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July 10th, 2003

Good Coffee

I was married a little over a month ago, and one of the most commonly used gifts we received was a simple coffee grinder.

I am the primary coffee drinker in this household, and I like coffee quite a bit. But let me tell you: if you do not have a coffee grinder, or a French press, you are missing out. Grinding coffee beans first thing in the morning, and then brewing super-fresh coffee with filtered water is just about the best at-home coffee experience one can have.

As a bonus, a few weeks ago I was able to make the elusive “perfect” cup of coffee. It was well-balanced, with strong flavor but enough room to support a bit of sugar. That’s tough to do, but I’m convinced I couldn’t’ve done it without the coffee grinder. Coffee grinder, I salute you!

And, of course, I salute good coffee too.

Posted in Food and Beverage

FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 1:05:50 am
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Europe was the cafes in Paris. Each cup of espresso was freshly ground and brewed to order. There were no pots of Folgers sitting on a hot plate getting stale. Just freshly made coffee....mmmm....

Since we were drinking espresso, or a derivative, I didn't see any French presses in operation.

FROM: only mtn dew will do
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 1:14:23 am
ok, you perked my interest... i have never had a cup of coffee (can't stand the stuff) but may want to give this grinding thing a try. so, after the beans are ground, then what? are they put in a cup of boiling water? or are they filtered somehow first? how many beans per cup of coffee? basically, how do you make a cup of coffee?

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 8:18:29 am
Well, it depends on what you're going to use in the end. I still use a regular drip coffeemaker (coffee purists will gasp), so I grind the beans and then place them in a filter. The filter then goes in the machine. Coffeemakers vary slightly, but you generally put water (cold, fresh water is best) in next and then start brewing.

The rule of thumb I've seen is 2tsp of ground coffee for each cup, and I pretty much stick to that.

The things I really stick to are the ground coffee amounts and using cold, filtered water. I have noticed a difference.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 8:26:23 am
Neither Huyen nor I drink coffee regularly (I have a cup or two a year, I'd say) so we didn't have a coffee grinder for a while. I bought one a few weeks ago, though, for a different purpose: grinding flax seeds. It's only going to be used for that purpose (mixing coffee and flax seeds in the same grinder will give both an odd taste), but I absolutely love it. It's a fast and easy way to get freshly ground flax...

FROM: Chris
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 8:50:21 am
I always grind my own beans, and I use a 4 cup drip coffeemaker - the free one you get from Melitta when you sign up for there way overpriced coffee of the month club. I bailed after 1 month - got to keep the coffee maker though! I use 3 Tbsp for 4 cups.

One thing I've found makes a difference - don't overgrind the beans. If you grind to a fine dust and the coffee sticks to the inside of the grinder, you have gone too long and and coffee will be bitter. 17 seconds in the grinder is perfect.

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 11:01:22 am
My brother lives in Russia and has to drink Nescafe because they don't understand the concept of fresh coffee. But you can buy a wheel of cheese the size of your head for just a few cents!

FROM: juleslady
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 11:12:20 am
community coffee, bright red bag, dark brown blend...... regular drip coffeemaker ... *slurrrrrp*

after living in England and drinking only Nescafe for the entirety of that time (well I did once have a bad experience with a friend and some mellow bird's, but we wont talk about that) , moving to Louisiana and experiencing filtered community coffee was quite an experience... People dont make instant coffee here, when I first moved I could not even find a place that sold a kettle...
now I have progressed past that point... I recently found a place that sold nescafe.. I could not believe the nastiness of what I once considered to be the height of coffee-enjoyment... ahhh we live and learn

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 12:31:54 pm
I'm not much of a coffee drinker myself, but whilst working at a Christian music festival a few weeks back, a friend of mine from Canada brought down a few canisters of Tim Horton's coffee. THAT was some of the best coffee I've ever had. It was that kind of good that even smelled really good while brewing.

For now, I'll take my morning Diet Coke for the caffeine rush, but he said he would ship me some Tim Horton's down here in the fall, so who knows..

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 2:17:29 pm
Hate the taste of coffee, love the smell. And I love love love coffee ice cream.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 2:39:56 pm
I'm with Rob, I love the smell of coffee. I share an office with very dedicated coffee drinkers, they get a variety of stuff and always grind the beans themselves. Even that process gives a nice smell to the air... :-)
Sometimes I've bought coffee for them (anyone ever tried Ancora? Theirs is supposed to be good) so I did a search for Tim Horton's coffee. You can buy it online, so I'll pass Dave's recommendation along.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 6:38:50 pm
Good call Rob. As much as I am really not a coffee drinker, I LOVE coffee ice cream. Add a dash of chocolate syrup and I'm a happy, happy man.

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 10:28:00 pm
I love coffee ice cream too! Especially Hagen Dazs. And gelato.

When I was little, my German grandmother used to give me regular coffee to drink instead of milk or water. She DID live to 93, so maybe there's something to this.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Friday July 11, 2003 -- 1:14:34 am
I can't believe people are still drinking this shit in the 21st Century.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday July 11, 2003 -- 9:47:56 am
I also love the smell of coffee... however I can't stand coffee ice cream. It tastes like dirt mixed with dairy.

I've noticed that people that like coffee the drink hate coffee the ice cream flavor, and vice-versa.

FROM: jk
DATE: Friday July 11, 2003 -- 9:58:55 am
Mmmm, dirt with dairy.....

I believe you are correct about non-coffee drinkers liking the ice cream and vice versa!

I think I'll have ice cream for breakfast!

FROM: Shaun
DATE: Friday July 11, 2003 -- 8:01:20 pm
I've recently got into the coffee thing, but I'm hooked now. Living in Louisiana, I've got to agree about Community Coffee. Nothing in finer than a fresh cup of Community.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday July 13, 2003 -- 5:45:12 pm
I've noticed that people that like coffee the drink hate coffee the ice cream flavor, and vice-versa.

I like 'em both fine. Unfortunately, the ice cream doesn't take well to toppings.

FROM: Jeff
DATE: Thursday December 29, 2005 -- 8:53:20 am
Community Coffee is one of the highlights of living in Louisiana! When I lived "up north" (Here, everything is "up north") I always was amazed at how people from Louisiana always considered the coffee served there to be "too weak", no matter HOW strongly it was brewed ... then I experienced Community Coffee's Dark Roast.

By the time the hair grew back in my nose, I was hooked!

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday December 29, 2005 -- 9:51:46 am
Yes, I too lived in Louisiana for years and was a barista in the PJ's Coffee Shop on Magazine Street for a while. This was before Community Coffee had their own coffee shops and well before Starbuck's ever made the scene (Starbucks's is the crap coffee in New Orleans).

New Orleans blend is a favorite, with a mix of Chicory. Most New Orleanians will not drink straight coffee--it's got to have chicory in it. The chicory smooths the coffee out. Chicory is a root that came into use during the Civil War as a coffee substitute and has been enjoyed blended into coffee since.

For those who haven't experienced Community Coffee, you can get it online here:

The cold drip method using the toddy they sell (there used to a coupon for $10 off the toddy brewer enclosed in a pound of their coffee, so I got mine real cheap) is the best way to make iced coffee.

By the way, I see no coffee drinker, ice cream eater divide. I love hot coffee, iced coffee, espresso, and all the drinks--latte, macchiato, cafe au lait; coffee ice cream, dark chocolate cake flavored with coffee . . .

I also hate how Starbuck's has changed the standard coffee taxonomy to suit their own consumerist branding needs. For example, anywhere else you go, 1/2 French Roast coffee and 1/2 steamed milk is Cafe au lait. At Starbuck's it's a "Misto." F--- that "Misto;" it's a goddam cafe au lait!!!

I, by the way, detest flavored coffee, decaffeinated or instant. Bleccchhhhh!! I have had one good decaf coffee though--hate to admit it, but Starbuck's decaf dark roast is good (which I buy at Target and keep on hand for guests). So I'm not a total Starbuck's hater--not everything they make is trash.

Of course, I grind and then brew. I use a French press, an Italian stove-top pot, cold drip, percolator, or toddy cold brewer depending upon what I'm making.

I've had no luck with at-home espresso machines, though, and have returned them all. The big ones at the coffee shops are the only ones that do it right, as far as I've found.

For the best home coffee, add frothed milk. It's to die for. I use a cold milk frother, like this one which seems to be difficult to find in stores these days because the battery operated electric ones are all the rage right now. I like the cold frothed milk much better than steamed milk because it's sweeter. Bodum made a great frother that used to sell at Target for $10, but I can't even find it on Bodum's website anymore.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday December 29, 2005 -- 9:59:48 am
Hey look, Bodum has a new one!. I wonder if it's available at Target.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday December 29, 2005 -- 10:03:46 am
Three sizes, too--though the medium one 7 oz. is incorrectly labeled as small, same as the 4 oz. There's also a large 8.5 oz. But $10 more for only another 1.5 oz.? Who do they think they are? Starbucks?

FROM: Catherine
DATE: Tuesday June 20, 2006 -- 10:26:29 pm
I bought the bonjour frother on amazon, on sale for 4.99$; it's amazing.

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