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K.I.S.S. Cafetiere -- "French Press" Newbie
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Cafetiere
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Joined: 12 Jan 2008
Posts: 129
Location: Milky Way
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2008, 9:46pm
Subject: K.I.S.S. Cafetiere -- "French Press" Newbie
 

Newbie here . . .  Let me confess to never having bought coffee for the house until this afternoon. I like French roast, and have been content to buy it over the counter from the local barista.

A friend of mine Lisa, while we were editing her MA thesis, got me into "espresso" from what I remember as being a Krups "retail  home espresso maker"  -- like 15 yrs ago.

Nothing complicated, the beans got ground at the point of purchase. The espresso maker was steam driven and likely not developing the requisite 9 bar. We mixed the end product with Swiss Miss cocoa . . .  No crema, and Lisa aced the thesis.

I like French roast and chocolate -- along with what I call "candy creamers" . . . You know, the "French Vanilla, Irish Creme,  Mocha. Yeah, I know . . . blasphemy. I used to get a 60 oz cup of Macademia roast at 7-11, add a dozen "candy creamers" and two pkgs of Swiss Miss, toss a straw in the cup and hop on the bus. I called it "rocket fuel" and used it to "launch my day."

By the time I got to the U. I was ready to teach my classes. -- or fly jet fighters in defense of freedom and democracy.

So I was looking at espresso makers . . . the basic "home retail" Krups, Kitchen Aid, Mr. Coffee stuff. Thankfully, reading herein and on Wikipedia educated me to the fundamental distinctions between these sorts of machines and real espresso machines.

Also, a review here put me onto the fundamentals of automatic coffee brewers -- the kitchen counter machines. Foremost in the reviews was the problem of the warming base under the carafe being on the same circuit system that heats the water. Either the warmer is too hot or the water heater is not hot enough. I think this was a Mark Prince review of a Krups.

The second "issue" is that the Pyrex carafe is a poor vessel for coffee, and that an insulated "vacuum/thermos" style carafe is a better design. What I see in "auto coffee makers" is a lot of plastic. I don't think plastic and hot water are a good mix. I don't need integrated circuits to brew my coffee for me.

I settled on a French Press -- Because I'm not going to drop $1,000 on a Silvia and a Mazzer . . . not right away.

So I got a Bodum French press, along with a Melitta drip carafe/ filter cone, Krups gold tone wire mesh cone filter.  Also, I grabbed a $20 Krups blade grinder -- because they work for French press.  

I got some Arabica French roast beans from CostCo. Gawd only knows how long they've been sitting in a warehouse. But they smell good.

Water locally stinks -- literally. It leaves red iron stains in sink basins, and has too much chorine. I'm buying filtered water in 5 gal. carboys.

Anyway . . .  Now I'm like a kid with a Christmas chemistry set. Heating water on the stove top to 190 F and doing a French press over coarse grind for 4 minutes.

I bought the drip carafe mostly as a means to straining sediment out of the French press and stowing the coffee in a stainless steel thermos. I know, I know . . . old coffee tastes like old coffee.

Anyway -- First post here. Thanks for the site and the discussion. You saved me from spending some $200 on a "retail espresso" machine and cheap burr grinder. I don't need a computer monitored coffee robot on the kitchen counter.

French press is simple, and I like the end product. Down the road we'll look at a Silvia and a Mazzer.  I should read up on coffee roasting.

I'm gonna go brew another cup ! ! !  Thank gawd I'm not on a schedule and can drink this stuff late into the night ! ! !

 
Good coffee is not rocket science. It's WAY more complicated than that!
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
Posts: 2,945
Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Anita, Cappuccino Amore
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Mazzer SJ
Vac Pot: Antique McKee, Santos
Drip: Pour Over, Bodum Presses
Roaster: RK Drum
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2008, 9:58pm
Subject: Re: K.I.S.S. Cafetiere -- "French Press" Newbie
 

Welcome to the site!  I agree press coffee is a very simple way to enjoy delicious coffee.  Have you tried just boiling your water, pausing a few seconds then pouring it onto the coffee?  190F may be a little low (remember that the water will cool as it enters the press).  Just off of boil works great for me.  

Also thank you for your service and again welcome to the site its great to have you with us.

 
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Mizspresso
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Mizspresso
Joined: 8 Sep 2007
Posts: 304
Location: Sunnyvale, Ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi II, MyPressi
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 Vario, Macap...
Drip: Bodum (press)
Roaster: Sonofresco
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2008, 10:04pm
Subject: Re: K.I.S.S. Cafetiere -- "French Press" Newbie
 

Well, thank Gawd you found this site. If you can wean yourself off of all that awful candy-creamer crap, it will be a major step forward.

Do youself a favor and order a pound of beans from Stumptown (since you like darker roasts, try the Hair Bender), grind that up and put it in your presspot. Maybe you will discover a world beyond cheap Costco coffee.

Good coffee has a flavor unto itself and can be extremely satisfying. It is completely unlike anything you will get at Costco. If you get to try a good espresso you will discover it blooms throughout your mouth, the flavors coat your taste buds and linger on far after the cup is empty like a lovely memory. Next time you're in Portland you might stop at one of Stumptown's cafes and try a cup. I am a cappuccino lover and the description is equally apt to that drink.

I used to take my coffee with milk and honey. Since I started espresso with frothed milk, I take nothing besides those two ingredients.

Welcome to a whole new world of real coffee.
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Cafetiere
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Joined: 12 Jan 2008
Posts: 129
Location: Milky Way
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2008, 10:23pm
Subject: Re: K.I.S.S. Cafetiere -- "French Press" Newbie
 

Water temp . . . Yeah, I get a decent simmer and then pour. I'm betting it's more like 210 F. It's mostly that holding my thermometer in the water was starting to really scald my hand. *S*

Three lbs of CostCo Arabica . . .  And I confess to adding Swiss Miss. So is that doing some sort of ironic justice to the CostCo beans or just really putting lipstick on a hawg?

We have a local roaster -- ThunderMug. I know nothing about them, except where they're located, because the fire dept. got called out one night in response to a chimney fire, or roaster fire, or something. I was directing traffic and didn't get to see the fire.  I see their trucks around locally.

Having been really serious about tobaccos and pipe smoking, I can appreciate that what I'm doing right now is tantamount to smoking the sugary "candy" pipe mixtures.  But reading up here, I'm knowing what I'm looking for in an espresso and we're gaining on sites where it's sold.

I figure this site has saved me a year on the learning curve and probably in the realm of $500 on "espresso stuff" that's not going to make the grade.  

The French press is a major step up from the carafe on the warmer in the office, or firestation with 4 hour warmed over Folgers in the red can -- or Gawd forefend, "decaff" in the green can.

 
Good coffee is not rocket science. It's WAY more complicated than that!
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bodum_fanatic
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bodum_fanatic
Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 481
Location: Missouri
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Won't become one of those...
Grinder: Braun KMM30, Krups Fast...
Vac Pot: Never had much luck there.
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Roaster: West Bend Poppery II
Posted Sun Jan 13, 2008, 5:44pm
Subject: Re: K.I.S.S. Cafetiere -- "French Press" Newbie
 

Just my two cents worth, but try a finer grind and shorter steep time.  I grind as fine for a presspot as I do for drip, and then steep for 90 seconds.  This ensures less cooling of the brew while it's steeping.
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Cafetiere
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2008
Posts: 129
Location: Milky Way
Posted Wed Jan 16, 2008, 2:36am
Subject: Re: K.I.S.S. Cafetiere -- "French Press" Newbie
 

bodum_fanatic Said:

Just my two cents worth, but try a finer grind and shorter steep time.  I grind as fine for a presspot as I do for drip, and then steep for 90 seconds.  This ensures less cooling of the brew while it's steeping.

Posted January 13, 2008 link

Chic alors! That was my next question!

I just upgraded my stuff. Thank the coffee kharma gods that the local big box lets us return stuff with the sales slip --

Went from a Bodum Kenyan 6 cup to a Chambord 8 cup. Nicer finish.

Returned the Krups blade grinder, found a Starbucks Barista -- display model, on sale $89.

Starbucks tossed in a pound of Dark, French Roast Kenyan.

Bought a pound of Thundermuck! from Thundermuck Columbia River Coffee Roasters -- They're roasting tonight! I'm invited back tomorrow.

Made some major inroads into the coffee scene in Clatsop Co. today. It's happening. Just needing to uncover.

So -- Coarsest grind on the Barista is MUCH finer than I've been grinding with a blade. I cut back the steep to 3 min. and could cut back more.  We'll try 90 seconds.

The brew stays hotter. I've been steeping the cup in hot water -- It's a heavy, hand thrown earthenware and stays hot.

Pressing the finer grind requires more "push" and I'm getting "sludge" in the bottom of the cup. But the flavor is fine, and the temperature is better.

I got some Rubbermaid air-tight containers for the beans. Opaque bags.  Cool, DRY storage . . . no longer in the fridge.

-- We're catching on . . . with some coaching and support from the Coffee Geeks.

Ohhhhhhh yeah . . . and I'm leaving out the Swiss Miss! What's that telling you?

Thanks . . .

 
Good coffee is not rocket science. It's WAY more complicated than that!
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