, and you may find you really like
some darker (or lighter) roasts when they are matched to the right
beans and properly done.

shall


  
Date: 31 Dec 2006 11:26:50
From: yetanotherBob
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <8hifp29n93csqk3vfc5a5htff1lp4t94mm@4ax.com >, me@privacy.net
says...
> I think I made the case for the wife, since drinking mostly K-cup
> coffee was getting expensive.
>
> Question: I seem to like coffee, at least for the moment, that is
> somewhere between Medium and Dark roast. Is there such a thing, or do
> you have to blend medium and dark beans in the grinder?
>
>
Sure, but it's up to you to find it, or make it yourself.

You can go to someplace that roasts and/or sells coffee beans and ask
for a "full city" roast or a "Vienna" roast, or whatever roast in a
particular bean or blend. Even if you know what you're talking about
and they seem to know what you're talking about, you still may or may
not get what you think you're looking for. Even then, though, you could
get something unexpectedly excellent that will change the way you think
about coffee.

Experiment. Blend. Don't blend. Roast your own. Repeat.

Again, the Sweet ia's web site is an invaluable resource in answering
just about all your questions. If you haven't yet checked it out, you
should.

Bob


  
Date: 31 Dec 2006 11:24:39
From: Michael Horowitz
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Sun, 31 Dec 2006 09:35:36 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net >
wrote:

>I think I made the case for the wife, since drinking mostly K-cup
>coffee was getting expensive.
>
>Question: I seem to like coffee, at least for the moment, that is
>somewhere between Medium and Dark roast. Is there such a thing, or do
>you have to blend medium and dark beans in the grinder?

Ask your local roaster for something between Med and Dark.
That's one of the joys of roasting your own; you can make it exactly
like you want it; i've found local roasters very willing to share
knowledge. - Mike




 
Date: 30 Dec 2006 06:36:00
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
What 'pid' means has nothing to do with the result. nada.

'pid' is one of the favorite pieces of jargon used here and one of the
most asked questions from (justifiably) confused newbies.

Jargon can be used to confuse, and humble the less informed. those who
care ask are often treated to a longwinded story, or worse, references
to search pages.

BTW Craig, there is no such device as a PID. PID is jargon for one
type of temp. controller.

thank you for your good humour.

dave
877 286 2833



 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 19:26:37
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee

Russell Patterson wrote:
>
> The problem is, I like the coffee so much I am drinking much more than
> I should be. It is a lot more expensive than drinking Maxwell House
> or Folgers brewed in a drip maker, but SOOOO much better. I found I
> am liking the stronger roasts more and more as well. Man, this can be
> addictive! Trying the different brands and roasts can be fun, though.
>
> I went from medium roast Columbian, to Timothy's Kona Blend to Green
> Mountain Lake and Lodge. I ran out of Lake and Lodge and had Kona
> Blend left over and now that seems too weak!

$99U.S. B40. I'd say go espresso, but needn't be the way of pushing
$1000 espresso/grinder machines, but more along $200+ retail units off
Ebay - $50 buynow, demo'd and refurbished espresso unit. If you want
to spend more, excuse me, and no need to read farther. That put's you
into a Delonghi, maybe a Gaggia or another suitable suggestion.
Concentrated, packed and distributed coffee extracted under pressure by
a pump from a boiler. Popcorn or a $70 IRoast. Grinders can be nice at
$90, a consistent Capresso unit, but there's other good units for the
same money. I've also gotten by with less. Water the espresso drinks
down for an Americano with the steam wand, if you like, or make a
thick, froathy milk coffee beverage for milk-whitened coffee with kick.
It's not about primo espresso, sweet coffee essences above bitter and
a rich redish crema topping, but about getting into the ballpark with
rich coffees from around the world. $3-5 a lb. is what I pay for stock
- green coffee, not Green Mountain or Kona, but something along
monsoon-stored coffee from the Indian Ocean or exotic coffees from
north of Australia and Africa. Lots of descriptors and locations on
lots of websites where little guys are selling green. Main thing is
they, at times, can tend taste damn good, too, considering that's $100
(Delonghi, cheap mill pseudo-burr grinder, popcorn popper for a
roaster) to a couple hundred more for the IRoast and a little more
roasting control, and an entry grinder with real meshed conical burrs
instead of plates. It's neither entirely easy -- walk away and forget
it -- nor all rocket science, either. I'd say ruling out espresso's for
being unsuited at less money or convenience isn't entirely true, given
time for a little messing around if you're so inclined. Espresso is
close to an optimal in judging coffee. I fire off shots in less than
5min. -- one-handed espresso grab, setup and add water, grind, stuff,
then to the finished shot, quick clean over, two-handed grab on
espresso machine turned upside down and emptied over the sink, wrap the
power cord twice and slap it back up against the wall until next time.
A couple a day is usually plenty - besides a nice reminder to return to
take away the taste from a couple cups of watered-down restraunt coffee
when I'm away.



 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 16:51:37
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
and just what does that mean to the average joe, Craig? ie a non
scientist non-mathmatician or non-engineer? and who cares? the result
is what counts.

d



  
Date: 29 Dec 2006 20:35:55
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee

"daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1167439897.302272.19520@n51g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> and just what does that mean to the average joe, Craig? ie a non
> scientist non-mathmatician or non-engineer? and who cares? the result
> is what counts.
>
> d
>

I don't have a clue about the "average" joe, Dave., but that's what I
am..
Who cares?? "I" do for one, inquiring minds WANT to know man! I'm not an
engineer, but going into High School after Middle school grades 7 & 8, I
took an ST&T course (Science, technology & Trades) {4 year course}
Grades 9 - 12., (1969/70 - 71) specializing in Electricity &
Electronics (72 - 73) & acheived for academic proficiency &won a
technical scholorship in Gr 10 (16 yrs old), seems like a century ago
[I'm 51]., LOL!!! {:-D

I find all of it facinating & if I want to understand, thirst, absorb, &
continually trying to learn & teach myself., if not only to keep my
brain sharp hopefully! {;-D

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=t&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-01,GGLD:en&q=proportional+integral+derivative

A great teaching tool right here, & it all starts right here., the
SECRET SEARCH BUTTON: ----- >
http://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8

Cheers,
Craig.



 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 15:10:09
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee

> Jargon Alert! What is a PID? I can figure a variac is to alter the
> voltage to the unit.
>
>
jargon indeed! A 'pid' (the initials themselves a fairly meaningless)
as the term is used here, stands for a very accurate industrial
temperature controller used in espresso machines (I've installed 225 of
them) and failry advanced coffee roasters.


Dave
www,hitechespresso.com



  
Date: 29 Dec 2006 18:23:14
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee

"daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1167433809.900253.34440@h40g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
>> Jargon Alert! What is a PID? I can figure a variac is to alter the
>> voltage to the unit.
>>
>>
> jargon indeed! A 'pid' (the initials themselves a fairly meaningless)
> as the term is used here, stands for a very accurate industrial
> temperature controller used in espresso machines (I've installed 225
> of
> them) and failry advanced coffee roasters.
>
>
> Dave


?? Fairly meaningless? Proportional, Intregal, Derivitive.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PID_controller
Craigo.



 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 16:12:21
From: notbob
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On 2006-12-29, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net > wrote:

> before brewing it. Seems like a lot of effort to me. Is the end
> result worth it?

Absolutely. Probably the single greatest improvement you can make.
Not only is the quality infinitely superior, but's it's much cheaper.
Excellent green coffee typically costs around $5lb.

http://www.sweetias.com/

read and learn, grasshopper.

nb


 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 16:21:07
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net >
wrote:


My first step is to get a decent grinder. Someone do me a favor and
go to Bizrate or dealtime dot com, do a search on coffee grinders,
sort them by price and let me know which is the cheapest you would
start out with. Best way I can think of to avoid a mistake in price
and function.



  
Date: 30 Dec 2006 07:02:51
From: Michael Horowitz
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 16:21:07 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net >
wrote:

>On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net>
>wrote:
>
>
>My first step is to get a decent grinder.

'yetanotherbob' says: "I think the consensus is that the single best
thing you can do to improve the coffee you make at home is to grind
your own beans, vs. buying pre-ground coffee of any sort. Following
from that, the less time between grinding the beans and brewing the
coffee, the better the results will be. "

So, go to Target and buy a whirly-blade coffee 'grinder' (actually a
mini-food processor)(GOOGLE target coffee grinder to get a visual),
don't spend more than $20 (or go to the local thrift shop/Goodwill and
pick one up for $9.00), while you're there pick up a Melitta drip
funnel and filters then buy some roasted beans (fresher the better,
although a distant second place is whole beans from Dunkin Donuts).
Go home, run two Tablespoonsful of whole beans thru your new grinder
until the grounds look like what you'd expect (at this point take the
time to smell the grounds) and put two Tablespoons of these grounds
into your new Melitta funnel/filter set up. Run 10 oz of water (just
off the boil) thru these grounds and see what you think. That will
give you a starting point; then you can start tinkering, but
'yetanotherbob' put his finger on the single, biggest factor - Mike



   
Date: 30 Dec 2006 08:49:01
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 07:02:51 -0500, Michael Horowitz
<mhorowit@cox.net > wrote:

>On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 16:21:07 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net>
>wrote:
>
>>On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net>
>>wrote:
>>
>>
>>My first step is to get a decent grinder.
>
>'yetanotherbob' says: "I think the consensus is that the single best
>thing you can do to improve the coffee you make at home is to grind
>your own beans, vs. buying pre-ground coffee of any sort. Following
>from that, the less time between grinding the beans and brewing the
>coffee, the better the results will be. "
>
>So, go to Target and buy a whirly-blade coffee 'grinder' (actually a
>mini-food processor)(GOOGLE target coffee grinder to get a visual),
>don't spend more than $20 (or go to the local thrift shop/Goodwill and
>pick one up for $9.00),

From what I have been reading wouldn't I be better off investing in an
inexpensive burr grinder? Doesn't the blade action put heat into the
beans which detracts from the flavor?



>while you're there pick up a Melitta drip
>funnel and filters then buy some roasted beans (fresher the better,
>although a distant second place is whole beans from Dunkin Donuts).
>Go home, run two Tablespoonsful of whole beans thru your new grinder
>until the grounds look like what you'd expect (at this point take the
>time to smell the grounds) and put two Tablespoons of these grounds
>into your new Melitta funnel/filter set up. Run 10 oz of water (just
>off the boil) thru these grounds and see what you think. That will
>give you a starting point; then you can start tinkering, but
>'yetanotherbob' put his finger on the single, biggest factor - Mike



    
Date: 30 Dec 2006 10:15:14
From: yetanotherBob
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <2ercp2pk51v1g210u13h9din4t0tkmk5rt@4ax.com >, me@privacy.net
says...
>
> From what I have been reading wouldn't I be better off investing in an
> inexpensive burr grinder? Doesn't the blade action put heat into the
> beans which detracts from the flavor?
>
>
Keep your beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pour the
amount needed into the blade mill just before running it, and don't run
it longer than needed to get the desired grind consistency. The temp
will rise, but the degree of "heating" of the ground coffee will be
practically insignificant.

If you're doing drip, a blade mill is the cheap and effective way to go.
An inexpensive burr grinder (under say, $50 new) will probably generate
more heat (and definitely more noise) than the whirlyblade, and be more
of a cleanup hassle than it's worth, imo.

Between $80 and $100 you'll get a quieter burr grinder that *may*
generate less heat, but it will still be more of a chore to clean up
than the blade mill.

The Bodum C-Mills are the best of the current bunch imo, cheap and
relatively quiet and easy to clean, and they produce a consistent grind
in a short time. Unless you're grinding very oily beans, you'll seldom
find a layer of coffee powder stuck to the bottom of the Bodum grinding
bowl when you stop running it, as happens with other brands. The bowl
design keeps the grounds circulating pretty effectively, from what I've
seen, allowing you to run it for a shorter time.

Bob


     
Date: 30 Dec 2006 16:20:09
From: Craig Werner
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
yetanotherBob <yetanotherbob@gmail.com > wrote in
news:MPG.20004c8e516dd72898974e@news.erols.com:

> The Bodum C-Mills are the best of the current bunch imo, cheap and
> relatively quiet and easy to clean, and they produce a consistent
> grind in a short time. Unless you're grinding very oily beans, you'll
> seldom find a layer of coffee powder stuck to the bottom of the Bodum
> grinding bowl when you stop running it, as happens with other brands.
> The bowl design keeps the grounds circulating pretty effectively, from
> what I've seen, allowing you to run it for a shorter time.
>
Bob, when grinding for a Melitta filtercone, how long do you grind coffee
in the Bodum C-Mill?

Craig


      
Date: 30 Dec 2006 11:59:33
From: yetanotherBob
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <Xns98A9734F16D91coffeebufffastmail@216.168.3.64 >,
coffeebuff@fastmail.fm says...
> yetanotherBob <yetanotherbob@gmail.com> wrote in
> news:MPG.20004c8e516dd72898974e@news.erols.com:
>
> > The Bodum C-Mills are the best of the current bunch imo, cheap and
> > relatively quiet and easy to clean, and they produce a consistent
> > grind in a short time. Unless you're grinding very oily beans, you'll
> > seldom find a layer of coffee powder stuck to the bottom of the Bodum
> > grinding bowl when you stop running it, as happens with other brands.
> > The bowl design keeps the grounds circulating pretty effectively, from
> > what I've seen, allowing you to run it for a shorter time.
> >
> Bob, when grinding for a Melitta filtercone, how long do you grind coffee
> in the Bodum C-Mill?
>
> Craig
>
Forty seconds with a full bowl of beans (about 50 - 55 grams) for about
eight cups of coffee (as ked on the auto dripper) typically gives me
the grind I'm looking for.

Bob


    
Date: 30 Dec 2006 08:17:18
From: Mike Hartigan
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <2ercp2pk51v1g210u13h9din4t0tkmk5rt@4ax.com >,
me@privacy.net says...
> On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 07:02:51 -0500, Michael Horowitz
> <mhorowit@cox.net> wrote:
>
> >On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 16:21:07 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net>
> >wrote:
> >
> >>On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net>
> >>wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>My first step is to get a decent grinder.
> >
> >'yetanotherbob' says: "I think the consensus is that the single best
> >thing you can do to improve the coffee you make at home is to grind
> >your own beans, vs. buying pre-ground coffee of any sort. Following
> >from that, the less time between grinding the beans and brewing the
> >coffee, the better the results will be. "
> >
> >So, go to Target and buy a whirly-blade coffee 'grinder' (actually a
> >mini-food processor)(GOOGLE target coffee grinder to get a visual),
> >don't spend more than $20 (or go to the local thrift shop/Goodwill and
> >pick one up for $9.00),
>
> From what I have been reading wouldn't I be better off investing in an
> inexpensive burr grinder? Doesn't the blade action put heat into the
> beans which detracts from the flavor?

Yes, that's true. But at this stage of your adventure, it's a minor
point. For around $10, you'll still be getting coffee that is a far
cry better than what you're getting now.

> >while you're there pick up a Melitta drip
> >funnel and filters then buy some roasted beans (fresher the better,
> >although a distant second place is whole beans from Dunkin Donuts).
> >Go home, run two Tablespoonsful of whole beans thru your new grinder
> >until the grounds look like what you'd expect (at this point take the
> >time to smell the grounds) and put two Tablespoons of these grounds
> >into your new Melitta funnel/filter set up. Run 10 oz of water (just
> >off the boil) thru these grounds and see what you think. That will
> >give you a starting point; then you can start tinkering, but
> >'yetanotherbob' put his finger on the single, biggest factor - Mike
>
>

--
-Mike


     
Date: 30 Dec 2006 13:40:32
From: Michael Horowitz
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 08:17:18 -0600, Mike Hartigan
<mike@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:

>In article <2ercp2pk51v1g210u13h9din4t0tkmk5rt@4ax.com>,
>me@privacy.net says...
>> On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 07:02:51 -0500, Michael Horowitz
>> <mhorowit@cox.net> wrote:
>>
>> >On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 16:21:07 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net>
>> >wrote:
>> >
>> >>On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net>
>> >>wrote:
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> From what I have been reading wouldn't I be better off investing in an
>> inexpensive burr grinder? Doesn't the blade action put heat into the
>> beans which detracts from the flavor?
>
>Yes, that's true. But at this stage of your adventure, it's a minor
>point. For around $10, you'll still be getting coffee that is a far
>cry better than what you're getting now.
>>


Don't get wrapped around the axle.
Buy the whirleyblade and later, if you decide to go to another
grinder, you can take the whirleyblade to the office, no loss in
investment; and you can do it THIS WEEKEND; maybe even today!! - Mike


 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 12:16:42
From: Mike Hartigan
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <69cap2h4jos2vdvuapqr3q5fp4gdh5lomn@4ax.com >,
me@privacy.net says...
> I used to be a truck driver and could drink black coffee of just about
> any quality, as long as it would keep me awake!
> [...]

While it doesn't sound like you have an urge to start drinking
espresso, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss an espresso maker. I
bought a Gaggia Carezza last summer for $173 from Amazon.com and have
not looked back. Both my wife and I have been drinking Americanos
almost exclusively since then (a double shot of espresso topped off
with hot water). It's basically a 'normal' cup of coffee except that
the taste beats the hell out of anything I've ever gotten from a drip
machine. Try to imagine tasting the aroma of freshly ground coffee.
It also has the single-cup convenience that you seem to like. And
it's no more hassle than a typical drip machine, IMO. Plus, since
you prepare one cup at a time, you can adjust the strength to suit
your individual taste buds. And when I need a real hit, the
occasional espresso just knocks my socks off! I've never done a
latte, cappuccino, mocha, or any of the other Fritalian drinks with
this - I simply like coffee. I have two grinders - a Rocky for
'real' coffee and an old Solis 166 for the unleaded stuff. If
flavored beans ever enter the picture, then a $10 whirly blade
grinder will fill that need. I roast my own beans, so freshness is
not an issue for me. I think this may be part of what seems to be
eluding you. If you're not inclined to roast your own, maybe you
could find a local roaster that could provide you with consistently
fresh beans - it really, really makes a difference. I usually roast
twice a week. It's rare that I brew beans that are over 5 days out
of the roaster - you really can taste the difference.

--
-Mike


  
Date: 29 Dec 2006 13:37:11
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 12:16:42 -0600, Mike Hartigan
<mike@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:

>In article <69cap2h4jos2vdvuapqr3q5fp4gdh5lomn@4ax.com>,
>me@privacy.net says...
>> I used to be a truck driver and could drink black coffee of just about
>> any quality, as long as it would keep me awake!
>> [...]
>
>While it doesn't sound like you have an urge to start drinking
>espresso, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss an espresso maker. I
>bought a Gaggia Carezza last summer for $173 from Amazon.com and have
>not looked back. Both my wife and I have been drinking Americanos
>almost exclusively since then (a double shot of espresso topped off
>with hot water). It's basically a 'normal' cup of coffee except that
>the taste beats the hell out of anything I've ever gotten from a drip
>machine. Try to imagine tasting the aroma of freshly ground coffee.
>It also has the single-cup convenience that you seem to like. And
>it's no more hassle than a typical drip machine, IMO. Plus, since
>you prepare one cup at a time, you can adjust the strength to suit
>your individual taste buds. And when I need a real hit, the
>occasional espresso just knocks my socks off! I've never done a
>latte, cappuccino, mocha, or any of the other Fritalian drinks with
>this - I simply like coffee. I have two grinders - a Rocky for
>'real' coffee and an old Solis 166 for the unleaded stuff. If
>flavored beans ever enter the picture, then a $10 whirly blade
>grinder will fill that need. I roast my own beans, so freshness is
>not an issue for me. I think this may be part of what seems to be
>eluding you. If you're not inclined to roast your own, maybe you
>could find a local roaster that could provide you with consistently
>fresh beans - it really, really makes a difference. I usually roast
>twice a week. It's rare that I brew beans that are over 5 days out
>of the roaster - you really can taste the difference.


Aside from the time involved, what is the cost involved with roasting?


   
Date: 29 Dec 2006 11:29:07
From: Jim
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
Russell Patterson wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 12:16:42 -0600, Mike Hartigan
> <mike@hartigan.dot.com> wrote:
>
>
>>In article <69cap2h4jos2vdvuapqr3q5fp4gdh5lomn@4ax.com>,
>>me@privacy.net says...
>>
>>>I used to be a truck driver and could drink black coffee of just about
>>>any quality, as long as it would keep me awake!
>>>[...]
>>
>>While it doesn't sound like you have an urge to start drinking
>>espresso, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss an espresso maker. I
>>bought a Gaggia Carezza last summer for $173 from Amazon.com and have
>>not looked back. Both my wife and I have been drinking Americanos
>>almost exclusively since then (a double shot of espresso topped off
>>with hot water). It's basically a 'normal' cup of coffee except that
>>the taste beats the hell out of anything I've ever gotten from a drip
>>machine. Try to imagine tasting the aroma of freshly ground coffee.
>>It also has the single-cup convenience that you seem to like. And
>>it's no more hassle than a typical drip machine, IMO. Plus, since
>>you prepare one cup at a time, you can adjust the strength to suit
>>your individual taste buds. And when I need a real hit, the
>>occasional espresso just knocks my socks off! I've never done a
>>latte, cappuccino, mocha, or any of the other Fritalian drinks with
>>this - I simply like coffee. I have two grinders - a Rocky for
>>'real' coffee and an old Solis 166 for the unleaded stuff. If
>>flavored beans ever enter the picture, then a $10 whirly blade
>>grinder will fill that need. I roast my own beans, so freshness is
>>not an issue for me. I think this may be part of what seems to be
>>eluding you. If you're not inclined to roast your own, maybe you
>>could find a local roaster that could provide you with consistently
>>fresh beans - it really, really makes a difference. I usually roast
>>twice a week. It's rare that I brew beans that are over 5 days out
>>of the roaster - you really can taste the difference.
>
>
>
> Aside from the time involved, what is the cost involved with roasting?

First, a warning. This becomes a hobby. You'll learn about different
beans, different roasts. You'll want to try more. You'll want to drink
more...

As far as cost goes, I do it on the cheap. I've found that the
"preferred" hot air popper is difficult to find in the Seattle area
(known for coffee geeks). But I've also learned that I have a good
supply of new looking "Toastmaster" hot air poppers at local second hand
stores (Goodwill or Value Village). I usually only pay $3 or so.

Here's the step that most people don't bother with. I grind my own tool
to get by the security bolts, open it up, and rewire the switch so that
instead of on/off I get warm fan/hot air. So it's always on when
plugged in, but I can switch off the main heating element if it's
heating too rapidly, and I can go to fan setting for cooling the unit or
beans for a minute after they are roasted (although there is some heat
on the fan only setting, it is not HOT).

Then, I take a well washed can from canned salmon, cut out the bottom
with a dremel cutting tool, and cram in on the top of the popper (it
fits perfectly!). This allows me to roast a bit more beans each time
without having them spit out as they crack. I also sit the unit at a
slight angle so that the beans circulate bottom to top. It's something
you develop a feel for by trial and error. Most guys just roast on a
flat surface, and the angle may actually contribute to earlier failure
(but I like how it works).

So... as far as money goes, it is CHEAP for me. I seem to burn them up
every six months or so (an argument for getting the original poppery?),
so there is the hour each time to disassemble, rewire, reassemble. And
there's the roughly 1/2 hour each week spent doing the actual roasting.
That 1/2 hour or so can get monotonous.

I access my beans through www.sweetias.com . You can do the math on
cost plus shipping, but it's cheaper than Starbucks or other premium
beans, and better (IMHO).

Other people purchase variacs, PIDs, etc., raising the investment.
Still others buy commercial roasting units ranging from a couple hundred
to LOTS of money (for bigger volume units).

Cost can be cheap. Effort is not negligible. ...and it's easy to get
sucked into a new hobby! Other negatives: Be aware that it puts out an
acrid smoke. You want to do it outdoors or on a porch with ventilation.
The smell lingers. I tried it under the kitchen hood ONCE. Never
again. The chaff also tends to blow around. This is not the intended
use for the popper, and you should NEVER leave it unattended because of
fire hazard.


    
Date: 29 Dec 2006 15:40:51
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:29:07 -0800, Jim <askme@beforeyousend.com >
wrote:


>
>First, a warning. This becomes a hobby. You'll learn about different
>beans, different roasts. You'll want to try more. You'll want to drink
>more...

Already there!


>
>As far as cost goes, I do it on the cheap. I've found that the
>"preferred" hot air popper is difficult to find in the Seattle area
>(known for coffee geeks). But I've also learned that I have a good
>supply of new looking "Toastmaster" hot air poppers at local second hand
>stores (Goodwill or Value Village). I usually only pay $3 or so.
>
>Here's the step that most people don't bother with. I grind my own tool
>to get by the security bolts, open it up, and rewire the switch so that
>instead of on/off I get warm fan/hot air. So it's always on when
>plugged in, but I can switch off the main heating element if it's
>heating too rapidly, and I can go to fan setting for cooling the unit or
>beans for a minute after they are roasted (although there is some heat
>on the fan only setting, it is not HOT).
>
>Then, I take a well washed can from canned salmon, cut out the bottom
>with a dremel cutting tool, and cram in on the top of the popper (it
>fits perfectly!). This allows me to roast a bit more beans each time
>without having them spit out as they crack. I also sit the unit at a
>slight angle so that the beans circulate bottom to top. It's something
>you develop a feel for by trial and error. Most guys just roast on a
>flat surface, and the angle may actually contribute to earlier failure
>(but I like how it works).
>
>So... as far as money goes, it is CHEAP for me. I seem to burn them up
>every six months or so (an argument for getting the original poppery?),
>so there is the hour each time to disassemble, rewire, reassemble. And
>there's the roughly 1/2 hour each week spent doing the actual roasting.
> That 1/2 hour or so can get monotonous.
>
>I access my beans through www.sweetias.com . You can do the math on
>cost plus shipping, but it's cheaper than Starbucks or other premium
>beans, and better (IMHO).
>
>Other people purchase variacs, PIDs, etc., raising the investment.
>Still others buy commercial roasting units ranging from a couple hundred
>to LOTS of money (for bigger volume units).
Jargon Alert! What is a PID? I can figure a variac is to alter the
voltage to the unit.


>
>Cost can be cheap. Effort is not negligible. ...and it's easy to get
>sucked into a new hobby! Other negatives: Be aware that it puts out an
>acrid smoke. You want to do it outdoors or on a porch with ventilation.
> The smell lingers. I tried it under the kitchen hood ONCE. Never
>again. The chaff also tends to blow around. This is not the intended
>use for the popper, and you should NEVER leave it unattended because of
>fire hazard.

Cost is important but not if it compromises safety. If a made for
coffee roaster is safer, I'd rather go in that direction. Also, not
knowing the roasting process, it wouldn't make sense for me to adapt a
corn popper to roasting coffee beans.


     
Date: 29 Dec 2006 15:58:41
From: Alice Faber
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <62vap21kdvhbc88n0g9ehebtk7mmrrg4h2@4ax.com >,
Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net > wrote:

>>
> Cost is important but not if it compromises safety. If a made for
> coffee roaster is safer, I'd rather go in that direction. Also, not
> knowing the roasting process, it wouldn't make sense for me to adapt a
> corn popper to roasting coffee beans.

You can use a hot-air popper as is to roast beans. It's an inexpensive
way to find out if you want to continue to take the trouble to roast
your own beans. If you have to pay full retail for the popper, it'll run
you $20 or so. The cheapest dedicated roasters will run you c. $200. No
modification is necessary to tilt a popper backwards a bit. The rest is
if you're an inveterate tinkerer.

The first time you roast coffee, it's like magic. Really. You've read
about the process and the stages. For the first few minutes, it seems
like nothing's happening. Then, just as you're ready to give up, you
hear, over the noise of the roaster fan, a popping sound. Oh, that's
what first crack sounds like. Then, if you have the patience (and
sufficient bean mass), a few minutes later you hear some crinkly sounds.
Oh, that's what second crack sounds like. You dump out the beans and
cool them off. And you wait as long as you can stand to, and grind some
coffee so you can taste it.

--
AF
"Non Sequitur U has a really, really lousy debate team."
--artyw raises the bar on rec.sport.baseball


 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 12:27:52
From: yetanotherBob
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <69cap2h4jos2vdvuapqr3q5fp4gdh5lomn@4ax.com >, me@privacy.net
says...
>
> If I am never going to go for espresso, what are my options for a good
> grinder? Then what is a good brewer for one or two pots per day?
>
>
If you're going to stick with filtered (drip) coffee brewing, get
yourself a Bodum C-Mill for around $20. Even if you may someday try
other brewing methods, the Bodum whirlyblade mill is still handy to have
around.

Roasting your own beans isn't all that much trouble. It allows you to
experiment with bean varieties and blends that you wouldn't otherwise
get to try, at your own pace. If you haven't already done so, check out
the Sweet ia's web site for a ton of good information on DIY coffee
roasting.

As for brewers, I assume you're talking auto drip. If you can find a
Presto Scandinavian Design coffee maker at Sears, grab it. They do a
good job, but they've been discontinued and will probably be unavailable
soon, if they're not already. Sears apparently bought all remaining
inventory from Presto, and has had them on sale for under $20 recently,
a bargain.

Bob


  
Date: 29 Dec 2006 11:07:29
From: JC Dill
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 12:27:52 -0500, yetanotherBob
<yetanotherbob@gmail.com > wrote:

>As for brewers, I assume you're talking auto drip. If you can find a
>Presto Scandinavian Design coffee maker at Sears, grab it. They do a
>good job, but they've been discontinued and will probably be unavailable
>soon, if they're not already. Sears apparently bought all remaining
>inventory from Presto, and has had them on sale for under $20 recently,
>a bargain.

As much as this brewer is a bargain, I wish I had known about these UI
and design flaws before we bought it:

A) The caraffe is so small at the top that I can't get my hand inside
to clean it. In addition, it is accumulating coffee oil stains at a
much faster rate than the old Braun caraffe did.

B) The caraffe lid doesn't stay shut when pouring the last cup of
coffee. It pops open with just enough oompf to spray coffee drops on
surrounding items (clothes, surfaces).

C) The filter basket doesn't stand on its own. With the old brewer
(an old Braun) I could pull the filter basket, rinse it, stand it on
the counter to put a new filter in it and fill it with coffee grounds,
then replace the filter basket in the machine. Since this basket
doesn't stand on its own I have to fill the coffee grounds at the
machine. Since my grinder tends to leak grounds a bit when grinding,
and since the process of transfering the grounds to the filter also
tends to leak grounds a bit, I now have 2 places where I have to clean
up the fly-away grounds.

D) The hot plate automatically shuts off after 2 hours - this is not
programable.

It makes good coffee, but if I'd known about these problems I'd
probably have chosen a different brewer.

jc

--

"The nice thing about a e is you get to ride a lot
of different horses without having to own that many."
~ Eileen Morgan of The e's Nest, PA


   
Date: 30 Dec 2006 09:04:05
From: yetanotherBob
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <9fpap2pp9o28jmniqsbjiuo2jvktsvl8l3@4ax.com >,
jcdill@gmail.com says...
>
> As much as this brewer is a bargain, I wish I had known about these UI
> and design flaws before we bought it:
>
> A) The caraffe is so small at the top that I can't get my hand inside
> to clean it. In addition, it is accumulating coffee oil stains at a
> much faster rate than the old Braun caraffe did.
>
> B) The caraffe lid doesn't stay shut when pouring the last cup of
> coffee. It pops open with just enough oompf to spray coffee drops on
> surrounding items (clothes, surfaces).
>
> C) The filter basket doesn't stand on its own. With the old brewer
> (an old Braun) I could pull the filter basket, rinse it, stand it on
> the counter to put a new filter in it and fill it with coffee grounds,
> then replace the filter basket in the machine. Since this basket
> doesn't stand on its own I have to fill the coffee grounds at the
> machine. Since my grinder tends to leak grounds a bit when grinding,
> and since the process of transfering the grounds to the filter also
> tends to leak grounds a bit, I now have 2 places where I have to clean
> up the fly-away grounds.
>
> D) The hot plate automatically shuts off after 2 hours - this is not
> programable.
>
> It makes good coffee, but if I'd known about these problems I'd
> probably have chosen a different brewer.
>
>
Keep in mind that it's a stinkin' *Presto*, fer cryin' out loud. Some
would consider it a minor miracle that they got anything right.

Sure, it's not going to win any ergonomic design awards or be added to
the permanent display at the MOMA next week, but few if any of the auto
drip appliances with those sorts of pretensions can make coffee that's
as good as what the lowly Presto produces, and certainly not at the same
price point, even when it was selling at "top dollar" price of $30-$40.

Bob


  
Date: 29 Dec 2006 13:16:23
From: Russell Patterson
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 12:27:52 -0500, yetanotherBob
<yetanotherbob@gmail.com > wrote:

>In article <69cap2h4jos2vdvuapqr3q5fp4gdh5lomn@4ax.com>, me@privacy.net
>says...
>>
>> If I am never going to go for espresso, what are my options for a good
>> grinder? Then what is a good brewer for one or two pots per day?
>>
>>
>If you're going to stick with filtered (drip) coffee brewing, get
>yourself a Bodum C-Mill for around $20. Even if you may someday try
>other brewing methods, the Bodum whirlyblade mill is still handy to have
>around.
>
>Roasting your own beans isn't all that much trouble. It allows you to
>experiment with bean varieties and blends that you wouldn't otherwise
>get to try, at your own pace. If you haven't already done so, check out
>the Sweet ia's web site for a ton of good information on DIY coffee
>roasting.
>
>As for brewers, I assume you're talking auto drip. If you can find a
>Presto Scandinavian Design coffee maker at Sears, grab it. They do a
>good job, but they've been discontinued and will probably be unavailable
>soon, if they're not already. Sears apparently bought all remaining
>inventory from Presto, and has had them on sale for under $20 recently,
>a bargain.
>
>Bob
How long does one have to roast the beans on average? With my job, I'd
hate to get started and then have to leave before they are done.


   
Date: 29 Dec 2006 13:30:13
From: Alice Faber
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <1qmap25a25hp5h27osa6d8886e60hrmpof@4ax.com >,
Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net > wrote:

>> How long does one have to roast the beans on average? With my job, I'd
> hate to get started and then have to leave before they are done.

I have a hot air popcorn popper. Yesterday afternoon, I roasted two
batches. The total amount of elapsed time was probably half an hour,
including letting the popper cool down between roasts. A single batch,
which typically gives me 85-95 grams of roasted coffee, generally takes
under 10 minutes, and, since I live alone, this will give me 3 4-cup
pots of drip coffee (more, if I use the moka pot, as I do on weekends).

It's the sort of process you have to babysit, since you determine when
the batch is done based on your eyes, ears, and nose.

--
AF
"Non Sequitur U has a really, really lousy debate team."
--artyw raises the bar on rec.sport.baseball


  
Date: 29 Dec 2006 17:50:14
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 12:27:52 -0500, yetanotherBob
<yetanotherbob@gmail.com > wrote:

>In article <69cap2h4jos2vdvuapqr3q5fp4gdh5lomn@4ax.com>, me@privacy.net
>says...
>>
>> If I am never going to go for espresso, what are my options for a good
>> grinder? Then what is a good brewer for one or two pots per day?
>>

>Roasting your own beans isn't all that much trouble.

Roasting your own beans well is a lot of trouble and a hobby in itself
(albeit a rewarding one). I would not urge it on anyone who is simply
asking for "baby steps to good coffee." This is like asking where the
nearest Ikea is and getting a suggestion to take up carpentry.

shall


   
Date: 29 Dec 2006 14:07:18
From: yetanotherBob
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
In article <d0lap21ejpjbtcpidb1ol9b4b8g6jr1klo@4ax.com >,
mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net says...
> Roasting your own beans well is a lot of trouble and a hobby in itself
> (albeit a rewarding one). I would not urge it on anyone who is simply
> asking for "baby steps to good coffee." This is like asking where the
> nearest Ikea is and getting a suggestion to take up carpentry.
>
> shall
>
>
Well, I'd agree, except that the OP *did* inquire about roasting, baby
steps or not.

He can read all about it at the Sweet ia's (or other) site, and I'm
certain he can decide from there whether or not he wants to get into it.

Bob


 
Date: 29 Dec 2006 16:46:50
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Baby steps to good coffee
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 11:04:21 -0500, Russell Patterson <me@privacy.net >
wrote:

>I don't think I will ever get to the point where I want to go
>Espresso, so at this point if I want to get into grinding freshly
>roasted beans, what are my best options for grinder and brewer without
>costing a fortune? I guess the quuestion of which beans to buy are
>subject to taste, but the question of how much coffee to buy and how
>long it stays fresh are important. If I keep the Keurig for her at
>night and for her flavored coffee, I would guess that I would drink 10
>cups/day when I don't have to go out. I am a field service engineer
>working out of the house.

All good questions. Although the Keurig is better than most pod
systems, it still represents a compromise. You trade some quality for
some convenience.

Keurig advantages (in no particular order): almost no mess to clean
up; easy to serve guests a mix of decaf, regular and flavored coffees
(if they insist!); faster, if only serving one or two cups.

Keurig disadvantages: costs more; not as flavorful as freshly ground.

One of the great things about serving freshly ground is that the best
coffee requires the cheapest equipment. A tea kettle, Melitta filter
holder and cheap blade grinder (shake it for more even grind) will do
just fine. Everything beyond that is just fine tuning.

shall "owns plenty of 'fine tuning,'"