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Coffee: Intermediate to Advanced

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jim_F, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    I actually work for an office coffee supply company. I can't believe how much coffee people drink at work! (and thank you for that, btw). The Keurig machines are very popular as are the Flavia machines. I have a Keurig at home myself. I like the Donut Shop ones but the hot chocolate isn't bad either. The most often requested one is Jet Fuel! I've also seen emplyees bring all kinds of coffee brewing contraptions to work and brew their own.
    I saw a mug on a counter once that had "Starter Fluid" written on the side. Thought it was kind of funny.
    "Kim Andrew
    Location: central coast of Oregon"
    The Central Oregon Coast! I had some friends who lived in Coos Bay a few years ago. Used to love the drive up from the S.F. Bay Area up 101 in my little Fiat 124 Spyder :yum:. Ukiah, CA to the Oregon/Washington boarder is an unknown treasure. Absolutely beautiful. Ah! the good old days. Unfortunately they moved to McMinville (that was O.K.) but then to S/E Illinois. Not in the middle of nowhere but on the other side of nowhere. OH well :( .
    About 3 years ago I actually drove up tp North Bend by myself just to get an Omlet from Dishners! :yum: :yum: Yes, I really did. Haven't set foot in a Denny's or I-Hop since then.
    Sold the Fiat last year. End of an era I guess :( . Think I need a cup of hot chocolate.
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Every time I see one, I resist the urge to shout "Flavia FLAAAAAAAAAV" =)
     
  3. MrsMac

    MrsMac Well-Known Member

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    Coos Bay is a few hours south of me. Nice area, but warmer than my area. The drive up the CA coast and then up the Oregon coast is a definite treasure!
    Dishner's, eh? We're planning a vacation and we were going to head east at Reedsport, but maybe we'll go to Coos Bay instead, stay the night and try Dishner's for breakfast before heading east. Thanks!
     
  4. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I killed my bag of Rook Roasters and started sampling some of the Starbucks I picked up. Believe it or not the Blond makes a really smooth tasting Espresso!
     
  5. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    Dishner's is actually in North Bend but as you know it's right there with Coos bay.
    Talked to my friend yesterday and he thinks there was a ownership change a while back. It's now called Dishner's Fine Food. Doesn't sound right to me. It used to be kind of a greasy spoon. But sometimes you get the best food in a place like that. I hope they're not trying to class up the joint. That would be hard to do in Coos Bay/North Bend anyway.
    If you decide to give it a shot I hope it doesn't disappoint you. They made omletts like my mom used to make them. And it covered the whole darn plate!
    Back to coffee. The concensus from my customers is Starbucks is great at marketing but those in the know prefer Peets. As for our house brand...well, this is a family forum so I can't say what they did :blush: .
     
  6. Stan

    Stan Premium
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    Semi off-topic, but I let the entire coffee craze pass me by.
    Plain old decaf for me. Black, nothing added.
    My one extravagance is I've got an automaticlly timed grinder/brewer. Pour in whole beans, add water, set the timer and you wake up to freshly ground and brewed coffee in the morning. My only complaint is the grinder sounds like a small jet engine, absolutely no need for an alarm clock.
    Makes great coffee, without all the escess ingredients.
    So many people cover coffee up with such extreme flavorings, it almost doesn't matter what you start with as your base coffee.
    I do stick to a fairly expensive brand for flavor ( you can definitely tell the difference between the diner coffee and a good brand), and being somewhat sensitive to excessive caffeine, newer versions of decaf are really very good. Plust it certainly doesn't cost $4-5 a cup.
    Not purposely trying to set a record, but I have never, ever set foot in a Starbucks or had a cup of their coffee.
     
  7. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    I also drink decaf most of the time. I have a little hyper-tension thing going on. I usually drink it black unless it's from 7-11 or a gas station then I'll add a little sugar to try and kill the taste. Only time I've ever been in a Starbucks was when someone else paid the tab.
    "I'm not paying $4 for a freakin' cup of coffee!"... "That's O.K., I'll buy"... :)
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I wish I liked coffee straight black. The calories from cream and sugar are not good for me. But the bitter taste is too much for me. So, coffee is a vehicle for flavorings for me, in addition to the caffeine.
     
  9. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Well-Known Member

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    I hear you Dave; I absolutely positively have to add creamer and sweetenings to my coffee. They tone down the coffee and create a smoother drinking experience for me.
    - Walter.
     
  10. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    OK, been happy with my machine for a few weeks now, trying different beans and varying doses etc. I think I bought too many beans to start with, they are going to get old before I can use em all!
    For those considering the BDB, these are the megathreads discussing them at the 2 biggest coffee forums:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1312978609/0
    http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/555671?Page=1
    I'm ready to get a naked portafilter, it just looks cool and I think it would help me monitor my pulls better to see the results as they drip. Breville has their own new one but it's out of stock from them and nobody else seems to carry it. I've asked them for a heads up on when it might be back in stock.
    And finding which portafilers are compatible with the BDB is rough, think this one works?
    http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/Heavy-58mm-bottomless-portafilter-p/scg10001-2.htmheader-SCG10001__2
     
  11. MrsMac

    MrsMac Well-Known Member

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    LOL! The same could be said for my area of the coast. Dishners has a web site and it looked okay. I'll let you know what we discover on our trip (won't be until fall so don't hold your breath!) Oh, web site: http://dishnersrestaurant.com/index.htm
    We drink a caffeine blend here: 1/2 reg. and 1/2 decaf. Neither of us can handle the shakes from the caffeine. Both drink it black unless it's wretched coffee and then we'll add some cream or milk. Don't do the creamer stuff as I got addicted to the coconut oil and other things and the cold turkey shakes, headaches and cravings were awful. If I can't use real cream, I use milk or suffer.
    I actually judge restaurants on things in this order:
    • Cleanliness of dining area.
    • Cleanliness of restrooms. If they are dirty, not stocked, I'll leave the restaurant. Period. No exceptions.
    • Coffee quality and taste. If everything else is fine, I'll eat but not return.
    After those things I judge the food quality and taste. I can deal with simple, plain "greasy spoon" meals, but not dirty dining area, dirty restrooms and/or bad coffee.
     
  12. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Hey Sam, I just bought this bottomless portafilter for my Rancilio Silvia . I'll let you know how I like it. Should arrive on Saturday. I already know my tamping skills need work (more even pressure) and it should also help you dial in the grind better. Be careful about those old beans, Dave from hitechespresso mentions that as beans age, you need to slightly adjust your grinder in order to compensate the bean drying out. Then when you get new(er) beans you'll need to re-dial in the grinder.
    I've had my Silvia for a couple of weeks now and overall I'm very happy with it. Yes it's slower than a dual boiler to make lattes and cappuccinos, since you cannot steam and brew at the same time. But in reality it takes about a minute to get up to boiling temp so the wait isn't bad at all. And the steam power is more than enough to do up to a 20oz pitcher (not 20oz of milk, you only fill pitchers up about 1/3 of the way, 1/2 max). When I'm making capps, I use a 12oz pitcher which makes getting microfoam much easier. However I suck at latte art (read: I can't do it). Going back and forth from brew to steam isn't bad for up to three or four drinks (I've made four in rapid succession when I had friends over for dinner) and that's about the most I'd do without a double boiler. Because you end up at the machine for about 15 minutes making four drinks and you could cut that in half with a double boiler.
    So if you regularly make four or more drinks, I definitely would consider a double boiler machine. But if you're like me and make one, maybe two at a time on a regular basis, a big single boiler machine like the Silvia should be more than enough.
    By the way, paying the extra money to get the Rancilio PID'd was worth the price and more. Can't imagine using the machine without it.
     
  13. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Sam - pulled about half-dozen shots with the bottomless portafilter. I'm using the double basket transfered from my original pf, a triple shot is just a little too much for me right now ;)
    It is quite a training tool. My first shot was not only uneven, but there was a bit of spray which actually hit the sides and top of the cup and a little bit of the machine. That meant that my distribution and tamp needed a lot of work since channeling was occurring, water seeking the easiest path through the espresso. I also performed a backflush cleaning cycle (I've owned the Silvia for about 2 weeks so it was due).
    I worked on my distribution first: shaking the pf back and forth as I ground the coffee, filling it to a bit above capacity, then being careful to use my finger to spread the grounds evenly across the basket and leveling it off as smoothly as possible. Then I worked on applying as even a tamp as I could (buying a tamp pad helped a little with this). Now the latest shot I pulled looks like those "golden shots" you see on youtube: dark at first with even distribution that moved to the dead center of the pf, with tiger striping at the last half/third of the shot, 2 ounces in roughtly 24 seconds.
    I'd have never found that out without the bottomless pf, and my last shot tasted the smoothest and crispest of any shot I've ever pulled.
    Overall I give the bottomless portafilter a :tu: :tu:
    EDIT: One thing I forgot to plug, for those of you who put a little sugar in your coffee/espresso drink: muscovado sugar is the bomb. A bit darker than brown sugar, with about 13% molasses content, I use a demitasse spoonful per double-shot cappuccino/latte (about half a teaspoon) and the taste is fantastic without loading your body up with too much sugar. Ordered 24oz from Surfas (their online presence is www.culinarydistrict.com) for under $9. The only drawback is that it will dry like brown sugar, so you'll need to buy a brown sugar disc or use the slice of bread/apple trick to rehydrate it.
     
  14. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Neat on both accounts! Phil McKnight confirmed for me that the 3rd party nekkids won't work on the BDB so I'm back to waiting for Breville to get more stock in and keeping an eye on ebay....
    Sam
     
  15. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Two recipes for you all to try. I want to stress that these drinks, especially the Nico, are best if you've got your setup dialed into the "golden shot" rule of about 22 seconds for a double shot, with good crema and tigerstriping (if you're using a bottomless portafilter). Also for the Nico you'll want to make sure you evenly tamp so that both demitasse cups get nearly equal amounts of espresso. My firt attempt got a shot and a half in one, and half a shot in the other. :laugh:
    Mocha Latte
    First, for those who love mocha lattes but don't want the super-sweet versions you often get at Starbucks, The Coffee Bean, etc. It's a little involved but if you're making for more than one it's worth it based on the wow you will get from your friends.
    First: make the chocolate "paste" (I won't call it syrup because you want it to be really thick)
    Note: Multiply the amounts below for each 10-12oz mocha you're going to make.
    In a separate cup combine:
    1tbsp Valrhona cocoa powder (100%)
    1tbsp Muscovado sugar
    Enough hot water to make a paste/thick syrup of all ingredients.
    throughly mix/combine until it's all incorporated and one thick, viscous syrup
    For those who like more sugar, increase that ingredient, vice versa for dark chocolate lovers
    Then:
    Put 1 to 1.5 tbsp of the chocolate syrup at the bottom of your latte cup (to taste, you should experiment)
    Pull a double shot directly into the cup, swirling it around once you finish the pull
    Steam milk, pour over espresso and chocolate, sit back and watch the smile form on your friends' faces. :)
    Cafe Nico
    A small, intense yet smooth drink by an awesome nearby coffee shop: Westwood Profeta, which I'm not sure this is exactly their recipe (it probably isn't) but I make a similar version at home. If you're in West Los Angeles, drop by Westwood Profeta! Especially those of you coming to town for the HTF meet and have the time and inclination to do so. Heck, drop me a line and I'll be happy to meet up w/ some of you there! ;)
    These should be served in 3 or 3.5 oz demitasse cups. You can make two at a time with each double shot.
    1. Line the bottom of two demitasse cups with candied orange syrup (I use Monin's). Just a minimal amount maybe the equivalent of 4-5 drops (again to taste)
    2. Align both cups to either side of a double shot portafilter.
    3. Draw a double shot, one into each cup. Should go about half-way up the demitasse cup
    4. Steam half-n-half (about half a cup or so) getting good microfoam if you know how
    5. Top off each cup with the steamed half-n-half
    6. Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top of each one
    7. Optional coup-de-grace: orange zest and small peel for decoration
    Serve and enjoy!
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Two Nicos in 3 oz Pasquini demitasse cups. No optional orange zest/peel. If I ever entertain with 4 or more people who want Nicos then I'll spring for an orange. :)
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I will try to meet you in WLA for a Nico, during the htf trip, let's work on this!
     
  18. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    You're on Sam. I didn't get to RSVP in time for the meet but if you (and any other HTF members) want to meet up I'll be very happy to do so.
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Sounds great!
     
  20. Wee Mad Arthur

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    I Love coffee. I have been drinking it since I was 4. I recently had the opportunity to work on a roasting house. Installing some.speakers for the owner. When I was done he gave me some samples as a thank you.. PHENOMENAL. Try Tanzanian Peaberry from SpecialtyJava.com. I liked it both in auto drip and French press
     

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