HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Coffee makers and corkscrews. (6 msgs / 210 lines)
1) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
Consumer Reports are getting worse and worse, in my opinion. They test
coffeemakers using Folgers ground coffee; they do not realize that coffee
should be freshly ground ... and freshly roasted.
Would it make sense to tell the CR people about the taste and smell and
aroma of good coffee, about the existence of home espresso machines, about
the mouthfeel of properly made espresso and properly microfoamed milk?
Similar approach of Consumer Reports can be seen in other things about which
I know something.  They ignore perhaps the best affordable DVD player, Sony
DVP-NS715P. They know that DVDs are becoming quite popular, they know that
TV needs to be able to handle 480p signal in order to take full advantage of
DVD quality -- but ignore the 480p capability in their TV reports. One of
the disadvantages of many digital cameras is that they do not have good
enough wide-angle capability -- but CR ignore that when rating digital
cameras.  The Kodak Pro 14N digital camera has the industry's first full 35
mm size CMOS sensor and will be available before Christmas -- but CR does
not seem to think that is worth mentioning.
Why am I writing here about all of that? I believe that many people
interested in coffee are also interested in fine wine and in related
accessories, such as corkscrews. Corkscrews that rated highest in the latest
issue of CR are the $150 Screwpull, the $55 Vacuvin and the $40 Instapull.
May I ask wine lovers (who read this) for their opinion concerning the
Vacuvin and Instapull? Can Consumer Reports be trusted in that area?  I am
thinking about getting some corkscrews as Christmas gifts to our daughter's
families and will appreciate your insight and advice.  (Perhaps you should
reply directly to me.)
Regards, Lubos
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2) From: Jim Schulman
Hi Lubos,
I'm writing a beginner's coffee FAQ, maybe you should email 
this part of it to Consumer Reports:
-----------------------------------------------------------
THE TOP TEN WAYS TO RUIN COFFEE
1. LOUSY COFFEE BEANS
Most of the coffee sitting in supermarket cans costs about 10 
to 30 cents a pound unroasted. Fortunately, it's gone stale by 
the time you get it (see mistake number 3), otherwise it would 
smell and taste like the Bayonne tire fire. For good coffee, 
buy specialy grade beans from a craft roaster. Their origins 
and flavors are as varied as wines. Explore these rather than 
wasting your time plodding through mass market brands.
2. COLOR BLIND COFFEE ROASTERS
In raw green coffee, the flavors are locked up in long chain 
molecules. If coffee is roasted to a light tan color, the 
chains haven't broken down, and the coffee tastes weak and 
sour. If it's roasted black, the flavors have long since 
departed up the smoke stack, and the coffee tastes weak and 
charcoaly. Look for beans roasted to a rich color between 
caramel and chocolate.
3. STALE COFFEE BEANS
Roasted coffee goes stale. It is best within ten days of 
roasting, and remains good for about three weeks. Chances are 
that every single bean at the supermarket or Starbucks is 
stale. Buy from a roaster you trust or look for coffee with a 
"roasted on" date.  
4. PREGROUND COFFEE
Ground coffee stays really fresh for about 15 minutes, and is 
undrinkable after two hours. No ifs, ands or buts, if you want 
good coffee, GET A GRINDER, and grind the coffee just before 
you brew it.
5. WRONG AMOUNT OF COFFEE
Brownish water isn't coffee. The right amount is one table 
spoon of coffee per four to six ounces of water (7 grams per 
120 to 180 mL for you metric types). It's also one table spoon 
per single espresso (1 ounce, 30 ml) or two per double 
espresso.
6. LOUSY WATER
Chlorine and odors are not tasty in coffee, so tap water 
should be charcoal filtered. Many bottled waters and water 
treatments use reverse osmosis filtering; this leaves too few 
minerals in the water for good coffee. If you use these, get 
ones with minerals added.
7. WRONG BREWING TEMPERATURE
Most coffee makers, especially drip types, are too cold when 
brewing. This results in a weak, sour cup. Coffee should brew 
at 90C to 95C (194F to 203F), which is just off a boil. This 
range is right for every type of brew, including espresso.
8. WRONG BREWING TIME
Whether it's one cup or thirty, all coffee needs to be brewed 
the same amount of time. For conventional brewers, the grounds 
should completely soak in water for two to three minutes. 
Press pots and vacuum brewers do this well, whereas most drip 
machines do not. Espresso is properly extracted in 20 to 30 
seconds, since the pump pressure speeds up the extraction 
rate.
9. DIRTY COFFEE MAKERS
Rancid coffee oils build up in coffee makers, caraffes, mugs, 
etc, and impart a horrible taste to even the best coffee. 
Regular soap or detergent will not remove these oils. So 
coffee items should be cleaned in something that will; Urnex, 
Simply Green, and Oxyclean work well, as do some other 
formulations. For espresso machines, follow the manufacturers' 
cleaning and descaling instructions religiously.
10. HOT PLATE SLUDGE
Coffee on a hot plate turns foul as quickly as unheated coffee 
gets cold. If you must store brewed coffee, a thermos will 
keep it tasty for a few hours.
Want that great cup of coffee every time? Be the first on your 
block to avoid these mistakes.
--------------------------------------------------------------
In their coffee tests, they invariably make all ten.
I'll email you privately on the Vacuvin and corkscrews, as 
they are off-topic.
Jim
On 8 Nov 2002 at 18:57, Irene and Lubos Palounek wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Michael Vanecek
These magazines write to the common consumer. How many common consumers 
are there that roast their own and enjoy the best coffee can offer? Nope 
- the common consumer is consigned to the dregs of Folgers - and since 
that's the case, the report reflects their habits and judges the coffee 
makers according to their habits.
As to wine corks - I've just used that cheapo Walmart screw-puller with 
the geared handles. I don't know any fancy terminology - though personal 
research has led me to desire the simple fold-up cork puller that 
waiters use.
Have fun, and enjoy the best of what the consumer reports can't touch.
Cheers,
Mike
Irene and Lubos Palounek wrote:
<Snip>
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4) From: Rick Farris
Jim wrote:
<Snip>
May I suggest you add "one to two grams of coffee per fluid ounce of water,
for those of use who weigh our coffee for drip?
-- Rick
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5) From: EskWIRED
<Snip>
You already know the answer.  They use irrelevant criteria, and perform
defective tests.
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6) From: Jim Schulman
Rick, 
it's a beginners' FAQ. I give the top 10 mistakes section to 
all the people making way too clueless comments, "chef so an 
so says the only good coofee is blah-blah mail ordered from 
this little Tuscan town" or whatever. I'm thinking of having 
cards made up and leaving them at supermarkets and Starbucks. 
In other words, I figure I'm ahead of the game if people know 
what a tablespoon is, rather than a gram.
Jim
On 9 Nov 2002 at 0:00, Rick Farris wrote:
<Snip>
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