brewing coffee

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I like to make coffee one cup at a time. I heat a pyrex cup of water nearly to a boil, throw in a tablespoon of coffee, stir, let it steep, and pour it through a fine plastic filter into my drinking cup.
My aunt prefers an electric percolator. She brought me her 48-ounce model to evaluate. Lately she has been using a smaller one. When she tried the big one, she found it wasn't brewing good coffee.
I used 24 ounces of water and three tablespoons of coffee. Perking took 4-1/2 minutes. Then I put the grounds in half a cup of water, boiled it, poured it through a filter, and drank it. That convinced me that the perking had already removed most of the flavor.
The coffee in the pot was reasonably dark, but it wasn't as flavorful as I'm used to. It's been so long since I've drunk perked coffee that for all I know *all* perked coffee tastes like this, but my aunt says it's inferior to the coffee from her other percolator.
What could be wrong? Can a defective percolator destroy much of the flavor as it perks?
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Sawney Beane wrote:

Do you really mean "percolator"? One of the old devices that boils water in the bottom, shoots it up into the top where it drips through the grounds and mixes with the water, boils again, etc, etc? If so then the answer is likely that boiling coffee, under any circumstances, is not conducive to good flavour. That is why these devices have pretty much gone extinct. If you absolutely had to use a percolator (desert-island conditions maybe) then you need to adjust the amount of grounds to get the proper strength rather than boiling it longer which will just cause it to become even more bitter and burned.
If you want good coffee and are willing to do a minimum of work for it then you would be better off with a cone-type maker with a gold-metal filter (rather than the disposable paper) or a French-press which is my personal favorite. And for a step up you could start buying top-quality beans and grinding them fresh before each use, make sure that your water is perfect, using a fixed brewing time of 4 minutes and adjust the amount of grounds to get the proper strength, and controlling the temperature at which the water makes contact with the grounds (204-208F is optimum).
And yes, before you ask, I _am_ something of a coffee snob...
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John McGaw
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John McGaw wrote:

That's as may be, but I think I out-snob you. First, I hope those tablespoons were at least heaping. I use an ounce by weight for five coffee cups. (A cup is eight ounces, but the "cup" marks on coffee brewers are about six. If my coffee were ground coarsely enough to use with fine mesh filters, I would need more yet. Paper filters let me get more flavor grim the same beans by grinding them finer.
Jerry
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If you aren't roasting your own beans as needed, you really aren't much of a snob at all.
Coffee brewers? Oh BOY! They don't get the water hot enough to make coffee. You are drinking hot brown water. If you are settled on drip, get yourself a chemex. You'll have to boil the water separately, but the difference in the results is enormous. It's really pretty hard to top a french press for the best all around cup of coffee. It requires a bit more attention to get it right, though.
Commodore Joe Redcloud
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Commodore Joe Redcloud wrote:

There are a few erroneous assumptions above. Here's what I do:
Boil water in the whistling kettle. Grind roasted beans (stored in the freezer), using a rotary mill, not whirling blades. The resulting grind is fine, but uniform. Brew with a cone filter. When my last Tricolator breaks, I'll have to switch to Mellita. There's an art to pouring, but that's another tale.
Jerry
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Good so far..

This can be very bad for a host of reasons. Carefully packaged coffee can be frozen for long term storage in a deep freezer, but if you access the coffee often, or even open the freezer daily it is often worse for the beans than storing it at room temperature.

That's better!

That's fine, too. My assumption above was that when someone refers to a "coffee brewer", and then talks about "cup" marks, I assume they are talking about a typical automatic drip machine, not something like a Chemex.
Commodore Joe Redcloud
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Commodore Joe Redcloud wrote:

Dunno what you use for drip machines, but I've owned several of different makes. They have all produced coffee that was *almost* boiling. Make excellent coffee, too. The only better coffee I've ever had was jug brewed by my dear departed father.
You

Depends what they are in in the freezer... Ours live in airtight tubs. Opening the freezer doesn't affect them at all.

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On Wed, 21 Dec 2005 15:55:14 +0000, Kate Dicey

Airtight containers is not the only issue. Roasted Coffee is porous, and condensation can be a major issue. Opening the freezer causes condensation. And you can just imagine what happens when you open that frozen container even briefly in a warm room! You are soaking the beans, and then freezing and thawing them over and over again.
Commodore Joe Redcloud
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Unless you allow the sealed container to come to room temperature before opening. Remove enough beans to provide a week's ready supply before you need to reopen the sealed container.
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Commodore Joe Redcloud wrote:

There can be no condensation without access to moist air. Why is airtightness unimportant?
Jerry
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There is already moisture present in the container and the beans. Redistributing moisture within the container does not help the beans. Additionally, when you open the container, it is not airtight, and more moisture enters.
Commodore Joe Redcloud
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Blt of a low-grade coffee snob myself. Previous posts make good points. I think good coffee can be made many ways- I've had some from old percolators I thought was very good. I don't care for french press for this reason: people tend to leave the coffee in there, where it will pick up bitter flavor from grounds; unless you are drinking it all right away you need to decant into carafe. Modern drip pots are ok by me as long as you turn off once coffee is brewed- heat destroys flavor fast. Some pots use carafe- good design, though cleaning some can be a chore. As for espresso- I've had some pretty good from $15 stove top pots- helps if you put paper filters in grounds compartment.
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How about that instant Sanka? Now that's coffee!!
wrote:

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wow so many opinions as to how to make a cup of coffee. I use a simple Melita one cup cone...with paper filter......2 tbsps per cup of coffee. Brands of coffee vary greatly. My tastes prefer Torrefazzione Brand.
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My way to do it exactly, but I like Starbucks Breakfast Blend or House Blend. The little Melita is handy, and since I drink only one strong mug, and no one else drinks coffee at my house, an efficient way to do it.
Steve
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J. Cameron Davis wrote:

...
I must concede that instant coffee is a beverage, but it isn't what I call coffee. When offered coffee in stranger's houses where I can't politely ask what kind, I opt for tea.
Jerry
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Now that's a whole nutha story. Don't get me started. :-)
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Maybe I'm getting a bit elitist, but I can't stand instant coffee in any incarnation. And factory ground leaves me flat. Give me whole bean, that's the way to go, and put it through a "gold" permanent type filter. Why the filter you ask? To me, every paper filter leaves an ugly chemical taste to the coffee. And did you know that formaldehyde is used to bleach the paper? Thanks, but I will pass on the paper filters.
As for the coffee, well, here things can get interesting. Sumatra Mendhaling is about the finest, IMHO, but Kenya AA is about equal, or maybe a true Kona, and even a good organic Columbian is acceptable.
Keep the beans in an air-tight container, and grind just enough for that day. This adds to the morning ritual, and brings a bit of pleasure as well.
As for water, I use tap water that has been sitting in the fridge in a covered container at least overnight. This allows the water to off-gas, thereby removing any chlorine bitterness or other overtones. And even if I couldn't tell the difference, my dog knows the difference, and she doesn't like to drink the water out of the tap, preferring the fridge water, and their noses are far more sensitive than ours.
Just my 2c.
: J. Cameron Davis wrote: : > How about that instant Sanka? Now that's coffee!! : : ... : : I must concede that instant coffee is a beverage, but it isn't what I : call coffee. When offered coffee in stranger's houses where I can't : politely ask what kind, I opt for tea. : : Jerry : -- : Engineering is the art of making what you want from things you can get. :
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Nomdeplume1 wrote:
...

In my first apartment in married life (1957), we had a hopper-type coffee mill mounted on the kitchen wall. The neighbor's kitchen was on the other side of that wall. Ann invited the neighbor in for coffee as we were moving out two years later. When she started to grind the beans, the neighbor exclaimed, "OH! I wondered why you sharpened pencils every morning!"

The quickest way to degas water is to boil it. I keep drinking water in the fridge, but I just let it boil an extra half minute for coffee.
...
Jerry
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My dog drinks right out of the toilet... What does that say?
Regards -Greg Pasquariello
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