Moccamaster Technivorm & Bonavita 8-cup Brewer
By Valorie King, Owner & Coffee Maven
On Monday, 1/7/2019, I did a Facebook Live showing the two American drip coffee brewers we personally like to us, the Moccamaster by Technivorm and the 8-cup pourover-style brewer by Bonavita. Both use the stainless steel carafe to keep the coffee warm.
One of the things I forgot to do when measuring the TDS (total dissolved solids) on the live video was to swirl the pots before testing the TDS. On Tuesday, 1/8/2019, I used only the Bonavita. I did remember to swirl the pot before checking the TDS. While I did lower the amount of coffee I used to lower the TDS measurement from 1.32, I did use a different coffee, 2018 Christmas Blend. I will be doing this again using the Rwanda Hingakawa as my consistent coffee so that I am only changing one variable at a time.
Here is the video from Monday, 1/7/2019 for your viewing pleasure!
From today, 1/8/2019...It's too strong...but then again, I personally like my coffee strong! Next pot, less coffee.
Be sure to check out our Facebook page, @lamppostcoffee or Lamppost Coffee Roasters, for more videos! Now it's your turn, how do you like your coffee? Strong? Black? With cream? We'd love to hear from you...
By Valorie King, Owner & Coffee Maven
In keeping with the short series about the variables you and I have control of when brewing coffee at home, I want to share some tips about water. Remember, our goal in brewing coffee is to be able to recreate amazing coffee every time. There is a real science surrounding water standards for brewing coffee. If you are into the science aspect of home coffee brewing, check out the water standards and characteristics as defined by the SCAA Statistics and Standards Committee here. The reality is all water is not equal. We will keep is simple, sweetie: Use fresh drawn cold filtered water. Be sure to keep to this even when using a manual or pour over brewing method.
Draw water right before you brew your coffee. Confession: We do bend this rule slightly for the first pot of coffee of the day at our home. We do draw cold filtered water the night before into a water pitcher, so we just simply have to grind coffee and put it in the filter basket. Then we pour water in the reservoir. It keeps things simple for us before our first cup of coffee. Question: Why fresh drawn? Water will take on the taste and flavor characteristics of the container in which it is stored. Water will also take on flavors of foods in the refrigerator, especially open containers. The best way to prevent these flavor flaws is to draw water right before brewing.
Use cold water when filling any automatic coffee brewer. Most brewer manufacturers give instructions to start with cold water. It would stand to reason that if the instructions say to start with cold water, there must be a valid reason to start with cold water! One of the most common reasons cited is: “There is a perfect coffee extraction time to temperature ratio that is interfered with if you use warm water.” With our modern technology and devices, I don’t know how much this truly matters except that most of our modern automatic or semi-automatic brewers are programmed for the instant or rapid heating of cold tap water. Another reason often cited for using cold water is: “Cold tap water has not sat in nor been piped through the hot water heater.” Unless you have one of the new instant hot water heaters, water has sat in the hot water heater waiting to be drawn picking up flavors and collecting some extra mineral. In keeping with home brewing variable control, start with freshly drawn cold water. Remember, the goal is to consistently brew amazing coffee at home. To do this, it is best to be consistent in every step of the brewing process.
The biggest tip about water, though, is use filtered water. Filtered water eliminates chlorine and other additives in our municipal water sources. While these keep us from contracting preventable illnesses, they also taint the brewed coffee flavor. There are total dissolved solids (TDS) and mineral ratios along with pH and alkalinity levels that make distilled water not optimal for brewing coffee. Distilled water does not extract coffee correctly and can leave a flat mouth feel and uninspiring flavor to the coffee. Bottled water is acceptable, just be sure it is spring water and not from a municipal source. A municipal source typically is tap water. After years of using a name brand filter pitcher, we simply would go through too much water (and coffee) to keep up with the filter replacement. The pitcher also must be refilled regularly, or you are left waiting for water to filter before you can brew coffee. We solved this a few years ago when Roastmaster Jeff, who is also an engineer, did some research on good under-sink or counter mounted water filtration systems. We did convert to two filter under-sink water filtration systems simply for ease and convenience. This filtration system keeps our municipal tap water filtered of chlorine and fluoride as well as filters out excessive amounts of minerals. As we move towards a retail location, the water filtration system we choose for our shop will meet the standards given by the SCAA Statistics and Standards Committee, as mentioned above. (Yes, we are on the move again looking for a brick and mortar retail location! Woot! Woot!)
Remember, to keep it simple, sweetie: Use water that is freshly drawn right before brewing, make sure it is from the cold water tap and be sure water run through a water filter each time you brew. For brewing consistently good coffee at home, or the office, or anywhere really, minimized the variables you have control over. As stated before, even when using manual or pour over methods of brewing coffee, keep to your variable controlling routine.
To review, the variables we have covered so far and we have control over are: weighing coffee, being exact in measuring water by weight or by volume, and, starting our brewing routine with fresh drawn cold filtered water. You can read about starting with quality fresh roasted coffee, experimenting with the coffee to water ratio, using quality brewing and grinding equipment, as well as a few other tips along the way like rinsing paper filters one to three times before brewing in the blog post, Weight a Minute?! What Am I Weighting For?. The final two variables we will cover in the coming weeks will be: grind and time.
I would love to hear back from you. Have you made any changes to how you brew coffee at home to make it even more amazing?
By Valorie King, Owner & Coffee Maven
A few weeks ago, on March 23rd, I wrote about weighing coffee so I can consistently brew amazing coffee. This got me thinking about all the variables in home coffee brewing and over what variables do I, as a home coffee brewer, have control. I must admit, I am starting with some basic presumptions:
Working forward from these basic presumptions, the four basic variables I work with to brew are: amount of coffee as weighed in grams, coarse-ness/fine-ness of grind, time and water quality. As mentioned above, I blogged my thoughts and reasons for always weighing my coffee a few weeks ago. You can read that in News section of our website, or click the following link to be taken to that blog: Weight a Minute! What am I Weighting For? For the next few weeks, I will explore my basic presumptions as well as the other three variables of grind, time and water. Today, I wanted to share some thoughts and Coffee Maven tips.
Presumption 1 - You are starting with quality fresh roasted coffee to brew an amazing cup or two or pot of coffee. If you start with quality fresh roasted coffee, my experience has been you will brew an amazing cup. If you don’t use quality fresh roasted coffee, I’m sorry! My recommendation would be to find some fresh roasted coffee and start over.
Presumption 2 – You are willing to do some experimenting to be able to both create and re-create an amazing cup of coffee. That old adage “Practice makes perfect” applies here. Using a coffee to water ratio like 1 part coffee:16-18 parts water is a good place to start in determining the amount of coffee. See my aforementioned post on weighing for details on this concept. If you are using a manual brewing method such as the Clever Coffee Dripper, Chemex or French Press, you can also experiment with time. In an automatic drip brewer, the manufacturer has predetermined the time of brewing and extraction for you. We do strongly recommend investing in an SCA certified home brewer. Which leads me to…
Presumption 3 – You are willing to invest in some reasonable home coffee brewing equipment. As with most purchases, you will get what you pay for. The art of brewing coffee is one of my passions and hobbies. I truly enjoy brewing coffee and am doing my part in brewing an amazing cup of coffee simply for the enjoyment of drinking it, not just to get my hit of caffeine. I am finding enjoyment and delight in returning dignity to drinking coffee. It’s not just to be gulped or tolerated on the commute to work. That’s another day’s blog post. Back to equipment. We are happy to make some recommendations depending on your budget. Be prepared to spend $110 and up on a quality home drip brewer. Remember, you can read about which home American drip coffee brewers are certified by SCA and what testing they went through to become certified by SCA here. “All SCA Certified Brewers have met these requirements, which are based on proper water temperature, brewing time, and ability to brew within the SCA Golden Cup recommendations.”
The grinder is actually as important as the brewer, and often times, more important than the brewer. A coffee grinder is much different that a spice or pepper mill. I know there are some decent blade grinders on the market. However, a blade grinder cannot product a consistent grind of coffee. Each particle of coffee is a different size. Find a burr grinder that meets your budget. For most of our friends and family, we have received great feedback and results from a basic Cuisinart burr grinder. You can find these at Costco from time to time or on Amazon.com. (View that grinder here at Amazon.com.) As you grow in your love of the art of brewing coffee, you will invest in a higher quality grinder. So far, my favorite grinders have been the Baratza Encore or Virtuoso. I like the increased control and selection for grind fineness or coarseness I am given by the Baratza Virtuoso. I also like the fact that I can change the burr sets versus replacing the whole grinder. I happily and confidently gift the Baratza Encore to newly married couples in our family. You can find these for sale at most specialty coffee home brewing stores like Seattle Coffee Gear or Clive Coffee as well as at Amazon.com and other on-line stores. (Note: We receive no financial gain from you purchasing this grinder from any of these store.)
One other Coffee Maven tip I will leave you with is rinse your paper coffee filters prior to putting ground coffee in the brew basket. I returned to using paper coffee filters primarily to increase my success in re-creating an amazing cup of coffee. The industry standard is to rinse paper filters with water, at least once, to eliminate paper dust. I find that I need to rinse my paper filters three times to also eliminate the paper taste. I put my filter in the brew basket, then rinse three separate times dumping the water down the drain after each rinse. Is that necessary? No, but since I am going after re-creatable and palate-enjoyable coffee, I find this increases both my success at brewing and my enjoyment factor of my amazing cup of coffee.
in the coming weeks, I will explore one or two of the variables I work with and consider when brewing coffee at home. For now, enjoy both your coffee and venture into coffee…and then be epic!
By Valorie King, Owner & Coffee Maven
Japanese-style? What does that even mean? With all the hype and popularity of cold brew coffee, there is another method for brewing cold coffee: Coffee over ice Japanese-style. Instead of the slow steep (aka immersion) or drip of cold water over ground coffee, you start brewing coffee hot directly over ice. Periodically I try cold brewed coffee just to see if anything has changed. No, I still do not enjoy cold brew. This week, I compared the 2018 Anniversary Blend cold brewed vs Japanese-style. Over ice Japanese-style won hands down!
The beauty and simplicity of brewing over ice is it can be done with most any brewing method! In your regular drip brewer, Clever Coffee Dripper, any pour over method or the Aeropress. I cannot think of a way to do this in the French Press. If you have a recipe or process for the French Press, I would love to hear it.
Brewing coffee directly over ice immediately cools down the coffee and highlights some flavor nuances you would not taste drinking hot coffee. The ice locks in flavors and aromatics. I prefer this method over cold brew. That's another day's blog. I most commonly brew this method in the Chemex. Some things to remember:
Basic 40 oz Chemex Over Ice Japanese-style is:
Serve coffee in a glass of cubed ice. Another little twist is to use a little less water still and add a splash of cold selter water to the glass for sparkling coffee over ice.
Or using the same ratios, brew coffee over ice using your Chemex Ottomatic. It is so much simpler!