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Favorite Cup of Coffee Brewed Yourself

What is your most favorite cup of coffee that you are able to brew yourself? I am looking for a medium roast mocha flavored coffee much like Starbuck's without Starbuck's prices. I don't have a press nor a grinder. Just something to brew with maybe some additives such as cream, flavor etc.

Any suggestions on what is good out there?

Thanks for your help.

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  1. I'm not a fan of flavoured coffees - I use Trader Joe's French Roast and, as I'm the only coffee drinker in the household of three, I use a cone filter and make one cup at a time. Recently, I've taken to using soy milk instead of regular milk - I find it is more creamy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: butterchicken2nan

      amen to the soy milk...I never turned back

      1. re: butterchicken2nan

        I also don't like flavored coffees (or coffee-flavored beverages). My favorite coffee to brew at home is the KGB blend from this local coffee company: http://www.dazbog.com/

      2. Two suggestions: 1) try the Spanish style coffee, like Goya and Bustelo and 2) try the New Orleans style, like Cafe du Monde or French Market. (PS the Hispanic markets give the best deal on the former and the Vietnamese markets give the best deal on the latter.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Querencia

          Thank you for the heads up. I try many different flavors, but I tend to keep going back to MillStone's Swiss Chocolate Almond. Anyone else like MillStone?

        2. I buy my coffee (whole bean) via mail order from Porto Rico Importing in NYC (http://www.portorico.com) They ship it to me on the day it's roasted and I get it the next day here in PA. Their prices are about half of Starbuck's and I've found their coffee to be very good. Most of their coffees are available in 4 different roasts, and they'll custom blend your selections if you like.

          1. I like the Gevalia brand coffees. Their peaberry is really nice and they have some other great roasts also.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MeffaBabe

              That brand is actually made by Maxwell House. A marketing research study many years ago helped them create a "foreign" sounding brand name -- not unlike Hagen Dazs did -- and marketing campaigns have promoted the brand as upscale.

              1. re: CindyJ

                Gevalia is actually Swedish and has been around in Europe for a while: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gevalia

            2. I am lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest with lots of small coffee shops. My current favorite is Caffe Vita. You can mail order their beans, but prices are up there with Starbucks. Our favorite is the Luna Blend which is a French roast. We go through about a pound every two months, so I think the prices are worth it considering what they charge you for drip in restaurants or shops.


              1 Reply
              1. re: lisaf

                I'm a big fan of Cafe Vita. I'll have to check out the Luna blend. I've been hooked on the Queen City blend for a while now and keep forgetting to branch out.

              2. I just got a bottomless portafilter for my Brasilia Lady, so I have been making perfect (if I do say so myself) espresso shots with Big Mountain organic Nicaraguan (this is from Big Mountain Coffee, the best roaster here in Calgary); I also bought a pound of Intelligentsia Black Cat from a new cafe in Canmore called Communitea, and am thrilled that we have a place that sells Intelligentsia reasonably close by. My shots are looking really good.

                2 Replies
                1. re: John Manzo

                  John, it looks like you have gotten pretty involved in the espresso making with the crotchless PF. That is one thing that I can't do easily with my SL70's PF.

                  I roast my own coffee and my best cups of regular coffee come from a french press pot of an African like Ethiopian Sidamo, Harar or a Yemen. Just love those fruity flavors.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Have you tried an Ethiopian Yrgacheffe? In particular if you ever have a chance to obtain a Misty Valley Yrg, I'd highly recommend it. I've posted below on this particular bean - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37739... .

                    For espresso right now I'm loving the Josuma Malabar Gold. Incredible sweetness and body. For whatever reason I've been getting more consistent extractions out of it than the Vivace Green Dolce (home roasted) on my Expobar Brewtus w/bottomless portafilter... The Vivace in comparison is a much cleaner and refined cup as ristrettos, but the Malabar Gold brings an earthiness and a lot of character to the cup, and would probably excell for caps and lattes.

                2. I love Stumptown Coffe's roasts are great however the prices are similar to SBux. They are a pretty popular roaster here. You can order online,

                  1 Reply
                  1. 2 suggestions if you are trying to save money: invest in either a grinder or a french press (or both). With your own grinder, you can buy Starbucks dark roast coffee like French roast or Italian roast and grind them smaller - it will last you quite a while and you can stretch your Sbucks (pun intended) pretty long.
                    With a french press, I believe you can turn even Folgers into something drinkable. I would use Cafe Bustelo though - can't beat the price - and it makes a decent cuppajoe in a french press.

                    1. I'll second Stumptown and throw in Intelligentsia as my alternative. But my favorite is still homeroast. A nice bourbon or tarrazu is hard to beat.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: fini

                        Stumptown's La Marzocco (from their OldTown store) is my backgound pic on my computer- I went to my college reunion (Reed College in Portland) last spring and probably spent more time at Stumptown than at the reunion.

                      2. I don't do anything gourmet or fancy, don't grind. I do like Chock Full O Nuts - it is the most expensive coffee I buy. However, one thing that has helped me immensely since buying my fancy Salter digital scale ... I weigh rather than measure. I am not sure where the figure came from (probably Cooks Illustrated) but I now use 1.6g of coffee per ounce of water. This makes a better cup of coffee out of the mediocre stuff I give myself to work with. It also fits with Alton Brown's assertion that bitter coffee comes from using too few grounds rather than too many.

                        1. If you like dark roasts, Cafe Britt's arabica is great stuff. www.cafebritt.com

                          1. I've started to roast my own beans using an old popcorn popper that was gathering dust in our cupboard. I do a couple of days worth using green beans that I buy from a local place and make it using a small Bodum (french press). I've started to buy some organic half-and-half cream since it's not UHT pasteurised and doesn't have all the extra ingredients. That's my standard morning cup (or two) and I love it. The green beans are cheaper than roasted, where I buy them, so it's pretty cost effective too.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: PaulV

                              do you look for a certain color, or for the oil to sweat out of the bean. Does the roasting time vary a lot bean type to bean type.
                              I'm thinking this sounds interesting and I may give it a try any helpful hints?? TY
                              I'm looking for a dark roast.

                              1. re: coastie

                                I'm pretty new at it, so I'm still learning. Generally I've been going by the darkness of the beans as they're roasting and I usually find that I'm done at the start of the 'second crack'. You can hear the beans cracking as they roast and can gauge the roast by audible clues as well as visual.

                                I haven't done any really dark roasts, usually medium or medium/dark. I haven't personally found that the roasting time varies depending on where the beans are from.

                                There are lots of good resources out there. Here are a couple that I used:

                                There's also a book available on home roasting written by Kenneth Davids.

                                I've found it to be easy and worthwhile. If you're already buying freshly roasted coffee from a local place, you might not notice as big a difference as if you were buying the typical grocery store coffee, but it's still nice to drink coffee from beans that you roasted and ground yourself. If you already have a popcorn popper it makes it easy to try, but you have to make sure you have the right type, not all poppers are suitable (see http://www.sweetmarias.com/airpopdesi... for details). Some people do it in a pan on the stove, which sounds pretty 'old school'; I haven't tried that myself.

                                1. re: PaulV

                                  Keep at it. It get easier with time. It takes a little coin, but having a Hottop or Genecafe roaster will make it all that much more enjoyable.

                                  As for Kenneth David's book. I enjoyed it, but you can actually get much more current information off many websites. Sweet Maria's is always a favorite. If you haven't done it yet, joining the Sweet Maria's Homeroast listserv. There are lot's of hardcore home roasters on there willing to assist with any questions or concerns you might have.


                                  1. re: fini

                                    Although I am a happy owner of the Genecafe 1/2 # roaster, the one to look out for now is the Beehmor smokeless 1 # roaster, developed by ?Dave Beeman? I've now seen it in operation several times at the San Diego Home Roasters meetings, as well as at the SCAA in Long Beach where it got awarded the best new product of the show.

                                    It's unique in that it uses an afterburner of sorts to make it smokeless, does 1 # at a time, and it will sell for less than either the Genecafe or the Hottop, two very competitive home roasters in the 1/2 # + category.

                                    My understanding is that Ron Popeil of Ronco is actually taking a look at it, so who knows? It may even appear on a TV set near you!


                                    1. re: cgfan

                                      I've read a couple of critical early reviews of the Beehmor and it sounds like it's a little early yet to be calling it "smokeless". From what I understand if you do any darkish roasts you will be creating smoke. The other thing I'm curious about is the cooling cycle; a shortcoming in most roasters.

                                      I think it's time for a 1 pound roaster, the market is ready.

                                      1. re: fini

                                        I've seen it run in person 3 times, and so far I've been impressed by it's smokeless operation. Though I'll have to admit that I did not pay close attention to the amount of beans in the basket, nor did I ever see it run on a roast that went into Char$'s territory...

                                        But the roast levels I did see it demonstrated on were of a level that I would consider to be near the sweet spot anyway for a broad range of beans. In other words in no way did I get the feeling that the demo was being "gamed" by only doing the lighter roasts.

                                        Hopefully at most the Beehmor with darker roasts will just need a stove-top hood. If that's the case I think most will be able to live with it. That's all I currently use with my GeneCafe, and it seems to work just fine. (No smoke alarms going off in my household!)

                                        Yes, indeed, the market is ready for a 1 # roaster priced for the home roaster. (Sonafresco has the commercial boutique 1 # roaster market covered...)

                                        1. re: fini

                                          A BBQ drum can do 1-5 lbs. I use a stircrazy/turbo convection oven combo and do around 14 oz./weight. Convection works really well and is very affordable. For cooling I use a separate exhaust fan and dump my beans in a mesh colander set on the fan box so I get a down draft of air through the beans. This will cool a batch in around 1-2 mins.

                              2. My all time favorite is Henry's Blend made by Seattle's Best Coffee. Much better than Starbuck's, though still fairly commercial. If I happen to have any left-over whipped cream from some other kitchen project, I'll put a spoon (or 6) on top. Perfection!

                                1. Mocha Coffee Mix

                                  Yields: 64 servings

                                  1 1/4 cups instant coffee granules
                                  7 cups dry milk powder
                                  5 3/4 cups powdered chocolate drink mix
                                  1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
                                  1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer

                                  1. In a large bowl, mix together instant coffee, milk powder, chocolate drink mix, confectioners' sugar and powdered creamer. Store in an airtight container.
                                  2. To serve, place 4 tablespoons of mixture into a coffee mug. Stir in 1 cup boiling water.

                                  1. French pressed Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Kenya AA.

                                    1. Breakfast Blend from the Organic Coffee Company. I have tried a few others when their out of this one but usually stick with this when available especially for my morning cup. Its never bitter and some of the profits from the sale goes to helping struggling coffee communities.

                                      1. i buy from a variety of small kona farms via this website : http://www.smallkonacoffeefarms.com/

                                        and then make in my french press..i've been french press only for going on 10 years now...woot!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: winedubar

                                          Whoa! I just checked out their website. You must be rich! ;) lol
                                          Looks good though.

                                        2. Any of Porto Rico's french roasts-Ozzie's Blend;Peter's Blend are quite good

                                          1. If I can get it at their store, I like some of the coffees from Peet's (They are the best of the "big" companies...but they are expensive, and they tend to dark roast almost everything). Try the Etheopian, Costa Rican, Arabian Mocha Sanani or Garuda Blend. But don't buy it in the grocery store, b/c it ain't fresh, and they only sell the cheapier blends.
                                            When I lived in Eugene, I got hooked on Full City. When I really miss home, I order from them. They, too, are expensive. :((
                                            Best brewing is definitely the press pot ("french press"). Sometimes I like to do the Turkish coffee, though, where you scoop the grounds on top of the water before you simmer it...coffee is done when the grounds sink.
                                            When I had the luxury of going and buying fresh regional coffee, I'd mix two parts Columbian with one part Guatemalan, both course ground, then put a tiny bit of some really dark roast (espresso grind) in the press pot. D***, that was good.


                                            1. Anything is better with a French press. Or even a paperless filter for a regular Mr. Coffee.

                                              1. This may not be helpful, but ever since I switched to decaf (I know, I know) the best cup of coffee I brew at home -- in a drip maker, and it comes out *better* than my husband's organic Sumatra whatever CAF in French Press -- is Java Joe's Black Magic Decaf. I have yet to find a better cup anywhere. Big ups to Java Joe. (JavaJoeBrooklyn.com)

                                                1. For me my favorite cup of coffee has for the longest time been a good Ethiopian Yrgacheffe, roasted light to medium in color. It's profile is bright with a flowery bouquet and taste, sometimes accompanied by hints of fruit or berries. Ethiopia, being the motherland of coffee, offers some of the most distinct tastes that can be found in the coffee world.

                                                  I once did a cupping of some mind-blowing Sidamo's, expertly roasted by Mike Perry at Coffee Klatch (San Dimas, CA). (Coffee Klatch is also home to Heather Perry, Mike's daughter, a two-time U.S. Barista Champion - http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam... ). It had the most distinct blueberry notes that I have yet to have in any prior Yrgacheffe. Now Sidamo is a larger region in Ethiopia which includes Yrgacheffe, so perhaps it is not so surprising. The tops so far, though, has been a 2006 Misty Valley Ethiopian Yrgacheffe, hand sorted and dry processed at and by a small cooperative in the town of Idido. Distinct notes of blueberries in this cup.

                                                  Since I home roast I recently came across some of the 2006 crop still in distribution and bought 15 pounds of it as green beans. Though I haven't roasted it yet, it's visually cleanest looking greens I've seen ever come from this region, and the first green bean that actually smells good! (I find the smell of green coffee to be terrible, never pleasant...


                                                  It looks like a new crop of this may be hitting the streets, as I just came back from tasting a cup of an "Adido" (same as Idido that sourced my Misty Valley?) dry processed Ethiopian Yrgacheffe, which had the some profile as what I tasted from the 2006 crop. I had this Yrg at Cafe Grumpy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam... ) in lower Manhattan, brewed on one of their two Clovers (a very high-tech single cup brewer - http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam... ). The beans were roasted by Counter Culture Coffee of North Carolina.

                                                  Now my eyes have been opened beyond just looking for a "Yrg". For instance the Misty Valley is a crop that was carefully selected from only a few small farms in Ethiopia. Selectivity in coffee indeed has its rewards!

                                                  1. I order Dunkin' Donuts coffee in the mail. I make it in an old fashioned percolator and it is just lovely. It's rich and flavorful, only slightly bitter... mmm.