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New to coffee - lots of questions :)
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Canious
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Oregon
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 1:29am
Subject: New to coffee - lots of questions :)
 

Greetings!

First of all, very impressed that there is a HUGE community of coffee lovers, experts, and of course geeks!
I am from PORTLAND, Oregon and needing a LOTS of advice on coffee! I did many google searches, found many forums, tips, etc but I still have some questions if you could be so kind :)

My exposure to "real" coffee is less than a month. I've been drinking monsters and diet coke for approximately last 5 years and one day I had an epiphany that these energy drinks/diet cokes couldn't be healthy. I work in an office environment eight hours a day - I need caffeine to help me make it through the day and my coworker introduced me to coffee. I never liked/appreciated the taste of black coffee but been drinking black coffee for a month now to understand the "true" taste of coffee. (ranging from medium, to medium dark, and full french roast).

I started out with buying a $80 Mr. Coffee auto dripper with a $20 blade grinder, a $5 gold permanent mesh, and a local roasted  whole been coffee. Then I found out all the secrets such as:
  1. Mr Coffee and blade grinder sucks!
  2. Water temp needs to be 195-205 degrees
  3. I need a burr grinder
  4. 2 tablespoon of ground coffee every 6 oz of water
  5. Use Melitta paper filter (brown #4)

So pretty much after debating if this is worth all the $ and hassle, I decided to give it a try to see where it takes me. Since then now I have (after many research and considering my budget): Bonavita 1800 (glass) coffee maker, Capresso Infinity burr grinder, Melitta paper filters, and a little more idea to what makes good coffee. But I can't shake off the feeling that the coffee I make is not quite good enough.. so here comes the questions:

  1. Using the Bonavita dripper I am using a "Medium" grind - i usually brew about 4 Cups which means 8 grounds of coffee because I don't drink too much. But the coffee tastes very bitter/bright. I've tried finer grind and still bitter. Do i need to grind the beans in a more coarse setting, or add more water/cups and grounds for longer brew time?

  2. I found out that I don't like coffee that is very acidity/bright so I've tried darker roasts such as French and appreciated the smoother taste a lot. However, after drinking dark roast for a two weeks I miss the good coffee smell/aroma and taste of medium. Is there a roast that I should be looking for to balance my desired taste?

  3. When I measure two tablespoon for 6 oz, i use a measuring spoon for the tblspn, I read somewhere that I need to weigh it in grams (10) since every roast/coffee is a little different. How important is this?

  4. I currently use a insulated flask (hydroflask) to store my coffee to take it to work (brew at home), is this bad or can it potentially ruin the coffee? Maybe the coffee still cooks inside the insulated bottle?

  5. What are some good beans you guys recommend? Currently I buy local roasted whole beans from Insomnia coffee and directly from Peet's coffee. I've searched amazon for best beans and came up with stuff like click here is this worth buying/trying?

  6. Is coffee not recommended for people who have high blood pressure? Also is there a safe x amount of cups I should limit myself to in a day?

  7. I constantly seem to get thirsty when I drink coffee, weird as it sounds is this normal?

  8. Any other tips/advice/suggestions would be much appreciated!!

Thank you again for reading my newbie post and I hope I can receive a lot of feedbacks! Cheers!!!
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,090
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 5:27am
Subject: Re: New to coffee - lots of questions :)
 

First of all.  Drop the energy drinks and diet coke.  They aren't healthy in any way shape or form.  I've recently gone all natural with regards to food and drink so I've read up on the energy drinks, pop and coffee.  Believe it or not black coffee is good for you. It's loaded to antioxidants and has almost no calories. :)  I have a sweet tooth so I add natural goat cream and cane sugar to mine.  If your wondering why goat cream it's because adults become lactose intolerant as we get older.  Anywho.. The questions.

Using the Bonavita dripper I am using a "Medium" grind - i usually brew about 4 Cups which means 8 grounds of coffee because I don't drink too much. But the coffee tastes very bitter/bright. I've tried finer grind and still bitter. Do i need to grind the beans in a more coarse setting, or add more water/cups and grounds for longer brew time? IMO an approx 18/1 water to coffee ratio gives a full flavored tasty cup which is about 54g of coffee per 4 cups of water If it's still bitter than grind courser until you like what you taste.

I found out that I don't like coffee that is very acidity/bright so I've tried darker roasts such as French and appreciated the smoother taste a lot. However, after drinking dark roast for a two weeks I miss the good coffee smell/aroma and taste of medium. Is there a roast that I should be looking for to balance my desired taste? I also am not a huge acidic coffee fan. I also found that really dark coffees like a french roast loses it's aroma and replaces it with a carbon like smell.  I usually only roast City+ - Vienna roast which is medium light to medium dark. Full Cities (medium's) IMO have the best aroma.

When I measure two tablespoon for 6 oz, i use a measuring spoon for the tblspn, I read somewhere that I need to weigh it in grams (10) since every roast/coffee is a little different. How important is this? IMO a tbsp is roughly 7-8g of coffee.  I'd just spend $10 on a digital scale to make things easy and accurate.

I currently use a insulated flask (hydroflask) to store my coffee to take it to work (brew at home), is this bad or can it potentially ruin the coffee? Maybe the coffee still cooks inside the insulated bottle? No it shouldn't although it might alter the taste depending on the metal. If it's stainless steel then you have nothing to worry about. I use a Starbucks double walled mug and always tastes great. Just keep it clean.

What are some good beans you guys recommend? Currently I buy local roasted whole beans from Insomnia coffee and directly from Peet's coffee. I've searched amazon for best beans and came up with stuff like click here is this worth buying/trying? If you have access to freshly roasted coffee that's the best bet. :) Ordering online can take time depending on where you buy resulting in possibly stale coffee if it takes longer than a week for it to arrive.  Good online vendors are Sweetmaria's, Intelligensia, Klatch Coffee.

Is coffee not recommended for people who have high blood pressure? Also is there a safe x amount of cups I should limit myself to in a day? To my knowledge you should still be able to drink coffee with high blood pressure but I wouldn't recommend drinking back to back or more than 2 a day.  If I have 3 I'm off the walls and shaking.  A regular coffee has around 100mg of caffeine.

I constantly seem to get thirsty when I drink coffee, weird as it sounds is this normal? Nope! Coffee makes it harder for your body to stay hydrated while drinking it.  People describe this as feeling dried out after drinking a coffee.  I just have water on hand to wash the coffee down from time to time. Keeps my thirst quenched and stops the coffee from staining my teeth.

Hope all this helps. :)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,034
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 6:56am
Subject: Re: New to coffee - lots of questions :)
 

If your teeth are not stained black, you don't love coffee! JK!!!! SIDE NOTE my teeth had a huge loss of hardness and my teeth WERE stained black and there was NOTHING anyone could do about it, even the dentist. I wound up getting 5 caps on those teeth as they had gotten so soft and were wore out. I realize there are very few who are in that situation, but MY teeth were black for a while, I would rather have great coffee and black teeth then keep from showing them than give up the coffee. Thankfully, that is no longer the case and I can smile AND enjoy coffee :D YMMV!

Above poster pretty much covered it.

The least expensive way to get great coffee is to start with great coffee, try our list of roasters to start with.
Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
This is in no way the last word in roasters but it is a list of roasters we feel good about sending people to.

A manual cone drip brewer, paper filters (they do not need to be Mellita or brown) some people rinse the filters to remove paper dust, and a way to heat your water such as a electric kettle. I have one that I paid less than $20 for from Wally mart that works fine and no I don't worry about the plastic having nasty things inside. A hand grinder is the least expensive way to grind coffee but for under $100 you can buy a motor powered grinder that works well and has REAL burrs.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 722
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 10:00am
Subject: Re: New to coffee - lots of questions :)
 

Why not just take caffeine pills?
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squaremile
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Posts: 94
Location: Portlandia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 12:27pm
Subject: Re: New to coffee - lots of questions :)
 

You live in Portland, you NEVER need to mailorder beans. If you don't like the lighter roasts that Heart, Coava, or Stumptown do, go get some of the darker roasted stuff from Cellar Door, Portland Roasting Co, Water Ave or the many others in town. The co-ops and local fancy grocers have others as well. Dep on what neighborhood you are in, there is probably a roaster not too far from your place. Another thing I'd encourage you to do is go down to the Stumptown Annex and do one of the free cuppings. It's an awesome time for learning a lot and getting questions answered.
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Canious
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Oregon
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013, 6:02pm
Subject: Re: New to coffee - lots of questions :)
 

BIG Thanks to Burner0000, calblacksmith, and squaremile for your helpful and thorough response! I guess I still have a long way to go haha. I will defnitely try your recommendations and report back with the results :)
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