What is the best temperature to brew coffee?
According to chemical studies, the optimal water temperature for drip coffee is 95-98C. According to my notes, colder water doesn't extract enough caffeine/essential oils from the beans, and above such temperature the acidity increases wildly.
Proper care of coffee makers...
It is very important that you wash your coffee maker pot and filter container thoroughly at least once a week. Bitter oils stick to the glass container and plastic filter holder.
How to clean an espresso machine
If the exterior needs cleaning, just use a good cleaner like Fantastik or the like - note though that Fantastik might actually remove some of the stamped on text and logos if they are painted on.
How to store coffee?
One should always store coffee beans in a glass, air-tight container. Air and moisture are coffee's principle enemies. Glass is best because it doesn't retain the odors of the beans or the oils, which could contaminate future beans stored in the same container. However, if you use glass, make sure the container is not exposed to light, as sunlight is believed to reduce freshness.
Buy only what coffee can be consumed in a week to a week and a half from the time it was roasted. This is the only way to have truly fresh coffee.
Do not freeze ground coffee. There are two key problems here. One, the freezing will damage some of subtle tastes in the coffee and two, when the coffee is taken out the container will sweat, exposing your coffee to moisture.
How much caffeine is in decaf?
n the United States federal regulations require that in order to label coffee as "decaffeinated" that coffee must have had its caffeine level reduced by no less than 97.5 percent.
Example: Panamanian coffee is about 1.36% caffeine by weight normally. This and many other arabica coffees are about 98.64% caffeine free even before anything is done to lower the caffeine content..
When 97% of the caffeine has been removed only .0408 % of the coffee weight is caffeine. About 4/10ths of 1%. At this level it is labeled "decaffeinated. How roasters label their products is another matter. Suppose two roasters roast Panama coffee that originally came from the same lot, and were decaffeinated together in the same vat. One roaster labels his decaf. "97% Caffeine Removed." The other says his is "99+% Caffeine Free." Which roaster is not telling the truth?
The answer is: They are both right. They are both essentially saying the same thing. But, which decaf. does the average consumer believe has the least caffeine?
Currently used solvents for decaffeinating coffee include, H2O (water), CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), Meth. Chloride, Ethyl Acetate. Note: A relatively new method called Swiss Water Decaffeinated uses "flavor-charged" water in the decaffeination process.
How to make the best cup of coffee?
The best coffee I ever tasted was while in the coffee growing regions of Mexico, in the state of Veracruz, in the town of Coatepec. The quality of the coffee was mostly due to the method of preparation rather than the quality of the grains (which is at about the same level as an average Colombian coffee). Here's how to make it:
* Grind the coffee grains from coarse to very coarse.
Boil in a pan a liter of water (four cups).
* When the water is boiling, turn off the stove and add 8-12 tablespoons of coffee (2-3 spoons for each cup).
* Add 2-3 teaspoons of sugar per cup (for a total of 8-12 spoons of sugar).
* Stir very slowly (the water is so hot that the sugar dissolves mostly on its own).
* Let the coffee rest for about 5 minutes.
* Strain the coffee using a metal strainer! Like the ones used for cooking. The strainer should be like the ones used by granny for making tea. The diameter is a bit smaller than a cup, with a semi-sphere shape.
* This coffee has grit in the bottom, even after being strained. Therefore do not stir the pot or the cup. If the coffee is shaken, let it rest for about five minutes. Needless to say, do not drink the last sip of coffee from the cup: it's all grit. If you want to add milk, add Carnation.
Warning: This coffee may fool you 'cause it has a very smooth taste but is extremely strong. Caffeine content per milliliter is right there with espresso, but you can't tell!
Note: For some strange reason, when preparing this coffee I tend to have a success ratio of about one out of two attempts. I still don't know what I'm doing wrong, since, as far as I can tell, I always repeat the same steps. Perhaps sometimes I don't let the coffee rest long enough.
This type of coffee is similar in nature to the French press. And in principle, you could possibly add sugar to the ground coffee, then pour water, and lastly press with the strainer.
What is the Quality of coffee?
The quality of a brew depends on the following factors (in no particular order):
* Time since grinding the beans.
* Time since roasting.
* Cleanliness with brewing equipment.
* Bean quality (what crop, etc.).
* Water quality.
Fact: Unless you are buying some major debris, bean quality is not very important, as compared to 1-3 and 5.
Fact: A coffee can in the supermarket often contains major debris, so be careful when you choose. (See note below).
Fact: Once you have freshly roasted and ground coffee, filtered water and equipment free of oil residues from the last brew, quality of beans makes a huge difference.
NOTE: A coffee can in the supermarket often contains a blend of Arabica and robusta beans while most coffee houses sell only arabica beans. Arabica beans are usually flavor rich, while robusta beans have more caffeine, less flavor and are cheaper to produce.
What is the difference between arabica and robusta?
Arabica beans and robusta beans are two different species of coffee. They are the primary species of coffee that find their way into the American cup. The general differences are those of taste, and the conditions under which the two species differ in production.
Taste: Arabicas have a wider taste range, between varieties. They range in taste from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy. Their unroasted smell is sometimes likened to blueberries. Their roasted smell is perfumey with fruity notes and sugary tones.
Robustas taste range is neutral to harsh and they are often described as tasting grain-like, oatmeally. Their unroasted smell is often described as raw-peanutty. Their roasted smell is often likened to burnt rubber.
Production Conditions: Arabicas are delicate, they require cool tropical climates, lots of moisture, rich soil, shade and sun. They are subject to attack from various pests, and are extremely vulnerable to cold and bad handling.
Robustas are hardier plants, capable of growing well at low altitudes, less subject to problems related to pests and rough handling. They yield more pounds of finished goods per acre at a lower cost of production.
Economics: Customs and trade, supply and demand over the course of the last 150 years has determined the relative values of arabica vs. robusta beans. Generally speaking, the best coffees are all arabicas and the highest quality blends are pure arabica blends. They are also the priciest.
In the U.S. you will generally find arabicas in the coffee store and specialty food shop, and robustas in the supermarket cans and jars of instant.
In Italy, home of espresso, the very highest quality brands are pure arabica, and like here, the popular-priced goods are blended with robusta beans. Because "Imported from Italy" can make an ordinary supermarket quality Italian espresso a "gourmet" coffee in the U.S., you will find robustas in some Italian brands offered for sale in the United States.
The coffee you like is a very personal thing. You may find that you really prefer the all-arabica blends, or you may feel comfortable with something less, just because you like it. That's OK. The American marketplace, thanks to the Specialty Coffee movement here, is now rich enough in roast types, species, varieties, blends, brews, grinds, and price points to have something for every taste and pocketbook.