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In Search Of The Perfect Cup of Coffee
Forget The Drip

 3:48 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

We've already had the 'how fine is your grind' discussion, but what is your method for brewing the perfect cup of coffee? My parents used a percolator forever, no automatic drip, Mr. Coffee style coffee for them. But a percolator is one of the worst ways to make coffee. May as well make hobo coffee. The drip-style coffee makers are popular, buy they leave most of the flavor of the coffee in the filter. Water dripping through grounds simply isn't an effective infusion method.

Enter the vacuum bowl coffee maker. Or rather, allow it to make a reentry. The stainless steel percolators nearly eliminated the fragile glass-bowl vacuum style coffee makers from the market. But they're making a comeback. And the coffee is fantastic.

First off, they look really cool [espressozone.com], sort of like alchemist equipment. But it's the way they work that makes them the perfect instrument of coffee creation. Add water to the bottom bowl and set it to boil. Add coffee to the top bowl and set the glass filter/bowl arrangement on top of the bottom bowl. Allow the pressure to push water to the upper chamber until it gurgles. Remove from heat. This creates a vacuum that draws the freshly brewed coffee back into the lower chamber. Remove the top chamber and pour.

The coffee is perfect. Jamaican Blue Mountain tastes so much better than in a drip maker and I can grind the beans a little coarser.



 7:24 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Instant. Cheaper the better


 7:28 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Instant

Blasphemy. A cup full of swill made from stale/frozen Robusta beans isn't even coffee.


 7:52 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Digitalghost, I don't care for Jamaican coffee and don't care for Starbucks brew - too robust! I drink alot of joe, but am a total wuss - I like Maxwell House.

I think I will soon be in the market for a coffee maker. I have always bought Bunn in the past.

Think one of them there bong-looking things will work for my tastes? Or am I so lacking in sophistication that I might as well not bother?


 7:59 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Those coffee bongs improve the flavor of whatever you like to drink. Makes my Folgers taste better and my premium coffees. I can't drink Jamaican all the time or I'd be too wired to work.

I'm not a big fan of Starbucks either and my interest in premium coffees isn't about sophistication, it's about caffeination. ;) I like Bunn because it makes a fast cup of coffee, but the bong makes a better cup of coffee, and it looks cool. ;)


 8:10 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I just started using a Tassimo. So far, I like it. But, I may not be the connoisseur of coffee that you are DG. If you are as passionate about your coffee as you are about cigars, then I have no business offering my idea of a perfect cup of coffee. ;)


 10:42 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Give me a carmel macchiatto any time. Best coffee in the world.

We had a bun coffee maker that just died and due to cost purchased a plain perculator. Makes a way better cup of coffee then the Mr. coffee makers any day. Bun is better, but percolator will suffice.


 10:56 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Although I do certainly enjoy Jamaican Blue Mountain the aribica from Nicaragua is my favorite. Still using a French press here of course.


 11:04 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I had a stainless steel vaccum coffe maker back in the 70's. Picked it up at a grage sale or some such thing. Worked well.

Try a coffee press. Faster, more convenient and very good brew.



 11:19 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I bought myself an Espresso machine last year (manufactured by "Mister Coffee" no less). Gives me quite a WAKE UP call in the morning! LOL

I drown it with milk for capuccino when I feel less adventurous later in the day.


 11:30 pm on Jun 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

digitalghost: I agree, vacuum coffee makers are great.
Essex_boy: <shudder>

Some thoughts about coffee and brewing:
* the water: your typical water main H2O is a chemical soup unfit for consumption beyond survival requirements - invest in a good charcoal (at least) filter. Please note: most bottled water is simply that, bottled. Great coffee, like great whiskey, requires great water (OT: great whisky just requires more iodine).

* the grinder: blender-style grinders mash and smash - invest in a quality mill-type for an even grind. Grind only as needed and use immediately. Store whole beans not ground beans. Clean and rinse (and rinse) after each use: old coffee oil is rancid coffee oil. Never use in-store grinders: you have no control over quality, cleanliness, or anything else.

* the pot: clean and rinse after each use. I recommend baking soda, lemon juice, and water for a real fresh clean.

* the filter (if necessary): if you must use paper it should be unbleached - unless you like ingesting chlorine, bleach, and dye #whatever that likely causes something unhealthy. The reusable gold mesh filters work well - but must be cleaned and rinsed well after each each use to avoid rancid oil buildup - just like the pot.

* the coffee: Bean quality is number one, number two, and number three. Generally price and quality go up together. Otherwise the roaster and the roasting are key. Try any local specialty roasters for best fresh product. Try a variety of roasts and don't hesitate to ask to mix and match roasts (custom blends) you think might be good.
Never buy roasted beans sitting in 'shutes' or in anything but sealed airtight packaging: air exposure soon kills roasted beans rancid. Get those beans out of the freezer before you destroy any more oil: put in an airtight container in a cool (not frozen) dark place. Never heat or re-heat coffee: store extra (why is there extra anyway? make fresh each time!) in a preheated thermal container.

* the flavouring: <all sexist comments removed prior to posting> <all disparaging comments about flavoured instant coffee abominations removed prior to posting> for those to whom essence of coffee is not enough: never buy or use pre-flavoured beans; buy flavour oils/essences and add to your cup to personal taste.

* the cup: ceramic or glass please. Leave those dirty dish water coffee substitute filled paper/plastic/styrofoam environmental catastrophes in the fast crap emporiums where they belong.

Your web site looks just like your coffee tastes.


 1:53 am on Jun 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Your web site looks just like your coffee tastes.



 8:07 pm on Jun 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>the pot: clean and rinse after each use. I recommend baking soda, lemon juice, and water for a real fresh clean.

You lost me on that one. Sorry, but there is no such thing as a "fresh" clean. Lemon fresh is - well - not fresh.

I worked for ten years testing water. Some of that water came from a nuclear power plant. If you know anything about a nuclear reactor or even a fossil power plant, then you know the importance of pure water (think about all the water that's needed to evaporate in the making of steam).

Use dishwashing soap and a brush if you need it. If you really want clean glass then you need chromic acid - from Wiki:

Chromic acid solutions are generally acidified aqueous solutions of chromate or dichromate salts. These solutions tend to be powerful oxidants, capable of destroying all organics in glassware and so often used for the cleaning of glass.

That's what we used when looking for elements in the parts per billion range. If the glass was pretty clean to start, we used plain old detergent and a brush.

Charcoal filters only remove odors (organics) from water. They have no affect on the water's taste beyond odor. Most of the bottled water today is just fine (probably better than using a charcoal filter) for making good coffee as is most tap water.

If you want "pure" tasting water, buy bottled water that's either distilled or made using reverse osmosis.


 2:49 am on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

You lost me on that one.

Yah, the 'fresh' clean was a little too market :-)

What I meant was that a paste of baking soda and lemon juice is the best/easiest I 've found for cleaning coffee oil stains and buildup from ceramics and glass and it works well on other materials as well.

Please note the rinse:
the pot: clean and rinse after each use.

the lemon is for oil/grease/stain cutting not for tasteing.

In my experience no detergent removes the stain (and bad taste) buildup as easily. You know those workplace cups that used to be white inside? They can be again in a couple of minutes.

I agree that a charcoal filter is not as good as reverse osmosis or distillation - note the 'at least':
invest in a good charcoal (at least) filter

I will say that distilled water tastes flat which is why good spring water (which I am lucky to have) with some dissolved minerals is preferred by distillers and coffee fanatics alike. Also remember that much of what we call taste is actually odour - improving water odour can definitely improve coffee 'taste'.

Now you have me wishing on my morning fix.


 4:03 pm on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I like coffee and hot choclate together you should try it


 4:08 pm on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> the pot

I clean glass pots with a mixture of salt and ice. Just swirl the mixture around, rinse, and the pot comes out sparkling clean and there's no need for detergent.


My favorite thing to put in coffee is a Krispy Kreme donut.


 4:24 pm on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

DG, I do believe you've met your match...


I like my coffee user friendly. You guys/gals are devoting a good portion of your life to just making coffee. ;)


 4:27 pm on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

The guys that come up with coffee, also came up with the concept of zero. Caffeine should be a daily requirement. ;)


 4:47 pm on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I use a bodem, works great, coarse grind of organic Kicking Horse beans, no paper filter taste and ready in eight minutes.

P.S. And no, there isn't any sediment in the bottom of the cup!


 4:50 pm on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

2, 3 sometimes 4 times a day.

  • One 11 ounce glass mug
  • One T Disc (flavor of the day)
  • 1/2 shot of Bailey's
  • Two teaspoons of sugar in the raw

Sometimes coffee. Sometimes latte. Sometimes cappuccino.


 6:34 pm on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

I must be spoiled. I love my blue enamel percolator, from Wal-Mart no less, with the aluminum basket. Bleached white filters and the local store house brand French Roast top off this ensemble. It has served me well. For a while I did subscribe to some excellent coffee, getting a new packet in the mail once a month. That was especially nice.

Taste is certainly a factor that I consider. Too weak or too strong and I'll grumble all day. The temperature should be right, too. This morning's coffee is a bit too cool, it's leftover in my thermos from yesterday. But that's OK, I had a great night and nothing is going to spoil this cup next to me.. nothing.



 9:46 am on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Caffeine should be a daily requirement.

It is, and that is the primary reason why I drink coffee!

Rules for coffee:

1. It must be available, don't make me wait 20 minutes for a brew.....I want and need it immediately! Instant coffee (granulated, frozen, and blended with chicory) is bad....but, most types of "true" fresh coffee are okay for me :)

2. Unless you drink it black (no sugar, no cream, milk, or flavorings of any type), then this whole discussion on how to brew it is a nonsense!

It is a bit like the Whisky guy explaining the finer points of a good aged single malt to the guy that likes to put Coca-Cola in his Scotch.

Black, untouched is the best type of coffee to drink IMHO....the bean is second most important, the freshness third, the temperature fourth, the water quality and numerous other things next....the brew method...somewhere in the low teens.


 9:47 am on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

There's a cool thread over at Mezzoblue about the perfect way to roast beans. The picture alone will make you drool...

Myself, I have been using a filter coffee-maker for a while, but have come to dislike the taste. I used to drink the coffee black, but have resorted to adding milk just to take away the grainy taste.

I love the way it works (the steam bubbles from the back then down into a glass jug). It's not just the taste, but the noise.

What happened though is that I found myself trying these great sachets from Nescafe. All you have to do is add hot water. The Caramel and the Vanilla one are addictive. But I hated the Irish Cream, Hazlenut and Mocha ones.

I know the coffee is not what you guys are into, and often I think it's almost like dishwater, but add brown sugar and it's quite drinkable.

I would really like to get one of those vacuum makers. Are they expensive?


 12:28 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

After working in several large coffee chains, the best coffee is definitely made at home... not even the largest chain can match a perfectly home-brewed mugg-o-java.

Personally, I've found stove-top espresso makers to be the best. Mug full of espresso with a dash of milk. Caffeine straight into the blood supply... the only better way that I could imagine to do it would be intravenously!


 12:57 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Instant. Cheaper the better

In my case - Instant - the cheaper, faster and stronger the better. The amount of coffee I get through would bankrupt me if it was Tibetan Mountain Goat Dropping Fresh Roast or something fancy like that. Not to mention the CUPSperDAY x BREWtime = LOSTtime equation.


 8:48 am on Jun 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

From Slashdot:

Study Says Coffee Protects Against Cirrhosis [science.slashdot.org]

Good news for those who like both coffee and alcohol. In a recent study of more than 125,000 people an Oakland, CA medical team found that consuming coffee seems to help protect against alcoholic cirrhosis.
People drinking one cup of coffee per day were, on average, 20% less likely to develop alcoholic cirrhosis. For people drinking two or three cups the reduction was 40%, and for those drinking four or more cups of coffee a day the reduction in risk was 80%.

So get drinking that coffee!


 10:06 am on Jun 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Tut, tut, tut! Never believe anything you read in the press or - increasingly - online!

Part of my job entails me trawling the science/medical news wires daily. The original story about coffee and cirrhosis comes from a press release put out 12 June, by the Archives of Internal Medicine. The actual story concludes:

The findings do not suggest that physicians prescribe coffee to prevent alcoholic cirrhosis... "Basic research... is warranted, but we should keep in mind that coffee might represent only one of a number of potential cirrhosis risk modulators."

This is another fine example of media sources extracting from medical/science findings the bits of information that appeals. There's been quite a lot of criticism aimed at the media of recent in relation to this - and justified it is too!

Admitedly slashdot's story contains a link to an article on the findings by New Scientist, but they (slashdot) are still promoting a claim that coffee protects against cirrhosis - a claim not made by the scientists involved, who actually ponder on the fact that their own findings show there may be a possible link. There's a world of difference between may help and protects...



 3:10 pm on Jun 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ah, thanks for that. Coffee, like sugar and salt, is something that you hear about one year being bad for you, the next good for you. It seems no-one can make up their mind.

I think it's like anything else - OK in small quantities, but not in excessive amounts. The same goes for alcohol, sex, medicines (well I was going to use another word, even though I'm not a user).

And surely you can't class all coffee the same? (I haven't read the report, so don't know if it does try to differentiate between types of coffee or not.) I heard that decaf is supposed to be bad for you.

Again, alcohol - do they mean beer? Wine? Cider?

Ah well, it was a nice idea from Slashdot. An excuse to drink lots of coffee!


 3:35 pm on Jun 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't like coffee, other than a Thai iced one which is mostly evaporated milk, but my wife recently requested and received a Senseo coffee system from me.

What do you experts think about their single cup pod method? Heresy?

Sarah Atkinson

 3:38 pm on Jun 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

anyone ever use deionized water to make coffee? I know they say you shouldn't drink the stuff but I guess the coffee ould put ions back in the water.

This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: 47 ( [1] 2 > >
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