Since this is the Coffee House, how many of you enjoy coffee and if so what kind?
In the past I was really into coffee, getting single source varietal green beans and roasting my own, fancy line up of brewers and several burr grinders. Now, living alone, my priorities have shifted towards small volume and fast creation. I still go the full route a couple times a year when a particular crop strikes my fancy, but for day to day it is the Single Serve coffee route.
There are several types of single serve machines available, the pod machines, the Keurig Kcup machines and the proprietary machines like the Tassimo and Nespresso.
The pods are small round prepackaged units that are usually individually sealed in a nitrogen purged package (except for the very high volume companies like Senseo and Folgers that package loose pods in a big bag and not individual wrappings). Because the coffee is roasted, ground and immediately packaged away in a sealed environment it reatains the "just roasted" characteristics for extended periods.
The advantage to the pods route is that it is not a proprietary format and so they are available from many sources and you can find a far wider selection of coffees that in any other format. There are also quite a few companies making the pod brewers so you have a wide range of manufacturers and styles available.
The Keurig Kcups have a pretty good selection from a dozen or so suppliers. They are a small sealed cup about twice the volume of a commercial creamer. The Kcups themselves are available from several suppliers but all the machines are made by Keurig.
So is anyone else using a Single Serve machine? If not, what is your favored way to make coffee and why?
I have just about all of them, but the best pod machines right now are either the Bunn MyCafe or the GrindMaster OPOD. Right now I have an OPOD and a Keurig sitting on the counter and can't really choose between them. The Keurig is much quieter (not that either are what I would call loud), both make great coffee, but the variety is greater with the pod system. You can read more about them at SingleServe Coffee.
If you want to try single serve without investing much, Senseo is running a Share Senseo promotion where you can get them to send you a Senseo machine for just shipping. The Senseo machine is okay, it makes a nice cup of coffee, not quite as distinctive as the Bunn MyCafe or GrindMaster OPOD, but a great way to start.
Right now I am enjoying and Aloha Island Estates 100% Kona decafe coffee, dark roasted.
I tend to agree on Ethiopian coffees, also the very similar Yemen Mochas. Right now I have four different Ethiopian coffees on the shelf, a Yirgacheffe, a Limu, a Kimssa and a Sidamo. The Yirgacheffe in particular has an almost overwhelming blueberry note. Amazing.
The single serve route is more expensive per cup than other methods, but there is also no waste. Like the French Press, you make one cup at a time, but unlike the French Press, the time required is about 60 seconds from urge to surge and there is no mess to clean up.
My experience has been that buying the more expensive low volume pods or Kcups works out to between 40 to 60 cents a cup. As I said though, there is no waste since you make just one cup at a time.
Our second favourite was the Kenyan, it had a similar taste but slightly more bitter.
There are lots of different African Coffees and even in just Kenya many different styles. There is the general coffees graded just Kenya then Kenya AA and finally those from specific regions like Kenya Mt. Kilimanjaro. You can also find beans from specific estates or farms in most areas and there can be an enormous difference in beans from different farms only a few miles apart.
Right now I have several Kenyans here, two just Kenya AA and two different Mt. Kilimanjaro Estate coffees, one roasted medium and the other a Dark Roast.
The only problem with decaf coffee is that the process is expensive if done properly and so you don't see much but bulk bean processing. I have been able to find a few though. Aloha Island Estates does some great 100% Kona decafs in roasts from light to dark, and I also have a great Guatemalan Antigua Decaf here right now. I also like the decaf Columbian from Eldorado roasters.Aslan is not a Tame Lion
There is a lot of confusion about the different roasts and acidity. Some acidity is necessary in coffee. It is the dry bright taste you sense when drinking a cup. Generally, low acidity coffees will taste bland. It is NOT a sour taste.
Usually you will find higher levels of acidity in wet processed coffees and also at lighter roasts. Dry processed coffees will usually have less acid and darker roasts will also generally have less acid.
Ah Yes. Actually I think it is Hungarian in origin as opposed to Swedish. A raw egg (shell and all) is mixed with the fresh grounds then brewed.
The neat part is that the raw egg causes the coffee to foam and then as brewing continues the egg, shell and grounds mat together and settle to the bottom. Originally it was a way to get the coffee grounds which are light and will float to settle out.
If you want to slow or stop the foaming just add a little ice cold water and it will drop back.
The coffee is then taken from the top and served with sugar and often a fruit syrup like raspberries.
The history of coffee is that in most of the world, coffee is still a family grown crop. Historically, many of these folk had no way to get their crops to market and so had to sell to them what had transportation. The growers usually got screwed.
Fair Trade movement is designed to see that the growers get a fair price for their produce.
Organic is a little different.
Most coffee is grown in pretty poor areas. These farmers really can't afford things like commercial fertilizer. It is only the big commercial factory growers that can afford anything other than organic.
I love the Ethiopians. The Sidamo region is one, but there are many others and Yirgacheffe, as one example, is a sub-region in Sidamo. The others are Harrar, Kimssa and Limu. Each of them will have distinctive characteristics and styles.
In all of them there are also dry processed beans and wet processed beans.
To get back on topic, I would assume that the soil and climate that the beans are grown in also have alot to do with how the coffee tastes, but since coffee has such a strong flavor of its own it is probably less detectable except in the case of bitterness. Preparation of the beans should also play a part, especially how they are rosated and in what(?). I'd have to look into it more.
Yes, soil, light, rainfall and all the other variables come into play.
We also see the same year to year and crop to crop variations that you see in wines.
things like fruitiness, blueberry flavor, chocolates, woddiness, grassiness and many other things really can be present in coffees.
Not too long ago I was putting on a mini tasting for some friends. I had a bunch of pods for them to try and they were simply told to try to describe the things they noticed.
It was surprising but each of them recognized the Blueberry in the Ethiopians, the Chocolates in the Yemen Mocha and the bright acidity of the Tanzanian Peaberry.
Is that through adulteration or are the flavors naturally present (ABE: or genetically manipulated) in various beans? I always assumed that flavored coffees have other ingredients added to the beans.
There is a difference between "flavored coffees" and the flavors of natural coffees.
None of these are flavored. The actual beans themselves can have very different characteristics with as much variety as you find between wines.
Many of the Island coffees, Kona or Jamaican or Sumatran seem to exhibit a chocolaty character. Beans grown at higher elevations seem to be more acidic than those grown a lower elevations. The Ethiopians are renowned for their fruity tones, particularly a very pronounced blueberry flavor.
These will of course very between crops and years as well as processing. I find the dry processed beans often have more character than the wet processed ones.