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All I want is a good cup of coffee at home. [moved from General Topics]

Do you enjoy coffee at home? No, I'm not asking do you make coffee at home and suck it down as and eye opener. Do you make coffee and actually enjoy it at home? If you do what do you think is most important; the quality of the coffee or the quality of the coffee making device.

Let's say we have $100. Should you upgrade the coffee maker from the 3 year old model you bought for $19.99 or should you buy the best quality coffee available?

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  1. (I assume you have a filter/drip machine)
    First, clean the coffee machine with proper cleaning products; then buy a small quantity of good coffee (pre-grind) and see if hat makes a difference (it should).

    After that, see if you can find a small coffee grinder and grind the coffee as you use it.

    after that, looking to buy a "better" coffee machine can be an expensive proposition (more than $100).

    1. With $100, you could buy a Hario V60 pour over ($9.95 on amazon for the clear) or a cheap French Press, a burr grinder (like the capresso infinity, $89 on Amazon), and yes you could have exceptional coffee every single morning. That alone would make your coffee better than 90% of the coffee out there. Add in fresh roasted beans from a quality roaster and your coffee could compete with anyone.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Klunco

        With the large hole at the bottom of the V60 pour over, its imperative that you control the rate of water that flows into the pour over. So, along with the $10 Hario V60 and $90 capresso infinity burr grinder, you'd also need to get the Hario Buono pouring kettle which is going to cost around $60.

        1. re: hobbess

          I've poured hot water from both a Bodum French Press a small saucepan into a Hario V60 and gotten good results. The Buono or a Bonavita both will make it much easier to get good results, but it's not a drop dead necessity.

      2. After experimenting with how to make a very good cup of coffee at home, here's the things I find works best for me. Keys to a good cup, if you will, that if I deviate from them, for whatever reason (laziness, I forget, or I screw up), the result is a not-as-good cup of coffee.

        1) The machine - I have a run of the mill, Mr Coffee programmable. I upgraded a few things, though:
        a) a gold coffee basket to replace the paper filters. Does it make a difference in the quality of the brewed coffee? I don't know. But it does prevent the crappy paper filters from getting folded over, and then grounds getting out and into the brewed coffee, essentially ruining the whole batch.
        b) a stainless steel insulated pot. Keeps coffee hot longer. No more burned coffee from letting a glass coffee pot on the heating mechanism. I found that coffee can have a burned taste after just a few minutes on the hot plate, so this helps a lot.

        2) I run vinegar through the machine once or twice a year. Does it help the flavor of the coffee? I don't know, but it sure seems to clean out smudge.

        3) The water - a very important, yet overlooked component of coffee. If you're tap water tastes bad, you're coffee will taste bad. No way around it, given that coffee is basically flavored water. If you're lucky enough to have good tasting tap, great. If not, consider a filter. I found this makes a huge difference - where i live, the water lines are "flushed" twice a year, and for a couple days the water tastes odd. On those days, my coffee tastes odd.

        4) The coffee - After years of experimenting, I found a coffee I like, and a supplier I like. Yes, there is crappy coffee out there that no matter how great a machine and technique, you're coffee will always be terrible. But in that area of "good quality coffee beans", it's just personal preference. I go for Peace Coffee's Sumatra Mandheling.

        5) The grind - After years of experimenting, I found that an electric blade grinder works best for me. Most coffee experts seem to recommend burr grinders, however. I've used a few, and I can't get coffee fine enough with a burr grinder. I've found that my best coffee is when I grind coffee to "very fine", a step away from espresso grind, maybe even verging into espresso grind. If I'm lazy or screw up, and the grind is coarser, the coffee isn't as good.

        6) I grind fresh for each batch. Maybe I'll grind extra for the next day. If it's been ground for more than 24 hours, I find a noticeable difference in the finished product.

        7) Ratio - For my tastes, I use 1 fairly rounded tablespoon of very fine ground coffee per approximately 5 ounces of water. It seems that my coffee maker defines "1 cup" as about 4-5 ounces of water. Once I have my coffee in, I add an extra tablespoon of coffee - so the final is 1 tablespoon per 5 ounces H2O, + 1 extra tablespoon. Yes, the extra tablespoon seems to make a difference, and the same difference, regardless of whether I'm making a 3 cup batch or an 8 cup batch. Doesn't make sense, but it works.

        If any of the above conditions change, my coffee isn't as good. It's taken a few years to figure out what works and what doesn't for me. Your mileage may vary. Good luck.

        11 Replies
        1. re: foreverhungry

          With respect to everyone who has mentioned the ratio of water to coffee do you measure the amount of water you pour over the grinds/into the drip machine or the amount of water post brew? Also, when measuring the beans is that pre or post grind and when you say tablespoon I'm assuming a bakers measure tablespoon not the larger of the two spoons in my flatware collection.

          1. re: mikey031

            I do a measurement of 7 grams beans to 4 ounces water in my French Press. I find I lose about 4 ounces of water to the grinds, so for a single cup I do 21 grams coffee and 12 ounces water. For two cups, 35 grams coffee and 20 ounces water.

            I use a digital scale for everything in the kitchen and find it is not only easier, but obviously much more exact than a tablespoon. That said, if I was using a standard measuring "tablespoon" my ratio would be about two tablespoons for ever 4 ounces water.

            1. re: mikey031

              Typically the ratio is 2 Tablespoons (baker tablespoon) of Coffee for every 6 oz of water. If you measure whole beans use heaping tablespoons, post grind should be level tablespoons.

              So if you are making a full pot of coffee and your coffee maker makes 8 cups that is 8 6oz cups not 8 8oz cups. So that would be 16 tablespoons of coffee.

              check your coffee maker, it should tell you what it considers a cup and it can vary a lot. You can purchase a 2 tablespoon coffee scoop at Starbucks which I think makes it easier than using that puny 1 tablespoon measure that comes with most coffee makers.

            2. re: foreverhungry

              I agree that you have to figure out what defines a "good" cup of coffee to you and adjust your method/tools/supplies accordingly. I like my coffee very darkly roasted (I know lots of aficionados think this masks the flavor of the coffee, but I prefer the acid to be toned down and don't care about the flavor notes) so I buy an "ultra dark roast." I like the flavor of drip - it's what I grew up with and I think K cups and the like are disgusting and french press is a poor substitute. I also grind my coffee very fine, but my grinder at home doesn't do it, so I grind it in the store when I buy it. I only buy a week's worth at a time, so the grind is always reasonably fresh. And I like it strong, so I use a similar ratio to foreverhungry (I do a rounded 2 T scoop for each 2 cups of water according to my coffee maker.)

              1. re: Savour

                >>>I only buy a week's worth at a time, so the grind is always reasonably fresh.<<<

                Buying coffee often, in small quantities, is NOT a guarantee of freshness unless you're buying directly from the coffee roaster.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  "...unless you're buying directly from the coffee roaster."
                  Which is an excellent idea, BTW. It's a major part of the reason my coffee tastes good.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    CBAD, I see home roasting in your future. :-))

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      You're almost psychic. Been reading about roasting systems today. Though, like the smoke house and curing fridge I plan to one day buy or build, this may have to wait a little while.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        Haha. Psychic no but can spot an obsession, hobby, a mile away.

                        It's not a matter of if but when. ;-))

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Hi Cowboy,

                          You can get a refurbished Behmor 1600 for $200 from chocolate alchemy. It won't be on his web site (though you can find a direct link w/ a bit of googling) - but just email him.

                          I got my Behmor about 4 years ago and it's still going strong. There's nothing quite like truly fresh roasted coffee. Green beans can often be had for $3.50 - 5 a pound from many sources. I'm not sure what the ROI is vs store bought truly fresh roasted coffee, but I don't care. It's just not a lot of dough to invest to then have truly amazing coffee at home.

                          Recently I've started experimenting with my roast profiles and am really liking the results. P4 is a slower profile that steps the temps up over time. My 12oz batches take 18.5 - 20 min instead of about 14.5. And they are even richer and more complex - all with the same beans.

                          The smoke suppression system really is quite excellent. You home will smell like coffee but it won't smoke up.

                          1. re: PepinRocks

                            Just a note. Roasting coffee does not smell like roasted coffee

              2. I make my own lattes at home and have a good espresso machine and my own grinder. Ultimately though, I think the coffee is definitely the most important element to making a great cup of coffee - not that the other elements aren't important but the bean is #1. I prefer an extremely dark, smoky espresso. On the occasion that my husband buys the beans, he always ends up bringing home a milder roast which isn't nearly as enjoyable to me.

                You can make fabulous coffee with a french press and good (home ground) beans for well under $100.

                1. I think both are important. Do you make coffee for only yourself? If so, I have a strong preference for the drip style - one cup at a time method. I have a Beehouse, for which I think I paid $16, but other types work just as well. It makes a great cup of coffee in exactly the quantity you want.


                  So I'd use the $100 to buy a single cup coffee maker and spend the remainder on high quality beans.

                  1. The most important factors to an amazing cup of coffee:

                    Good beans, skillfully and judiciously roasted.
                    Coffee that was roasted recently - last few days preferably
                    Coffee that was ground even more recently - last few hours preferably
                    Proper water temperature (195-205 degrees F)
                    Ratio of coffee to water

                    There are a lot of other factors, but those are the most important ones. You can make excellent coffee in a cheap french press or a cheap, simple manual pour over coffee pot. What expensive coffee makers do is make it easier to make high quality coffee. They don't make coffee better than the cheap methods listed above. Cheap drip coffee makers (and even some expensive models) often get the water temp wrong.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      +1 for cowboyardee. There is small, family owned donut chain in my hometown (the coffee is super) and the owner's wife says the #1 key is water temp/ratio, and a close second is fresh grind. If you get that right, you can percolate, drip, whatever.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        ""Coffee that was ground even more recently - last few hours preferably""

                        minutes or seconds would be more like it. But hours would be better than weeks old coffee common in the store

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Wow. Could not agree more. Good beans, properly roasted, fresh, recently ground.

                          What are good beans? That is the sticky part. FYI-Starbucks is not that good or fresh and it tends to be over roasted.

                          1. re: CCSPRINGS

                            One thing I forgot is whole milk or cream is essential for a good cup. Soy milk, skim, 1%, 2% will not work. I know many people have developed a taste for soy or skim in their coffee but unless I'm camping, no way!

                            1. re: CCSPRINGS

                              But with enough cream, any old bean tastes good enough. :)

                              1. re: paulj

                                I drink my coffee black but my wife uses one of those flavored creamers and she complains a bunch when drinking a bad coffee even with that heavily flavored creamer.

                                She misses our home roasted fresh brewed coffee when away.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  True, cream will hide a multitude of sins.

                                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                    that is my feeling for the multitude of coffee places in my area. All that milk and sugar will hide the fact that they are drinking crappy coffee but the masses love it. what's a coffeegeek to do?

                          2. My son the coffee snob, and my husband, who will drink black water, both swear by the burr grinder and french press.
                            Simple, cheap and easy. Now all I need is to figure out how to get them to clean the coffee ground flotsam off the counters.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                              I can't believe I'm giving a cleaning tip (nor would anyone who knows me) - but I put all my coffee making stuff on a tea tray - that keeps the mess contained, and I just wipe it off once a week. (I use a cafetiere and simple grinder).

                              1. re: Peg

                                You know, Peg, I just may try that. We have granite countertops that hide every speck and crumb that is brown, black or tan. A small tray to hold his coffee canister, the french press, spoon and mug with a little working space would be a big help.

                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                  Me too! Can you hide a chocolate chip cookie in plain sight on your countertops? :-)

                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                    Well, Peg, I found a tray. We looked high and low in housewares departments, junk shops, discount stores... I couldn't find anything I liked. I was thinking stainless steel or aluminum to go with the kitchen appliances.

                                    Lo and behold, here was a perfect use for one of the old Ovenex cookie sheets that has been banging around the garage closet for years. They are so cool looking, with all the star shaped patterns on them, and I never could think of a good use for them till now.

                                    64airstream, if not the entire cookie (they scream too loud to be lost for long), at least a whole handful of chips and nuts can disappear on my countertops.

                                  2. re: Peg

                                    This is a great tip, Peg. I do the same. My coffee stuff left out on the counter is a grinder, Chemex carafe, water kettle, filters, and beans. Having it all grouped on a tray means I can slide the whole getup towards me and then just push it all the way back when I'm done. More efficient than pulling forward individual items, plus the tray slides on the countertop much easier than the grinder (it's a burr grinder so a bit big!). And you are so right about it keeping the coffee bean debris corralled :-D

                                2. I'm going to go with quality of the coffee. Sure, a Mr. Coffee may not suffice but I do not believe you need hundreds of dollars to produce a good beverage.

                                  I use a french press, regular tap water, and an electric grinder. I bring water to boil, then let it cool for 2 minutes but do not bother to measure temp. I buy coffee from a local roaster and go through it rapidly so it is never old. The method works for me and produces, IMO, a delightful cuppa. I make coffee for my partner using the exact same method and decaf coffee that he prefers and, IMO, it tastes like crap.

                                  1. I roast my own beans from Sweet Marias once a week.
                                    Burr grinder
                                    French Press.

                                    Pretty good coffee.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: chileheadmike

                                      Sweet Maria's is awesome!

                                      I roast their beans in a Poppery II popcorn popper (pick them up at garage sales) out on the patio. After roasting, I store the beans in a glass mason jar for three days before grinding so they can finish "processing". I open the lid every day to allow the gas buildup to escape. The fragrance when I open the jar is just amazing! Sweet Maria's also has coffee bags with vents that do the same thing, only easier.

                                      Depending on the bean, I like a Vienna roast or a few cracks into second crack. With good beans freshly roasted and ground, a dark, dark roast is a travesty. Lighter roasts bring out flavors and aromas of fruits, flowers, chocolate, caramels... It's always a new experience. Roast too dark and all those subtle nuances are lost.

                                      I grind 2 T beans per cup, just before brewing. My favorite grinder is the Krups electric grinder with the oval shape and flat top. Its shape forces the beans into the blades, making for a very even grind. All the other electric grinders I tried that were round or had a dome top just spun the beans around and made uneven grinds.

                                      To brew, I use a Swiss gold filter settled in a graniteware cup. Four tablespoons in a 24-oz graniteware mug will make two mugs of coffee. Pour a little hot water over the grounds to moisten them, wait 30 seconds, then pour in the rest of the hot water to fill. Let brew 3-5 minutes. Remove the filter, pour the coffee into my favorite mug and enjoy with cream and maybe a bit of honey.

                                      The flavors actually bloom as the coffee cools, so I don't mind that it cools a bit while it's brewing.

                                    2. Really good coffee requires an investment in a great machine like a Technivorm, a grinder and a good coffee. That being said, people also swear by the french press.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                                        I guarantee you I can make coffee as good as the technivorm with a $10 manual pour over pot. But the technivorm is admittedly easier. That's big chunk of change for a little convenience though.

                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                          +1! I spent ~$200 on that spiffy German coffeemaker (Moccamaster). It was great, till maybe three years later when I dropped it into the sink and broke the plexiglass reservoir. Sometime during those threeish years, the price had increased to ~$300! I should have just tried to order a new plexiglass piece, but I was so very irritated regarding the huge price jump. I went directly to the old school pour over and have never looked back. It's every bit as good--if not better--than what I made with the Moccomaster.

                                          It does take a bit more time, but within a couple of weeks it became second nature. If I'm having a houseful of guests, I do have to start making the coffee an hour out and fill up an airpot for the evening (otherwise it would be nonstop brewing!) Just for fun, though, I was thinking of getting a glass vacuum pot--the Cona Vacuum Brewer--for dinner guest entertainment! It uses Sterno, I think, and it makes coffee right at the table. Too cool.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            CBAD, I agree, you CAN make coffee as good as the TechniVorm with a much less expensive manual pourover setup; I watched my mom do it for 20 yrs with a Melitta. And that's the system I used as the basis for my purchase. But for me, when the time came to change eqpt, I was factoring in additional considerations that pushed my manual pourover purchase to nearly the price of a TechniVorm anyway. At that point, spending the extra little bit for both the convenience AND the consistency was an easy decision. Well, it was for me, anyway.....

                                          2. re: wincountrygirl

                                            Those are super overkill as far as I'm concerned. It's just a really expensive drip machine, after all.

                                            These days I've gone SUPER low tech. I just heat 1.25 cups water in my stainless steamer (very wide bottom and thin metal (fast heating). While that is happening (maybe 120 sec), I'll grind up 2 TB beans (freshly roasted at home to "near 2nd crack"), and get my cup and heavy cream ready.

                                            I'll then let the water heat/cool to 188-192, measured with a Taylor digital, throw in the grinds, put the clear top on, swish the coffee around and let it brew for 2-3 min, then drain it through a very fine metal strainer into my insulated stainless starbucks fresh press (their coffee sucks but this is a decent product). This helps me to get rid of some of the sediment and keep it nice and hot. I get really good infusion this way, and it's a nice easy fun routine for me.

                                            I also REALLY like my aeropress. BUT ... like an idiot, I brought it over to my best friend's house last month and ... it looks like it will be staying there. So, it looks like I'll be buying another one ... :-) They produce VERY good coffee and are super easy to use and clean. It really is about the best cheap coffee gadget that I've seen.

                                            1. re: PepinRocks

                                              At least the Aeropress is cheap. Your low tech immersion method does produce one of the most flavorful cups of coffee. I've done it a few times and if it wasn't for the mess I'd do it more often.

                                              1. re: PepinRocks

                                                "super overkill"?
                                                I suspect you really mean "too expensive for me to justify buying," right?

                                                It's a simple process, executed in an extremely efficient & robust design: boil water, brew coffee, drink. All at the touch of a single switch. The expense goes into the thought (design), materials, manufacturing/quality control, & reliablility. The result is a maker that produces excellent coffee *consistently* and is super easy to use and clean.

                                                Sure, it's expensive. But it's also "self-contained," right? No stove or Taylor digital required. And not everyone wants to baby-sit their brew every single time. I sure don't! I've got food to prep! On those times when I don't mind baby-sitting the process, I'll use my Quick Mill espresso machine. ;-)

                                            2. To make a good cup of coffee you need to consider the 5 key components:

                                              Buying the best machine available is not going to make a good cup of coffee if you don't first find the right coffee, grind it to the right fine or coarseness and use the correct amount.

                                              I think the hardest thing you will need to do to find that really good cup of coffee is find the coffee that tastes the best to you. You may want to explore different regions, different blends and find the one that has the best balance. For example Latin American coffees tend to taste sour and can be highly acidic. Asia coffees have floral or herbal notes. My favorite are African, they tend to be sweeter and fruity. So I would start by trying a lot of different coffees. And quality does make a difference so seek them out from high end coffee purveyors, start a conversation with the store personnel if they are worth their salt they should be very knowledgeable and helpful about their different products.

                                              Once you find the right beans then think about style. Each type of coffee maker produces a different result. I use a French Press, the main reason being that I don't have to buy filters and it is easy to clean and they are inexpensive and take up no counter space. I did buy a high end burr coffee grinder though. French Press requires a coarse ground and the blade grinders make for a very inconsistent ground that results in inconsistent extraction.

                                              Good luck on your journey. I drink one cup of coffee a day and enjoy every sip.

                                              1. As has been recommended here many times, I prefer the Aerobie Aeropress to a French Press - it's like getting the best of filtered drip and french press. Admittedly, it requires the purchase of filters. But as with the French press, the amount of control is amazing - temp of water, ratio, grind - all can be varied per cup - which allows you to pick what you like and to see the differences. What does waiting for another 10 seconds do? Coarser grind? Different bean/roast, etc. It is not automatic and requires some work - but what you learn in the process is well worth the journey. For $25.95 plus shipping from Amazon.


                                                1. I do not think I am a coffee snob, but I know what I like. I think most places make the coffee way to week, nothing is worse then coffee that tastes like dirty water, yuck. A good cup of coffee is the best start to the day.

                                                  My keys to making my morning latte are:

                                                  1. I love my stove top espresso maker, which I had for many years. These do not cost a lot.
                                                  2. Buy good coffee beans
                                                  3. Grind just before use in a burr grinder. I use have a capresso grinder at a fine setting.
                                                  4. Use filtered water.
                                                  5. Never wash espresso maker with soap.

                                                  1. I agree -French Press is best - especially for 1 or 2 cups. I've been experimenting with
                                                    re-roasting store-brand whole-bean coffee on the stove. It takes less time than roasting green coffee & improves the flavor- especially if you like dark roast.
                                                    If you drink more coffee & like a timed brew, Capresso makes nice machines & can be found for $100-150.

                                                    1. I'm another French Press gal. And the grounds can go in the yard after each pot. I use an electric English kettle to boil water because I am fussy about the temperature of my coffee and it has to be boiling water on the grounds in the press. I also like mine pretty strong and lots of half and half.

                                                      1. I enjoy coffee at home--several cups a day. I drink both regular and decaf. I can think of several things that make coffee good:

                                                        1. Buy the best coffee you can afford.

                                                        2. Keep your coffeemaker clean; change the filter as needed.

                                                        3. Use good water. (I use tap water, but my water has no chlorine in it.) If you have to, filter the water. Or at least, run it cold for awhile through the tap before filling the pot.

                                                        4. Find the right measurement of coffee for your taste and make it that way consistently.

                                                        5. Grind it as you go.

                                                        6. Use it up; don't keep it forever in the pantry.

                                                        7. Make it stronger rather than weaker.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sueatmo


                                                          And add to that: simple equipment is fine. Something where you can roughly control the temperature of the brew. For $100, you can forget electronics doing that right for you. I'd stick with a French press, Chemex, or Melitta drip for much cheaper and a bit more labor. They make better coffee.

                                                        2. What do you consider good coffee?

                                                          In light of the mounds of advice here... you've never actually stated what you enjoy in coffee. Is there a particular place that makes, in your opinion, good coffee? I know lots of people that enjoy Starbucks, for example, but I detest it. What do you like, that will give us a much better idea of what advice to give you.

                                                          My idea of quality coffee is very exact. Beans taken to a medium roast (in the medium of medium, I find light medium to be too acidic and darker expresses too much of the roast -- don't even get me started on french roast..) roasted about... 2-5 days prior. Beans need to off-gas before they're used, and day or two is best. I prefer Central American coffee, with Guatemala and Nicaragua leading the pack. I find African coffees too light and tea-like, and South-East Asian coffees mess with my stomach (not entirely sure why...). Grind once filtered tap water hits a boil. 2TBS coffee per 6oz. of water to be brewed, loaded into FP, Chemex, or Miletta. Pour 2-3 oz. of water into grounds and let sit for 20-30 seconds. Then slowly (if using a pour over) drizzle water from kettle (cooled to 204*) to match the rate of the filter being used until I have my desired brew. Done. Amazing, delicious, bright coffee.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: mateo21

                                                            Sounds great. Is it 2 TBS of ground coffee or 2 TBS coffee beans ground per 6 oz water brewed ?

                                                            1. re: emglow101

                                                              You know I've taken a 14g scoop full of beans and ground them and they just filled the scoop. So pretty close either way

                                                          2. Please ignore those who insist expensive equipment
                                                            has some sort of magical quality. After many years of sampling. I found
                                                            the best coffee I've ever tasted is made with Eight O'Clock whole bean
                                                            Colombian, a cheap Krups blade grinder and a cheap Proctor
                                                            Silex coffee maker. If you prefer your coffee harsh and bitter, go
                                                            for a cheap French press.

                                                            12 Replies
                                                            1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                              I agree that Eight O'Clock is pretty good. I do find a lot of "quakers" in the beans however. Nevertheless, pretty good coffee for a pretty good price.

                                                              1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                                If you find french press coffee is necessarily harsh and bitter, you've been doing it wrong. My guess is you've been pouring boiling water directly onto the grounds. It needs to cool a few degrees first.

                                                                Biggest downside of the french press is that you wind up sediment in your cup. Some people mind it and some don't. If you mind, you can avoid it by going with the Aeropress that Applehome mentioned above.

                                                                1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                                  I really, really want to like Eight O'Clock. Talk about a bargain. But I've tried all their dark roasts (whole bean, I grind fresh and use an Aerobie Aeropress) and they are unbearably acidic to me. Other cheap dark roasts (e.g. some of Trader Joe's $5-6 blends) are not as complex and flavorful as some pricier brands, but the beans are also very oily/shiny and fresh; when I open a bag of EOC they are so dull looking. The fresh roasted beans at Whole Foods and sometimes Fresh Market are amazing. I don't love Starbucks' in-house brewed coffee, usually get an americano there, but if I buy their dark roast whole beans (French roast or espresso) at the grocery store, grind myself before each brew, and use the Aeropress, I get excellent results. (In case you can't tell here's a +1 for the Aeropress recommendation.)

                                                                  1. re: LauraK42

                                                                    I had a coffee roaster at a farmer's market tell me that the oily/shiny beans that I tend to gravitate towards are actually old. He said that the oils leach out over time. His beans were dull looking like you described Eight O'Clock (which I've never tried) but he also didn't roast his beans as dark as I like them and his darkest coffee was just too light for my latte- reminded me more of hot cocoa.
                                                                    The beans I'm using right now are wood roasted and definitely have the smoky dark quality that I prefer. And they are oily and shiny.

                                                                    1. re: Sushiqueen36

                                                                      You get surface oil with both dark roasts and old beans

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        That make sense. This roaster didn't do a really dark roast but since I've never roasted my own, I couldn't disagree with him. All I know is that the oilier and darker the beans are - the better for me.

                                                                        1. re: Sushiqueen36

                                                                          This is a common perception. I too use to equate dark and oil with good. Now I look at it as over roasted or past it's prime. But then again I now home roast and have tasted the wide array of roast levels and levels of freshness. Try some fresh beans from the roaster at the farmers market. Your expectations will change over time.

                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                            I did try his darkest roast which is what I was describing as a hot cocoa flavor. Might be fine for coffee but since I'm using my beans for lattes, it wasn't what I was looking for.

                                                                            I've had my espresso machine and grinder for 6 years and have tried all sorts of beans from a variety of producers - most of them local roasters who roast often. Some dark/oily beans haven't been that great but the "Moulton" I get from Millars in Yacolt, Washington is just my style. It's not that I equate dark and oil with "good" - it's that I equate it with what I enjoy in a bean. I know that the farmer's market roaster has a lot of followers -his style is just not my preference.

                                                                            Maybe one of these days I'll try and roast my own...

                                                                            1. re: Sushiqueen36

                                                                              Didn't know if you were a regular coffee drinker or a coffegeak. Sounds like you know your coffee and know what you like. Enjoyment is what it's about

                                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                Thanks for the correction re: the meaning of dark/oily. Good to know... I do tend to prefer ultra dark roasts that some would say have less flavor, but if it means I'm not getting an overwhelming acidic taste (I think my tastebuds are especially sensitive to acidity), it's good for me. I would *love* to home roast someday soon. I think I need a proper ventilation system for that, though...I hear it causes a lot of smoke?

                                                                                1. re: LauraK42

                                                                                  It does, especially the really dark roasts. I roast outside using a hot air popcorn popper. Works way better than the iRoast machine I forked over > $200 for, and it cost me about 15 bucks.

                                                                                  If it's too cold outside, I roast in the garage. Makes kind of a mess with all the chaff, but it's easily swept outside.

                                                                            2. re: scubadoo97

                                                                              +1 Scuba. You are likely just "used to" coffee that is over-roasted or even somewhat burnt. Most of the time, the best flavors come out of coffee when they are something like a medium or medium-dark.

                                                                              Think about steak. Most people prefer a steak that is first perfectly seared and then finished off to medium-rare or perhaps even to medium. But ... take it further than that and that steak is overcooked and dried out. Coffee is similar in it's own way, with a huge variety of flavors, and many will be lost in a darker roast. A proper medium or medium-dark (city or city+ roast) will usually provide the best results.

                                                                              How you make your coffee (pour over, french press, espresso) also effects what the best roasting type might be. If you have $200 to blow, I'd recommend a reconditioned Behmor 1600. It sounds like you would really enjoy home roasted coffee.

                                                                  2. I would say the biggest thing you can do is grind coffee bean right before you make your coffee. The second biggest thing is to not continue to heat the coffee after it's brewed - so if you have a drip machine with a burner to keep the coffee warm, either disable the burner or buy a new machine.

                                                                    If you have an absolutely fantastic, $1000 coffee making machine and you use months old pre-ground coffee, it will taste like coloured water. If you buy coffee beans a gourmet commune, individually picked by virgins under the light of a gibbous moon, and hand roasted the day you bought them, and burn the coffee after you brew it, it will taste like burnt coffee.

                                                                    1. Excerpt from a book about coffee -'God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee'

                                                                      Link about halfway down this page plays an interview with the author-

                                                                      1. Most important = find a coffee that you like.
                                                                        I adore a few coffees, but strangely hate most others. I don't know what's different about the ones I like but I buy roasted beans and grind them daily.
                                                                        I use a cafetiere (plunger) and a simple electric grinder. I just cover the ground coffee with off-the-boil water and leave it to steep for 5 minutes. I top it up with more water and plunge about a minute later. I used to use an espresso machine, but found it is very much not worth the bother.

                                                                        1. Most of us have made--and been served--mediocre coffee all our lives. Electric drip coffeemakers are certainly a convenience, especially when you need to make coffee quickly for several people. However, with a few exceptions, they don't produce the best coffee because they don't get the water hot enough to extract all of the flavor components from the ground beans. The Specialty Coffee Association of America has certified only four coffeemakers to date as having the ability to heat the water to the proper temperature . One is the Technivorm, much praised on this site, but expensive. Another is the Bunn HG/HT, which sells for half the price of the Technivorm, but has been criticized in reviews for various design flaws. A third is a model whose name I can't remember that is a large contraption needing to be hooked up to its own water line, so not practical for most homes. The last is the Bonavita, a European coffeemaker that is expected to be available in the US in the next few months (also for about half the price of the Technivorm). Every other electric drip coffeemaker falls short on water temperature.

                                                                          So here are my criteria for making a really good cup of coffee at home:

                                                                          1) Brewing method. Use a method that allows you to heat the water to the proper temperature: 200 to 205 degrees F. If you don't own an electric coffeemaker that does this and don't want to spend the money for one, then use another method: French press/plunger pot, manual drip method (Chemex, Hario, Clever, etc.). I like French press and boil my water in a tea kettle. Once it boils, I simply take it off the heat for 10-15 seconds before pouring it over the grounds. This allows it to drop 10 degrees or so in temperature. Alternatively, a trick (taught to me by a local coffee house) is to pour the boiling water into a Pyrex cup and then pour it again immediately over the grounds.

                                                                          2) Quality of beans. Buy from a reputable source. If you have a coffee house in your area that roasts its own beans, this is the way to go. If not, there are several mail order sources for good beans. Also, many coffee houses do not roast their own beans, but buy their beans regularly from a reputable source.

                                                                          3) Home storage of beans. Store them in an airtight container away from heat and light. I use a container made by Planetary Design, which has both an outer and an inner lid. The inner lid is pushed down as you use up the beans and forces the air out as it moves down. However, I think that any well-sealed canister should be adequate, as long as you use up your beans in a couple of weeks. Don't ever store your coffee in the refrigerator.

                                                                          4) Grinder. Buying whole beans and grinding them yourself yields fresher, better tasting coffee than buying preground beans. Like most others here, I prefer a burr grinder to a blade grinder. A burr grinder gives you much more control over the evenness and desired fineness of the grind. I would rank having a decent burr grinder as one of the two or three most important factors in making good coffee. It is definitely worth spending the money on one. If you don't care about making espresso, you don't need a super expensive one (which can cost several hundred dollars to more than $1,000). Look for a grinder in the $100-$200 range: Capresso, Baratza Maestro or Maestro Plus, etc. I have the new Breville Smart grinder, which I'm pleased with, although it's at the upper end of the range in price. There are plenty of reviews on Amazon of all of the grinder models.

                                                                          5) Quality of water: If the water coming out of your kitchen faucet tastes good (mine does), use it. If not, then filter your water or buy water at the store, but not distilled water, which produces flat-tasting coffee.

                                                                          6) Coffee- to-water ratio: The standard given by the Specialty Coffee Association of America is 10g of coffee (beans or grind) to a 6 oz. cup of water, which will yield 5 1/3 oz. of brewed coffee. (The remaining water is retained in the used up grounds.) This is a guideline, not gospel. Some people will prefer coffee that is a little stronger or less strong. Assuming you don't want to weigh your beans each time on a scale, you can start with the 2 tablespoon guideline given by several other posters and adjust it up or down to suit your taste.

                                                                          7) When to grind. Beans are best ground just before you make your coffee, since ground coffee begins to deteriorate quickly. When using a French press, I grind my beans as my water is heating up in the kettle.

                                                                          8) Drinking coffee promptly. It should be obvious that cooled down coffee doesn't taste as good as piping hot coffee, yet people brew their coffee and let it sit. I pour my coffee as soon as it is done brewing. If you are making several cups to drink over time, use a thermal carafe to keep the remaining coffee hot. If you are buying an electric drip coffee maker, it's definitely worth the few extra dollars to get one with a thermal carafe.

                                                                          9) Cleaning the coffee pot. This is absolutely a key element in continuing to have good coffee day after day. This includes washing your pot in soapy water after each use and using a stronger method (vinegar or coffee cleaning product available in stores) every so often to rid the pot of oils that build up and can turn rancid.

                                                                          This all sounds complicated, but it really isn't once you get the routine down pat. In summary, I wouldn't say that there is any single factor that by itself will guarantee a great cup of coffee. The quality of the coffee purchased is very important, but so are several other factors: the coffee equipment (coffee brewer and grinder), knowing how to brew correctly for the method chosen, cleaning, etc.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                              Well, Cook's Illustrated ran tests with both types of grinders and
                                                                              decided that blade grinders made the best tasting coffee. So I ran
                                                                              my own tests, and agree.

                                                                              1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                                                The Cook's Illustrated test on grinders was done about 10 years ago when they took coffee less seriously. For example, look at their coffeemaker winners during that time.

                                                                                As such, when they ran that test comparing burr to blade grinder, CI set up a low price barrier on the grinders that priced out the better burr grinders and thus tested the cheapest, worst burr grinders. It would be like testing different coffeemakers but leaving out the Technivorm because of the price.

                                                                                To see if blade grinders are really better than burr grinders, CI would probably need to lift their price ceiling and test the more expensive burr grinders.

                                                                              2. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                My husband is a freak about running vinegar through the coffee maker on a regular basis.

                                                                              3. The New Yorker magazine 21 November 2011 "The Food Issue" has an article re: coffee beginning p 92

                                                                                1. My husband makes literally the best cup of coffee I have ever had. Everyone else raves about his coffee as well. We have a Hamilton Beach Brew Station, which cost around $50.00. We get our coffee from a local roaster, generally. We grind it when we buy it. He uses two tbsp. per 6 oz water, and an unbleached paper filter. It's plain and simple, but it turns out great.

                                                                                  1. Honestly, I had the same problem. We tried everything. Percolator (which my mom swears by but everyone else says gets too hot and scorches the coffee), cheap drip coffee maker, expensive drip coffee maker, french press. The french press was ok, but it was a bit of a hassle and didn't really make enough. Finally, my mother in law got me a keurig. Just the little mini-one. It's about $80 now. It has changed my life! Finally, WONDERFUL coffee. And if you don't want to buy the pods, you can make your own. I really, really can't say enough good things about it. Everyone else I know who has one is the same way. We recently upgraded to the one with the water reservoir and it was really worth it. I would so encourage you to consider this if you've got $100 to blow on coffee stuff.

                                                                                    1. Instant columbian coffee made with warm milk and a frother and sugar is really good. try it.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: vbutterfly72

                                                                                        Some people never use milk and/or sugar in their coffee, so wouldn't want to try it. But whethere one does or not, the question of how to brew the best coffee remains.

                                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                                          However the best coffee for drinking straight might not be the best for drinking with milk and sugar. I find, for example, that Vietnamese coffee with robusta does work when mixed with sweetened condensed milk. It has an assertiveness that speaks through the damping effect of milk and sugar.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              I love good Vietnamese coffee. Had some last month in Seattle ... mmmmmmm. I even own 2 of those little dripmakers :-)

                                                                                              Have I mentioned that I'm really into coffee :-)

                                                                                        2. Buy small quantities of coffee because the taste really does change in a very short period of time. If you are fortunate enough to live near a place that roasts their own beans that is a major plus. As far as major coffee chains go, I'll take Peet's over Starbucks any day. Grind your own beans and use a French Press. I have made some fantastic coffee with the French Press and it's really easy to clean as well as very inexpensive.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Saluti

                                                                                            I forgot to mention that if you buy a French Press make sure it is glass and not plastic! I can't believe there are plastic ones out there.

                                                                                          2. Two words: French Press. Seriously. My daughter, knowing my love and search for a nice and strong cup of joe, got me one for Christmas. I've been the happiest coffee drinker since. It makes a nice, strong fine cup of coffee and you don't have to plug in a coffee maker. Lovely.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jarona

                                                                                              I love my french press. I have a portable coffee set up I bring with me everywhere I go. I bought one of those Hario hand grinders for $50ish, grab one of my several french presses depending on if the coffee is just for me or if I'm going to share, and a small ziplock with enough whole beans to brew 3 pots of whatever size FP I brought. If I'm someplace with a microwave or a stove then I can use that for water, otherwise, I have one of those little immersion wandy thingies.

                                                                                              Process: For the water, heat it to boiling (if doing this in the microwave put a plastic spoon or coffee stirrer in so it doesn't superheat). Once it boils take it off the heat and grind beans. Typically I'd like to pour the water over the beans, but if I use the microwave or immersion heater, I'll do it right in the FP (no metal components obviously) and pour the grinds into the water. By the time I'm done grinding (20-30 seconds) the water temperature has come down to the right zone. Brew for 4-5 minutes, and during this time preheat your mug! Press and enjoy. I do this routine at home, work, school. It's rare to get a decent cup of coffee at any job (or even a lot of coffee shops). If you are not as picky as me it's perfectly acceptable to bring pre-ground beans, and I've been known to do this from time to time.

                                                                                              A note about beans: Part of why I rarely buy coffee out (aside from the ludicrous prices), is that most coffee houses use medium to dark roasted coffee. Starbucks recently started offering a blonde roast that I am embarrassed to say I love, but it is cost-prohibitive. Light roasts offer more flavor of the bean as well as more caffiene than dark roasts. A lot of people who I make coffee for ask if I have cream or milk, but after tasting it the way I make it, they quickly realize that it isn't needed. If you don't want to buy good beans or roast your own (totally worth the trouble), I recommend 8 o'clock brand. This is what I buy if I don't want to schlep a grinder or if I anticipate a lot of people asking me for coffee (everybody asks me for coffee).

                                                                                              1. re: jarona

                                                                                                When I'm brewing coffee just for myself, the French press is my brewing method of choice. If a whole pot of coffee is called for, I use my Technivorm brewer. It makes a mighty fine cup of coffee. Both brewing methods are a little fussy, but well worth it.

                                                                                              2. I love lattes. Three years ago I bought a Nespresso machine with an aerocino from Amazon. I love it. There are twelve different capsules filled with coffee from around the world. Husband likes very dark roast and I do not so we have lots of options. It takes one minute to brew the espresso or lungo while my milk is heating. In one minute I can have a wonderful latte.

                                                                                                1. Great thread. There are so many different sorts, and IMHO they are all just different beverages. I make a lot of them. I love the brightness of a cup of Guat dripped in the old Melitta, a dark Sumatra in the press, a cheap, finlely ground French roast Ca Phe Sua Da, or a cafe latte made with pretty much whatever and a Bialetti. I like them all, just as I enjoy an Oregon Pinot Gris, a great, old Napa cab, or an ancient Sauternes. I could probably pick just one wine if I had to have ( and pay for) the same one each day, and I could probably do the same for coffee, but why?

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                                    Well said, tim! I totally agree! I've got 5 different makers that produce 7 or 8 different types of coffee, & I enjoy each type for its own unique benefits & character.

                                                                                                  2. I didn't read all the answers, but here's my take. I make coffee at home and I love it. In fact, I rarely find a better cup (IMHO) anywhere. But here's how I get there:

                                                                                                    Every morning, I put water in the kettle. While that comes to a boil, I clean out the french press and grind my beans. After the water boils, I let it come down off the boil for one minute, pour over the beans, let it brew four minutes, and press.

                                                                                                    Some nuances along the way:

                                                                                                    First, use freshly drawn cold water. That way it hasn't been sitting in the hot water heater or running the recirc line around the condo/house/apt.

                                                                                                    Second, use good beans. You can't make good coffee without them. What you consider good may be very different than what someone else considers good, but let me offer this. Over-roasted beans (like those too often found at the big green coffee chain) are not what I consider good. Really good roasters get to know exactly when to stop the roasting process to get the most flavor out of a bean. In my opinion, Intelligentsia and Stumptown are two of the best. They have different styles, but the both are very good. For a national chain, Peet's produces very good coffee. Each metro area also seems to have a plethora of little local roasters--some are very good, but you have to try around or ask around to find out who. Beyond finding a great roaster, try to buy them in small batches and brew them within two or three weeks of the roasting date. It really does make a big difference in the flavor of your cup.

                                                                                                    Third, grind your own beans minutes before you brew, and use a burr (NOT a blade grinder). These can be had or as little as $40, and produce a much more even and repeatable grind.

                                                                                                    Fourth, play around with the courseness/fineness of your grind, the amount of beans in the pot, and the time of your brew (if you go with a french press). If you use the same beans and brew method long enough to know them well, you can tweak a cup a lot, intelligently, by playing with these factors.

                                                                                                    Fifth, make it up in small batches and drink it hot. Letting it sit on a hot plate or heating it in the microwave will dramatically alter the flavor.

                                                                                                    Finally, I really recommend the french press. It is a little (a very little) extra work over a coffee machine, but I think it is well worth it. It does a few things differently from a coffee maker: it extracts coffee flavor from all the grinds evenly (as opposed to over-extracting the grinds in the center of the cone and under-extracting the grinds on the edges); it prevents all paper and plastic flavors that come out of the coffee machine since nothing but metal and glass touch the coffee; and it puts you in control of the entire process.

                                                                                                    Best of luck and I hope you start enjoying your coffee at home even more than what you get when you are out!


                                                                                                    25 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                      I love my French press, too. I take one additional step when I brew my coffee in the FP. After I pour the water over the ground beans, I let the coffee "bloom" for about 20-30 seconds. It forms a kind of "cake" which I break up with a plastic chopstick. Then I stir the grinds gently, cover the press, set my timer for 4 minutes and 20 seconds and press. GREAT coffee!

                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                        That's cool--I'll have to try it sometime. I actually do something a bit different. Instead of waiting and then stirring, as soon as I finish pouring the water over the beans, I plunge the press all the way to the bottom and then quickly raise it to the top again to finish brewing for 4:00. Plunging forces all the air from the grinds, and drawing the plunger back up equally distributes them throughout the water.

                                                                                                        It's pretty cool how everyone seems to have their own little ritual.

                                                                                                        1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                          Agreed. I stir after two minutes figuring that that is how coffee is cupped professionally but really it's all arbitrary and more about ritual.

                                                                                                          Also I totally agree that Intelligentsia and Stumptown are the two best roasters and purveyors (a crucial step) of great beans out there. Intelligentsia is what converted me into a coffeegeek but recently with a shop in my city selling freshly roasted Stumptown coffee just days after roasting I've been very impressed with them. Stumptown seems to offer more body with their roasting while Intelligentsia is lighter and often brighter. Both are fantastic though.

                                                                                                          Also, as a dedicated French Press user, I've been on the fence about a cafe solo but it seems expensive. Has anyone taken the plunge with a cafe solo?

                                                                                                          1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                            Are you in the Boston area, and would that shop be Bloc 11 (or Diesel Cafe)? I was introduced to Intelligentsia several years ago when I started purchasing Black Cat, but I only tried Stumptown when Bloc 11 Started carrying it about a year ago.

                                                                                                            1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                              The shop I got the Stumptown beans at was Thinking Cup (on the Park) although I am a fan of Diesel. I just started roasting my own beans a couple weeks ago, so I haven't been buying roasted and from my early results it looks like I probably won't for a while, it's so much cheaper to roast your own and I've been impressed with the quality even while learning.

                                                                                                              I haven't been to Bloc 11 yet, but clearly I need too. Thanks for the tip!

                                                                                                              1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                I live in JP, so I'm not sure how I missed Thinking Cup. I need to check them out. I believe Bloc 11 and Diesel share owners, so the experience is much like Diesel.

                                                                                                                I keep toying with stepping into roasting my own bean, but what keeps holding me back in that I am unsure how and where to source high quality raw beans. So, if you don't mind me asking, where are you getting your beans? Also, what are you using for a roaster?



                                                                                                                1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                                  Here are some places to get you started.


                                                                                                                  Join the Green Coffee Buying Club and the Green Coffee Coop

                                                                                                                  Google green coffee beans

                                                                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                    Thanks scubadoo97! I appreciate the pointers on beans.

                                                                                                                    A few minutes of research indicates to me that there are low cost roasters (i.e. sub $200), higher end drum home roasters ($1,000 and up), and then there in the Behmor 1600 in the middle. It seems like a good price for a home drum roaster, and I have no issues with its inability to roast really dark coffee. What are your thoughts on roasters?


                                                                                                                    1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                                      The Behmor can be had, refurbished, for only $199 from Chocolate Alchemy. I bought mine new over 4 years ago and it's still going strong. I roast a batch about once a week with exactly 12 ounces on P4 for 18.5-20 min, depending. The roast times will vary slightly even with the exact same beans so just be right there during 1st crack, wait until it ends and slowly keep sniffing the air. When a burst of aroma hits you - hit the cool button. The coffee is drinkable right away but I find that it will truly peak 4-5 days after roasting, and be very fresh for a week or more afterwards. I honestly wouldn't spend less - this is really THE roaster to get for that money.

                                                                                                                      1. re: PepinRocks

                                                                                                                        Thanks so much for that info. I am about to pull the trigger on a roaster. I have one important question--how much smoke do you get out of yours taking the beans through first crack. The only reason that I haven't decided for sure is the smoke issue--the Gene Cafe would allow me to attach a dryer hose and vent out the window. If we are talking a little smoke, like frying bacon crispy with no danger of setting off the alarm, then I'm ok, but if we are talking about smoke that will darken the wall behind and cabinets above the machine and could set off the smoke detectors, then I need to figure something else out. Thanks!


                                                                                                                        1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                                          There can be a lot of smoke as you hit 1st and even more if you get to 2nd crack

                                                                                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                            How do you manage it then. Do you use the roaster outside, or under a range hood, or something else?

                                                                                                                            1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                                              Jeremy, I have not used the Behmor but coffee roasting in general produces some smoke and it's enough to need venting. You could attach a vent hose to it's exhaust. That shoud help divert the smoke outside

                                                                                                                              I have a couple of friends that love the Gene. They love the program-ability, control and smoke venting. I would consider it if and when I tire from my current roaster.

                                                                                                                              I'm fortunate to have a pool house turned man cave where I roast. I roast by a window with a window fan that sucks the majority of the smoke out. The weather here is pretty nice year round so it's easy to roast outdoors the majority of the time.

                                                                                                                          2. re: jljohn

                                                                                                                            Very little smoke with the Behmor. They have a special smoke reduction system buit-into it and it works very well. I have a smoke detector in the same room and it never goes off. At the end of your roast cycle, if you open the door for a few seconds to speed up the cooling cycle, you'll get a bit of smoke for a few seconds but that's pretty much it. The aroma of course will spread far and wide but we rather enjoy that.

                                                                                                                            I'll typically roast all the way through 1st crack and stop somewhere between 1st and 2nd or at the VERY start of 2nd crack. My roasting is all indoors, year round - we're in PA, and this way my ambiant room temp is pretty much guaranteed to be about 70 and stable, so as to not affect my roast times and results.

                                                                                                              2. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                Can you explain what cafe solo is?

                                                                                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                    I think he is talking about the Eva Solo Cafe Solo:


                                                                                                                    Here is a nice tutorial on how to use one:


                                                                                                                    I haven't used one, but they seem to be gaining in popularity.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jljohn

                                                                                                                      It's very similar to French press, just without the press. I'll pass, thanks. :-)

                                                                                                            2. re: jljohn

                                                                                                              Hi, jljohn:

                                                                                                              That's a great post and I think I could learn from you.

                                                                                                              FP is my daily default method and I like the ease and flavor, but am tiring of the resulting mud. This morning I tried adding crushed eggshells and a scant pinch of salt to the press, and I think the brew was a little clearer and perceptibly mellower. What do you think of this and--if not much--what else do you suggest? Re-filtering through a Melitta?


                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                Hi Kaleo,

                                                                                                                I'm familiar with the eggshell trick, but not the salt. Do you happen to know where that idea comes from?

                                                                                                                Which grinder are you using?

                                                                                                                1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                  Hi, Eiron:

                                                                                                                  The salt idea came from right here on CH, but either the General or Home Cooking board. It's apparently a very old practice. There was even an attempt to explain the science behind it, which--if I understood correctly--has to do with the shape of the receptor sites on human tastebuds. The theory espoused was that salt and the bitter compounds in coffee are of the same shape, and that NaCl in the coffee preferentially binds to the "bitter" receptors, shifting sensory perception away from bitter. Basically, the bitterness is still there, you just don't taste as much of it. According to others, it takes very little salt to do the trick, certainly below the sensory threshold. That was my reaction this morning on my first try--no salty taste at all.


                                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                    Oh, I see. I thought the salt was to aid clearing the sediment.

                                                                                                                    Which grinder are you using? (Or are you waiting for a response from jljohn before you divulge that info? ;-) )

                                                                                                                    I'll go ahead & ask my other questions now, as well:
                                                                                                                    What setting is the grinder at?
                                                                                                                    What other settings have you tried?
                                                                                                                    Does it always have a bitter flavor?

                                                                                                                    I'll understand if you want to wait for jijohn's response before entertaining anyone else's inquisition. :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                      Hi, Eiron:

                                                                                                                      No problem... The grinder--I sometimes grind myself (Braun conical burr), set to 3 clicks coarser than espresso. Other times I have the store grind for FP.

                                                                                                                      Yes, always bitter flavor, but not always objectionable.

                                                                                                                      I'm coming around to the view that I've been using more coffee than I should in each press. I'll try backing off a little.


                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu


                                                                                                                        I would agree with jljohn & suspect your grinder's burrs are worn (as may be the store's grinder, considering it probably sees several hundred pounds per week!). I didn't think of the grind change idea, but that, too, makes sludge sense. Many grinders can easily trap a CC or more of grinds from the previous session (although I'm not familiar with the specific design of the Braun conical).

                                                                                                                        Bitter would say over-extraction, which is what you're automatically doing to the finely-ground bits. Shorter brew times should help. Are you already limiting your steep to 4 minutes max? My FP got sweeter/richer when I used slightly more coffee & steeped for slightly less time.

                                                                                                                        My FP grinder is my old Solis 166/Starbuck's Barista conical. I de-tuned it to grind as coarse as it can, but I still end up with a FP grind that's finer than what I would really like, & it's at an age where I'm getting a fair amount of really fine bits all of the time. It's the predecessor to the Baratza line of grinders. I bought my dad a Baratza refurb 2 xmases ago & that's what I'd recommend to anyone today. As jljohn says, the grind output is MUCH more even with very little dust/fines. It's also what I'll buy myself, when I finally can't stand the output from my tired, old Solis any longer. :-)

                                                                                                                2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                  Hi Kaleo,

                                                                                                                  Thanks for the compliment--hopefully I can return the favor a bit. You've been a tremendous help with all my copper cookware questions!

                                                                                                                  First, I wonder if it could be the grinder. I started using FP every day about 10 years ago, and my first grinder was a the Cuisinart Coffee Grinder. It worked well enough for a few years, but as the burrs wore down, I got more and more sludge in the coffee. By the end of the grinder's lifespan, I could see the sediment swirling around in the liquid as I poured my coffee. So, I upgraded to a Baratza Virtuoso Grinder, and my sediment problem was solved. I suspect that the better, and newer, grinder produces a much more even grind where most coffee particles are similarly sized, and there is little resulting coffee dust in the grind and less resulting mud or sludge in the cup.

                                                                                                                  My second thought has to do with your dual use of the grinder. Since you are using the grinder for espresso and FP, and since espresso grind is generally described as having the feel of talcum powder in your fingers, I wonder if residual espresso grounds are getting into your FP--grounds that would easily pass through the press filter and wind up in the cup. I keep a separate Espresso and FP grinder on the counter, for two reasons--to alleviate the complications of dialing in my espresso grind after every french press and to keep fine grounds out of the FP and course grounds out of the Espresso.

                                                                                                                  You mention below that you sometimes get your coffee ground at the coffee shop. I don't know exactly why, but I have noticed that my coffee shop's grinder produces the most variable sized particles of all--even worse than my worn-out Cuisinart.

                                                                                                                  Another possibility is that when you do grind your own for FP, you might try it coarser. I find that espresso grind and FP grind are roughly at opposite ends of most grinders dial adjustments, The Baratza, for example, has 40 different grind clicks. I use #31 for FP. If I were to use it for espresso, I would probably be operating down around #5.

                                                                                                                  I've never tried the eggshell approach (and I'm not even familiar with adding salt, so I need to read up on that!), so I really can't offer an opinion. I wouldn't filter through a paper filter, because one of the reasons I love French Press is the lack of any paper taste. You could try one of those reusable gold metal cone filters--they are definitely finer than the FP screen.

                                                                                                                  All this having been said, I have never found a way to make French Press that doesn't leave at least a thin coating of sediment at the bottom of the cup. This little bit that quickly falls out of the coffee to the bottom doesn't seem to impact the taste of the cup at all (except for the last tablespoon or so, which you can just dump or swirl it into your last sip and pound down) so, I've never been concerned with it.

                                                                                                                  I hope this helps at least a little!


                                                                                                              2. I've made my choice, and thank all those who offered help! I purchased a Aerobie Aeropress, and have been using it for over a month now. It works great. It makes a good brew in very little time and is very easy to clean. On the downside you can't make more than a cup at a time, and I'm somewhat disappointed with the temp of my finished coffee. After a dash of cream and stroll to the breakfast table I often wish my cup o' joe was a bit warmer.

                                                                                                                I have almost exclusivly used 8 o'clock brand coffee, dark roast, espresso grind. I buy it weekly so it's relativly fresh. I will buy my own grinder eventually. Upon speaking with by local barista I learned lighter roast coffee has more caffine. Who knew. So i'll be trying a lighter roast soon.

                                                                                                                I used a thermometer the first few times i made coffee in the Aerobie Aeropress. Once i pour the water over the grind and let it sit for 10 seconds the temp hovers between 175-180. I microwave water for two minutes let it sit while i measure out the coffee then proceed.

                                                                                                                If you are making one cup of coffee and are drinking it promtly the Aeropress works great. It is much easier to clean than a french press, and makes a far better flavored drink than a drip machine.

                                                                                                                Like I said in the begining I just want a 'good' cup of coffee. I want to leave the 'best' cup of coffee for the mystery of the imagination.

                                                                                                                Thank you all.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: mikey031

                                                                                                                  I assume the water you're heating in the microwave is for preheating your press. Do you preheat your cup, too? I preheat both the press and my mug when I use the French press, and it does make for a hotter cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                2. I own a $100+ conical burr grinder, which I've found essential to getting a precise espresso grind and just-ground freshness for my daily double cappuccino, which I make using a fairly expensive semi-automatic pressure machine from Italy. I'm a coffee connoisseur.

                                                                                                                  But when I just want a cup of brewed coffee, I've learned it's best to use a common, plastic-handle wire mesh strainer (the kind you'd buy at Target for about $4) to hold an ordinary Melitta-type paper coffee filter (8-12-cup size). I grind my beans a bit coarser than for espresso, put the coffee in the filter, and set the strainer over a preheated cup; bring premeasured filtered water to a near-boil of about 185-190 degrees (never brew coffee with boiling water) then douse the grounds minimally but uniformly to begin extraction; wait about 45 seconds then pour all the remaining water slowly over the grounds in a circular rotation. You'll need to adjust coffee proportions to your taste, but you should end up with as good a cup as can be had by any other method. Per-cup cost and cleanup are ultra-minimal (unlike with a French press or automatic brewer, etc.).

                                                                                                                  I use the same French roast beans as for espresso, which I buy at Costco for $13.49 for 40 ounces (i.e., -$5.40 per lb.) Really not bad for the money (or otherwise).

                                                                                                                  1. Wow. Reading some of these replies I see that many of my fellow posters are WAY more into coffee than I ever thought of getting. Never thought of weighing my beans..or counting them for that matter. I am a firm believer in fresh ground being better than using grounds. I use a Cuisinart Grind and Brew with Eight O'Clock beans. I have VERY good well water at home, so that has never been an issue. My guilty pleasure is that I like very light coffee. I use ALOT of half and half...someone might say I prefer coffee flavored half and half to real coffee. Actually the best coffee I've EVER had was in a small pastry shop in Japan, where they used the vacuum pots. Don't know if my meanderings help, but that's just me.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                                                      I used to go to Japan every month on business and also really like Vac Pot coffee. SUPER smooth. Yama makes a few nice all glass models that are both reasonable. I even bought the "glass filter" for them so that there is nothing BUT glass touching my coffee. It really does work. Just make sure that the coffee is NOT ground too fine - or you'll clog it up or (worse case) implode your vac pot. I have done this - it isn't a myth.

                                                                                                                      I still have a larger vac pot that I break out for guests but I haven't replaced my smaller one after it broke - and had used for daily cups. For me the Aeropress has now replaced my vac pot as my true "go to" for coffee for just me or "me and she".

                                                                                                                    2. Yes, I really love my coffee at home. I enjoy using my Kyocera coffee grinder. Grinding the beans manually in this burr grinder works wonderful. I then put two Tbsp of the grinds into my Bialetti Mocha Express. Onto the stove, it's ready in minutes. It reminds me of Italy.

                                                                                                                      1. keys to a great cup of coffee:

                                                                                                                        awesome coffee, roasted locally if possible (handsome, etc)
                                                                                                                        filtered water
                                                                                                                        burr grinder, grind the coffee seconds before brew (smell that smell? that's flavor escaping, bro).
                                                                                                                        measurement, 2 Tbsp per 6oz.

                                                                                                                        I really like the aeropress. it's fun to use and the coffee is incredibly good and comes out fast.

                                                                                                                        try the clever -- it's like a V60 pour over, but you can choose when to release the water into the cup. makes delicious coffee.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: orion77

                                                                                                                          ...i agree that "pressed" coffee can be wonderful...however, i've read that long-term use of coffee made this way is associated with higher incidence of some cancers...i won't drink "French press" or other "pressed" any longer...

                                                                                                                          1. re: cbjones1943

                                                                                                                            The research is pretty sketchy to say the least in it's association with homosysteine and cancer.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cbjones1943

                                                                                                                              The issue with unfiltered coffee, which includes boiled and Turkish coffee, as well as French press, is not so much a higher risk of cancer as it is an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL). Coffee beans contain two compounds--cafestol and kahweol--that have been shown in studies to raise LDL. These compounds are mostly retained in the filter, when one is used, but otherwise pass into the brewed coffee. Still, AFAIK, there haven't been any reliable studies of the long-term effects of drinking unfiltered coffee. Also, cafestol and kahweol have some good qualities. Studies suggest that they may have anticarcinogenic, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

                                                                                                                            2. re: orion77

                                                                                                                              p.s. The very best coffee I've had, ever, anywhere, was one from Colombia that was available [bean or ground--I bought ground] @ Wal-Mart for ~1 yr around 2000...I have searched everywhere & online [including Colombian sites] for this coffee to no avail...cannot recall brand...but would recognize it...my theory: the company was "bought out"...

                                                                                                                            3. I haven't read all the replies...and, many will disagree...however, my favorite cup of coffee is still made the old-fashioned, non-electric, Mellita way...when I worked in Latin America [in rural areas], I used the traditional, suspended cloth coffee filter...not great, but more than adequate...used one in the States for several years...simply became accustomed to it...& to taste of coffee it produced...

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: cbjones1943

                                                                                                                                Jolly Roger lived up a tree.
                                                                                                                                You climbed there by a rope.
                                                                                                                                I'd often go for a cup of tea,
                                                                                                                                Which he brewed up with soap.

                                                                                                                                Once I found a sock in mine.
                                                                                                                                It made me wince a bit.
                                                                                                                                But Roger told me, "Never mind,
                                                                                                                                The blamed thing doesn't fit."

                                                                                                                                Nonsense Verse from book illustrated by Wallace Tripp

                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                  ...so cool...love it...thanks for posting...

                                                                                                                              2. Good FRESH coffee, ground fresh, prepared in a decent auto drip maker can make really good coffee with minimal effort. Press and pour over add the additional step of boiling the water (and really, any step you can avoid should be until sufficiently caffeinated) and, more importantly, quality depends heavily on technique, especially with pour over. Pour over can indeed produce a superior cup of joe, but my experience was that it was difficult to be consistent, and the results were too often nasty. Auto drip will never be quite as good, especially since temp won't ever be quite high enough, but you won't wreck a batch either.

                                                                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                                                  "Auto drip will never be quite as good, especially since temp won't ever be quite high enough..."

                                                                                                                                  Doesn't the Technivorm address that?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                    That's a unit that will run $250 to $300...that coffee better be more than "good". At that price, cheaper to just go down to a coffee shop that knows what they"re doing. Really. Most auto drips have a heating element where the water is drawn up from the bottom of the reservoir... the water boils and is pushed up to the top of the unit (like a percolator...there is no pump). The argument against auto drip is that the water is no longer at the "optimum" temperature once it gets to the coffee. Not sure how the Technivorm gets around this.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                                                      Yes, TechniVorm addresses this very well. And any inconsistencies the operator may introduce during hand-pouring.

                                                                                                                                      The price is simply reflective of labor costs outside of China & the increased quality of materials & manufacture required to provide a longer-lived product.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                                        NO! The COST reflects supply and demand (like everything else in this world). Does the TechniVorm cost more to manufacture? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't...AND YOU (AND I) DO NOT KNOW THAT (unless you somehow have inside info). My guess is that marketing, advertising, shipping, retail mark-up and PROFIT together are a significant fraction of the cost. In the end, though, they will sell for what people are willing to part ways with their hard-earned dollars....the cost be damned.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                                                          My understanding of the higher cost is that the brass heating element that they use coupled with what is essentially a thermocouple (I'm sure the engineers on this board could explain it better) is what makes the product so much more expensive.

                                                                                                                                          I roast my own coffee, weigh it in grams, and use either a press-pot or pour-over. I am definitely a coffee geek and understand that for many people coffee is merely a caffeine delivery device and the taste is secondary. If that is the case, I would agree, it's not worth it to spend more on either coffee or a brewing apparatus.

                                                                                                                                          Basically you are paying $300 for a machine to heat your water to proper brewing temperature and then slowly pour it over the grounds as opposed to doing it yourself. Or in comparison to most coffee-makers, you are paying for it to wait until the water is 200 degrees to dispense it over the grounds and then hold that temperature throughout the brewing process.

                                                                                                                                          While in my own opinion if you are serious enough about coffee to consider buy a techniVorm, you should probably just be making coffee manually, I can understand that the cost of a good heating element that properly heats and dispenses the water costs more to manufacture than the heating element on your run of the mill coffee-maker. At the end of the day as with most luxuries, you are finding a balance between convenience and quality of final product (in this case the brewed coffee) and then balancing that with what you are willing to pay. Value is unique to each consumer as you pointed out.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                                                            I think we can safely deduce that a technivorm costs more to manufacture than the simple, made-in-China drip coffee makers that we are all familiar with. Place of manufacture, complexity of design, and quality of components all point toward higher manufacturing costs.

                                                                                                                                            Of course supply and demand also factor into pricing. I think Eiron was just pointing out that you get a higher quality drip maker for that big price tag. Best I can tell, he's right. I'm not personally rushing out to buy one, but I can see why others might.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                              Certainly the Technivorm is a much higher quality machine than cheaply made drip coffee makers. However, I still think it is overpriced. As Klunco notes, the challenges a good drip machine needs to meet are to heat the water hot enough, disperse it evenly over the grounds, and hold the temperature throughout the brewing cycle. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) certifies only four products as satisying these standards. The Technivorm is one of them, but so is this product:


                                                                                                                                              The Bonavita, manufactured in Germany, hit the US market at the end of last year. It's been reviewed extremely favorably on Amazon.com, CoffeeGeek and elsewhere. No, it's not as attractive as the Technivorm, but it does everything the Technivorm does at half the price with a thermal carafe and even less ($20 less) with a glass carafe. If I weren't making French press coffee almost exclusively these days, this is the drip coffee maker I would buy,.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                                                Actually, the Bonavita is made in China, patterned after the Made-in-Germany Melitta (Aroma Excellence?) design. It has a following based on it's price as much as its brew quality, but there's no longevity history established yet. If you end up replacing it twice as often as a TechniVorm (or more?), then where's your price savings gone? Of course, not everybody WANTS a single product to last that long. You lose your excuse to buy something new every few years, don't you?

                                                                                                                                                Also, there's precious little technical information available on the Bonavita, unlike the TechniVorm. Not that everybody cares about that, either. But it appears as though the quality of materials is much lower than those found in the TechniVorm.

                                                                                                                                                Just so that we know we're NOT comparing apples to apples, right? :-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                                                  I believe that the Bonavita has been available in Europe for somewhat longer than it has in the US, although I don't know anything about its track record over there. I'm not sure that build quality is a reliable indicator of how long an electric drip coffee maker will last, since there aren't many moving parts to wear out. The relatively expensive Capresso that I had until about a year ago worked fine for 10 years before it stopped heating up, but the el cheapo Mr. Coffee machine that I owned years ago lasted at least as long. It didn't make very good coffee, but I didn't know any better back then.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm still left with the thought that several hundred dollars is a lot to spend for something that doesn't do much more than heat water to the right temperature and pour it over grounds, no matter how well it is made or how stunning it looks on a kitchen counter. I suppose that's why I and many other people have decided that we can make kick-ass coffee with a kettle and a much simpler device, like a Chemex pot, a Clever dripper or a French press. These methods aren't as mindless as pushing a button on an electric machine is, but they work just as well, if not better, for a lot less cash.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                                                    Hi cheesemaestro,

                                                                                                                                                    I don't have any data on Bonavita's life in Europe. That's part of the problem for me. When you compare it to the stacks of data on TechniVorm, the Bonavita is reasonably bereft of info. When I'm spending my money, more info is something I look for. I'm tired of buying things that make promises they can't back up.

                                                                                                                                                    I do agree with you regarding the general life of appliances. 10 yrs is a good life for most things these days. I was simply looking for something that was expected (& reputed) to last longer. I also have purchase criteria now that I didn't have when I was younger. And as I mentioned in my earlier reply (below), I was ready to buy a simple pour-over setup. (I watched my mom do it for 20 yrs, & I was more than prepared to do the same.) The Bonavita, as it stands today, doesn't meet my purchase criteria to earn my dollars.

                                                                                                                                                    I also agree with your thoughts on cost. The TechniVorm IS expensive when you compare it to mass-produced appliances using less costly materials & being manufactured in wage-depressed locations. Or when you compare it to the low-tech equipment our parents or grandparents used. (Heck, I still have my first (& only) stove-top percolator that works perfectly!) But TechniVorm is the Bunn of Europe, & they put all of their knowledge & experience with service industry machines into a smaller, counter-top unit (unlike what Bunn did with their home machine). If Bunn did the same thing, using US labor, I guarantee that it would not cost a penny less than the TechniVorm.


                                                                                                                                                    I recognize & acknowledge that it's not for everybody. But it was for me. The Bonavita will generate its own following, but it probably won't be based on the same criteria as for those who are interested in a TechniVorm.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: MikeB3542

                                                                                                                                              Hmmm... economics theory now?

                                                                                                                                              Supply & demand is only part of the equation.

                                                                                                                                              As CBAD listed, there are many factors that go into an item's COST.

                                                                                                                                              There are separate factors that go into an item's PRICE.

                                                                                                                                              Yes, the TechniVorm COSTS more to manufacture than a Made-in-China brewer. It's made in Holland, from a significantly better design, using significantly better materials and safer manufacturing processes. Each of those points COSTS more than your (average) Made-in-China brewer. (Just comparing the cost of wages for technical manufacturing jobs in Holland vs China will jump the COST to make your product 100's of times! And wages are only a single factor you need to consider as a manufacturer.)

                                                                                                                                              My "inside info" is years of product design & manufacturing experience, along with hours of research spent learning about TechniVorm & other brewers. I know how much it COSTS to make certain technical & commodity products using specific materials in a variety of global locations.


                                                                                                                                              You are correct about some of the factors that go into the PRICE of an item. This includes supply & demand, as well as reputation for being able to perform the function it's advertised to do. That is to say, if something is renowned because it works better than the other choices available, then an attentive manufacturer can take advantage of their good reputation. And it doesn't matter if that product is a knife, or a fishing rod, or a golf club, or a frying pan.

                                                                                                                                              Or a coffee maker.

                                                                                                                                              I also agree with Klunco. In fact, I was all set to buy my own manual pour-over setup when I decided to buy my TechniVorm.
                                                                                                                                              The criteria I had for my own pour-over equipment included a copper kettle. At the time I was looking (nearly seven years ago), the least expensive copper kettles were over $100. When I included the best-reputation thermal carafe, it put the price of my setup at almost $200. The TechniVorm cost me $200 & gave me everything I wanted in a manual pour-over but removed the inconveniences for me. It also provided me with something NOT Made-in-China, which is one of those "intangible criteria" that are often included in purchase decisions.

                                                                                                                                              And as you pointed out (below) in your retort to buying coffee in a shop, sometimes a purchase is about "quality of life," too.

                                                                                                                                              Don't be so quick to assume you know it all...

                                                                                                                                            3. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                                              I posted this a while ago but if one is interested in a drip machine it may be worth your while to wait for the Brazen by Behmor which will be available by Aug.


                                                                                                                                              1. re: poser

                                                                                                                                                Yes, this machine is also generating a lot of buzz, isn't it? :-)

                                                                                                                                                It's not for me - I love the simplicity of my TechniVorm! (Another one of the criteria I had for my personal coffee brewing happiness.) But as with most other household appliances, complex electronics are the way of the future. As long as it proves reliable in the long-term, the Brazen should be a huge success! ("Long-term" for me is more than the 10 yrs I got out of each of my Braun coffee brewers.)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                                                  "Yes, this machine is also generating a lot of buzz, isn't it? :-)"

                                                                                                                                                  Heh heh, it is, just not here.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: poser

                                                                                                                                                    Why do you think that is? Are the coffee geeks migrating to the brew-specific forums for their info fixes? Or are people here just not interested in the nuances of different preparation techniques?

                                                                                                                                                    I know that, for me, the Brazen only seems to be using complicated electro-mechanics to mimic the soaking pattern that one is forced to use when manually pouring water over a Melitta or Chemex brewer. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just find it humorous that we're now using technology to duplicate the physical constraints we've been trying to get away from by using an auto brewer in the first place! :-)

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Eiron

                                                                                                                                                    What's the weak point (life wise) of an auto-drip machine? I've only had one, a small Melita. I quit using it when the glass carafe broke, and I couldn't find a replacement. I went back to the manual drip (or steep and strain depending on the grind).

                                                                                                                                                    Construction quality is much more important if making many pots of coffee a day, as opposed to the one or two of a home user.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                      Hi paulj,

                                                                                                                                                      I'm not sure I'm addressing your question, so let me know.
                                                                                                                                                      For me, the weak point would be having to replace it regularly. I had two Braun auto drip brewers that each lasted about 10 yrs. They were up to around $100 when my last one died, so I chose to use our "free from Gevalia" Krups brewer instead. When I was being forced to replace the Krups, I wanted something I wasn't going to have to replace in 10 yrs.

                                                                                                                                                      I agree - somewhat - with your assessment of construction quality. Since this brewer sees the same level of use as my two Braun brewers did, I'd expect a more durable machine to last longer. The Brauns were obviously mass-market products, where the TechniVorm is a service-industry-grade machine. For my money, if I get 20 yrs out of it I break even with my Braun purchases. If I get more (which I expect to), then I'm ahead of the game. I've been drinking coffee for more than 30 yrs, & I expect to drink it for more than 30 more yrs.

                                                                                                                                        2. Absolutely. You have to be fool to buy coffee at coffee shops. Spend your time in line and wasting gas maybe to drive there. At a 900% mark up I hope you enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: emglow101

                                                                                                                                            900% mark-up? Check your math! Let's say I can get a cup of coffee at my local place (Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee)...say $1.80 for a 16 oz cup. To make the same cup at home, I will need to use an ounce (by weight) of coffee...I can get the same coffee beans retail for $8 per pound, so I will spend around a 50 cents for the coffee (I understand that the mark-up at the coffee shop is closer to your estimate because they are buying beans wholesale and roasting their own). I COULD buy a can of Folger's for much less, but that stuff sucks (and you know it!) I could also "stretch" the coffee, but that will produce a crappy weak brew that might as well be Folger's. Add in the cost of filters and the machine, say $5/month if we are talking a Technivorm, or 25 cents per brew, and the mark-up is a lot less than 900%. Still expensive for an everyday cup of Joe but not a bad deal for a treat. Besides, sometimes it's NICE to have a cup of coffee in the company of, you know, OTHER PEOPLE. And it is NICE to have someone make the coffee for you...there is some value to that, don't you think? If your coffee shop experience sucks, find a better one...hint: it might be a non-mermaid shop. Finally, things like espresso are best done with equipment I have no inclination to purchase and operate at home...happy to leave that to the coffee shop.

                                                                                                                                          2. I will preface this by saying I am not a coffee snob and am not fooled by coffee being "better" just because it cost more. I have found Speedway "Dark Roast" to be better than 90% of the coffee house brew I have ever had, and that's no joke. So I just keep it real.

                                                                                                                                            Three things you need, and if you don't have em, it ain't gonna work.

                                                                                                                                            -Good quality water - I am not a snob and our community has water that taste as good or better than what comes out of a bottle so it's cool with me to use that. However, if you are paranoid or hate your water, go ahead and buy decent bottled water.

                                                                                                                                            -Good quality coffee. I use Peets ground, usually Major Dickenson or one of the medium roasts. Yeah, I know, if you grind it before you brew it it's oh so much...gimme a break, I can't tell the difference and unless the plastic bag it's been sold to you in was put in the trunk of your car for a year you won't either. Just buy it ground Oh, ok, if you plan on leaving it in your cabinet for months on end, leave it in the bean form. Otherwise, pick convenience over snobbery and get it ground...

                                                                                                                                            -Good coffee maker I have always used the standard Bunn home brewer with the stainless tank and rip a pot in 3 minutes flat. You must use the Bunn filters as if you don't, the coffee will run over as Bunn filters are a half inch higher. Also, for some decaf or flavored coffees, you need to call em up and have them ship you a different nozzle that slows down the brewing cycle. My aunt, a coffee snob, always has a "brand new" high end something or another and you know, she goes through one every two years because "I just make so much coffee." I rip at least one pot a day and usually two, with decaf in the evening, and my current Bunn is 10 years old. 'nuff said.


                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: TroyOHChatter

                                                                                                                                              Is there such a thing as reverse snobbery? I have to hand it to you TroyOHChatter, it takes some skill to be so wrong on so many points in so few words.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: TroyOHChatter

                                                                                                                                                Question... You ever find who makes Speedway coffee? I found a lead, but wanted to know if you found anything. The Dark Roast has been amazing and I am becoming addicted!!! Couldn't figure out how to DM you, but hit me up if you've found how to buy the Dark Roast from Speedway for home.


                                                                                                                                              2. The beans make the difference.

                                                                                                                                                I read this old thread with interest and I disagree with some and agree with some. Here is my reason:

                                                                                                                                                Even medium quality beans freshly ground minutes before using taste better than beans ground six hours before using. So that should say everything.
                                                                                                                                                1)Good quality beans + cheap plunger (cafetiere) = better coffee than
                                                                                                                                                2)Cheap shop bought pre-ground coffee + the most expensive machine

                                                                                                                                                I am sure some (or many?) might disagree..

                                                                                                                                                thanks for reading.

                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: SomersetDee

                                                                                                                                                  I think if you have a machine that does not brew the coffee correctly (e.g. brews at the wrong temperature or with a poor extraction time), it will not compensate for the freshness of the grind.

                                                                                                                                                  I would say if you're going to the trouble of grinding your coffee fresh, then you should also take the time to get the right machine, or don't bother.

                                                                                                                                                  However, to your point above, to me a "cheap plunger" qualifies as a good coffee-brewing machine. It's some of the cheap drip coffee machines that I think don't do a very good job.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: calumin

                                                                                                                                                    Hi Calumin. Yes A cheap plunger type cafetiere does a far better job than many cheap machines which work on the drip and percolation principle. Some have a terrible "keep warm" jug which kills the coffee in 30 minutes. I first tried one of these many years back. Shock horror on tasting coffee made with it I sent it back for a refund! Bean to cup machines get the best out of coffee without wastage. I only drink 1 or 2 cups of coffee in a day. I only need to roast once a week. The biggest surprise for me was home roasting. To find huge variations in coffee bean varieties and trying different roast levels on each of these opens up so many permutations and combinations that I am always looking forward to my weekly 15minutes or so of roasting time. So in that regard, my first recommendation is for starting to home roast either using a frying pan (skillet) or a cheap roasting machine (pop corn makers lack thermostat and are better avoided). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyRfdF... is my embarrassing video in this regard!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SomersetDee

                                                                                                                                                      I commend you on your effort, but your method produces a most uneven roast, chaff all over the place, and a strong smell and/or smoke throughout the house. I'm all for saving money, but (imho) this is a good method only to prove to oneself that something better is needed.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                        Hi Grampart, Yes I use a cheap hot air bed roaster to roast my coffee beans rather than manually frying as its easier. Probably little more consistent. I will post the video I have taken of a roaster called the Aroma Kafee (German) machine. It is nowhere near the Behmor or Hottop roaster.

                                                                                                                                                        From what I have heard the Behmor gives very consistent rich tasting light roasts and the Hottop can offer more fuller darker roasts with very accurate results. But if you want to see someone who has probably gone into another dimension with this then please see this video http://youtu.be/UO4PuolrCMo :) :) He uses several feedbacks from sensors to quickly cool using peltier coolers if the temperature and moisture levels are too much. Smoke is released if the sugars in the coffee beans break down and goes past caramelisation into the burnt stage. I believe this can be kept to a minimum thereby not only reducing smoke but also preventing many flavours from getting lost due to excess heat.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SomersetDee

                                                                                                                                                          I started with an iRoast2 and, other than the fact it sounded like a jet engine, it provided many pots of good to great coffee for about 3 years before it died. I also had heard that the Behmor was better for light roasts but, since using the 1600 for the last 6 or 7 months, I find that a full dark roast is obtainable by a little "trickery". Also, I've found that I do enjoy lighter roasts which had somewhat eluded me until the Behmor. I do love my Behmor and it runs so quietly that hearing 1st and 2nd crack is absolutely effortless. btw, neither roaster has been used in the house; in the garage or outdoors only. Did I say, I love my Behmor?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                            Hi grampart,
                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the feedback on Behmor. It sounds quite good. Maybe they do a 240v version? I will keep a look out for it on ebay.

                                                                                                                                                2. The coffee is more important than the device. Likely you will need to order by mail.
                                                                                                                                                  I recommend the website CoffeeReview.com

                                                                                                                                                  My coffee of choice is Gimme Coffee, Leftist blend. Perfect for an espresso machine.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blackpippi

                                                                                                                                                    Hi blackpippi,
                                                                                                                                                    Absolutely! For British readers may I recommend www.coffeecompass.co.uk/ as I continue to find their quality very good at lowest prices. I have not paid silly supermarket prices for coffee in years. Better to buy bulk as raw coffee beans have very long shelf life.

                                                                                                                                                  2. hands down my wife got a saeco talea super automatic and the coffee it produces is outstanding especially the espresso is comparable to a hand press since this model contains a crema adjuster and all i can say is WOW! not cheap tho but thats just my recommendation as well the machine automatically self adjusts itself to different grinds depending on the bean.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: johnny101golf

                                                                                                                                                      Hi johnny101golf, yes Philips have their own brewing unit which is well respected. I did consider Saeco (Philips) but I am short of space in my tiny kitchen and the Saecos tend to open and operate from all around the machine with flaps opening all over the place. With DeLonghi all the operations (caraffe, loading water tank, etc.. etc..) are all done from the front! So you dont need any space around the machine. Jura has very good brewing unit but better suited for office environments. As for the taste I have tried all of them and cant tell the difference. I believe by crema you mean that the coffee can be ground very fine? Because as far as I know that is the only way to change the crema. regards Dee