Here's Mud in Your Cup

Posted by: ryck

Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/07/09 05:29 PM

Given the number of posts that are either late night or early morning I think it's safe to assume that we have our share of coffee drinkers. I'm tiring of the same old-same old that I've been drinking and, having just bought a skookum new coffee maker, I figured it's time to see what others are doing to ensure coffee enjoyment.

My coffee profile is:

I like a plain cup of coffee that just tastes good. Subjective, yes, but it means I'm not a Starbucks-style connoisseur. In fact, I've only been there a few times and have never had a coffee I liked. I haven't tried the fancy ones.

If you've tried Tim Horton's - that's a coffee I really like.

So, what are you doing? Buying in small amounts to preserve freshness? Grinding your own beans? Adding chicory?

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/07/09 05:57 PM

Funny that you should post this, Ryck, because I have been tempted to start a coffee thread also. My wife and I are coffee mavens and we detest Starbucks. Starbucks coffee is over-roasted to the point that you only taste charcoal rather than real coffee. It's a good way to disguise mediocre beans.

We really like the coffee from Oren's Daily Roast and buy it regularly in the bean. Our experience shows that there are several factors to getting a good cup:

1. Start with quality coffee. If you drink commercial stuff (Maxwell House, Yuban, etc.), you'll get coffee that is mostly Coffea robusta. Robusta is high in caffeine but low in taste. The best coffee is Coffea arabica, grown in several parts of the world and it differs markedly in flavor, depending upon its point of origin. The skill of the roaster is also critical. We prefer the Full City Roast that Oren's uses but be aware that the names of different roasts are not standardized.

2. Since your cup is mostly water, the quality of your water is critical. Often, tap water is fine but you may want to experiment with bottled water.

3. Coffee is best when freshly ground. We buy whole beans and freeze them, then grind only the amount that we need to make a pot. We grind the frozen beans and they thaw instantly during the grinding process. The beans seem to keep indefinitely when frozen.

4. The consistency of the grind is crucial. Cheap grinders that work like a blender (rotary grinders) cannot give any consistency, even if you time them. Burr grinders can produce much more consistency because you can dial in the specific grind that you like. In addition, the beans don't get burned because they are ejected into a hopper immediately after being ground and don't come in contact anymore with the burrs. Inexpensive burr grinders do a better job than rotary grinders but if you want good quality, you should spend some money. We use the Maestro Plus grinder and it made a big difference over our Braun grinder. The link is to Oren's site but there are many sources for this grinder.

5. There are various methods of brewing coffee and personal taste dictates the one that you use. We prefer the drip method and use, of all things, a now-defunct KitchenAid 4-cup maker that had a reputation as the finest 4-cupper ever made. I originally read about it at Coffee Geek and sought it out on eBay and QVC. I ended up buying 6 of them because they were discontinued. So far, I have only used one and the remaining 5 are in storage, just in case. Many people like the French Press method but I find it too difficult to control.

In January, when we celebrate our 42nd anniversary, we may treat ourselves to the Technivorm maker in the configuration that has a glass carafe. Our experience with stainless steel carafes has been disappointing. The reviews of Technivorm at Coffee Geek are mostly raves.

Here are some other coffee sites:

Terroir Coffee. George Howell, the owner, has a reputation as one of the finest coffee purveyors and connoisseurs of the bean. We used to patronize his place, The Coffee Connection, in Cambridge, MA years ago. Unfortunately, George sold the place to Starbucks. At that time, Starbucks wasn't as bad as it is now.

If you're a fan of espresso, look into Torrefazione. They make the best espresso beans that we have ever tried.

Peet's is OK if you like dark roasts. Dark roasts are common on the West coast but not popular in the East. To my taste, Peet's coffee is better than Starbucks but much too dark.

Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/07/09 08:33 PM

If you're going Dutch with your coffee maker, try a Senseo machine with Douwe Egberts coffee to handle your 'snack' coffee cravings. The Senseo offers a simple solution to what I consider coffee's biggest problem: sitting around. Its one mug or two cup yield leaves nothing behind to get stale, and it's fast enough for a really fresh refill. tongue

Whatever you use, only drink freshly made coffee. If you absolutely have to keep it around, do so at exactly 83°C (181°F) for no longer than about half an hour, unless you want your taste buds to secede. smirk
Posted by: grelber

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 02:18 AM

I'm like ryck ... I enjoy a nice cuppa joe, in fact several, when I approach the day, starting off online.
I generally make 2 half-pots of drip coffee (re freshness criterion) in a 12-cup coffee maker. I had a Proctor-Silex Coffee-Magic 12-Cup Automatic Drip Coffeemaker for 20+ years – a Consumer Reports best buy – before it gave up the ghost.
I'm now using a Black & Decker SmartBrew 12-Cup Coffeemaker, Model DCM2000 – with equally good results.
Given the amount of coffee I drink, I developed a caffeine addiction which resulted in migraine-like headaches if I went over 12 hours without caffeinated coffee. Bummer. So I've had to shift to my preferences.
As for coffee, I buy arabicas off the shelf, ie commercially ground and roasted and packaged in hermetically sealed tins My preference is for espresso or dark roast. I mix caffeinated and (water-extraction) decaffeinated in equal amounts to achieve lower caffeine levels without disturbing my taste buds.

As for those of you who like Starbucks or Tim Hortons, look closely at the stuff they're selling for take-home. You'll see shiny bits among the ground coffee. Those coffees are highly adulterated with the aim of addicting to their taste. 'Nuff said.
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 03:29 AM

Since you've brought up the subject of caffeine, I'll mention that I get mine from Pepsi, which is the first liquid down my throat virtually every day...close to 2 liters/day these days, but 24 cans/day at one point in my life.

I'm addicted to Pepsi's texture, its acidity/bite, not its caffeine; I can make do without it, when necessary, with no cravings or other ill-effects, but no beverage is as satisfying to me as is Pepsi. (Nope... It hasn't rotted either my teeth or stomach.)

I tasted iced coffee 2 or 3 times, 50-55 years ago, but hot coffee has never passed my lips; coffee flavored CHARMS, on the other hand, were great. (I don't recall ever trying tea, hot or iced.)
Posted by: dkmarsh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 04:14 AM


Nice thread.

We alternate between Trader Joe's two Ultra Dark roasts—Dark Sumatra and French Roast—with an occasional change-up to something a little lighter, like their Café Pajaro (still classified as a very dark roast, but to my palate, a bit less "bold" than the Ultra Darks). At under seven bucks a pound, they're by far the best coffee value I've ever turned up. (Actually, Eight O'Clock French Roast is a great value, too, but the TJ's Ultra Darks are so smooth that my palate has been ruined for the much coarser Eight O'Clock.)

We grind what we need and keep the can out of the fridge; I used to use the freezer, but upon reading somewhere (I'll see if I can dig up a source) that airtight, not cold, is the important state for preserving freshness, I stopped doing so years ago and haven't noticed any falloff in quality.

Like Grelber, I'll sometimes mix in some decaf (Trader Joe's French or Italian Roast) to cut the caffeine; on other occasions, I'll make decaf and "spice it up" with a few caffeinated beans. I don't usually drink coffee the moment I'm out of bed in the morning, and although a caffeine-free half year back in the murky past taught me the disingenuousness of claiming "oh, caffeine doesn't have much effect on me," I persist in my belief that the flavor is as much a trigger of the wakeup effect of coffee as the caffeine. Of course, that may be because I tend to drink small amounts throughout the day rather than big gulps in the morning.

We filter our drinking water, and that's what we use to brew coffee (that's what I use for baking, too, but for reasons of chemistry more than of flavor).

Like Jon, we use a defunct 4-cup drip coffeemaker, in our case, a Gevalia promotion made by Melitta. Rather than a Mr. Coffee-style basket filter, it employs a Melitta cone filter (unbleached no. 2). It's still going strong about a decade into its lifespan.

I'm not sure I agree with Jon's evaluation of the popularity of dark roasts in the East. Plenty of folks I know like a good dark roast. (Maybe it's a generational thing? I'm sure at least part of the appeal of Starbucks lies in the fact that they've always got a "bold" coffee available.)

None of you guys mentioned how you take your coffee. Black is the only way to drink it, as far as I'm concerned. My wife likes hers with turbinado sugar and milk (or cream, when we happen to have it on hand.)

Coffee and Caffeine's Frequently Asked Questions is an old but good source for a variety of relevant factoids.
Posted by: dboh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 04:42 AM

Quote:
We really like the coffee from Oren's Daily Roast and buy it regularly in the bean. Our experience shows that there are several factors to getting a good cup:


Thanks for sparking that memory! I lived a couple of blocks away from the Oren's on First Ave. (NYC) in the '80s. I believe I tried most, if not all, of their coffees. Even the decafs were good. Their take-out coffee was excellent. Now, I usually get something flavored (like Cinnamon Dolce Latte) from Starbucks as a treat, but your post reminds me that I'd forgotten how coffee really ought to taste.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 05:27 AM

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
Like Jon, we use a defunct 4-cup drip coffeemaker, in our case, a Gevalia promotion made by Melitta. Rather than a Mr. Coffee-style basket filter, it employs a Melitta cone filter (unbleached no. 2). It's still going strong about a decade into its lifespan.
We used one of those Gevalia promotions for many years and I was happy with it but noticed a HUGE difference after switching to the KitchenAid. It probably involves brewing at closer to the ideal temperature (195-203 F.). My wife wasn't satisfied, however, because she always claimed that buying a cup at Oren's tasted better than anything we made at home. She changed her mind after we got the KitchenAid. I think that the Melitta (from Gevalia) brews at a lower temperature because I seem to notice that it's cooler when I take the first sip. The Technivorm's claim to fame is that it brews at the ideal temperature. In addition, its heating element surrounds the reservoir but never comes in contact with water. To my taste, Gevalia coffee is unsatisfying.

Our tap water tastes good but is very corrosive. We use Poland Spring water for making coffee for that reason, and also because we don't have to de-scale the maker as often. Here's another tip: De-scale the maker occasionally. I do it by making a full pot consisting of 1/4 vinegar and the rest water. I run the maker through a cycle and then repeat with plain water 4 times to flush out all the vinegar. I do this whenever the taste of coffee noticeably deteriorates (roughly once a month). I clean the grinder at the same time and the Maestro Plus is very easy to clean.

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
None of you guys mentioned how you take your coffee. Black is the only way to drink it, as far as I'm concerned.
I totally agree. Both my wife and I take it black.

Posted by: grelber

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 05:48 AM

Black, it is.
I used to start the day with a full espresso* café au lait, but now it's only a tablespoon of 35% cream in my first cup.
(* made in an Italian cafetière – Moka Express from A. Bialetti Crusinallo)
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 09:39 AM

I first started on coffee around the age of 9 or 10 when I would go for a 5:00 AM breakfast at Archer City Cafe with my rancher grandfather after we had already spent at least three hours laying eyes on each and every head of cattle he owned. Since that time I have never dared drink my coffee any way but black lest he return from the grave to haunt me. The Archer Cafe served "cowboy coffee'. (The coffee is ready to drink when it was strong enough to float a horseshoe.) Later on that turned into Navy coffee (I had been on board ship for three months before I discovered that coffee cup was not permanently grafted onto the Chief Petty Officers' arm along with the stripes.) The best coffee was always in the Chief's mess and much better than we were served in the Wardroom.

Today I confess to being a Starbucks addict to the point I bought stock in the company. (Hopefully my investment will recoup part of what I spend there.) Personally I like my coffee the way I like my scotch — single bean and single malt. In other words no blends. My preferred coffees are of African origin and in general Ethiopian Sidamo beans. I find the flavored coffees worse than the insipid brown dishwater served as coffee in most establishments.

At home I have a Jura-Capresso coffee maker. It grinds the beans, tamps the grounds, then pumps hot water through them one cup at a time and will produce a cup ranging from one to eight ounces. On demand, it also steams and froths the milk for cappuccino. Speaking of demand, the coffee maker demands proper care and when it is turned on it will not make coffee until it has been rinsed out. Every 200 cups it shuts down until I run a complete cleaning cycle that flushes everything out including the cup the used grounds are dumped into. Sometimes it is like having a stern Germanic "barista" in the house, but it does make a good cup of coffee and each cup is guaranteed fresh.
Posted by: MacManiac

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 10:11 AM

Why does it not surprise me that you've spent time in the CPO mess? I learned how to run a grill and make many specialty breakfast menus while mess-cranking in the CPO mess on my first deployment as a young sailor.....we won't go into the specifics of "SOS" or "Creamed _____-skins on Toast" in the mixed company of this venue. Let me just add that I still use the little secrets garnered from my 60 day exposure to the wisdom of a MasterChief Steward in my daily cooking habits to this day.

Oh yeah, coffee......

We buy ours dark roasted (nominally French Roast) in two pound whole-bean bags from a local roaster....keep it sealed and frozen until ready to prep....pull out only what's needed for a single pot of coffee, then nuke the beans for just over 30 seconds to bring out the oils and grind/brew it in our Cuisanart grind & brew drip maker using filtered water.......black and fresh is the only way to consume it.....can't drink the swill they call coffee at most restaurants without cutting it with cream.
Posted by: joemikeb

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 11:57 AM

Quote:
Let me just add that I still use the little secrets garnered from my 60 day exposure to the wisdom of a MasterChief Steward in my daily cooking habits to this day.

Some of the finest food I have ever eaten was in the mess hall at Camp Pendleton, California when I was stationed there as a liaison to the First Marine Division. It was prepared by a Navy trained Chief Master Sergeant and it was incredibly good. He fed the troops like kings! His cooking was so good the commanding general had to issue an order preventing the officers from eating in that mess hall because the competition from the mess hall food was threatening to bankrupt the Officer's Club.
Posted by: Phos....

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/08/09 11:39 PM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
...If you drink commercial stuff (Maxwell House, Yuban, etc.), you'll get coffee that is mostly Coffea robusta. Robusta is high in caffeine but low in taste. The best coffee is Coffea arabica...


Didn't I see a show about coffee on the History Channel where they talked about the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville becoming famous for their coffee because they were one of the first to zero in on the use of c. arabica as being the better tasting species?

Whether I remember that correctly or not, I do know that the Maxwell House coffee I buy for every day consumption states right on the label that it's 100% Arabica.

I also remember seeing the results of a blind taste test conducted with a pretty large sampling of people who claimed to be good coffee hounds, and that many of them picked a fresh cuppa plain from McDonald's as being their favorite. The Dunkin Donuts blend my Dad used to brew up when they first started selling it used to be pretty good too. I haven't gotten any for a long time, and I just haven't had occasion to go into one of their stores in years.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 03:36 AM

Since coffee-consciousness has been raised in the US, my guess is that more commercial providers are using arabica. Despite my dislike for the current incarnation of Starbucks, that company probably did more to raise the coffee consciousness of people in the US than any other concern. I remember that the original Starbucks coffee was fairly decent but I think that they have gone downhill. Eight O'Clock coffee has a good reputation also.

Still, I find it next to impossible to get a decent cup in a US restaurant. That's not true in Canada nor in any European country that I have visited.
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 03:57 AM

> I find it next to impossible to get a decent cup in a US restaurant.

A few years ago my local coffee shop owner got an offer he couldn't refuse and closed in short order, but before the end he offered me his coffee urn, one of those incredible, old, beautiful, glass-lined, triple tower things, at a very nominal price.

I pitched the thing to every restaurant owner I know, more than a few, (without trying to clean up) and was turned down by every one of them.

My understanding has always been that glass makes for better coffee than does stainless steel, and beyond that, you'd think that somebody would have wanted the thing for its aesthetics alone, but nope.

Go figure. confused
Posted by: roger

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 06:40 AM

I get Eight O'Clock whole beans, grind a bunch, and then I make enough for two days drinking. on the second day I microwave it, add a little half & half, and I'm good to go. I have a simple Black and Decker which I like since it will start on its own at 5am, so on the brew days the coffee's ready when I get up at 5:15am.

the rest of my caffeine needs are met with Mt Dew. (hi, artie!!)

I enjoy a good cup of coffee from my local coffee shop, but I don't feel a need for coffee snobbery any more than I do for beer snobbery. gimme a Rolling Rock and I'm happy. cool

though I have recently discovered Dr. McGillicudy's Black Licorice Schnapps. yum.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 09:32 AM

What a great place this lounge is to pose any kind of question.

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
1. Start with quality coffee. If you drink commercial stuff (Maxwell House, Yuban, etc.), you'll get coffee that is mostly Coffea robusta.........The best coffee is Coffea arabica,

The skill of the roaster is also critical.

Since your cup is mostly water, the quality of your water is critical.

We buy whole beans and freeze them, then grind only the amount that we need to make a pot. .......The consistency of the grind is crucial.

We prefer the drip method and use, of all things, a now-defunct KitchenAid 4-cup maker


I'm currently using Maxwell House, which says Coffee Arabica on the label, but I wonder if their roast is the issue. I find it a bit 'edgy' whereas I like a coffee that's more 'mellow', so I am looking for something else.

The water tip is interesting. Our tap water is quite good and very soft (I use much less shampoo than I did in any other city we've lived in - although I suppose there's an argument about having less to shampoo). The new coffee maker (Cuisinart Brew Central) uses water filters.

I've never ground my own beans although it's something I'm starting to think about. The idea sure has a lot of support from the folks in this thread.

Although my coffee maker can make 12 cups (needed for company) I seldom make more than four. Interestingly, the Cuisinart has a 1-4 cup water-heating function that double heats the water for four cups.

Originally Posted By: alternaut
Whatever you use, only drink freshly made coffee. If you absolutely have to keep it around, do so at exactly 83°C (181°F) for no longer than about half an hour, unless you want your taste buds to secede. smirk


Interesting. Tim Horton's has a freshness policy where any pot, no matter how full, is dumped and remade every half hour. And, my new coffeemaker has H-M-L plate temperature settings - although it doesn't say what the temperatures are.

Originally Posted By: grelber
Given the amount of coffee I drink, I developed a caffeine addiction which resulted in migraine-like headaches if I went over 12 hours without caffeinated coffee. Bummer. So I've had to shift to my preferences.

As for those of you who like Starbucks or Tim Hortons, look closely at the stuff they're selling for take-home. You'll see shiny bits among the ground coffee.


You can develop the addiction even with a lower intake. Years ago my wife, who never drank more than a few cups a day, stopped drinking coffee. About a week later I was reading an article about coffee addiction (thinking of myself, who was consuming about 18 cups per day) and I gave the article to her.

About ten minutes later she came back into the living room, eyes open to about f1.4, and said that she had experienced every one of the withdrawal symptoms.

What would the 'shiny bits' be?

Originally Posted By: artie505
Since you've brought up the subject of caffeine, I'll mention that I get mine from Pepsi, which is the first liquid down my throat virtually every day...close to 2 liters/day these days, but 24 cans/day at one point in my life.


Diet or Regular? If it's regular I hope you're keeping an eye on your blood sugar level - Stage 2 diabetes is such a worry these days. Sorry about the health nag but it is a prod accompanied with kind intent.

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
I used to use the freezer, but upon reading somewhere.......that airtight, not cold, is the important state for preserving freshness, I stopped doing so years ago and haven't noticed any falloff in quality.

Like Grelber, I'll sometimes mix in some decaf (Trader Joe's French or Italian Roast) to cut the caffeine; on other occasions, I'll make decaf and "spice it up" with a few caffeinated beans.


I hope that's true. When our deep freeze gave up the ghost we didn't bother replacing it (once the kids are gone, who needs it?) and just use the refrigerator freezers, which means that frozen real estate is at a premium.

It's looking like experimentation is a good idea. I've read that some people use chicory to reduce caffeine while maintaining a good coffee taste. If so, it's also something that would be pretty easy to grow.

Originally Posted By: joemikeb
The Archer Cafe served "cowboy coffee'. (The coffee is ready to drink when it was strong enough to float a horseshoe.)


It sounds like the coffee my Mother made except that her criterion was whether a spoon could remain vertical in it, which probably accounts for why I didn't start drinking coffee until I left home and had a less intimidating brew, "Oh....that's how it's supposed to taste!"

Originally Posted By: MacManiac
....pull out only what's needed for a single pot of coffee, then nuke the beans for just over 30 seconds to bring out the oils


Another good experimentation idea. Thanks.
Posted by: grelber

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 12:01 PM

From Drug Digest:
Coffee, Exercise Fight Prostate Cancer

If you're not signed up for (free) access, you'll have to do so. It's worth it.
Posted by: Hal Itosis

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 12:56 PM

Code:
Caffeine -- food of the gods.


            CH3                               H   H
             |                                 \ /
             |                           O      C---H
             N                           \\    /
            / \                   H       C---N
       N---C   C===O               \     /     \
       ||  ||  |                H---C---N       C===O
       ||  ||  |                   /     \     /
       C   C   N---CH3            H       C===C       H
      / \ / \ /                           |    \     /
     H   N   C                            |     N---C---H
         |   ||                           |    /     \
         |   ||                           N===C       H
        CH3  O                                 \
                                                H
                       (
                         )     (
                  ___...(-------)-....___
              .-""       )    (          ""-.
              |-._             )         _.-|`''`-.
              |   `""-=*%$@@@@@@@$%*=-"""'  |.--.  \
              |   ___                       |    \  \
              |  / __|     __  __     ___   |    |  |
              | | (__ ___ / _|/ _|___/ -_)  |   /  /
              |  \___/ _ \  _|  _/ -_)___|  | /' /'
              |      \___/_| |_| \___|      |' /'
              \                             /\ \_
               \      makes the world      /  \__)
       _..---""'\        go 'round        /`""---.._
    .-'          \                       /          '-.
   :              `-.__             __.-'              :
   :                 ) ""---...---"" (                 :
    `._              `"--...___...--"`              _.'
      \""--..__                             __..--""/
       `._     """---.....______.....----"""     _.'
          `""--..,,____            _____,,..--""'
                       `"""----"""'


                            CAPU
                ____   _   _   _   _   ___
               |       |___|   |\  |  |   |
               |____   |   |   | \_|  |___|
                     8      10      4      2

smile (i collected a lot of ascii art back in the day)
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 01:15 PM

Nice art work, Hal, but theobromine, one of the components of chocolate, is actually Food Of The Gods.

Chocolate is the answer. Who cares what the question is? grin
Posted by: Hal Itosis

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 01:32 PM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
Nice art work, Hal, but theobromine, one of the components of chocolate, is actually Food Of The Gods.

D R O O L.
[me want]
Posted by: kiwichris

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 04:08 PM

I gotta admit, when it comes to coffee I am a real peasant. Dark, strong instant, the cheapest does just fine thanks smile Large mug, milky, 2 sugars thanks and I am very happy. I have yet to come across a brewed coffee that I like, but then I live in NZ, perhaps the real good stuff doesn't get here grin
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 05:48 PM

Quote:
Artie: Since you've brought up the subject of caffeine, I'll mention that I get mine from Pepsi, which is the first liquid down my throat virtually every day...close to 2 liters/day these days, but 24 cans/day at one point in my life.

Quote:
ryck: Diet or Regular? If it's regular I hope you're keeping an eye on your blood sugar level - Stage 2 diabetes is such a worry these days. Sorry about the health nag but it is a prod accompanied with kind intent.

Your concern is appreciated, but nope...no issues that I either see or feel, doctors being excluded from the equation.. (I did the math once during my case/day phase, and it came out to 700+ pounds of sugar/year.)
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 05:50 PM

> Chocolate is the answer. Who cares what the question is?

One of the best T-shirts I ever saw read "I want it all, but I'll settle for chocolate!"
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 05:53 PM

> the rest of my caffeine needs are met with Mt Dew. (hi, artie!!)

Yay, roger; I couldn't imagine myself being the only soda provided caffeine junkie around here.
Posted by: crarko

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/09/09 06:35 PM

I highly recommend the Tim Tam Slam for a new coffee experience.
Posted by: MicroMatTech3

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/10/09 10:14 AM

Jon,

I bought the Technivorm Thermo Moccamaster CDT in February from www.roastmasters.com, which offered two pounds of Willoughby's coffee (which could become addictive), a box of 100 paper coffee filters by Filtropa, and free shipping. The stainless steel carafe on that model does require preheating for best results.

All Technivorm did was to find out what the correct temperature and contact time between the water and ground beans should be (by asking those who already knew), and make sure the showerhead fully soaks the grounds. Yet they seem to have an incomparable product.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/10/09 01:01 PM

I rarely (almost never) brew more than 4 cups at a time. How well does the Technivorm do with amounts smaller than full capacity? I know that there is a brew setting on the filter basket to control this.
Posted by: MicroMatTech3

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/10/09 02:26 PM

Jon,

The Technivorm model I have retains 4 ounces of water from each brewing cycle. I put enough water for two cups of coffee into it, and run one cycle without coffee. That preheats the stainless steel caraffe. Brewing even two cups is not a problem.

There is an advanced technique for smaller quantities in which the user starts the brewing process, and turns off the valve on the cone for 30 seconds (suggested times vary from reviewer to reviewer). That allows more contact time. After 30 seconds, the user changes the switch setting, and allows the water to start flowing into the caraffe. This approach is dangerous for people who forget to change the switch setting, but with only 2 cups, the cone will not overflow even if the user forgets to change the setting.

A technique similar to the one described above is mentioned in the tip sheet at:

http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.technivorm.php

The Technivorm is very entertaining to watch. The water travels vertically in the tube, and a pleasant gurgling sound is made.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/10/09 03:02 PM

Thanks for your input. I showed your responses to the missus and she's interested as well. I don't know if I want to experiment with that method of brewing small amounts but who knows? I downloaded Sweet Maria's tip sheet for future reference.

At any rate, we intend to get the model with the glass carafe. Our KitchenAid has a glass carafe and we pour the freshly-brewed coffee into a glass-lined thermal carafe by Alfi. We have found that stainless steel carafes don't retain temperature as well and that "stainless steel" is an oxymoron.
Posted by: MicroMatTech3

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 12/10/09 07:22 PM

Jon,

You are welcome.

Some people would find the extra steps involved in controlling the contact time annoying, and other people would find that they offer an enjoyable degree of involvement in the process, similar to the use of an expresso machine. After a few uses of the Technivorm, I found that the extras steps became habitual, and seemed to require no effort at all.

The pronunciation is: Teck-knee-form

Some stainless steel is not stainless because the chromium and nickel are not evenly distributed throughout the metal.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/24/10 09:35 AM

Our Technivorm Moccamaster (with glass carafe) arrived a day after we ordered it from Terroir Coffee, complete with 12 oz. of Matalapa, La Libertad, El Salvador, a box of Filtropa #4 filters, George Howell's recommendations for brewing, and a genuine George Howell Coffee Company scoop. We have been experimenting with the Technivorm for a few days and have concluded that Howell's proportions (water to coffee in the ration of 17:1, that is, 17 oz. water to 1 oz. coffee) suits our taste. If you are using the Technivorm markings for cups, it translates to about 7 grams of coffee per cup. The GHCC scoop holds about 14 grams.

The TV certainly makes great coffee but we found that our $25 KitchenAid 4-cupper does an equally fine job. The TV excels in its flexibility for tweaking the brew and its ability to make extra-strength coffee. I did that by accident the first time that I tried the TV and it was a revelation. My wife had her usual amount at breakfast and spent the rest of the day totally wired. We both loved the taste (it's as rich as espresso with more depth) but we won't do this too often because we're afraid that our heart rates will go into overdrive. If you're interested, the proportions were 22 oz. of water to 28 grams coffee, added to an empty TV, no residual water. Set the TV for the slow percolation rate. Interestingly, that is the same as our usual coffee via the KitchenAid but it came out totally different with the TV, most likely because the TV doesn't pass all the water through the coffee, keeping some in the water reservoir.

We are especially happy to have a maker that can brew amounts of coffee greater than 4 cups because we need that when we have company. Our previous 8-cupper (a freebie courtesy of Gevalia and made by Melitta) did a poor job. So, the TV is not flawless (dkmarsh take note grin ) but it is an excellent machine.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/26/10 08:58 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
(it's as rich as espresso with more depth)


What do you mean by 'depth'? Would that be the caffeine? i.e. you got the strong taste of espresso by extra brewing but it was like espresso with caffeine. From what I understand, espresso would typically have less caffeine due to the length of the roasting time.

I ask because I've been experimenting with coffee purchases and, in error, bought some decaffeinated....and I don't find it very tasty.

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/26/10 11:08 AM

By "depth", I mean extra nuance, variety of flavors, and a multi-dimensional quality. Also, the taste improves as the brew cools. Espresso does, indeed, have less caffeine than lighter roasts but that refers to the caffeine content of each bean. When espresso is brewed, a very fine grind is used as well as a high proportion of coffee to water. So, a cup of espresso has a higher concentration of caffeine than a comparable amount of regular coffee.

I saw a wonderful lapel pin that, regrettably, I didn't buy. It said, "Death Before Decaf".
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 05:41 AM

After more experimentation, I have come up with a combination of factors that suits my taste for coffee to a T (pun intended). Using the Technivorm Moccamaster, the following works for me:

1. 6 cups (TV measure) Poland Spring Water.
2. 35 grams coffee beans ground to DRIP (set it on the R of DRIP) with a Solis (now Baratza) Maestro Plus.
3. Percolation rate (via the TV's cone) set to Slow.

For me, this is the ideal cup. Obviously, this is a matter of personal preference but it may be useful as a starting point for the other coffee mavens out there.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 10:17 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
6 cups (TV measure)


How much water is that cup? Is it the same as I would find in a standard measuring cup?

Thanks

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 10:22 AM

Technivorm uses the European cup, about 4 oz. Its reservoir says 10 cups, which translates to 1.25 liters. A complication is that a not-insignficant amount of water remains in the reservoir after the coffee is brewed (thus, never participating in the brewing process) so the markings on the TV won't necessarily translate to other coffeemakers. A standard American cup is about 5 oz.

Also, the proportion of water to coffee that I like for the TV may not work with a different maker due to differences in brewing temperature, speed of percolation through the grinds and maybe other factors.
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 12:00 PM

Jon, without intending to detract from the information you provided, I think the volume issue here warrants some comment. The 'cup' as used by Technivorm is NOT an official volume measure but refers to an average serving. As you note, rather than 8 (US) oz this serving equals about 4 oz, or half a unit cup (regardless of which flavor—US, English or Metric/European—as listed on OnlineConversion.com). Of course, it doesn't matter which unit you use when trying to maintain the proportions you mentioned above, but, as a Dutch saying goes, a consumer might want to know whether (s)he's dealing with a regular size cuppa or a 'Hague' (= half filled) one. wink

Btw, I didn't come up with a reference when I mentioned earlier that maintaining coffee at 83°C after brewing was imperative, but I noticed the temperature range (80-85°C) mentioned by Technivorm* as a requirement of the ECBC/SCAE/SCAA. These acronyms stand for the following coffee trade and consumer organizations:

- European Coffee Brewing Centre
- Speciality Coffee Association of Europe
- Specialty Coffee Association of America

*) See the model info in the popup windows when clicking on a product model on this page.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 01:05 PM

I should have made it clear that a cup (8 oz.) used for measuring purposes is not the same as a coffee cup. Coffee measurements are, as we know, rather arbitrary so the only way to make a good brew is to experiment with the particular method that you are using until you achieve satisfaction (hopefully, caffeinated Nirvana). BTW, my model is the KGB741.

When I started to become interested in coffee (many, many years ago), I had read that a standard coffee cup was 6 oz. That has changed over the years and I rather think that there is no such thing as a "standard" coffee cup.
Posted by: dkmarsh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 01:21 PM


I'm not sure I'd want to consume anything that came out of a KGB coffeemaker, lest it contain dioxin. wink
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 01:54 PM

Not to mention ricin and polonium 210. Of course, considering some of the awful coffee that I have been afflicted with during my life, they might be an improvement. tongue
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 01/31/10 03:21 PM

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

I'm not sure I'd want to consume anything that came out of a KGB coffeemaker...

Not to worry, the model number is actually KBG741. That said, your remark reminds me of the cold war times when Dutch businessmen dealing with both the USA and the USSR were issued two passports, one for each country, to avoid having to show potentially problematic entry and exit stamps. tongue But I digress... laugh
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/12/10 03:49 AM

I serendipitously discovered another factor in making good coffee, namely, the brand of filter. I had been using Melitta filters in my Technivorm drip coffeemaker and was running out of them. Since I was ordering coffee anyway, I ordered a box of Connaisseur filters. Both my wife and I noticed a marked improvement in the flavor of the coffee using Connaisseur.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/12/10 09:23 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
I serendipitously discovered another factor in making good coffee, namely, the brand of filter.

That's interesting. I use an "Emma" unbleached fiter made in Germany (Cuisinart Maker). My wife once accidentally brought home the wrong filter, the name of which I don't recall, which was bleached. When I noticed, we were right out of filters, with stores closed, so I was forced to start the package.

There was a change in the coffee that I guessed might be the result of the bleaching chemicals. Of course, that might be wrong and it was simply the quality of the filtering.

Your link provided an interesting tip:

"If you are sensitive to the papery taste of coffee filters, just put the coffee filter in your brew basket, and run some hot water into the filter to rise out the papery taste. (Hot tap water should work fine.) After a few seconds, pour out the water and splash out the excess. Put your grinds into the wet filter, and brew as normal."

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/12/10 12:02 PM

I tried unbleached filters, albeit quite some time ago, and found that they added a "chemical" paper taste that was lacking from bleached filters. Or, maybe I was used to the taste of bleach and missed it when using unbleached? confused

At any rate, I prefer bleached filters to the ecologically correct (similar to politically correct?) unbleached filters.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/12/10 12:41 PM

When I bought the Technivorm from Terroir Coffee, a small number of Filtropa filters was included. I used them up before I had mastered the Technivorm so I don't know how good they really are. Since George Howell, the owner of Terroir Coffee, recommends them, I take that seriously. Howell is widely recognized as a coffee expert.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/13/10 08:37 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
Or, maybe I was used to the taste of bleach and missed it when using unbleached? confused

Of course, there's also the possibility that I might be used to the taste of something that's not getting bleached out. I sure hope it's not little bits of Pine Beetle.

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/13/10 09:15 AM

A long time ago, I tried a gold plated filter instead of paper. Maybe it was the fault of the grinder that I then had, but the coffee had noticeable particles that came through the filter. I was using a Braun burr grinder that was reasonably priced and reasonably good but it gave a somewhat uneven grind. I now use a Solis Maestro Plus that seems to be very consistent (and, not incidentally, yields a better cup). I no longer have the gold plated filter and I'm getting such good results with paper that I don't have much inclination to buy another one.
Posted by: dkmarsh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/13/10 03:20 PM


Just gimme a heaping spoonful of Folger's in a styrofoam cup of hot tap water and don't be stingy with the Cremora* or the NutraSweet!
_____
*Or any other non-dairy creamer consisting of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, corn syrup solids, sugar, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, monoglycerides, silicon dioxide, sodium tripolyphosphate, etc.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/13/10 04:44 PM

What's the difference between the styrofoam and the stuff that you're drinking? tongue
Posted by: dkmarsh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/13/10 04:50 PM


Nothing! That's why when I'm done, I eat the cup. I'm nothing if not environmentally sensitive.
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/13/10 05:48 PM

Keep that up, Dave, and you'll be doing mesalamine before long! shocked smirk
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/10/11 06:47 AM

I have experimented with variations in brewing coffee and came up with a method that works well with my Technivorm brewer. Rather than close the filter funnel for a specified time (as per MMT's procedure), I start brewing with the funnel closed and open it after exactly one cup has entered the funnel. This can be easily seen by looking at the water hopper and watching the descent of the level.

On another note, the price and availability of coffee is being affected by global warming. Read Heat Damages Colombia Coffee, Raising Prices.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/12/11 01:00 PM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
I have experimented with variations in brewing coffee and came up with a method that works well with my Technivorm brewer.

I don't have anything as advanced as a Technivorm (mine's a Cuisinart DCC 1200) but I certainly have to agree that a bit of experimentation goes a long way. I'm like you and only brew small pots, and I've got it down to exactly the level of water and the amount of coffee required to get the taste consistently where I like it (My wife's a tea person).

So far as the cost is concerned...well, it'd have to go pretty high before I'd stop have my morning coffees. Besides, extrapolating the cost of the final product to a "per gallon" figure, coffee is probably one of the least expensive liquids I need.

I hesitate to think what a gallon of printer ink is worth....and I'll bet it tastes terrible.

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/12/11 02:05 PM

Considering some of the "coffee" that I have been afflicted with in American restaurants, printer ink might be an improvement. Speaking of tea, my wife and I are tea mavens as well. When I get a few moments, I may start a tea thread.
Posted by: dkmarsh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/12/11 02:16 PM


Just don't let it become a party. shocked
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/12/11 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

Just don't let it become a party. shocked

That'll be the scotch thread. grin

ryck
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/12/11 03:19 PM

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

Just don't let it become a party. shocked

Well... We could weave a coupl'a threads into a noose...
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/12/11 04:21 PM

The Tea Party certainly has a lot of Mad Hatters.
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/12/11 05:45 PM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
The Tea Party certainly has a lot of Mad Hatters.

...all of whom make Johnny Depp look like Presidential timber.

(We're getting political... cyn's gonna come down on us.)
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/13/11 03:11 AM

Hey Artie, this is the lounge. If we can't get political here, we may as well give the country back to England.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/13/11 12:04 PM

What Happened to Starbucks
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/13/11 02:20 PM

Well, you won't find me shedding too many tears. I've probably been in a Starbucks less than a half dozen times and only because someone absolutely insisted on going there. My take, the first time in one of their coffeeshops, was: over-roasted, over-rated and over-priced.

Love that nickname: "Charbucks".

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/13/11 04:34 PM

I agree about Starbucks but when I'm in an airport, I appreciate them. I have been frequenting the Ft. Lauderdale airport (not by choice but by necessity) and had the misfortune to try Dunkin Donuts coffee. I took maybe two sips and started to feel ill. It didn't taste bad, but I certainly felt bad. Starbucks may not make great coffee but at least I don't get sick drinking it.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/13/11 05:47 PM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
I took maybe two sips and started to feel ill. It didn't taste bad, but I certainly felt bad.

I'm not familiar with Dunkin Donuts but, when you feel that sickly that quickly, I wonder if it was something other than the coffee......like a poorly cleaned container. If it was a cardboard container it could have been a poorly cleaned server.

ryck
Posted by: Jay-bird

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/14/11 08:03 AM

Do I detect you weren't too happy with the airport..I use it all the time. no complaints. A little history
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 03/14/11 08:37 AM

I have no complaints about the airport. The Delta terminal is the nicest one but I have been flying Southwest, which uses a different area. There have been lots of improvements over the years, not the least of which is easier access to rental car companies. I can walk directly from the Southwest gate to all of them instead of having to take a shuttle bus. Most convenient.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 09/28/11 07:32 AM

This is not quite "on" the thread intent, but is interesting that coffee can not only give us a bit of zip - it can do the same for a car.

These folks don't have their site up to date because they have already broken the record they refer to, having hit 77.5 miles per hour in a test this week. Their average speed was 66.5 mph, well ahead of the existing record-holder’s 44.7 mph.

I wonder how fast the car would have gone if fueled by that powerful black sludge my Mother used to make.

ryck
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 11/14/11 02:27 AM

For those coffee lovers who are well-heeled and very brave, Kopi Luwak is now available for your drinking pleasure(?). I have no intention of trying it.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/13/12 09:03 AM

If the Technivorm brewer is too much for your budget, the BonVita coffee maker may be an alternative. Click on either model for full specs. It seems to have the right brewing temperature but, as far as I can tell, lacks the Technivorm's ability to alter the brewing cycle via a control on the funnel.

I have no experience with the BonVita but it looks promising.
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/13/12 11:00 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
... Kopi Luwak is now available for your drinking pleasure(?).

It looks like all that URL goodness got civet-catted out of your link, just like the bitterness gets leached out of the kopi luwak. You might want to review that link for our following pleasure. tongue
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/13/12 01:52 PM

That link was posted Nov. 14. By now, they must have sold out (or thrown it out). Kopi Luwak can't possibly be available on a 24/7 basis, unless you want to raise civets, of course. It's supposed to be the rarest coffee in the world, a claim that I don't doubt.
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/12 03:02 AM

Oops, I somehow overlooked the date of that particular post, and took it to be more recent. I even wondered why you posted twice in a row, hehe. Maybe I needed some coffee... Anyway, thanks for the refresher. laugh

Still, one would think that D&D would list kopi luwak (mongoose??) as an 'infrequently available' specialty rather than not at all. Not that the distinction is all that important, unless you want the topic kept alive and your reputation up. You're probably right about D&D selling out; I doubt that any throwing away is done by them... tongue

And while I don't think that's your main concern, at about $10/oz kopi luwak is quite reasonably priced, compared to what your friendly neighborhood coffee specialty outlets charge for a cuppa 'regular' brew. shocked
Posted by: dkmarsh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/12 04:18 AM


Hmm...maybe you guys need to search a little harder: Kopi Luwak Coffee. wink
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/12 05:29 AM

Thanks for that, Dave. Now I have the opportunity to avoid buying it again. If you opt to try it, let us know how it tastes; I pass.
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/12 06:53 AM

Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

Hmm...maybe you guys need to search a little harder: Kopi Luwak Coffee. wink

Maybe, but it won't work if D&D says they don't know any such item when searching their site: yesterday neither 'kopi luwak' nor 'kopi-luwak' returned any hits. Now the former does. Are they following this thread? tongue
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/12 08:08 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
....let us know how it tastes; I pass.

You and me both....the whole idea raises the same question as licking toads to get high. What would have possessed anyone to try it in the first place?

Oh. no, wait.....maybe the answer to the second event comes from the first. The original person who tried coffee made from beans that spewed from a cat's butt had first licked a toad. laugh
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/12 08:32 AM

That reminds me of the saying that the bravest person in the world was the first one to try milk. He looked at a cow and said, "I think I'll squeeze one of those things and drink whatever comes out." Afterwards, he found that it enhanced the taste of Kopi Luwak. tongue
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/12 06:10 PM

Originally Posted By: ryck
...the whole idea raises the same question as licking toads to get high. What would have possessed anyone to try it in the first place?

I can't imagine anybody trying to get high by licking a toad; the effect was probably the accidental discovery of some love-struck princess who thought that a big, sloppy kiss would get her a prince. tongue

On the other hand, though:

Originally Posted By: Wikipedia
Psychoactive toad
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Psychoactive toad is a name used for toads from which psychoactive substances from the family of bufotoxins can be derived. The skin and poison of Bufo alvarius (Colorado River toad or Sonoran Desert toad) contain 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin. Other species contain only bufotenin. 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin both belong to the family of hallucinogenic tryptamines. Due to these substances the skin or poison of the toads may produce psychoactive effects when ingested.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/15/12 12:23 AM

Originally Posted By: artie505
Other species contain only bufotenin.

Due to these substances the skin or poison of the toads may produce psychoactive effects when ingested.

But, does it go well with rye toast? I think I'll stick with a cuppa. wink
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/15/12 01:48 AM

> But, does it go well with rye toast?

I dunno, but maybe I now know why frogs legs were so popular at Nathan's back in the '60s. grin
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/15/12 04:21 AM

Originally Posted By: ryck
What would have possessed anyone to try it in the first place?

I'm not saying I'm going to run out and try kopi luwak coffee at the first opportunity (although its provenance doesn't particularly faze me), but to those wondering how this particular way of conditioning coffee beans was discovered I'd like to say that serendipity must have played a large role. There is a very long list of foods and food (preparation) habits that are revolting to many, but that developed quite naturally. Most of this happened a very long time ago, but it's an ongoing process, and one many of us have experienced personally in one way or another.

The people that first tried new things may have done so because they had little choice and didn't want to discard scarce food unless it was clearly unsafe, or because they simply weren't aware of the risks they were taking by eating it or handling it in a particular way. These conditions still exist today. Over time, experience grew and added many foodstuffs and preparation know-how to the local kitchens, albeit that the way there was flanked by many victims of the trial and error variety. Again, nothing especially new.

A (non-exhaustive) list of 'questionable'* foods includes various smelly and moldy cheeeses, fermented beverages of milk, malt, blood and other origins, 'tenderized' and 'pickled' meats and seafood, insects, fungi, all in various states of 'ripeness'. And did I mention cannibalism? Whatever the issue, let's not forget that there is a reason there is no arguing about taste: after al, we all are literally unique, even though we may be quick to relinquish that for 'the greater good'. And we all know the latter suffers from a distinct cultural inertia, as if to balance things out.

Food preparation methods developed equally haphazardly. Even to date several cultures feed their babies foods their mothers chew first. Heating food to make it more digestible and effective likely developed by accident: 'food' remnants partially burned after fires turned out to still be edible. Conversely, once cooking food becomes the norm, the consumption of raw items gains a negative connotation. The mere idea of sushi still shakes many to their cores.

Similarly, there are several plant seeds that require passage through animal digestive systems to sprout, and these include those of edible plants. Agricultural societies would eventually have picked upon this and searched for them, particularly if they were rare and prized. Kopi luwak may have an origin along these lines, but that's only a guess. Besides, 'processed' kopi luwak beans would gradually and automagically reappear by equally natural means, which reduce any residual yukkiness levels. Whatever the details, the general idea should be clear.


*) Obviously, this assessment is rather culturally dependent. The greatest tension between food and 'yukkiness' may be present in the urbanized western world, where the physical distance between food growing/raising and its consumption is perhaps the largest anywhere.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/20/13 10:49 AM

Finally....something positive about coffee and health. Who would have guessed that a study involving a large number of people would determine that coffee and tea actually lower blood pressure?
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/20/13 01:06 PM

That's the "fact du jour". At one time, chocolate was supposed to cause acne (I'm not making this up) and be too fatty to be good. The health food nuts, I mean faddists, I mean people switched to carob as a substitute. Now, chocolate is good for you. I think that people are looking for the magic bullet that gives immortality. Keep looking; you'll never find it.

I have come to the conclusion that all things must be done in moderation, including moderation. I won't give up coffee, tea, wine or the other good things in life even if they are supposed to be "harmful" (at least until next week's latest findings). I'm willing to dispense with an extra three years of life spent in a nursing home.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/20/13 04:38 PM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
I have come to the conclusion that all things must be done in moderation, including moderation. I won't give up coffee, tea, wine or the other good things in life even if they are supposed to be "harmful" (at least until next week's latest findings)
Hard to argue with that....particularly when one considers there must be considerable balance derived from the enjoyment factor. A gentleman I worked for many years ago smoked one cigarette per day for his entire adult life. He had it after supper with a coffee.

He recently passed away in his mid-eighties having had a happy and healthy life until he just ran out of steam.
Posted by: tacit

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/22/13 07:06 PM

Actually, I think the reality is more nuanced than that.

It's not about fads or conflicting findings; it's that many things are beneficial in some ways and harmful in others. Biological systems are massively complex, after all.

So it's not surprising that we get studies that say, for instance, that coffee lowers blood pressure but also causes bone demineralization, or that caffeine protects against Parkinson's disease but also has toxic effects on the liver. Few things are entirely good or entirely bad; many things benefit one system but hurt another. There isn't a contradiction there.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/23/13 02:26 AM

My complaint about these studies is that they are all statistic-based. Of course, there's no other way to do them since individuals can vary greatly in their responses to different foods. Sometimes, if you read the fine print, the study involves so few people that the results are more than questionable. Unfortunately, the news media (including the vaunted NY Times) tend to publish headlines that seem to draw rock-solid conclusions but then, if you read the entire article, you find that the results are tenuous.

Often, a study finds that there are "significant" results. The general public doesn't realize that "significant", in statistics, means that there is less than 5% probability that the results are due to chance. Also, the differences between experimental and control groups can be very slight, even if (mathematically) they are significant.

To quote Mark Twain, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics".
Posted by: tacit

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/23/13 12:01 PM

Those are certainly valid complaints, and popular media reporting of science is and always has been a bit rubbish, no doubt.

My point was intended to address the complaint that studies seem to go back and forth, one day saying that coffee is bad for your liver and the next day saying it lowers blood pressure. There's no contradiction between those results; things can have both beneficial and harmful effects on health.
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/23/13 02:16 PM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
To quote Mark Twain, "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics".
To demonstrate that numbers can be manipulated to support any claim, the best example I recall is: "I can put 50 men and 50 women in a room and argue, quite logically according to the math, that the average person in that room has one breast and one testicle."

If I remember correctly, the author conceded he'd be hard-pressed to find anyone fitting that description.
Posted by: dboh

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/24/13 03:55 AM

Quote:
At one time, chocolate was supposed to cause acne (I'm not making this up) and be too fatty to be good.


Yes, my mom used to yell at me about chocolate all the time. Once, when I was in 4th grade, she yelled at me about it affecting my complexion while driving me to school. I had the triumphal last laugh a couple hours later when she came back to take me home because I had measles.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/24/13 04:34 AM

Well, now we know that chocolate causes measles. shocked
Posted by: roger

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 06/24/13 06:47 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
Well, now we know that chocolate causes measles. shocked


heh
Posted by: alternaut

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 07/06/13 12:56 PM

I don't know exactly what sound(s) the various suggested coffeemakers produce while strutting their stuff, but to me at least it's an important part of the experience. So let's add some other sensory modalities to the brew, although the audio alone may suffice... tongue
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 07/06/13 01:20 PM

I loved it. It made me want to brew and drink a cup. My Technivorm makes nice noises while brewing but I miss the sound of the old percolators. They made lousy coffee, boiling the brewed coffee as it got stronger, but they sounded great.
Posted by: jchuzi

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/20 02:15 AM

I'm reviving this thread because I have become a fan of George Howell coffee. He has a very wide-ranging selection. Although the coffees are expensive (some VERY EXPENSIVE), the quality is outstanding. In particular, I like the Tarrazu, Daterra, and Matalapa varieties. I have not, by any means, tried all his offerings, but I have been impressed by everything that I have bought.

I first became acquainted with Howell while visiting The Coffee Connection, his now-defunct outlet in Cambridge, MA. Alas, that emporium went out of existence when George sold it to Starbucks (a travesty, IMHO). Coffee lovers should give it a try.
Posted by: artie505

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/20 04:01 AM

I'm not a coffee drinker...never had it hot, had it iced maybe 2-3 times 60-65 years ago, but I LOVED coffee Charms. Too bad they don't make 'em any more. (The funny thing is I"m a chocolate junkie, but I HATED chocolate Charms.)
Posted by: ryck

Re: Here's Mud in Your Cup - 02/14/20 08:40 AM

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
I have not, by any means, tried all his offerings...

I'm guessing that would take an awfully long time. A visit to the link you provided shows that he certainly has enough very interesting looking choices. I'm impressed.