Tips for your coffee

Bon Appetit has some tips for making a better cup of coffee. These are for regular brewed coffee and not cold brew.

Pre-warm your mug. If you pour your just-right temperature coffee into a cold mug, you’ve blown it. Make a little extra hot water and (especially if you do it pour-over method) and pour some into your cup. They say you will keep the temperature and flavor longer.

Don’t boil the water for your coffee. They say the optimum temperature is 200 degrees. If you boil your water for pour over, let it cool down a little.

Use your beans up. Don’t let them sit around for special occasions. This is also assuming you are buying whole beans. The further out the beans are from the date they are roasted, the weaker the flavor is.

Use the Golden Ratio. They say the ratio is 1:16 as a general rule, or 22 grams coffee to 352 grams water or about 3 tablespoons for every 12 ounces water. The ratio can be played with to your liking, depending on how strong you want your coffee.

Wet your filter ahead of time. If you are making your coffee pour over or drip, wet the coffee filter before putting ground beans in. Using some water first will help remove any flavors in the filter and hold tighter to the machine.

Brewing more than just coffee

There are a lot of commercial and craft beers on the market. Many of the new beers are being infused with other flavors. We’ve seen Chocolate Stout, Cherry-Chocolate Stout, and there are certainly a lot now with our favorite brew … Coffee! The Victor Crew previously wrote about Limited Release Pipeline (porter with 100% Hawaiian Kona coffee) but there are more out there.

So what happens when you mix a stimulant (coffee) and depressant (beer)? You get Coffee Beer! Here are some of the coffee beers on the market now:

Troegs JavaHead Stout – from PA
Narragansett Coffee Milk Stout – from Rhode Island
Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter (hmm does everything taste better with bacon?)
Schlafly Coffee Stout
Surly Brewing Company Coffee Bender
The Sky Brewing Co. Cowboy Coffee Porter

These are just a few of the coffee flavored beers out there. You might want to consider some brew with your brew!

How do you clean your coffeemaker?

No matter what type of coffeemaker you have, you should be keeping it clean. In a study in 2011, the coffeemaker reservoir was the fifth dirtiest (mold, spoors) in the typical home.

So how should you clean it? First, make sure to clean the filter basket, lid, and pot in warm soapy water daily. Just a hot water rinse isn’t good enough. One of the best cleaning products for your coffeemaker is vinegar. You can use this to help sanitize, decalcify and remove mineral buildup from tap water. (If you can, you should make your coffee with filtered water.) If you have hard water, decalcify once a month, otherwise every two to three months.

Your manual should tell you how to run vinegar through to clean it out. If not, here is what you can do. Fill the chamber with half white vinegar/ half water. Use a paper filter and allow to brew until half empty. Turn off and let sit for 30 minutes. Finish brewing. Rinse by putting in a new filter and brew just water twice. You can use rice in the carafe as an abrasive with some warm sudsy water to remove any gunk. (We’ve also had luck with a little bit of dishwasher detergent but be sure to rinse well.) Enjoy germ-free coffee!

Jody Victor

Hmmm. Beer made with coffee?

Looking for something different? Jody‘s crew found a porter brewed with 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee made by the Kona Brewing Company.

They say Pipeline Porter is “smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of permium malted barley.” This is available through Fall and Winter.

They say it pairs well with hearty soups and stews, beef dishes.

Jody Victor® finds out about coffee grinders

There are 2 types of coffee grinders: blade or burr. Which is better? Jody wanted to know. Here is what he found out.

There are basically 2 types of coffee grinders: blade and burr.

Blade grinders. This is the least expensive type of grinder. It uses a blade to cut up the beans. The fineness of the grind is dependent on how long you let the grinder run. The resulting grounds can be uneven giving an inconsistent brew. If you let it run for a long time to get a finer ground, it can get hotter than you want giving the brew a burned taste. These are for basic use but be careful of how you grind them.

Burr grinders. This type of grinder crushes the beans between a non-moving surface and a grinding wheel. The position on the burr regulates the ground size. There are 2 types of burr grinders.

  • Wheel burr – The wheel spins fast and it can be noisy and more messy. This is the least expensive.
  • Conical burr – This is the best grinder you can get. The burr spins slower so they are quieter and less messy. You can use this type grinder for oilier or flavored coffees with less likelihood of clogging. You will pay a lot more for this type.