Archive for the Coffee Category

Quality

Posted in Coffee, Food, Life, Likes on 4 January, 2010 by Troy

My mind has been drifting to the word “quality” as of late.  It seems to keep popping up in discussion lately.  The last number of years it’s taken on a more and more encompassing role in my life.  I suppose I became aware of it after I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Somethings are just better than others for perhaps small and minor reasons.  Food, coffee, liquor all slowly filled the definition of quality for me but lately I’m becoming more aware of those those items and products out there that fit the definition too.  Things that are built to last a long time, have weight to them when you pick them up and feel like their from either a distant land or a forgotten time.  I like those items.  They ooze quality.

My Dad has a Cannon 35mm that he bought in 1969.  I played around with it a bit when I was there last and can only assume that it still works and takes great picture.  It had some good weight to it and looked to be made of stainless steel.  I’m definitely going to get some 35mm film when I get back and try it out.

I recently bought a safety razor as a gift to myself for finishing school.  It’s an old style razor that doesn’t use the excessive and expensive cartridges but instead a plain old razor blade.  I’ve already lost a pint of blood using it but it gives an amazing shave.  It set me back a pretty penny but it definitely fits the definition of quality.  The thing has got some good weight to it, it’s stainless and it comes with a lifetime warranty.  The shop-owner said it’ll last me the rest of my life. 

I bought a pair of headphones nearly 10 years ago now.  They cost me more than I’d like to admit but they put out an amazing quality of sound.  When I think of those headphones, I think of the hours I’ve spent listening to them where everything else in the world doesn’t matter and is shut out or moments I’ve had with them on where the song I’m listening to is so amazing it’s indescribable.  I think back to all those moments and I think they were one of the best things I’ve ever bought.  Now I just need to get around to buying an amplifier for them.

Unfortunately these items are so few and far in between.  Instead everything these days seems to be made to have a 2 year lifespan, is improved upon in some inane way or has a digital clock added to it and re-sold.

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French Press

Posted in Coffee on 30 September, 2009 by Troy

Since not working in coffee I’ve resorted back to using the good old fashioned french press.  So simple, so basic and yet I have to make it as a complicated a task possible for the sake of complication.  I guess it all started when I saw James Hoffmann’s French Press Technique video that I started to play around with different ways of brewing with a french press. 

At first when I saw the video, with the weighting of the water and the clean afterwards, I thought that this was about as dorky it was going to get.  But then it dawned on me how by simply weighting the water you manage to control another parameter in the brewing process.  All those hours spent wondering why last cup tasted so good and the next not so good.  The whole clean off bit I figured was about mouth feel and getting rid of gritty bits of coffee but I soon became aware that wasn’t entirely the case.  With the clean off, certain subtleties in the coffees seemed to be that much more pronounced and it made for an overall more floral and nuanced cup. 

Life was good.  The new french press brewing style meant another way to enjoy the same cup of coffee  differently and it was cool to find some coffees tasting better skimmed and others whole.  Then one day I was at Cafe Crema on the North Shore and was talking to I think Chris.  He mentioned that they brewed their coffee for 3 minutes not 4.  I had read other people brewing at 3 minutes before but I just couldn’t get my head around the idea.  He went on saying that they used 21g of coffee too.  This intrigued me and the wheels started turning; less coffee meant more surface to water ratio but with less time over-extraction wasn’t a factor.  Eureka!

I’ve been playing around with different doses and times for the last couple months now.  28 to 4 min, 25 to 3.5 min and 21 to 3 min are my staples.  Sometimes I skim, sometimes I don’t.  It’s amazing the taste variations that occur with the different types of brewing methods.  Just when I thought that Kenyan coffee from Moja I was drinking wasn’t overly subtle, I found that it was a completely different coffee when I didn’t skim it, meanwhile that Flecha Roja, Costa Rica was bang on at 21g, skimmed.

It’s late and I should post this under written diarrhea.  I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and drink coffee.

Subtlety

Posted in Coffee, Coffee Tasting on 28 September, 2009 by Troy

I’m really liking the more sublte of coffees lately.  The more boutique and floral coffees that you really have to look and taste to find their nuances.  The coffees that seem to have a secret it’s trying to hide.  When I first got into coffee I liked the more slap in the face coffees, namely from Kenya.  Ones that that you could grind on one side of the cafe and have someone on the other, pupil’s dialate and them ask you what coffee that is. 

I’m currently drinking and enjoying one of those coffees from a local roaster called Moja.  It’s a really good clean Kenyan of the style that really got me into coffee but I find that my palate yearns and enjoys the boutique type coffees.  Last I had of that was Flecha Roja, Costa Rica roasted by Intelligentsia.  At first I was like, “eh” nothing to call home and rant and rave about.  It was nice but didn’t seem to be as awsome as the write up on the Intelli website.  A few cups later I was enthralled by the coffee.  Amazing rose pedal and vanilla notes and with what I guess is praline, via the website.  I loved it right to the delicious end, which seemed to be better as it aged a bit.  This also makes me wonder; Intelli vacuum seals and nitrogen flushes their coffees (I’m sure), it seemed like it took opening the bag so the coffee could degass properly and open up.  It wasn’t until the 2nd or even 3rd day after I opened it that it really stepped into it’s own.  Perhaps this is what needs to be done for future bags…

Let’s try this again

Posted in Coffee Tasting on 15 September, 2009 by Troy

So I started this blog over a year ago, dedicating it to coffee.  Like many blogs it fell into disuse and I fell out of love with the coffee business becoming somewhat jaded and decided to move on.  About a year later I found myself thinking more and more about coffee and soon, once again fell in love with everything coffee.  I’ve also been mindful of journals lately and how they’re wonderful things to have to help clear your mind, get some things out and act sort of as a benchmark for your life.  I have an online workout blog that I’ve been continuously updating for nearly 4 years.  So I’ve decided to resurect this corner of the internet for thoughts and crap that doesn’t fit in my personal journal.  Dumb stories, weird thoughts, rants, whatever.

So to start off the first entry I’ll go back to what this blog was originally made for: Coffee.  I took off to Portland a couple weekends ago and was bedazzled by not only all things Portland but the amazing coffees available in a wide variety of places there.  Now there’s a town that must be in a constant state of overcaffeination.  While there I went to a cafe called Barista that I whole heartedly recommend regardless of the cheesy name and picked up a bag of coffee they were selling.  I bought a good amount of coffee while in Portland but this one from Counterculture Coffee out in North Carolina stood out for me the most.  It was Finca Nueva Armenia in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala.

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Some awesome sweetness on this coffee with some great citrusy red fruit-like notes.  The tasting notes say apple so maybe that’s what I’m tasting.  Either way I’m like it big time.  I’ve only tried it in the french press with 28g @4min.  It’s so bang on I don’t want to mess up a good thing.