Oct 23, 20177501 views

[Ongoing] Coffee: Community Questions & Answers

Coffee, coffee, coffee!
On Massdrop, you can find enthusiasts of all levels within any given community. There are beginners who are just starting out and experts who really know their stuff. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of enthusiasts, you should always be able to find answers to your questions within the community.
ASK COFFEE-RELATED QUESTIONS Have a question about the best brewing practices? How to clean a French press? Which beans are the best? We have resident experts here in the office, but often times the best way to get a quick response is to ask the community itself. There are members of the Cooking Community who are experts in pretty much any area of cooking you can imagine.
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“What should I look for in a coffee maker?" “What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brew?" “Which brewing method gives you the best bang for your buck?"
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PrinaBagia, livingspeedbump, and 22 others

Does any one have an opinion they'd like to share on the Breville Barista Oracle Touch? I've been demo'ing machines every trip to the mall between Sur La Table, WS, & CB...I really like the Jura E6 & E8 ... but the Breville looks to be the jam for alot of reasons... I'm lookin for reasons to hate it or any of them ... other than spending a house payment on a coffee maker.
Is anyone else disliking the shift towards lighter blends and more bright juicy fruity notes in coffees? I just like a good medium roast with nice chocolate notes. 
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It depends on the bean. IMO, its a shame to take a yirgacheffe that's busting with blueberry and citrus at a lighter roast and go dark with it and destroy all of that. On the other hand, a Brazil or Guatemalan coffee that goes sweet and chocolatey at darker levels should be roasted to maximize that. I don't really get any value from the super dark charcoal roasts. While pungent, I find them to be rather flat. Of course, this is all personal preference...
I tend to like a smoothing roast/blend. I believe the fruit is for when you add milk to your coffee. The flavor stands up better I suppose. I drink straight espresso so it ends up too jarring to me.
one of the coolest and most innovative coffee programs is Blue Bottle. super beginner friendly. All inclusive and has a great design language. https://bluebottlecoffee.com
Love Blue Bottle coffee!
Hi, everyone. Do you know any Great Coffee Subscription website? (Especially for Dark or Espresso Roast
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I've only ordered the darker roasts from them and they've been perfectly fine, but understand your point if you went lighter and got something that didn't fit the bill. I've had the opposite happen with another vendor - tried a "high end" light-medium roast product, with a price tag to match, and received beans so raw, I doubted they made it in the roaster (I also roast my own beans, and it's obvious when they're way off base). Interested to see if anyone has other vendor suggestions on this thread.
https://drinkarchetype.com/ Most coffee houses in Omaha use these guys for one or two crafts and fill in with something from out of town for the connoisseurs.
Hello fellow enthusiasts 👍 I have been on the market for a coffee bean grinder for some time. Then luck was bestowed upon me and someone dear to me gave me this beauty. Now it's old, like really old, but I think it has tons potential and I really like it. As you can see it's got some wear and tear. I'm wondering if this is something that should be refurbished or should I just leave it as is? Any idea is welcome. Thank you all and continue to have a good day. --Jay
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I wouldn't immediately rule it out for espresso. I had an old Dienes Mocha manual grinder that I used for years for espresso - very even grind and I could go fine enough to stop up my machine. Finding one of that quality is certainly not the norm though.
What did you end up doing with this?
Hey Coffee Community,
What's the difference between aeropress, French press, drip and chemex? Sorry for the ignorance, but don't they all produce similar results?
I view the difference between these as the difference in extraction and brewing style. Aeropress is ground finer and extracts faster. French press is ground coarse and extracts slower. Drip/Chemex is in the middle. The extraction will impact the flavor, mouth feel, and overall characteristics. Also, all these, but French press, use filters so oils will be partially or totally removed. French press doesn't use paper filters and, therefore, allow for oils to remain, adding a different complexity.
French press can be "muddy" in a lot going on in the cup due to extraction and brewing style (immersion). Aeropress is partially similar in brewing style (starts as immersion), but is filtered and is cleaner. It can make somewhat of a pseudo espresso. Drip, Chemex in particular, I find to be the cleanest and brightest in flavor.
It's fun to play around with them or find a coffee shop that offers these various methods so you can taste the same coffee bean made different ways. The taste variation is definitely noticeable.
The only thing I'll add to this is you can play around with your variables, to get very different results, from the same brew method. Whilst it's not the most comprehensive article, this wiki page gives a good insight into coffee extraction https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_extraction Without a refractometer, you're looking for sweetness and balance. If it's dry, gritty and bitter, try and use a coaser grind, or reduce the brew time. If it's sour and astringent, make the grind finer, or brew for longer.
Hello! Do you guys have any recommendations for where to get good beans either locally or online for use in a french press? I don't want robusta coffee that has 500 million triple X caffeine content or whatever and tastes like burnt booty, I'd just like something flavorful that is more representative of what good coffee can be.
Also, are there coffee varieties or equipment better suited for cold brew? I've made it before using my french press, and while I'm sure there's a better way I'm suspicious of these $100 cold brew kits.
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Depends on where you are... I actually get rather good comparatively local whole bean Dark Espresso Roast from Eight O'Clock.
Pot or mason jar, fill with grinds and water. Sit over night. Filter and fridgerate. Don't spend money and be fussy over something so simple.
Hey Coffee Community,
I last asked about picking a grinder to upgrade to from my Capresso Infinity. I've made the choice between the Baratza Sette 270, Baratza Sette 30 AP and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
My reasoning for the 270 was because of its grind quality, metal (and more durable) burr housing and its preset capabilities. However, it has me questioning whether its worth the price over the 30 AP or the Breville.
For the 30 AP, it was because it was a huge upgrade over the Capresso - only concern I have is the plastic burr housing. Why isn't much really much of an issue, just a concern. Since this Baratza is capable of making consistent grinds good for mid range espresso. Regardless of my concern, it was recommended by another member and a worthy consideration of those around its price point.
For the Breville, I liked its design, interface and reviews I've seen around. Its capability to produce grinds on the coarse side of the spectrum, allowing me to grind beans suited for French Press made it a worthy consideration. Its versatility lets me try different brew methods and its programmable and (seemingly) easy to use interface had me consider it.
My budget changed since, but if the 30 AP or Breville is worth more in its price to performance (and usability) then I might just pick between those two and scrap the idea of the 270. Any thoughts community?
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The Sette series is really only proficient at espresso grinding, so if you're going to be doing much brewed coffee I'd recommend looking elsewhere. They're nice grinders with lots of great features, but once you get into the medium grind range you'll begin to see a lot more fines. The optional BG burr resolves this only somewhat. I tend to point folks toward the Virtuoso instead if they're looking to do a mix of brewing methods (formerly the Preciso for the ability to dial in for espresso), or the Vario with steel burrs if they have a larger budget.
I don't personally have much experience with the Smart Grinder, and I've heard mostly positive things. I think Baratza's grind quality generally outshines it, but for the price it's not too bad at all.
I would need to know what your brew method is to answer correctly. Personally don't think you can go wrong with either of the Baratza grinders unless you want espresso in which case I could not in good conscience recommend any of the grinders you are asking about.
Hi friends,
Is anyone else making Siphon coffee? Over the summer I made the efforts of perfecting my siphon use after being tired of having it rest on a shelf as a display piece. I found using the recipe that Blue Bottles uses to be the easiest for my Hario 5 cup. 38grams of coffee ground slightly finer than drip, 80 degree water & a 90 second brew time. I found that by putting two-three ice cubes into the upper chamber after the water boiled brought the boiled water down to the perfect brewing temperature, as opposed to waiting the interminable length of time for the water to cool on its own.
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Thanks for the info! I'll look into a Hario when I am ready to pursue one.
I have been using a Cona C for around 20 years and like it very much, these days I only use it when I will be away from my espresso machine during coffee drinking times. I don't know much about any other siphon brewer (I like the Cona as there is no paper or cloth filter to absorb oils) it makes a fantastic cup of coffee.
This is however not a method I recommend to people as it is a bit finicky and requires supervision (most people want the Kerig experience).
The coffee it makes has a bit less body than french press (less undeserved solids), and the cup is much cleaner (for the same reason). If you don't mind babysitting your coffee maker for about five minutes while in operation I highly recommend a siphon, if this is not your cup of tea (or coffee) than I would suggest you look elsewhere.
I've been using an electric grinder for beans I buy from a shop nearby (fresh roast dates, <3-5 days). I then use either a Chemex or do a Pour over (single cup).
Some co-workers suggest using a hand grinder, because "its better". I'm confused on the logic here. How is a hand grinder for this better than an electric one? Before I consider buying a hand grinder, I'd love to know the reasoning behind using it.
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Take a 0.2 micron filter and shake the ground coffee from each grinder type over it for maybe five minutes. You'll see waaayyyy more fines with a blade grinder. Way more coarses too I don't really have a way to point that out other than by just looking at it. Maybe a filter slightly bigger than your target grind size so your grind size goes through but the coarses don't? Idunno. End result is a burr grinder totally makes a difference at home. You can maybe get close to the same effect if you sit and shake up a blade grinder as you use it so there's more even distribution but at that point I'd just spring for the burr grinder.
As others have mentioned, it's important to compare apples to apples here. Blade grinders make use of a sharp swinging metal blade that chops the beans over and over again. Grind size is very hard to control and there's no guarantee the beans will see even exposure to the blade. It'll produce a lot of unevenly sized grounds that will extract at different rates during brewing and yield an unbalanced cup. A burr grinder is much better at grinding your beans consistently to the target grind size. They accomplish this by literally grinding the beans between two metal burrs and the grind size is controlled by setting the distance between these burrs. Gravity forces the beans down through the burrs and there is little opportunity for the beans to be too fine or course. That said, not all burrs are created equal but it you go with a reputable brand (Baratza and Wilfa come to mine), you can have reasonable confidence even in their cheaper models. Now comparing manual to electric blade grinders really depends on your application. Electric grinders will outperform manual grinders on both scales but the degree to which they do so diminishes as you scale down. In a retail setting, baristas are able to keep a full hopper the entire day because they'll go through the beans at such a rate that they don't need to worry about degassing or oxidizing their beans too rapidly. The weight of a full hopper will push the beans through the electric grinder more consistently, no room for stray beans to fly around, and you'll see far fewer fines. As you scale down in volume, that weight diminishes and you lose more of that consistency to the point where it you're brewing a single cup at a time, you won't notice a huge difference in the final product. Also relating to volume is ease it use. It's far easier to toss your beans into an electric grinder and just let them go but it you're doing a single dose of 15-35 grams then the time and effort you'll spend on a manual grinder really won't be that bad. If you're brewing for six people, you might be grinding for tens of minutes. And because others have mentioned it, the heat coming from friction in an electric grinder will make absolutely no difference at all. The amount of energy generated is insignificant and I won't come close to the temperatures needed to catalyze any reactions in the grounds; you don't need to worry about it.
How do I get rid of spotting on my French press filter? I tried soaking it in soapy water and that did nothing. I’m afraid that the spotting is actually mold.
I would try soaking it in a little lemon juice with a little hot water and vinegar. Cheap and easy to try. Don't have to fill it all the way up, just to where it covers the filter.
What do you mean by "spotting" exactly?
If you're afraid it's mold soak it with 1-2 tbs of baking soda in just enough hot water to cover all the parts. It's a natural anti-fungal agent. Remove from the water when cool enough to touch then take a toothbrush and brush everything off (it may be helpful to add a little extra baking soda to the toothbrush for extra scrubbing power). After that, if you want, then soak it in vinegar and hot water. Hit it with the toothbrush again. If it's still not gone to your satisfaction, you can soak all the NON PLASTIC parts in a mild bleach solution. Rinse that well and then hit with the toothbrush again. I doubt there will be anything left alive on the parts after the baking soda and vinegar.
If it's hard water spots/scaling soak all the pieces in a lot of lemon juice, a citric acid & water mix, or a descaling agent. Those spots are completely harmless, but removing them may improve your coffee.
You're prooooooooooooobably being overly cautious. There's not much for mold/mildew to eat on coffee equipment unless it sat wet and covered for a long time.
MMMMMMMM just brewed a cup of Starbucks French Roast coffee from my grind and brew system here at work. Added an nice splash of 1/2 and 1/2 and I now have a smile on my face. Nothing like that warm embrace of warm caffeine to make your morning start right. It also helps that a helpful engineer here at work put a small note on the machine to tell us how long each tic mark is and what the total brew time 47.8 seconds. Life is good!
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LOL ahhh but they supply the 1/2 and 1/2 lol.
Well then you break into HR and write "CREEM" in crayon on the buy list for the office.
Typically, I buy whole beans from a big retailer, grind them in a standard electric coffee grinder, and brew with a cheap drip coffee brewer. I always felt there was a positive return on using freshly-ground beans.
In your opinions, what is the one thing I could use or do differently here that would make a difference? Some people swear by their aeropress/french press/chemex/kettle, I want to know what you feel is most important. Thanks!
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It's already been said, but a burr grinder is a game changer. Before I picked up my Baratza, I read that the grinder made the biggest difference in the coffee making process. I was skeptical that a grinder costing a few hundred would truly make that big of a difference. It did. Significantly. It comes down to consistency of grind size.
No thanks I’ll keep my butt intact. 🤣
Lets start a discussion on Super Automatics. I have a 2004 Jura S9 That is still going strong. It was the best investment I have made in kitchen, ever.
I just bought the ninja coffee maker it’s affordable and has adjustment for different size cups💜
They have a drop for the Jura A1 right now. I’ve read a lot that it’s not possible to pull a good espresso shot from the super automatics. Is it true that they make a weak shot? Is there a way to dial them in? I usually make americanos, but my concern is that the A1, which doesn’t have a hot water feature, just keeps pouring water over the group for the volume, thereby overextracting and making the drink bitter. Maybe a semi-auto is the way to go, but a entry level machine and most importantly a good stand alone grinder will cost much more than the A1.
So I drank 3 in 1 coffee for my whole life till now,it's not that I want to be annoying but I was wondering if I were to make something decent where should I start?😅
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Yeah I'm thankful to it😁
Wredan’s advice is solid as can be. my prefernce & recommendation would be to look for the independent or third wave coffee shops first. The methods provided will be in wider ranges with their being more familiarity with the beans, roasters, & methods. Jumping to a Starbucks or whichever large chain coffee shop will have a much more traditional approach to coffee, which to me translates 9/10 to be burnt or over roasted beans with a pour tracking of brewing times.
My wife and I recently started using a French Press for our coffee and in my opinion, I think the coffee has a richer taste then when brewed in a coffee maker or a Keurig. Our French Press recommends coarse ground coffee, which is the best tasting coarse ground coffee you guys/ladies recommend and where do you buy yours?
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I picked up a used Zassenhaus grinder on eBay great for all types of grind but takes a little time to turn for fine espresso grinds. Don't buy a cheap spuce mill type grinder.
For a French press I think that darker roasts tend to be better because with that long steeping time it really brings out the flavors you get from roasting a bean longer. I like to buy mine from local roasters and go into the shop, but I just started a subscription service through Stumptown that's pretty amazing! They send you fresh roasted coffee every couple of weeks, right about when you need it!
Well - I learned a few months ago that ground coffee and beans in supermarkets are in effect stale products. So I've taken to buying green dried beans and roasting them myself. I use a $20 Stir Crazy popcorn stirring machine. 20 minutes for Costa Rican and Brazilian, 30-35 for New Guinean. Easy. You just have to watch it on occasion. Only roast a max of 8oz - it goes stale within a week.
Then grind it for the French Press and brew it. It's AWESOME.
Me and some buddies from work started down this rabbit hole 5 or so years ago. In my garage is full size grill with a 10lb coffee roasting drum. Roasting coffee was one of our most rewarding pastimes. We are all farther from each other now, so it doesn't get used much, but when it did, everyone reaped the rewards of fresh delicious coffee, every day. Theta Ridge is a good place to get green beans from if you are looking in the 10-200lb range, fyi. Vacuum seal the green beans and they will last a while.
Home roasting is amazing. I have been doing it for years and have completely spoiled myself in the process. It's good to hear you are reaping the benefit of fresh coffee! There is no better start to a day!
I would like to see budget options for presses/devices/tools to brew the best coffee. Perhaps in tiers like "brew the best best coffee for $20" - "$30" - "$50" etc.
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TJ Maxx reco is the best. Can also do Ross or Marshalls if one doesn't live near a TJs.
If you're buying ground coffee then my list would be as follows... ~$10-15 French press ~$30 aeropress ~$40 Chemex pourover
If you want to buy whole beans and get much better coffee, then... ~$35 Javapresse grinder on amazon WITH a French press ~$50 aeropress with same budget grinder ~$60 chewed with same budget grinder
And if you want to start drinking really great coffee you can roast your own coffee at home. I have an air popper I got from sweetmarias.com for $20 and 4 pounds of beans from a variety of locations for $10. So roasting machine and 4 pounds of coffee for $30! It's really simple to do and creates some pretty great coffee! It has an initial investment, sure, but over time you save so much money by not buying your coffee already roasted.
Just going to throw this out there, since people are commenting that French Presses are tedious to clean: get a small sieve. The coarse french press coffee grounds are easy to capture, and it makes cleanup really quick and simple.
I don't find my French Press that hard to clean - the biggest issue is the plunger - but it's easily disassembled, cleaned, dried and put back together.
Why though? It comes with a sieve. Just knock the grounds in the trash and wash the remainder down the drain.
I would check out home-barista.com and coffeegeek.com. Both are excellent resources. There are discussions of beans, recipes, equipment and bean reviews, instruction including videos, discount offers and coupons etc.
If I'm just getting into coffee, what are some of the best resources? Also - any recommendations on what's the most essential piece of coffee equipment? (I know this is vague - sorry!)
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A quality burr grinder is the most important piece of coffee equipment. I didn't believe it when I first heard it, but after getting one, I truly believe it. Look for one by Baratza. While there are other burr grinders that cost less, the quality Baratza offers, as well as impeccable customer service, is well worth every penny.
I write instructional articles for work quite a bit, and we have a whole bunch of beginner-centric resources that might appeal to you. Here's the most recent one that walks through those very first steps to getting into specialty/"hipster" coffee: https://prima-coffee.com/learn/article/coffee-basics/how-start-coffee
Because I like to stir the (coffee) pot... DECAF. EVERYTHING GOOD AND BAD. GO.
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So far, Lamplighter Coffee in Richmond, VA has had the best decaf I've ever had. Sugarcane method, so no weird chemicals as well. Oddly, I've been unimpressed by their caffinated offerings.
I wanna try CO2 method decaf - supposedly it causes very little flavor loss in the bean and extracts the most caffeine.
Don't buy shit decaf. Look for Ethyl Acetate decaffeinated coffee. Swiss/Mountain Water decaf is terrible.
Is there going to be a tea week?
Seriously though, any suggestions for a single cup pour over set(that's not ridiculously overpriced)? Saw one once years ago and never bothered to look into it, but I can't stand our keurig k cup brewer's coffee, and when we still had a pot based system, I actually liked the coffee.
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Definitely vote for a tea week!
Aeropress is great and requires all of hot water. Very durable for an office environment as well.
What is the best, budget oriented, entry level way to brew espresso? I hear moka pots are one way, but apparently they don't actually brew 'real espresso'. Is there a significant quality difference between a moka pot and an espresso maker that would warrant the difference in expense from a beginner's perspective? What specific model is the best investment in my scenario for making espresso?
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I likely won't be able to discern much difference now anyway, and it gives me a point to upgrade from later. Are there any specific moka pots you recommend? The brikka looks promising but it is aluminum instead of stainless steel, which I hear stains.
Most people swear by the original Bialetti Moka pot but I think they should all work the same. Stainless is better IMO but again that's probably a point that boils down to 'whatever'.
I have a feeling in my gut that it's bad to freeze coffee beans, whole or ground. My father in law keeps his Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee in the freezer and although it's supposed to be amazing coffee, it has never impressed me. Can someone share with me if and why it's bad to freeze the beans/grinds? Thanks!
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My parents do the same thing with their coffee, buy and freeze. And it is usually ill-advised, but if you vacuum seal the bags first then there is no problem! The problem is with condensation build up causing the beans to go bad, but if you suck all the air out than condensation can't occur and your coffee stays great-tasting for much longer!
Once you take the beans out from freezer to room temp, humidity will build up around the vaccum bag till they come to room temp. if you open the bag then that humidity will ruin your beans.
I love my coffee french pressed! Clean, simple and gives you the best flavor!
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Actually, I think you're making the assumption that people who have spent more time with different methods are just snobs and not approaching coffee scientifically. Yes I'm sure that people would get offended by my comparison but for a lot of people (myself for the longest time) that was our basis for comparison. It completely blew my mind the first time someone exposed me to something other than that method. I honestly thought coffee was just the same.
BTW, I never said I had a preferred method or if there was a "right way". The only methodology I cited was that I couldn't extract the tasting notes I get from pour-over out of French Press.
There are a ton of methods that aren't pour-over that I didn't list and I'm sure many others I haven't tried. I actually do want to approach this scientifically and not just emotionally. I've often thought siphon was one of the best methods for clean extraction, but I don't own a brewer and I don't think I have the time to use it. So between, aeropress, french press, american press, v60, kalita wave, chemex, traditional drip, siphon, cold brew (and all the forms of cold brew), moka, and more many more methods, where does French Press stack rank? I'm not saying anyone is wrong or right, and preference is preference but that's an intellectual curiosity not a coffee snobism. Go read /r/coffee where they actively debate v60 vs Kalita where I personally thing there's not much difference, others are saying it's a complete departure.
I've tried through an orange in an aeropress and cold brew with coconut water. I'm not some purist who thinks there's only one right way. But you can't contextualize the comparison if there is only one data point presented in the comment.
I apologize for offending you as this was not my intent, I was genuinely curious what the breadth of comparison you were coming from was.
Ritual DJfluffkins - ritual. There is something wonderful about grinding beans, boiling water, and watching the brew steep. It is easier than pour over. The flavor is good and something a lot of people enjoy.
Why do people insist on spending tons of money on espresso makers? Flavor is part of it, but the majority is ritual. Same thing for vinyl records. Ritual.
And seriously, French press is nowhere near office drip coffee.
I first had coffee back when I was 6 years old, and I've loved it ever since. I'm an avid drinker, but I don't know much about methods and preparation. I know hands on experience would be the best, and I've been looking for a few coffee shops where I could have a tasting experience, but my question is: are there any resources online to know a little more about the differences between methods, roasts, etc.? Thanks!
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coffeegeek.com is a good, and rather obsessive, place to read about everything to do with it. You can also hunt around online for other coffee forums, there's quite a few of them.
While not an online resource, find a local roaster to do coffee cupping at. It will be a good way to see the differences between bean regions. One online resource that has a lot of good information, besides those already mentioned, is Sweet Maria's. https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/
Is there any difference in taste between cold drip and cold brew? How many days both of them still in good taste if we put in refrigerator?.
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Thank you, Sir, for the recipe. I will try it, maybe tomorrow. :)
Sure thing! That can be scaled up or down as you see fit.
How bout starting @ the beginning with burr grinder? Folks have good-bad-indifferent experiences with grinders? Baratza seems to be particularly popular....
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I have a Zassenhaus hand grinder picked up used on eBay if you want to be involved and also a Gaggia electric when grinding for multiple people both do great jobs on all grinds.
I have a Baratza Preciso and have absolutely loved it. While in hindsight the Virtuoso would have been sufficient, the grinder has been great and Baratza customer service is second to none. I got the scale attachment so now I can grind by weight as well. I used a couple other cheap burr grinders before and there is a night and day difference between my Baratza and the cheaper options I previously used.