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
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
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.
On 8 Nov 2002 at 18:57, Irene and Lubos Palounek wrote:
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