HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Question about French Presses (5 msgs / 188 lines)
1) From: Marc Tooley
Since a friend of mine converted me not so long ago to the much tastier 
home-roasting popcorn popper method of caffeine consumption, I've been 
experimenting (in an unfortunate dearth of contact with him and others) 
with a popcorn popper and a french press (3 cup bodum model with 
stainles steel mesh "filter".) I had a few questions that perhaps 
someone on the list could comment on:
. As I understand it, French Presses leave lots of nasty cafestol in the 
resulting nectar.. I mean coffee, and cafestol is a powerful 
cholesterol-elevating compound. Is there a way to modify my press to 
eliminate the cafestol but still leave all that lovely flavour behind?
. Why is it that I must wait for the crust to form on the top of my 
press for a few minutes before stirring it down? Is there something 
about the bouyant stuff that help eliminate bitters? That is, for full 
flavour extraction, wouldn't it be better to make sure the water has 
access to all the coffee grounds for the full brewing time?
. I find it difficult to get an even roast using my popcorn popper, but 
I've thus far been attributing it to the variation in bean size and 
density in the greens I've been buying locally. Does anyone have any 
tricks they want to share regarding popcorn popper roasting? Basically, 
my technique:
1. Fill the popper to 3/4 full. No less, or first crack will be glacial. 
No more, or the roast is half dark and half light, and lots of beans 
will spill everywhere.
2. Plug it in, turn it on. Every 20 seconds, give it a single shake to 
lift the beans and distribute them, without dissipating the precious 
heat and prolonging first crack well beyond what it should be.
3. When the beans have expanded enough that the air from the popper 
agitates them itself, let it be until first crack is mostly done (or 
more, depending on how dark I want the average roast to be) and then 
quickly unplug and spread them over a metal pizza cooling tin (with 
small holes, so it cools the beans very rapidly.)
I've found that the timing involved is so variable between the different 
beans I buy that there is no concrete stopwatch time that is 
appropriate. My ethiopian harar for example, seems much denser and 
harder to roast evenly than some lovely Panama stuff my local coffee 
shop ordered in, which gets to first crack so quickly I have to be 
careful not to let them suddenly burn past second without me noticing!
I'd also like to share some observations of the hand-grinder I picked 
Peugeot hand-grinder "nostalgie" model
This beastie is a fantastic hand-grinder. It's essentially identical to 
the exact same model of hand-grinder of more than 100 years ago (my 
parents have an antique one that's still in use and been in the family 
for like.. three generations at least) and the quality of the coffee 
that comes out of the grinder is absolutely fantastic
While I was waiting for my hand-grinder to arrive via special order, I 
was unfortunately forced to use one of those common blade grinders that 
makes a great deal of noise and fines, and I have to say, the 
difference is tremendous. The control over the coarseness of the 
grounds is great, and even though the little wooden box is a bit 
clumsy, the flavour is like night and day.
Drawbacks: it's a box, so it's unwieldy and carrying it around 
everywhere I go is a pain. The little drawer for the grounds is stiff 
enough that I've managed to drop a box or two of grounds in the sink. 
Pros: Taste. Lifetime guarantee. Taste. Grounds consistency is good. 
Control over coarseness.
(P.S. Sorry about the size of this tome. I'm just so glad to be amongst 
fellow afficionados.. :)

2) From: Tom Ulmer
. It would depend on how much flavor you believe to be in the floating oily
layer. To me it would not be worth the effort.
. My experience is that I must stir to keep the bloom under control.
Therefore I've never having waited for a crust to form before stirring. The
resulting brew ranges from quite good to excellent much of the time.

3) From: Brett Mason
I stir a couple of times during the 4 minute saturation phase....
On 5/11/07, Tom Ulmer  wrote:

4) From: Randall Nortman
On Fri, May 11, 2007 at 11:26:41AM -0700, Marc Tooley wrote:
As far as I know, there's no way (outside of a laboratory) to separate
the cafestol (and kahweol, another cholesterol culprit) from the
flavor compounds in the oils.  And as far as I know, the only way to
significantly reduce oils (and the cafestol with them) is to use paper
filtration.  This can be drip or manual pourover with a paper filter,
or an Aeropress (which is my favorite method).
It's a shame, really.  Cafestol is the reason espresso has to be an
occasional treat for me, rather than a dairly affair.

5) From: True, Dennis W. FC1 (CVN69)
Try an Aeropress works great for a very Clean Cup!
FC1(SW/AW) Dennis W. True
Safety Dept
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)
FPO AE 09532-2830
HG/DB and Z&D roasting in the Atlantic Ocean (finally)
 "On station and on point 12 and counting down..."

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