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Date: 08 Aug 2007 08:54:58
From: brett
Subject: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
I've had many different kinds of coffee in many different kinds of
smaller home machines. All give an after taste. They are also
generally weak or strong (giving a worse after taste). It doesn't
seem as though there is any way to make good coffee in these machines
(sub $100).

The best coffee I've had has always been at some no name independent
cafe and only a hand full of those. It seems the machine is the
deciding factor. But if that was the case, why are some cafes making
coffee no better than a home machine while others are making great
coffee?

Thanks,
Brett





 
Date: 14 Aug 2007 13:24:42
From: brett
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
On Aug 13, 5:57 pm, LF <fie...@gmail.com > wrote:
> I'm using a 5 cup
>
> > Melitta coffee maker.
>
> Oh. I misunderstood. I thought you were using one of the Melitta
> Manual Coffeemakers <http://www.melitta.com/search.asp?SKW=MACM>,
> Now I get it, you are using one of their Electric Coffeemakers <http://www.melitta.com/search.asp?SKW=ELCM>.
>
> The manual ones give you more control over the brew temperature, and
> are easier to clean and descale.

That's interesting (and cheaper). I'll try it. Thanks.

Brett



 
Date: 14 Aug 2007 00:57:00
From: LF
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
I'm using a 5 cup
> Melitta coffee maker.

Oh. I misunderstood. I thought you were using one of the Melitta
Manual Coffeemakers <http://www.melitta.com/search.asp?SKW=MACM >,
Now I get it, you are using one of their Electric Coffeemakers <http://
www.melitta.com/search.asp?SKW=ELCM >.

The manual ones give you more control over the brew temperature, and
are easier to clean and descale.

I don't know specifically about Melitta, but most Electic Coffeemakers
brew at too low a temperature. Maybe you can temperature surf them a
bit by running thru a carafe of water first, to heat up the system,
and then use that hot water again to brew the coffee. Never heard of
it or tried it. Maybe it will ruin your machine. AFAIK, the water
cools down too much before it hits the beans. It has a way to travel
between heat up and brew. THe best electric drip brewers ones reheat
the water at the top of the machine, just before it hits the beans.
Even the best ones need to be descaled from time to time.

So, now I suggest a new coffee brewer. Melitta manual, moka pot, and
french press are all at the economical end of the coffee brewing
spectrum. If you can get good coffee out of a Melitta manual, then
you can try the same water/coffee combo in the Melitta electric -- and
find out if the electric machine is the culprit.

Best,
Larry



 
Date: 14 Aug 2007 00:39:25
From: LF
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
>
> I grind roasted coffee beans at 43 in the Rocky. I'm using a 5 cup
> Melitta coffee maker. I fill it with 5 cups of (filtered) water. I
> use the coffee scoop that came with the machine. Usually heaping or a
> little more. I can't drink it black because the coffee just isn't
> that good straight. So, I add milk and sugar. The coffee is ok at
> that point. See anything wrong with what I'm doing?
>
> Thanks,
> Brett,

I don't use that set up, but will suggest a few experiments.

I hope the water is hot enough. 195F- 200F if you use a thermometer.
Just short of boil if you don't.

Rule of thumb is 2 Tablespoons of fresh ground coffee for 6 oz of
water; try more coffee. Some even recommend 2Tabs coffe for 4 oz of
water.

Try different kinds of fresh roasted beans as well.

You might be grinding too course, and the water passing thru too few
ground beans too quickly. My Rocky at 43 is good for french roast.
I would grind finer for drip. Experiment.

If you have access to a good shop that fresh roasts coffee, ask for
their advice.

Experiment, you'll find what you are looking for.

Best,
Larry







 
Date: 10 Aug 2007 21:32:33
From: brett
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
On Aug 10, 8:08 pm, "Robert Harmon" <Texas_Cof...@earthlink.net >
wrote:
> One could make the argument that if five consecutive shots aren't the same
> that maybe you haven't mastered the basics? A good barista will produce the
> same shot time after time, with so little variation in taste as to be barely
> noticeable, if at all.

shots != coffee

Assuming a good grind, what is there to mess up in making coffee?



  
Date: 10 Aug 2007 23:00:00
From: Johnny
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?

"brett" <account@cygen.com > wrote in message
news:1186806753.406360.20140@m37g2000prh.googlegroups.com...
> On Aug 10, 8:08 pm, "Robert Harmon" <Texas_Cof...@earthlink.net>
> wrote:
> > One could make the argument that if five consecutive shots aren't the
same
> > that maybe you haven't mastered the basics? A good barista will produce
the
> > same shot time after time, with so little variation in taste as to be
barely
> > noticeable, if at all.
>
> shots != coffee
>
> Assuming a good grind, what is there to mess up in making coffee?
>
see my other post...




 
Date: 11 Aug 2007 02:13:23
From: WaterBoy
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
.
how about taste buds?
sometimes, it depends on the time of day and/or place

i drink coffee 4-5 days in a row;
by the 5th day it tastes a little different --
usually not as enjoyable, fresh, good....

so i have some green tea for a day or two;
and i start the cycle over again

waterboy



  
Date: 10 Aug 2007 22:08:45
From: Robert Harmon
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
One could make the argument that if five consecutive shots aren't the same
that maybe you haven't mastered the basics? A good barista will produce the
same shot time after time, with so little variation in taste as to be barely
noticeable, if at all.
--
Robert Harmon
--
http://www.tinyurl.com/mb4uj - My coffee pages.

http://www.tinyurl.com/2tnv87 - My 'Guidelines For Newbies' page.

http://www.tinyurl.com/2cr3e2 - I have things for sale here.
"WaterBoy" <waterboy@financier.com > wrote in message
news:1186798403.970192.68500@x35g2000prf.googlegroups.com...
> .
> how about taste buds?
> sometimes, it depends on the time of day and/or place
>
> i drink coffee 4-5 days in a row;
> by the 5th day it tastes a little different --
> usually not as enjoyable, fresh, good....
>
> so i have some green tea for a day or two;
> and i start the cycle over again
>
> waterboy
>




 
Date: 09 Aug 2007 22:54:30
From: brett
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
On Aug 9, 8:06 pm, LF <fie...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Aug 8, 11:54 am, brett <acco...@cygen.com> wrote:
>
> > I've had many different kinds of coffee in many different kinds of
> > smaller home machines. All give an after taste. They are also
> > generally weak or strong (giving a worse after taste). It doesn't
> > seem as though there is any way to make good coffee in these machines
> > (sub $100).
>
> > Thanks,
> > Brett
>
> Are you still using the Silvia / Rocky combo?
> LF

Yes but I'm referring to coffee, not espresso for this thread. Here's
the setup:

I grind roasted coffee beans at 43 in the Rocky. I'm using a 5 cup
Melitta coffee maker. I fill it with 5 cups of (filtered) water. I
use the coffee scoop that came with the machine. Usually heaping or a
little more. I can't drink it black because the coffee just isn't
that good straight. So, I add milk and sugar. The coffee is ok at
that point. See anything wrong with what I'm doing?

Thanks,
Brett



  
Date: 10 Aug 2007 23:05:22
From: Johnny
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?

"brett" <account@cygen.com > wrote in message
news:1186725270.847642.114160@e9g2000prf.googlegroups.com...
> On Aug 9, 8:06 pm, LF <fie...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Aug 8, 11:54 am, brett <acco...@cygen.com> wrote:
> >
> > > I've had many different kinds of coffee in many different kinds of
> > > smaller home machines. All give an after taste. They are also
> > > generally weak or strong (giving a worse after taste). It doesn't
> > > seem as though there is any way to make good coffee in these machines
> > > (sub $100).
> >
> > > Thanks,
> > > Brett
> >
> > Are you still using the Silvia / Rocky combo?
> > LF
>
> Yes but I'm referring to coffee, not espresso for this thread. Here's
> the setup:
>
> I grind roasted coffee beans at 43 in the Rocky. I'm using a 5 cup
> Melitta coffee maker. I fill it with 5 cups of (filtered) water. I
> use the coffee scoop that came with the machine. Usually heaping or a
> little more. I can't drink it black because the coffee just isn't
> that good straight. So, I add milk and sugar. The coffee is ok at
> that point. See anything wrong with what I'm doing?
>
> Thanks,
> Brett
>

For brewing you can make very tasty coffee with under $100 machines but your
mileage may vary as qc can be the luck of the draw when you don't pay much.

Some coffees have a very pleasing after taste but I'm guessing you are
referring to something that makes you pucker.

#43 means nothing since grinders aren't calibrated to each other so that
could be something quite different on another Rocky although it does give at
least a ball park.

Coffee making is infinitely variable since the source is organic and so
changes season to season and even bean to bean within the same bag.
What can go wrong? everything. There's quite the bunch of variables,
including but not limited to:
the source(s) of the beans and how old they were before roasting;
the roast (who, how, what level etc.)and how long since it happened;
the grind (how fine and how even it is);
the ratio of coffee to water;
the temperature of the water;
the water;
the steeping time;
the extraction method (filter, vac, press, aero press, etc.etc.)
etc., etc.

Looking at what you do there's nothing "wrong" per se, but....
how old are the beans, who imported them, who roasted them, what roast
level were they taken to?
how long does it take to brew using the #43 grind?
how old is the grinder and how much use has it had (it may have blunt burrs
and so be giving a more uneven distribution of ground sizes)?
maybe the brewer is delivering water to hot or to cool. (too hot is more
common than too cold, most coffee tastes very sharp to my tastes when brewed
anything over about 204F but depending on the coffee may be fine down as low
as 185F although I find it a bit flat tasting when brewed that cool, otoh
you can do cold brewing but that's another thread..)
maybe your water filter is bad
maybe the coffee maker is brewing too short or long == > under or over
extracted, but about the only way the coffee maker influences that is the
speed of water delivery to the coffee, its mostly the grind and amount of
coffee that determine brew time for an otherwise fixed machine
maybe the filters you are using don't work well with that machine (long shot
but some people swear that chemex works best with original chemex filters,
for instance).

You don't have too much control over some of those things given the machine
doesn't have adjustable anything.

The most likely place to start is the beans: use freshly roasted (3-7days
from roasting) and of a type and roast that you like, not what someone else
says you should like but what you yourself like, especially those from the
places you regard as "good" coffee.
but you still need everything else right for it to work so you'll have to
experiment to see what works for you. And even then it will keep changing
but not as drastically. I see you are in Seattle so you should be able to
get great fresh beans locally.
Beans roasted for espresso don't always work well for brewing, some do but
most don't.

It goes in steps but it starts with the beans. For me once I had that sorted
then the next big step was the grinder and the grind itself. Then I found
that even the best local suppliers sometimes have off days so I had to try
and roast my own, now they are my off days ;-), then it was a better
grinder, then ...

The latest for me is that with some coffees, depends on the bean, I brew
them cooler (not talking espresso here, regular brew) when fresh to dull the
sharp edge of too fresh coffee and raise the temp a little as they get
slightly older to put some spark back, but no coffee for brewing lasts
around here more than a week out of the roaster.

If you already have good beans, try experimenting by grinding finer then
coarser around your #43 while keeping everything else the same. This should
change the brew time to longer and shorter and you should then be able to
detect easily by taste when it's over and under extracted or if you get
lucky just right.

So do what you can to change the variables that you have conrol over. Good
brewed coffee can be made at home and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a
leg.

If you really want control: take the filter basket out of the coffee machine
and mount it over a thermal carafe, as put the machine aside. Boil your
water seperately, wait til it cools to the right temp (how long depnds on
what you boil it in and what the ambient temp is..you can get a ball park
temp with some candy thermometrs if you don't have something more accuarate)
and then pour it over the coffee yourself at the speed you want. It's not
easy to tell how much water you pour this way so you have to carefully
measure it out before boiling or measure as you pour by some means like
weighing to get the right amount for the amount of coffee you are brewing.
This, by the way, doesn't need the machine and so can be done at bare
essentails level for the cost of the filter-basket, filters, carafe and
kettle (which can be an existing pan on an existing stove). The most
expensive part of all this is the grinder.

Let us know how you get on. It can be done.

Johnny





 
Date: 10 Aug 2007 03:06:27
From: LF
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
On Aug 8, 11:54 am, brett <acco...@cygen.com > wrote:
> I've had many different kinds of coffee in many different kinds of
> smaller home machines. All give an after taste. They are also
> generally weak or strong (giving a worse after taste). It doesn't
> seem as though there is any way to make good coffee in these machines
> (sub $100).
>

>
> Thanks,
> Brett
Are you still using the Silvia / Rocky combo?
LF





 
Date: 10 Aug 2007 03:04:41
From: LF
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
On Aug 8, 11:54 am, brett <acco...@cygen.com > wrote:
> I've had many different kinds of coffee in many different kinds of
> smaller home machines. All give an after taste. They are also
> generally weak or strong (giving a worse after taste). It doesn't
> seem as though there is any way to make good coffee in these machines
> (sub $100).
<snip >

> Brett,
Without more detail, its difficult to know what's going on. If you
use fresh roased beans, a good grinder, and follow the directions (see
google) for a mocha pot or french press you will get good coffee. If
you are talikng about small home espresso machines, you will still
need the fresh beans and a good grinder. Many of the smaller home
espresso machines can turn out good coffee with a few tricks --
temperature surfing and a good clean machine, for starters.

Are you aiming for espresso or brewed coffee? What kind of coffee do
you like? How do you drink it: black, milk, cream, sugar, lemon,
cardamon? What machines do you have now? Got a good grinder?

Best,
LF




 
Date: 10 Aug 2007 10:44:35
From: Natalie Drest
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?

"brett" <account@cygen.com > wrote in message
news:1186588498.462771.88940@m37g2000prh.googlegroups.com...
> I've had many different kinds of coffee in many different kinds of
> smaller home machines. All give an after taste.

What sort of aftertaste? The best espresso leaves a pleasant aftertaste that
hangs around for ages.

> They are also
> generally weak or strong (giving a worse after taste). It doesn't
> seem as though there is any way to make good coffee in these machines
> (sub $100).
>
> The best coffee I've had has always been at some no name independent
> cafe and only a hand full of those. It seems the machine is the
> deciding factor.

Not really. It's been said many times that the order of importance is:
1) The coffee beans
2) The grinder
3) The machine.

Skill of the operator is vital; I've had excellent store coffees made by the
store owner, and later returned to the store for another which was made by a
(usually) young offsidser that was execrable- thus ruling out every other
variable than the operator, i.e. same beans, grind and machine. I reckon an
experienced operator with good beans and grinder could produce an espresso
from a small home machine that would knock your socks off. Not as good as
they could produce from their shop machine, but still pretty good. Ain't no
substitute for experience!





  
Date: 09 Aug 2007 18:16:52
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
On Fri, 10 Aug 2007 10:44:35 +1000, "Natalie Drest"
<fugeddaboudit@notarealemailaddress.net > wrote:

>Not really. It's been said many times that the order of importance is:
>1) The coffee beans
>2) The grinder
>3) The machine.
>
>Skill of the operator is vital; I've had excellent store coffees made by the
>store owner, and later returned to the store for another which was made by a
>(usually) young offsidser that was execrable- thus ruling out every other
>variable than the operator, i.e. same beans, grind and machine. I reckon an
>experienced operator with good beans and grinder could produce an espresso
>from a small home machine that would knock your socks off. Not as good as
>they could produce from their shop machine, but still pretty good. Ain't no
>substitute for experience!

Or as Dan Kehn puts it, "The problem is usually on the handle side of
the portafilter."

Marshall


 
Date: 08 Aug 2007 14:04:27
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
On Aug 8, 11:54 am, brett <acco...@cygen.com > wrote:
> I've had many different kinds of coffee in many different kinds of
> smaller home machines. All give an after taste. They are also
> generally weak or strong (giving a worse after taste). It doesn't
> seem as though there is any way to make good coffee in these machines
> (sub $100).
>
> The best coffee I've had has always been at some no name independent
> cafe and only a hand full of those. It seems the machine is the
> deciding factor. But if that was the case, why are some cafes making
> coffee no better than a home machine while others are making great
> coffee?
>
> Thanks,
> Brett

Of all smaller substandard and marginalized home-style machines,
including a few best-coffee establishments, some do nevertheless
manage to excel in instances without a highend machine. In other
words, if they're making good coffee, then they're doing something
else right (besides the machines).

That's easy - they probably enjoy drinking the stuff when you're not
around. Ask them politely to stick out their tongues before ordering.



 
Date: 08 Aug 2007 17:28:59
From:
Subject: Re: Good coffee: Is it the machine?
In alt.coffee, brett <account@cygen.com > wrote:

> It seems the machine is the
> deciding factor.


Nope. But it often is the weakest link in the chain, which is the reason
behind your opinion.

--
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so
certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russel