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By Glen Stansberry

Why Your Coffee Sucks (and How to Drink Great Coffee for a Fraction of What You're Paying Now)

Written by Brett Kelly of the Cranking Widgets Blog

Your coffee sucks

For more than a millenium now, people have been drinking coffee. You can hardly drive down a major street (in the US, anyway) without encountering one or more Starbucks establishments. For all of it's forms and varieties, it's one of the most-consumed beverages in the world. I'm sure many of you reading this are probably doing so with a hot cup of joe within arms' reach - which is what makes what I'm about to say all the more meaningful and pointed:

Your coffee is, most likely, crap.

Yep, even you with the Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte (that probably cost you upwards of $5). The fact is, the vast majority of the coffee consumed, especially in the US, is either of poor quality or simply stale. The good news is, this is a fairly easy situation to remedy. And, if you're willing to invest a bit of time and elbow grease, you can save a whole heap of money in the process.

First, here's a couple of glaring facts about coffee that reinforce my claim that you're drinking bad coffee:

Roasted coffee beans are partially stale after 2 weeks

That's right - and you can bet your bottom dollar that the pound of coffee you bought at the grocery store or at your local Starbucks was roasted weeks (or perhaps months) ago. It was likely roasted in a huge roasting facility (where the batch size can be in the hundreds of pounds) several weeks before it even hits the shelves at your local store.

Ground coffee has lost much of it's flavor 20 minutes after grinding

You may think you're saving time by buying pre-ground coffee, but you're sacrificing what little flavor was left in the probably-stale beans.

But don't lose heart, fellow lovers of the brown nectar! In a few simple steps (and for considerably less money than you'd expect and quite possibly less than you're spending now), you can enjoy some of the finest coffee the world has to offer.

A quick aside - for those folks who drink coffee purely for the caffeine and don't care about it tasting good, you can stop reading here :) Personally, I think of coffee as so much more than just something to slug back in the morning to wake up. When prepared properly, it can be just as flavorful and nuanced as a fine wine or whiskey. That said, my point in making and drinking coffee is to create a fantastic beverage, and only secondarily a caffeine delivery system.

So, let's get down to brass tacks - how do you make a great cup of coffee?

First, you need clean water. I use bottled water to make my coffee - something that many people think is a waste, but whatever. Once you try this, you'll definitely notice a difference. Even purified water (using one of those pitchers you put in your refrigerator, for example) will do the trick. Water temperature is key here - you want it between 195F-204F for optimal extraction.

Second, you need good coffee. If you want to roast your own, a whole range of options exist from a coffee roasting machine (I use the iRoast 2, retails for about $180) all the way to using a frying pan on your stovetop. It's really easy, too - only takes about 15-30 minutes depending on the batch size and roasting method. I won't go into the finer points of homeroasting, but if you're interested please get in touch with me and I'll point you in the right direction. Suffice it to say, this is an option for just about anybody. Oh, and did I mention that the coffee will probably cost you between $2-$5 per pound?

If you don't want to spend the time roasting your own coffee, there are plenty of places to buy fresh roasted coffee. Personally, I'd look for local mom-and-pop coffeehouses in your area that might roast their own coffee. You'll get small roast batches probably roasted by people who really love it - and you'll taste the difference.

You can also buy your fresh roasted beans (surprise, surprise) on the Internet. Personally, I like to buy from Sweet Maria's. Tom, the proprietor, flies all over the world sampling different coffees from all sorts of different farms, hand-selecting what he thinks are the best coffees around. A pound of roasted coffee (shipped) will run you roughly $12-$13, about what you'd pay at Starbucks - but it was roasted the same day it was shipped!

Now, brewing methods - your first order of business is to pick up your $20 Mr. Coffee brewer and drop it into the trash can. Yep, I'm not joking - these things make truly lackluster coffee and can be replaced by a far-superior solution that'll cost you approximately $6. Next, head down to your local grocery and pick up a pour-over brewer and a set of paper filters - my local store keeps these supplies right near the coffee, I'd imagine yours will to. Read this excellent article by Mark Prince for more information on how to use a pour-over brewer.

My personal favorite (by a damn sight, I must say) is the Aeropress. This one is slightly more expensive at $25, but worth 10 times that, if you ask me. Makes a fantastic, smooth cup of coffee and I'm confident in saying that if you haven't tried it, you won't go back once you do. This thing produces small amounts of high-octane, perfectly smooth coffee concentrate and you just add some hot water!

The last thing we'll need to talk about is grinding. If you stopped to peruse the pour-over brewer article linked above, you probably got a taste of how important a grinder is to making a great cup of coffee. While this is true, please don't be dismayed if you can't spend the dough. A blade grinder, while definitely subpar compared to a burr mill, will still do the job well enough. The point here is good coffee for little money, right?

The grinder I use is called the Solis Maestro Plus (retails for about $160). It's a fantastic grinder for all types of brewing methods from espresso to french press. If you're lucky, you can get your hands on a Zassenhaus mill (accept no substitutes!). A manual, hand-crank grinder that produces a show-quality grind. A quick glance of eBay and Craigslist shows a few of these guys available.

Really, the only potentially big expense you're looking at for great coffee is a grinder - and really, the coffee nerds aren't going to take your coffee if you don't have an industrial-grade grinder ;) The important thing is that you enjoy it. Honestly, since I've become what my friends and family affectionately call a "coffee snob", I actively anticipate my morning coffee instead of just making it as part of a routine. Perhaps you might venture down the same path?

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Black Gold

You should watch a movie called Black Gold. It will change your view of coffee after you watch this documentary film on coffee.

The History of Coffee

The History of Coffee by Mark Pendergast

The History of Coffee by Mark Pendergast

Creation Myth (c. 600 CE) Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd, is puzzled by his hyperactive goats; they are eating leaves and berries from a strange tree with glossy green leaves. Coffee is discovered. Cultivation soon spreads to Yemen.

c. 900 Arab physician Rhazes first mentions coffee in print, as a medicine.

c. 1400 In elaborate ceremony, Ethiopians roast, grind, and brew coffee beans. Coffee as we know it is born.

1475 Kiva Han, the world's first coffeehouse, is opened in Constantinople.

1511 Khair-Beg, governor of Mecca, bans coffeehouses when seditious verses are written about him there. The ban is reversed by Cairo sultan.

1538 Ottoman Turks occupy Yemen and parboil coffee beans (to render them infertile and maintain their monopoly) and export them from Mocha, hence coffee's nickname "mocha."

c. 1600 Pressured by advisors to condemn infidel coffee (imported through Venice), Pope Clement VIII instead blesses it.

1616 Dutch pirates spirit away coffee trees to a greenhouse in Holland. Around the same time Baba Budan smuggles fertile seeds to Mysore in India.

1650 A Lebanese Ottoman Jewish student named Jacobs [1] opens first [2] European coffeehouse at Oxford University, England. Over the next half century, coffee takes Europe by storm; coffeehouses are called "penny universities."

1658 The Dutch plant and cultivate coffee in Ceylon, later in Java and Sumatra, ultimately giving coffee the nickname "java."

1669 The Turkish ambassador to Paris, Soliman Aga, introduces coffee at sumptuous parties.

1674 In London, the Women's Petition Against Coffee claims that coffee renders their men impotent; men counter that coffee adds "spiritualescency to the Sperme." The following year, King Charles II fails in his attempt to ban coffeehouses.

1683 After their failed siege of Vienna, the Turks flee, leaving coffee beans behind. Franz George Kolschitzky uses the beans to open a café, where he filters coffee and adds milk.

1689 Café de Procope is opened in Paris opposite Comedie Francaise.

1710 Instead of boiling it, the French pour hot water through grounds in cloth bag for the first infusion brewing.

1723 Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu brings a coffee tree to Martinique; most of the coffee in Latin America descends from this tree.

1727 Francisco de Melho Palheta seduces the governor's wife in French Guiana; she gives him ripe coffee cherries to take back to Brazil.

1732 Johann Sebastian Bach writes the Coffee Cantata, in which a rebellious daughter demands her coffee.

1773 During the Boston Tea Party, rebellious American colonists throw British tea imports overboard; coffee drinking becomes a patriotic act.

1781 Frederick the Great forbids most Prussian coffee roasting, saying, "My people must drink beer."

1791 A slave revolt on San Domingo (Haiti) destroys coffee plantations, where half the world's coffee had been grown.

1806 Napoleon declares France self-sufficient and promotes chicory over coffee.

1850 James Folger arrives in San Francisco during the Gold Rush and makes his fortune from coffee.

1864 American Jabez Burns invents an efficient, self-dumping roaster.

1869 Coffee rust fungus, hemileia vastatrix, appears in Ceylon and soon wipes out the East Indies coffee industry.

1871 John Arbuckle opens a coffee factory in New York and makes millions from his pre-roasted, packaged, and branded Ariosa coffee.

1878 Caleb Chase and James Sanborn form Chase & Sanborn.

1881 The New York Coffee Exchange opens.

1892 Joel Cheek invents Maxwell House Coffee blend in Nashville, Tennessee.

1900 Hills Brothers introduces vacuum-packed canned coffee. Tokyo chemist Sartori Kato introduces instant coffee; it is sold the following year at the Pan American Exposition.

1901 Italian Luigi Bezzera invents first commercial espresso machine.

1906 In Bremen, Germany, Ludwig Roselius patents Kaffee Hag, the first decaffeinated coffee. In France, it is called Sanka (from sans caffeine).

1908 German housewife Melitta Bentz makes a coffee filter using her son's blotting paper.

1911 The National Coffee Roasters Association is founded; it later becomes the National Coffee Association.

1918 The U. S. Army requisitions all of G. Washington's instant coffee for troops in World War I.

1920 Prohibition of alcohol enacted in USA, making coffee and coffeehouses even more popular.

1938 Nestle introduces Nescafé, an improved instant coffee, just before World War II. Maxwell House follows with its instant brand.

1946 U.S. per capita coffee consumption reaches 19.8 pounds.

1960 The Colombian Coffee Federation debuts the character of Juan Valdez, the humble coffee grower, with his mule.

1965 Boyd Coffee introduces the Flav-R-Flo brewing system, pionerring the filter and cone home brewer.

1966 Dutch immigrant Alfred Peet opens Peet's Coffee in Berkeley, California, at what is considered the beginning of the specialty coffee revolution.

1970 Italian Luigi Goglio invents a one-way valve to let coffee de-gas without contact with oxygen.

1971 Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker open Starbucks in Seattle.

1975 The Black Frost in Brazil decimates the coffee harvest, leading to high prices over the next two years.

1982 The national charter for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is created; specialty coffee companies are invited to join as "charter members."

1987 Howard Schultz buys Starbucks and begins to turn it into a worldwide specialty coffee chain.

1988 In the Netherlands, the Max Havelaar seal certifies Fair Trade coffee. Transfair USA follows suit in 1999.

2006 Specialty coffee accounts for 40% of the U. S. retail coffee market.

2007 The 25th anniversary of the founding of the Specialty Coffee Association of America is celebrated. Coffee is the world's second most valuable legal traded commodity, after oil.

Notes

[1] Not to be confused with Johann Jacobs who opened a coffee and tea shop in Bremen, Germany, in 1895.

[2] The first person recorded in history to brew coffee in England was an international student named Nathaniel Conopios from Crete, who was studying at Balliol College, Oxford. This simple act, which happened in May 1637, was recorded by both scholar John Evelyn and historian Anthony Wood. Although shortly afterwards Conopios was expelled from college, his influence had a lasting effect on Oxford, as it was in Oxford that the first English coffeehouse was opened in 1650 by Jacob, a Lebanese Jew. Even though Jacob moved to London a few years later to repeat his success, he had begun a trend that saw many more coffeehouses open in Oxford during that decade.

John Evelyn, who was at the college at this time, recorded the strange occurance in a diary entry in May 1637: "There came in my time to the College one Nathaniel Conopios, out of Greece, sent into England, from Cyril, the patriarch of Constantinople… He was the first I ever saw drink Caffe, not heard of then in England, nor till many years after made a common entertainment all over the nation."

Around the same time as Conopios, Robert Burton, an Oxford don, made a reference to coffee in his massive, genius Anatomy of Melancholy: "The Turks have a drink called coffa (for they use no wine), so named of a berry black as soot, and as bitter (like that black drink which was in use among the Lacedaemonians, and perhaps the same), which they sip still of, and sup as warm as they can suffer; they spend much time in those coffa-houses, which are somewhat like our alehouses or taverns, and there they sit chatting and drinking to drive away the time..."

how is it a fraction of what

how is it a fraction of what im paying now if i have to spend 500$ on grinders and all that crap.i make coffee like a real man,two spoons of coffee in a cup then add hot water and giver a little stir.no sugar or cows tittie juices added either.any shoeses thats all folks

jawjawjaw

folgers tastes poopy and it gives me brutal gas and wet farts

Taste buds do not lie

Regardless how fresh the beans, flavor-locked bag or not, filtered or unfiltered water or the method of brewing, burnt beans make burnt coffee.

I have had coffee from Starbucks more times than I care to admit and the taste has been consistently awful. I cannot say much as to the freshness of the beans because I have never been able to get past the burnt taste.

By the way, whenever I have question about coffee, I consult my local, entrepreneurial Roast Master who is passionate about his beans. I do not consult the corporate Bean Masters.

Great Advice

Great post. Up until now I have been using a coffee drip and whatever coffee I found at the grocery store. You've changed my method. I recently bought a french press and found some freshly roasted beans to grind myself and I love it!

This morning I had to go back to the old method and I can't believe the difference. The coffee tastes like flavored water and I think I've become spoiled.

Total cost for the french press and grinder: $60

The nice thing is you don't have to spend a lot to notice the difference.

Sincerely,
Pete the "Coffee Snob"

Cowboy Coffee

Atmosphere. Many forget that. Drink your coffee in the desert and it tastes better.

Here's the best way: grind it (you might even want to pregrind it before your journey, despite lack of freshness, the air will make the stale go away). Put it in the bottom of the cup. Boil water. Cool the water (slightly). Pour it over the grounds.

If the grounds are too big they'll float and keep on floating. No good. If the grounds are too fine, they'll stir up on every drink, again, no good. You want a medium grind, or a grind about like for drip coffee (french-press style too big).

Stir it. Wait.

After a bit, the ground sink. Drink slow. The coffee is fantastic. Drink slow. The grounds stay sunken and slink into the corner of the cup. Meditation!

Never sophisticated, not lame: cowboy coffee in the desert is the best ever.

Steven Smith
http://realtaiji.com

Starbucks Barista Here...

I have to say that I am very interested by your article. As another barista here said-- most of the facts concerning coffee freshness is true. I have worked for Starbucks for quite some time.

However, I do have to add that Starbucks rotates their coffees in and out according to a strict date system. Essentially coffee bags opened on a certain day must be chunked by another day (usually within 24 hours)and even less than that if the beans have already been ground. There for this business about getting stale, burned beans is actually not very accurate.

The beans come from various roasting plants all over the country. Once again they operate on a first-in/first-out basis to ensure quality and freshness. In fact, most of the one pound bags that we sell are "flavor locked" to ensure that you get all the bean-y goodness from your coffee.

I think you missed the boat about the quality of water. I think the actual thing that you meant to say was FILTERED water. This makes a difference in the quality and purity of the tastes. Some places already have a treatment and management of their public water systems to the point where the water from the tap is fairly pure. However, those in areas close to oceans and large lakes most likely will want to run their water through a brita or some other filtering system to obtain filtered, pure water to get the optimal coffee flavor with none of the other by products that tap water sometimes adds (flouride, calcium and other "hard water" issues).

I can appreciate wanting a great cup of coffee but I can assure you that Starbucks is constantly monitoring its quality, freshness and customer care in order to meet expectations. Next time you venture past the starbucks you might try stopping in and asking to talk to a "Bean Master". They are specially trained to answer questions and offer tastings to any regular joe that walks in off the street.

You can also ask any barista and we will do our best to make sure that you get the best darn cup of coffee that we can offer. Just because we are corporate and big doesn't mean that we don't care-- don't let the empire scare you.

All anyone has to do is ask!

Sincerely,
Your friendly neighborhood Barista
~Kitty~

Http://www.myspace.com/pinkpariskittyforever

Starbucks Water

As I understand it, doesn't Starbucks have pretty stringent guidelines on the water they use in their brewing process? I have a family member who worked for a resort that was opening a Starbucks branch there. She was telling me one day about how their Starbucks branch was better than a Target Starbucks that basically just brews Starbucks coffee. Part of the reason why was that water had to be filtered.

I've been a fan of Starbucks for a long time, I think they make great coffee. I've even had "fresh roasted" beans from a high-end grocery market and its just not as good. It's good to know Starbucks have date restrictions on their beans.

If you really want to enjoy your coffee...

one word: Folgers

Water temperature differences

I enjoyed your article, but want to point out a difference in recommended water temperatures. The article recommends a 195F-204F water temperature, which differs from that recommended for your favorite coffee maker, the AeroPress. The AeroPress FAQ #5 at http://www.aerobie.com/Products/Details/AeroPressFAQ.htm recommends a much lower water temperature in 165F-175F range. I have not tested the higher water temperatures with my AeroPress, but I do like the result when using the AeroPress recommended temperature range.

Tim

I prefer the stovetop espresso pots...

I think they make a better tasting coffee than any other home method I've tried. Especially better than the French Press method. I can't stand those anymore.

b*llsh*t

I'm sorry, but you simply don't POUR water over coffee. Do it the way the Italians do: use an espresso machine which PUSHES STEAMED WATER through the coffee at 15 bar pressure. Anyone who POURS water over coffe is a barbarian.

Idiot

Aerocrap? Siphon Coffee

How can you talk about good coffee without talking about the siphon coffeemaker? It's brilliant. That Aeropress likes like As-Seen-On-TV crap. The siphon was popularly used well BEFORE the automatic coffee maker and truly makes the most well balanced cup of coffee--ever.

How to make the perfect Italian Expresso

coffee

Hey, if you're in the UK check out www.verdecoffee.com

I've worked for them for 9 months now and they're amazing!

Very good post. Only thing I

Very good post. Only thing I might add is that anyone serious enough to read this post would probably want to know about Coffeegeek and particularly their forums.

I have a Zassenhaus, Aeropress, drip coffee maker, & roast my own coffee (so far using an original 1500W Poppery I, but soon with a Stir Crazy/Galloping Gourmet convection oven top combo). The Aeropress is superb for making espresso/latte style drinks (assuming you use enough ground coffee in them for the proper strength), but some people have been stymied by not using the correct size of grind (making it too hard to press the water through). Grinders (including the manual Zassenhaus) give you the ability to adjust the size of the grind.

I would also add (for people who like latte's or cream/milk in their coffee) is a budget frother such as the Aerolatte.

Finally, you certainly can get better coffee for less money by roasting yourself (and it is very simple, with a good air popper). But your prices are probably exaggerating the savings, for most people:
1) There is shipping that must be factored in. The best deal on shipping comes at 15lbs (shipping adds approx. $8.95 for 15lbs) but even that adds 60 cents a pound. Perhaps more significant is the weight of the roasted beans as opposed to the green beans. It takes approximately 1-1/4 lbs of green beans to make a pound of roasted, so you need to multiply your per pound price by 1.25, then add in shipping to get the actual price.

Still, I found that an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe which costs $2.20/lb plus the coop fees, shipping and loss of weight to roasting results in a final cost of a bit over $5/lb (and frankly, even if it cost the SAME as what you would pay in a store it would still be worth it for the better quality/freshness). You will pay more at Sweet Maria's over using a green coffee buying coop, but you have to wait for availability of certain varieties in a coop.

If you want to write a follow-up article, you could write about how nice it is to be able to learn about the differences between the different varieties of beans and creating your own blends. Also the difference between lighter roasts as opposed to the super dark roasts that we have been conditioned to equate with good coffee by Charbucks.

Aeropress The Best

I am another Aeropress fan. I just had to try it when I saw an article on it. It was compared to the Clover ($6K) coffee maker. So I had to try the best cup of coffee I ever had for $30 bucks. It did not disappoint.

I find that the quality of the beans makes a real different with the Aeropress. Because you can taste the true coffee flavour, if you have bad beans then you can taste how bad they are. I must admit, I really like illy coffee. I know that it breaks the rules above but I do find it a great brew.

Another point on the Aeropress, the grind is important. I find a fine grind just above a turkish grind is best.

Also, it is the perfect travel coffee maker. I bring it everywhere.

ROD>

seconds to grind

I have a simple blade grinder, but I am well aware that the texture is 'iffy' at best and wonder if anyone can advise as to how many seconds one should grind for a melitta pour-over drip (single cup, #2 size filter cone)?? I am saving up for my dream burr grinder, but meanwhile am anxious to get it right!

seconds to grind

I have a simple blade grinder, but I am well aware that the texture is 'iffy' at best and wonder if anyone can advise as to how many seconds one should grind for a melitta pour-over drip (single cup, #2 size filter cone)?? I am saving up for my dream burr grinder, but meanwhile am anxious to get it right!

Hero's

...and Aeros. You mentioned Aeropress, you are my hero. Two at work, one at home, two at a friends house. Can you ever really have too much Aeropress?

OK, you can only use one at a time, but the designer colors are too much to resist.

Locally roasted coffee -- great.
Locally roasted frsh coffee in an aeropress -- heavenly. The first time I tried it, I thought that the merchant had given me chocolate coffee... no, it's just that the flavors came out. It's the first coffee that I can drink straight --- no sugar or cream.

Next step -- Aeropress inverted.

I think that the biggest mistake that people make w/ coffee is trying to stretch the coffee: not enough coffee to water. A lot of people think that brewing coffee "full strength" is too strong, and they make up for it by adding to the quantity of water. More water through the same amount of beans brings out bitter or sour tasts. The better method would be to brew coffee the strength it's supposed to be, and then add water AFTER it's brewed.

The BEST method is, of course, the Aeropress. But, DO watch your water temps and don't let it sit for too long. It's coffee -- it's not meant to "steep".

Last thing: Whirly grinders are very inconsistent. Powder and chunks. If you grind longer to get rid of the chunks, then you wind up with powder and fine powder. If you grind REALLY long, then you wind up with dust that turns to cement with the addition of hot water.

Barista on Demand

Really - we got this awesome machine at work about 6 months ago and I love it!!! The company is www.baristaondemand.com

Fresh ground coffee on demand - for every cup. Can't vouch for anything but espresso and black coffee because that is all I drink.

My co-worker told me she has had nightmares about coming to work in the morning and the machine being gone. I told her I have had the same dream, but I call it a nightmare!!
Lisa

Stove Top 'Espresso' Makers

Okay,

http://youtube.com/watch?v=MWcGQyv48V0

This is basically what is going on with a conventional stove top espresso maker (as my previously linked 9090 -- which, okay, is pricy, i got mine at the factory at a 70% discount)

Its like a vietnamese coffee with a bit of the pressure extraction of espresso / stove top espresso.

You can get stove top espresso makers for 10 bucks, sometimes 6.

Right Arm

Thanks for the post & nice to see a fellow Sweet Maria's fan out there.

Just a couple of things for the audience: I personally will never go back to buying pre-roasted beans. I drink about one 12 oz mug of coffee a day and I'm the only coffee lover in my house. Ok, I'm the only human in my house, but anyway. It takes me 10 minutes to roast myself enough coffee for a week or so. It costs less per pound than pre-roasted, even after roasting, which lightens the coffee by about 30%. It costs the same and often less per pound for fair trade, organic, single estate Arabica coffee than for your basic cheap grocery store roasted beans. And green beans keep up to two years, so you can buy wholesale quantities. That means the "cost" of roasting your own is 10 minutes a week - for cheaper, tastier, coffee that's better for the planet and which farmers can earn a living growing. It's a no-brainer for me, a win-win. I roast using a stovetop popcorn popper I got for FIVE BUCKS at a thrift store, and it had never been used.

Don't get too adamant about your favorite brewing technique though. If it tastes good to you, don't worry about it. The most important keys to make good tasting coffee are: NOT to use too little coffee, have an even grind, and keep it fresh. The rest I've found makes far less difference to people. I made cowboy coffee with bottled water at Burning Man last year for my camp, but I stuck to those three things and people told me it was the best coffee they've ever had.

Join the revolution! Roast your own! Yee haa!

Cold Press Coffee

Do you have any thoughts on cold press coffee at all? I've been searching for a decent recipe.
http://fridayfunlink.blogspot.com/2007/09/cold-press-coffee.html

My coffee setup

I live in a very small house with minimal kitchen space and have a relatively simple, yet delicious coffee brewing setup.

1. As covered here, I start with cold, fresh filtered water.

2. I heat the water in a kettle until about 190 degrees F. I can tell when it reaches this approximate temperature by the sound the kettle makes. The heating water starts to quiet before it boils. That's when to take it off the burner - before it boils.

3. Pour fresh beans from your local roaster (mine is Vashon Coffee Roasterie)into your burr grinder.

4. Yup, that's right, burr grinder. I've used several types of grinder's and you really want something that will grind the bean into a consistent size. Otherwise the beans will be unevenly extracted, leaving your finished product inconsistently bitter or lacking flavor. The grinder I use is the Bodum Antigua Grinder.

5. I use a 4-cup Bodum French Press, and I use about 6 heaping table spoons of ground coffee.

6. I pour the water over the ground beans, let the 'bloom' rise and fall, then give it about 6 or 7 stirs.

7. Wait about 3 minutes to extract.

8. Carefully plunge the press.

9. Enjoy!

Some other good resources from the best...
Victrola Coffee
Vivace Espresso
Coffee Geek

Just lucky...

I can find great coffee at five places within a three block walk of my home in New Orleans, where the coffee break was invented, where Cafe du Monde stops serving only one day a year (Christmas, and oh, yes, during hurricane evacuations), and where the smell of coffee beans permeates the city, from the coffee warehouses at the dock to the numerous large and small bean purveyors roasting their wares. There's an overpass where, depending on the time of day, you're treated to the smell of roasting coffee or baking bread. Once I leave the state, I despair of good, deep, dark coffee.

Did you say 'filters'?

Lately I've come across a few of these blogs about how to make good coffee, how to roast coffee etc. I enjoyed your article too. At least up to the point where you mentioned filters. If you're seriously into coffee then go the extra mile and get yourself a quality coffee machine.

Coffee is subjective.

Everyone has different needs based on what they consider "good" coffee to be.

Whenever I hear somebody try to explain to me why their method is the correct method, I stop listening.

I live in a town where there is a lot of military. Military coffee is brewed and tastes like tea. I was from San Francisco, arguably one of the coffee making Meccas. I had to learn what I enjoyed, and this works for me:

Buying Peets coffee from the store. That's a Peets Coffee store.

Using a Quisenart grind and brew. I use a brita filter for the water, and that is it.

I admire the overkill in this post, but honestly, I don't need to take that much time to impress people who drink coffee-flavored tea.

Just my two cents. Thanks for the read.

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