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Coffee Geeks

2006-01-30 03:14:23.671194+00 by meuon 10 comments

Nancy and I have re-done the dining room into a pseudo-coffee shop aura. She painted the tables, I cut the legs off of one to a comfortable high for lounging and eating/drinking on the love seat, as well as 2 really awesome/aweful cool 70's era retro lounging chairs. Add some drapes, a stylish ceiling fan... But it's got a $18 coffee maker, and I'm jonesing for an upgraded home coffee machine. Something that will do Expresso-Cappacino-Crema-Latte style drinks, and maybe even conventional drip coffee. Nancy sent me a link to: CoffeeGeek.com, where I find an Elitism level I had thought reserved for Unix geeks. - It's worth diving into just for entertainment value.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-30 04:03:06.147092+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]


Work is being done right now, albeit quietly, on grinders that will meet the exceeding demands professional, world championship calibre Baristas are demanding.

It's funny, for the most part I've gone back to drinking drip coffee (when I drink coffee). On home espresso machines, I've heard that there's enough energy involved in heating to steam that doing it on systems which will only do a few cups at a time isn't worthwhile. Of course I hear "high pressure" and "boiling water" and think "that sounds like a project..."

I mean, I've seen the V-8 powered blender, and the quiet refined hiss of civilized steam is all well and good, but it seems to me that if you really want to wake up and smell the steamed beans, then maybe it's all about the <voice octave="deep">nitro-snorting funny car action ...action ...action</voice> sort of experience...

Like, it seems to me that automobile engines are built to generate pressures that far exceed the effete little 8-10 atmospheres that modern espresso machines generate. What if you tied the driveshaft of a big block 454 to some cleaned up small high compression motor, and pumped steam into the cylinders on the latter...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-30 07:48:01.659211+00 by: Diane Reese

HAHAHA! I read I've seen the V-8 powered blender and I immediately tried to picture how one could use vegetable juice to power a blender.

I guess it must be a guy thing.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-30 14:15:29.350829+00 by: meuon

I was wondering why there was not 'on demand microwave heating' or such high tech energy efficient things. Not energy cost, but it does come down to a problem in budget: I'd spend $100-$300 for a nice coffee machine, just because it'd be a nice sturdy appliance, the water would be hot enough for good coffee, etc.. but when the "good stuff" starts at $800 (and THAT is made in China) then I realize that it's about many things other than a good appliance. Ego, Art, Elitism...

V8 Powered Expresso Machine, eh? Hmm.. That'd be a LOT of Expresso.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-30 15:11:57.268114+00 by: ebradway

meuon: Go to (la) Mia Cucina and check out their little one-cupper. I got to sample it at the Knife Workshop I attended last week. If you go to one of their cooking classes, you'll get all the samples you'll want. It's $600. It maintains a small ballast of water, has a built-in grinder, and produces espresso or drip at the push of a button.

My personal preference - I now use a French press for pretty much everything. I have a cheap Mr. Coffee espresso machine that I break out on the rare occasion. But even for lattes now, I usually just make stronger brew in the French press. I bought one of the Lexan 32-oz presses at Rock Creek for $18 and have a bodum glass 12-oz press at work.

The press has many advantages:

  1. The 12-oz press makes one really great cup of coffee.
  2. It's very, very energy efficient. If you happen to have a wood-stove and keep a pot of water on it in the winter, you're always just a few minutes away from awesome coffee. Or, one of those built-in hot water taps work too.
  3. I control the coffee by how fine I grind it and how much I use.
  4. I like sugar in my coffee. I usually put the sugar in with the grounds, Tico-style. Then I don't have to mess with condiments later.
  5. You can make a pot of tea from loose leaves just as easily as coffee!

I'd love to see the new kitchen layout and happen to have some of the best coffee beans I've ever sampled. I could bring my press sometime if you're up for guests...

Diane, et al: a few months ago, I bought a Blendtec HP3. It's a 3-horsepower blender. The same one used in every Starbucks. It does some pretty amazing things. Once you have the horsepower and rotational speed, a blender starts working magic. For instance, I can throw in some rice, press the button and in 45 seconds have rice flour. I can throw in ice, press the button and in 45 seconds have something that looks like snow. I can throw in a bunch of veggies, let it go through about three 45 second cycles and I get HOT! veggie soup. The rotational speed is so fast that it eventually causes the molecules to heat up.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-30 15:31:52.421702+00 by: meuon

Eric, I've got a good french press. Works great when camping.. not for when I have clients or friends over. -Hmm, al the lady would let me see at Mia Cucina was the $1200 one-cup at a time full automatic unit. It was good coffee, but insane for my usage habits. I was there last week and I specifically asked about 'less expensive' units. - And I was dressed grubby and poor.

Its sunny outside, time to play a bit before I come back and try to figure out DB2 on Linux.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-30 19:14:47.878672+00 by: Mars Saxman

I've been making coffee with a french press for the last four or five years, since I broke my espresso machine, and have no complaints. It is a little labor-intensive, especially since I grind the beans with a hand mill, but it's good to have something mindless to do while I'm waking up. What's the problem with serving guests from a French press? I've never gotten any complaints...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-31 03:03:38.559347+00 by: meuon

Mars, my french press is a small one. I saw my first large ones today which looked pretty nice. Maybe I'l grab one of those for larger batches of coffee... My issue is I make a pot, drink one or two cups and the rest goes bad (I turn the burner off), or I warm it up the next day and it's just not that good the next day, or later that same day.

I ended up buying a Krups XP 4000 at Dillards in the mall. It was the bext machine found at the mall, and only $1 more than on Amazon.com ($200).

I'm drinking my second cup, a latte, and it's pretty good. Using cheap coffee (8 O'Clock) it's as good as a latte as Panera or Starbucks in town, but not Stone Cup. I'll have to grab some Stone Cup "expresso roast" and see if some good beans make that much difference (they probably will). My first cup was so hot I burned myself, I had forgotten that real coffee is that hot.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-31 15:12:45.605054+00 by: ebradway

meuon: I may be committing heresy, but Stone Cup's coffee really sucks for the most part. Their roaster likes French Roast, so everything is roasted French style. Occasionally he lets the Mexican come out unscorched, but in general all of their coffee tastes burned. It is possible to have a very dark roast and not have that burned taste.

To plug a couple of my favorites, Thanksgiving Coffee makes the espresso beans for the Endangered Species Tiger Bar and gives away a free sample if you buy the chocolate bar. I bought three bags of the Gorilla Blend Coffee and gave two away as X-mas presents (and drank the third).

My favorite roaster is Caffe Ibis out of Logan, UT. Last summer, while in Utah, Asha and I kept getting really great coffee at coffee shops in Park City, Salt Lake City and all the way down in St. George at Xetava Gardens. Then we noticed that they were all selling the same Caffe Ibis coffee. Really good stuff. First time I saw 'Triple Certified'.

BTW, I just found out that Xetava Gardens is for sale. It's an amazing little coffee shop. The pictures on the website don't really do it justice. I spent about an hour on the window seat just watching the sun move across the "mother rock" in the middle of the floor.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-01 02:22:31.422436+00 by: meuon

Aha: and I like "French Roast" aka "a little scorched". Makes sense I'd like their flavor more..

#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-02 09:11:32.612499+00 by: meuon

It's 3:40am. The "Stone Cup Expresso Blend" is pretty darn tasty.