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Old 27-01-2017, 07:59   #1
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How to Make Perfect Coffee?

I love coffee.

But that perfect cup has been eluding me for my whole life. Once or twice a year, I taste one, and wish I could recreate it on the boat, but I have always failed. You can't get it at Starbucks, either.

I have experimented with lots of methods of making coffee, and have settled on two:

Hand-grinding with a Japanese ceramic burr grinder and either French Press or Aeropress

or

Nespresso


If the coffee is reasonably good, both of these give a reliably GOOD cup, but far from that elusive perfect cup.

In the past, I have used a bean-to-cup machine, an expensive Saeco one, which was marginally better than the Nespresso, but only marginally.

Recently I bought some locally roasted, just now fresh roasted beans, I think Ethiopian and not all that expensive, and brewed it up in a french press. Eureka! Something very close to the perfect cup. Full of flavor, and only just a little too much acid. It was so good that I couldn't bring myself to put any milk in it.


Is this a clue? Is it maybe -- fresh roasting, which makes the difference? Am I looking in the wrong place, trying to perfect the technique, when the problem has been the coffee all along? That you can't just buy coffee which will give you the perfect cup?


I have almost completely given up alcohol -- formerly one of my primary, and much-loved pleasures. Together with a significant change in my diet. I am really happy that I have done this, because what I feel all day long now, is generally better than the feeling I got for the transitory buzz I used to get at cocktail hour.

I gave up cigars about 10 years ago.

So coffee is now one of the main mouth-pleasures, still left to me. I'm thinking it is a good time to try to break through to another level with it.

Can anyone shed some light?
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Old 27-01-2017, 08:23   #2
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

My best cups have always come with a slow drip through a cone filter - maybe 20 oz. Also, freeze the beans before grinding. Light roast is my preference. It's your palette, though.
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Old 27-01-2017, 08:29   #3
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

I always get a great cup of coffee from Folgers Coffee Singles.
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Old 27-01-2017, 08:38   #4
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

i use goood beans grownin mexico with a darkest roast not burned and #6 melitta cone filter--20 ounce cup x 1 and i am on it. strong n dark to stand up to powdered chocolate and cream. and some sugar... gotta have that cane sugar, no bleach.h aha ha ha
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Old 27-01-2017, 08:40   #5
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

I use an old fashioned percolator on the stove. That makes the best cup of coffee IMHO. I find the less time between the grind and the brew also helps. Light vs. Dark roast is a personal preference. I guess it's all a matter of opinion. I don't like my coffee to taste like it's been burnt (ala Starbucks).
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Old 27-01-2017, 08:42   #6
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Evidently, water temperature plays quite a big role in how things turn out. As my brother used to manage a chain of botique coffee shops in Seattle, & he told me that a difference of just 2 deg. F made a big difference. Though since I'm not finicky about the stuff, I never inquired after the perfect formula. And I've NEVER understood how Starbucks has done so well, when the first scent that assualts your nose when you walk into one, is burnt (coffee) beans.

Me, I just go straight to the chocolate covered expresso beans.

EDIT: You'd do well to scientifically analyze each step, component, & variable in making a cup. From the birth of the bean, to finished product.
Bean type, roast, storage, grind incl. size of grounds, filter type, filter pore size, water, water temp., pressure in coffee maker, drip rate...

Even how, & how often you clean the machine. And what pre coffee making steps/rituals it gets put through.

There are a lot of (controlable) variables. Which, if documented, evaluated, & then duplicated, should reliably give you a good to superior cup of the stuff. It is after all a recipe/forumula based chemical process. So standardize it; during your search for the ideal cup, & once you've found the recipe for same.


PS: Bets on whether this thread goes viral?
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:03   #7
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Fresh roasting is a major part of it. All those oils and VOC's (volatile organic compounds) start degrading immediately after being roasted.

The oil starts to oxidize as soon as its exposed to air, which adds to bitterness and a 'flatter' taste.

The VOC's just evaporate away. They are called volatile after all.


The fresher the roast the better, and proper storage helps a lot as well. If you are willing to put in a bit of work... Buy fresh roasted coffee. Then when you get it home vaccume seal it in small glass dark colored jars (about a weeks worth per jar). Then store those jars in a dark cabinate.

Just don't freeze the beans. It screws up the oils

Even doing all of this I can tell a difference between beans that have been in a sealed vaccume for a month versus fresh roast. But I am way to lazy to buy fresh beans more often.
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:05   #8
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Evidently, water temperature plays quite a big role in how things turn out. As my brother used to manage a chain of botique coffee shops in Seattle, & he told me that a difference of just 2 deg. F made a big difference. Though since I'm not finicky about the stuff, I never inquired after the perfect formula. And I've NEVER understood how Starbucks has done so well, when the first scent that assualts your nose when you walk into one, is burnt (coffee) beans.

Me, I just go straight to the chocolate covered expresso beans.

EDIT: You'd do well to scientifically analyze each step, component, & variable in making a cup. From the birth of the bean, to finished product.
Bean type, roast, storage, grind incl. size of grounds, filter type, filter pore size, water, water temp., pressure in coffee maker, drip rate...


Even how, & how often you clean the machine. And what pre coffee making steps/rituals it gets put through.

There are a lot of (controlable) variables. Which, if documented, evaluated, & then duplicated, should reliably give you a good to superior cup of the stuff. It is after all a recipe/forumula based chemical process. So standardize it; during your search for the ideal cup, & once you've found the recipe for same.


PS: Bets on whether this thread goes viral? :Whistling:
Good advice; thanks.

Yes, Starbucks coffee is disgusting. However, one way to get at least some kind of coffee pleasure is really strong espresso, even if it is crappy espresso like from Starbucks, with milk in some form or another.

I can drink that, and make it on my boat with a Nespresso machine and microwaved milk, for a kind of boatucinno. Or make strong coffee using the darkest strongest roast I can find in the French press, and put milk in it.


But that's just not the thing I'm looking for. I'm studying home roasting now (found another good resource: https://www.sweetmarias.com/) and may experiment with that as well.

Concerning brewing method -- maybe water temperature is crucial -- worth experiments. But I have already done a lot of experimentation with brewing methods, and find that nothing I've tried really changes anything fundamental. French press and Aeropress are ok, but don't by themselves produce anything spectacular.
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:17   #9
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Good coffee, perfect coffee is worth it. I've gone so far as to double filter my water, PH, the water and use 150.00 pound of beans. " ten years ago" fresh grind, and discovered that the coffee was good, but wasn't perfect.

Let us know when you find that perfect match.

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Old 27-01-2017, 09:32   #10
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Finally something I can comment on, as a coffee common-sewer for many many years.

The BEST coffee is from a FLAT BOTTOM filter, no if's and's or buts, I like Melita, (conical) but we're talking optimum, go to any coffee shop and they will have flat bottom filters.

You can vertically integrate as much as you want, even roasting your own, but using a burr grinder as you do it the best. Bear in mind that the half life of roasted coffee is just 3-4 days, after a week you can still brew it, but the BEST is brewed within 2-3 days of roasting.

So that's it, get it somewhat fresh roasted, burr grind it, and use a flat bottom filter.

-Harmon
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:42   #11
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Cant help here being British I drink Tea and its leaves not bags. With coffee its pre-ground arabica beans continental blend and a french press - for guests.
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:48   #12
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Getting to the nitty gritty science of it is dangerous and you can get addicted


My nephew is a coffee roaster and basically he says fresh roasted, fresh ground with burrs, weigh the grounds and measure the water temperature and brew.

He uses a French press and warms the pot and all that. I don't think you need much gear, just attention to detail.
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:50   #13
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

So one additional note, not to diss all you Keurig/Nespresso folks, (we have one!) but it's the worst thing to happen to coffee since instant.

It's all about water exposure to the grounds, French press is ok, but the exposure is too long so it's bitter.

One interesting option for a boat would be Greek-style/Italian style with a stove-top model, this is what my Italian friends use (do I have any more Italian friends?), it's like espresso, but super-simple to use..
https://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-6-Cu...0001SJH2I?th=1

-Harmon
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:50   #14
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

So many ways to make coffee, so many coffees. My preference is stove top espresso machine, fresh ground. The Nespresso type pods can make decent coffee but price per cup or pound is outrageous. My preferred source of coffee when I am near one is organic fair trade from Costco @ $!8/3lbs. Just my preference
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Old 27-01-2017, 09:56   #15
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Re: How to Make Perfect Coffee?

Whole bean 100% Kona medium roast with a press. You have to order the beans online from a reputable grower such as Langenstein Farms. Most wont pay $30 a pound but IMHO since I drink it black the very low acidity makes for a very smooth cup of joe, better than Jamaican Blue Mountain.
You wont find any good coffee at Charbucks.
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