Category Archives: Coffee

National Coffee Month (2017)

Well it’s another year to celebrate our favorite drink. For the last couple of years the only thing I’ve been drinking is coffee and plain ol’ water. The diabetes made sure that I gave up soda pop and other sugary drinks for good. That’s when I turned to coffee and went really all in with it.

In the last year I’ve added some new equipment to my coffee arsenal. I’ve pretty much switched away from using a French Press to using a V60 Hario pour over at work and using the Chemex pour over at home. I’ve found that I actually prefer these methods over the French Press because they use a paper filter. In my tastes I’ve found that the paper filter helps to cut off that edge of acidity and creates a more smooth tasting coffee that I had experienced before. Now I still like the French Press and still use it occasionally, but it’s not my go to method anymore.

I also still use my Expobar every single morning for espresso and I just love that thing. I did add an electric timer to it so that it turns on and off on a schedule I set so that when I get up in the morning the machine is already warmed up and ready for me to make an espresso without having to wait.

Recently I acquired an HG-One manual hand grinder for my espresso making needs. When I learned about this beautiful device I fell in love with it and wanted one. But at about $1,000 it was going to be an expensive thing to want. I was able to buy a used one for a bit less from a very good friend of mine who was no longer using it. he kept it in great condition and it works beautifully. I’ll be making a review of it soon to post here on my page.

The HG-One is a wonderful grinder and after getting it dialed in I get great espresso out of it in conjunction with good beans and the Expobar. I smile each time I pass by it in the kitchen.

Here’s to another great year of coffee!

French Press Kit For At Work

Today I decided to put together a small kit of coffee gear to keep in my office at work. Since my taste buds seem to be changing more and more over time as it relates to coffee, I’ve found it necessary to prepare my own if I want to enjoy a cup while at work.

Previously when I was getting into this coffee thing a few years ago I found that I liked the coffee that franchise chain Tim Horton’s offered, both in their brew at the store and their whole bean bags I could buy and take home. It’s been quiet a while since I’ve had any of their coffee, probably since at least last winter.

Last week I I bought a medium black cup from them and began to sip on it. After about the second sip I couldn’t take it as the taste was just horrible to me. Horrible. I dumped the drink down the drain and finally committed to building my own brewing kit to keep at the office.

Fortunately I had everything I needed already at home on the shelf and in the cupboards. Here is what I am using:

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The nice thing for me is that I have my own office so I don’t need to keep the gear in the common area break room. Instead it will stay locked up in my office where no one should be messing with it.

Now I can enjoy proper and fresh coffee when I want it.

What is Fresh Coffee?

Great coffee starts with fresh beans.

If you’re looking for the freshest coffee you can get, you should purchase coffee from a coffee roaster. Look for a roasted on date written on the bag or on a sticker. This indicates the day in which the beans were roasted so you know about how fresh they are. Anything more than about 2 weeks from the roasted on date should generally be avoided.

Store the beans in an air tight container, such as a Friis Coffee Vault which has vent filters to allow CO2 to escape and prevent O2 from getting in. Keep the container in a cool dry area like a cabinet in your kitchen, but not in a freezer or refrigerator.

Grind coffee just before you brew. Coffee ground in the store or factory creates more surface area, releasing the carbon dioxide faster, thus the coffee will become stale faster.

Also never reuse your coffee grounds to make coffee. Once brewed, the desirable coffee flavors have been extracted and only the bitter ones are left.

Off gassing

As a part of the roasting process, gases develop inside the structure of the coffee bean. Upon exiting the roaster, these gases, CO2 chief among them, begin escaping the bean: “off gassing,” as it’s called. When coffee is still very fresh (say, one or two days old), the carbon dioxide off gassing that’s occurring is so rapid and volatile that it adversely affects coffee brewing.

If your coffee is fresh, you’ll experience more off gassing. If you experience more off gassing, your coffee’s extraction (a measurement of how much mass is removed from dry coffee grounds by water–basically, “how well you brewed the coffee”) will be uneven and unpredictable.

As carbon dioxide makes its effort to escape the bean, oxygen attempts to make its way in. This process, called oxidation, leads to coffee’s staling, and the general decline of its flavor. This is why I use the Friis Coffee Vault containers. 7-12 days after roasting the carbon dioxide  off gassing that inhibits proper extraction has calmed down, while the staling effects of oxidation have not begun to settle in. This timetable is not hard-and-fast but is a general guideline to go by.

Why NOT to buy pre-ground coffee.

Coffee oils are very delicate, which makes them an easy victim of contamination. Whatever odors are around ground coffee will taint it in ways that will not contribute to your coffee tasting experience.

Oxygen: The cells inside the roasted coffee bean contain many different volatile aromas and flavors. Once ground the volatile aromas are immediately released and they react with oxygen in the air (oxidation). After 15 minutes the ground coffee loses about 60% of its aroma.

Moisture: Coffee oils are water-soluble. That’s a good thing or it would be very difficult trying to get the oils out of the bean. This fact however poses a great problem for ground coffee. When ground coffee is exposed to moisture in the environment it immediately starts to dilute the oils.

Carbon Dioxide Depletion: Increased surface area permits for greater carbon dioxide off gassing. During the roasting process a lot of CO2 is created. Since the bean is porous, some of it is lost during the cooling process. Much of it, however, is retained within the cells of the coffee bean. This CO2 plays an important role in that it is the primary method for getting the essential coffee oils into the coffee once they are released. The problem is that the increased surface area created after grinding permits for greater CO2 off gassing.

The Solution: always grind your coffee freshly just before brewing. Just imagine how much flavor, aroma is gone and how much staleness is present in pre-ground coffee from a factory that has been waiting to be shipped, been in transit and then placed on a store shelf for who knows how long.

I was simply stunned at how much better tasting coffee was when I first started grinding my own beans at home and brewing them immediately.

I hope this information is helpful to anyone looking for the best cup of coffee they can get.