Nareed
Nareed
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May 5th, 2011 at 4:19:43 PM permalink
While Jerry keeps digging, I'll ignore the sorry spectacle and focus on other things.

This thread derives from the Wizard's curious ommission of Hawaiian coffee from his WoO Hawaii vacation blog post. I've had Hawaiian coffee a few times and it's absolutely the bets I've come across. Now, I'm not a conoisseur or a purist. I just drink lots of coffee.

How much not apurist I am is proved by one simple admission: I have instant every day at home. Setting up the coffee amker and then washing it is just too much trouble early in the morning, therefore instant (Nescafe, which is as average as instant gets; Folger's is exotic down here, really).

Washing, now, is very important. Coffee is a curious substance: it never stops brewing in the presence of water. It brews easier with hot water, but give it time and it brews just as well (some people claim better) with cold water. So any residue left behind in the coffee maker will keep brewing every time you make coffee.

But it only brews well the first time. Brew coffee too long and it becomes foul and ever more bitter. That's why you only brew the grounds once. That's also why when you let it stand too long on a hot plate it gets bitter: residual solids that amke it past the filter keep brewing.

So, the first lesson for making good coffee is : clean the equipment well.

I preffer a drip coffee maker, but all other methods (french press, percolator, cold brewing, etc) are just as good. As long as you keep everyhitng clean after each use.

Each day the first thing I do at the office is set up the coffee maker. it's a dual purpose Krups drip and espresso setup. It also steams milk for capuccino. I rarely make use of milk, but I make espresso a few times a month.

Well, more, much more, later.
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 5th, 2011 at 5:04:24 PM permalink
The second lesson is to get good quality coffee. Overall this will be any coffee sold for a reasonable price at the local supermarket. Premium coffees, gourmet coffees, etc, are also good, but usually not worth the extra money. but do try them if you want to. One tip, if you frequent a palce that sells made coffee (like Starbucks) and like their coffee, see if they sell grounds or whole beans. Many such places do.

This is too easy for me because Mexico produces some good quality, high altitude coffee. If you get Mexican beans or grounds, amke sure they come from either Veracruz, Chiapas or Oaxaca. These are tropical, mountainous regions, perfect for growing good coffee. Specific local brands I can endorse are Internacional, Garat, La Finca, Blason and Punta Del Cielo.

Sometimes I'll buy Kirkland brand Colombian coffee at Costco. It's good enough, but far from a really good Colombian blend. I've also tried Hawaiian a few times. I can recommend the Kona sold at ABC stores in Vegas, but be warned the grounds are dark and strong. I brew a smaller amount of grounds when using that, and invariably I add cream.

In Mexico another great place for getting good coffee are small, independent grinders. Usually they also sell made coffee, mostly regular though sometimes they'll ahve espresso, but their main business is selling whole and ground coffee beans. They won't necessarily ahve the same kinds twice running, but it's good coffee 99% of the time.

Above all buy beans or grounds you like. if you like it with added falvors, by all means get it that way. Coffee mixes well with many other flavors, after all. I sometimes add vanilla extract to mine (natural extract, mind, not artificial vanilla flavoring). Further proof I'm no purist.
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FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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May 5th, 2011 at 5:35:01 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

I have instant every day at home.


Your shameful secret is safe with us.

Beans? High quality beans are of little use to major roasters. Major brands want a consistent product and wouldn't know what to do with a small quantity of excellent beans, only a smaller firm will want to buy really top quality beans.

Clean equipment. Yes indeed. However, if I wanted to spend all the time cleaning the darn thing, I'd sterilize some glassware and make wine or beer and get a better reward for the same amount of effort. Why steam clean your coffee maker, use the steam to brew the coffee. (Particularly use steam to brew tea).

Its just that most people don't have time for all this mixing and measuring, they want a cup of coffee and they want it now. Hence the popularity of these no mess instant-brew Keurig coffee One-Serving cups.
Mosca
Mosca
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May 5th, 2011 at 7:08:27 PM permalink
I used to buy Kona direct from either Greenwell Farms or Hualalai Estate (a consortium of farms). I love Kona coffee, but there are so many other variations of flavor in the world, and I love different types at different times.

Now I order from Sweet Maria's. Although they specialize in unroasted beans, they do roasted pairings every two weeks. This upcoming pairing, May 18th, will be Costa Rica Cafetalera Herbazu and Guatemala Huehuetenango -Finca La Providencia Dos. At $33 for the two pounds, including shipping, it is about half the price of Kona and always just as good. Different, but just as good. What's fun is drinking something like Dominican coffee for 3-4 days, then Ethiopian. The Ethiopian tastes odd (not bad, just unusual), then I get used to it and understand it, then a few days later the Dominican tastes odd.

Another great online house is J Martinez & Co. The variety is great, the prices are fair (boutique coffee prices are currently skyrocketing) and service is excellent.

Regarding the quality and handling: at all of the sources linked, the beans are roasted to order and packed in one-way vented bags to "gas out" during shipping. This makes a difference. Fresh beans are flavorful beans!
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Mosca
Mosca
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May 5th, 2011 at 7:17:30 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

I can recommend the Kona sold at ABC stores in Vegas, but be warned the grounds are dark and strong.



Not all dark roasts are mediocre beans, but mediocre beans are often dark or French roasted, to cover their flaws. I like a nice bitter cup as much as the next guy. But the really great stuff is almost always roasted to medium.

(I'm not an expert, I'm not a coffee mkl. But a lot of information comes from these people, who are experts, and you can read the information and taste the coffee, and learn the differences. It's fun, if you're into that stuff [and boring if you're not I suppose].)
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 5th, 2011 at 7:57:44 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

Not all dark roasts are mediocre beans, but mediocre beans are often dark or French roasted, to cover their flaws.



I know. But when coffee is roasted too dark it usually tastes burnt. The ABC brand doesn't. Ultimately I go with what I like.

I do have one iron-clad rule: never pour milk into coffee. Instead you pour coffee into milk. I've no idea why this works, but it does.
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rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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May 5th, 2011 at 8:41:16 PM permalink
Quote: arcimedes

ABC's Kona coffee is a blend and is not the real thing.



That's true of pretty much all "kona" sold on the mainland. Doesn't mean it isn't yummy...
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
Nareed
Nareed
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May 5th, 2011 at 8:56:45 PM permalink
Quote: rdw4potus

That's true of pretty much all "kona" sold on the mainland. Doesn't mean it isn't yummy...



The package, which right now is next to me, claims to be "Pure" and "100% Kona Coffee." It's a small gold packet, 7 oz (198 grams). At the store I noticed a white package which did indicate it was a blend.

Now, I don't know mine is 100% Kona despite the label and sticker that says so, but it's very good.
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 5th, 2011 at 9:14:09 PM permalink
Recipe time.

Coffee, as noted before, mixes well with other flavors. It also works in a variety of textures and temperatures. Hot coffee is great, but so is frozen, frappe coffee. I like coffee ice cream, too, and coffee flavored deserts. I even developed my own coffee gelatin. Here's the recipe:

Ingredients

2 measuring spoons of ground coffee (the standard spoon that comes in coffee packages or with coffee makers)
1 cup of hot water
1 cup of milk (I use skim milk or low-fat evaporated milk, but any kind works)
1 packet of unflavored gelatin (7 grams)
4 teaspoons of granulated sugar substitute, or real sugar if you prefer (four packets of Splenda work as well)
Vanilla extract to taste (I use one drop)

First brew the coffee with the cup of hot water. Any method works. I've a one-cup cone that takes in a filter, but french press is also good. Just make sure to filter out all coffee solids. While the coffee brews, start heating up the milk.

When the milk's hot (not boiling), begin to dissolve the gelatin. This takes time, and some brands of gelatin need to be hydrated first. Over time I've learned to add it in little bits and keep stirring. even so it won't all dissolve soon.

When enough gelatin's dissolved, add the brewed coffee and Splenda or sugar to the mix. Maintain at a low heat and keep stirring. You can add the vanilla now, if you like, or leave it off. Don't let the mix boil, stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved.

Let it cool, then pour into molds. It should be enough for four servings. Place the molds int he fridge and let the mix solidify.

You can also add a little, but only a little, coffee liquor like Khalua. Or you may add it once the dessert is served.

I've experimented adding Hershey's baker's cocoa to make it mocha gelatin, but haven't hit the right proportions yet.

Next I want to do a yogurt-based coffee dessert. I'm thinking about it.
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rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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May 5th, 2011 at 9:27:52 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed



Next I want to do a yogurt-based coffee dessert. I'm thinking about it.



I'll try your gelatin soon. Yogurt & coffee works lots of ways:
(just blend to taste, all coffee chilled)
Vanilla yogurt and strong black coffee
Plain yogurt and sweetened coffee
Chocolate yogurt and espresso

It gets pretty runny, so I suggest either adding an emulsifier or serving as a dip for some sort of dessert bread.
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett

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