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For those of you who are into coffee, I found this little article that might interest some of you.
I admit it. I am a coffee snob. I try not to be obnoxious about it, but let the record show: I enjoy a really great cup of coffee. But pay $4 a cup for it? No way. Even snobs have their limits.
Over the years, I’ve learned that a really good cup of coffee has less to do with money and more to do with knowledge and care. In fact—and this is the amazing thing—the more I learn, the less I spend.
BEANS. Purchase whole bean coffee as soon after it has been roasted as possible. Freshness is the key to a superb cup of coffee. Purchase in small amounts—only as much as you can use within 2 weeks of being roasted.
RATIO. The perfect ratio of coffee beans (prior to grinding) and water is: One-half cup whole beans to 8 cups of water.
GRIND. Grind your beans as close to brew time as possible. A burr or mill grinder that crushes the beans is preferable to a blade grinder that cuts them. Once ground, coffee should be used immediately.
WATER. If your water is highly chlorinated use bottled or filtered water. It must be right at 200 F, just short of boiling temperature, when it hits the dry grinds. This is critical to creating a great cup of coffee. Consume immediately.
STORE. The enemies of roasted coffee beans are air, moisture, heat and light—in that order. Keep your beans in an airtight container that is not close to moisture (sink, dishwasher), heat (oven, stove) or light (countertop). Do not store your daily coffee in the refrigerator or freezer because contact with moisture causes it to deteriorate. For larger quantities of roasted beans that you cannot use within 2 weeks, wrap in airtight bags and store for up to a month in the freezer—making sure the beans are completely protected against moisture. Once removed from the freezer, do not return.
BUY. Most supermarkets offer high-quality, roasted coffee beans for $.60 to $1 per ounce ($9.50 - $16.00 per pound). Ouch! Discount warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s and B.J.’s have considerably less expensive coffee at about $9 a pound for name brands like Starbuck’s and Peet’s. Still, that’s too rich for my blood.
ROAST. I roast my own coffee for two reasons: It is infinitely better tasting and half the price. I purchase green coffee beans by mail order for about $4 - $6 a pound, depending on current conditions and variety. I started out roasting in a popcorn popper (West Bend’s Poppery II is ideal) and have graduated to a small coffee roaster. My favorite resource for everything from roasting instructions to green coffee beans is http://www.u-roast-em.com/. Owner Jim Cameron has a wealth of knowledge and is anxious to share.
You won’t believe how easy it is to roast coffee. And enjoyable, too. I roast only one-week’s worth at a time—about twenty minutes. Green coffee beans have an indefinite, useful shelf life of at least a year, and probably two or longer. But I’ll never know. Coffee beans just don’t last that long around my house!
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