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#24155 - 07/30/11 11:40 AM Dying for a cup! Die! Die!
kiku Offline
UPSF Vice Admiral

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 9119
Loc: Temporally Displaced
"Does anybody out there like coffee?" I've found coffee to be the perfect compliment to anime. Over the last few (several?) years I've taken a real liking to the bean, particularly since I quit drinking; a vice for a vice you know. Anyhow, I love to talk about coffee, at length if I've already got a few cups in me. I use a french press. I love it. It's simple in design and functional. Quite genius really. I've settled on a particular brand(?) of bean as well. I get them from my local nutrition center. In addition to being organic, they are fair trade as well. They also, as a company, support sustainable canopy growth. I know it sounds corny, but this is very important considering coffee plantations share the same small portion of the earth as the rain forests. Once again; I know it sounds corny, but this is also important for migratory birds because they nest in this canopy growth.

I've enjoyed hours of listening to coffee gurus (friends) go on and on about coffee. I know someone who spent over 5k on an espresso machine. I know. Crazy. He's insane in an Einstein sort of way. I'll stick with my french press, it cost approx. $40.

I never use flavored beans. They would gum up my mill. When using a french press, you have to use a burr grinder or mill. A regular bladed coffee grinder's blades move to fast and heat up the beans, thereby destroying the wonderful flavors hidden within the oils of the beans. This is why I use a french press. Paper filters, or any filter for that matter, remove those oils.

Appreciation of coffee can go nearly as deep as appreciation of wine. Did you know that coffee beans have nasty tannins that will come out if brewed or handled poorly, just like wine? Anyhoo... I could go on and on, but I actually like to listen better. I think I'll go make a (another) pot right now.
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#24158 - 07/30/11 11:59 AM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: kiku]
Tsunami3k Offline
UPSF Commander

Registered: 04/19/08
Posts: 942
Loc: Overland Park, KS
I swear by my Bodum press but, for some reason, in these deep summer months, I tend to opt for more espresso-based drinks (and in deep winter, teas [green, white, oolong, pujong, puerr, etc.). I also prefer the fair-trade varieties as it also benefits the well-being of remote farming communities that aren't exactly living large.

I've even tried my hand at roasting/blending raw beans and, if it's something you haven't tried yet, I think it's something you'd enjoy. As a bonus, dried beans last for a very long time.

I love wine as well so I'm compelled to mention that tannins are not necessarily a bad thing in wines, especially ones that are meant to age. As with teas, it's more often a matter of one's taste toward its influence towards balance and character.

I think there's some part of the population that experiences their own Renaissance era and find themselves reveling in the discovery of the hidden complexities of everyday stuff. I'm glad that you've found that with coffee.

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#24163 - 07/30/11 12:49 PM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: Tsunami3k]
kiku Offline
UPSF Vice Admiral

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 9119
Loc: Temporally Displaced
Yay, coffee talk! You are well versed indeed. I've never heard of pujong, or puerr tea. I love oolong. Did you know that oolong is actually right between black and green tea? Oolong is partially dried/fermented. Where do you stand on Rooibos (African Red) tea? It has a strong flavor and is often spiced; actually utilizing some of the same spices that are in Chinese 5 Spice seasoning and curries. I use sachets because I don't drink tea all that often. Do you use sachets or loose leaf?
The tannin topic is interesting. I am not very well versed in it's subtlety. I do know one thing though and have learned it through practice as well as being taught. You can avoid "bad" tannins in coffee (and tea) 2 ways. 1st: Don't over steep your beans (leaves). 3-4 minutes is a general rule of thumb, although some beans (leaves) have specific steep times which might be longer (shorter). 2nd: Don't use water that is too hot. Let the water that you boil for steeping cool down for a minute or 2 before steeping in it.
Hidden complexities... so true, so true. I take mine black, but I've listened to a guru (acquaintance) go on at length about the "chemistry" of cream and an sugar. "Sugar is necessary to cut coffee's natural acidity; smooths out the cup." and "Cream is used to bring out the natural mochas and earthy flavors of the bean."
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#24166 - 07/30/11 01:16 PM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: kiku]
Tsunami3k Offline
UPSF Commander

Registered: 04/19/08
Posts: 942
Loc: Overland Park, KS
I can't claim to be an expert on spiced coffees (which I perhaps unfairly roll under the umbrella of flavored coffees that I largely ignore). The same goes with herbal teas (I prefer my drinks to have either alcohol or caffeine, if not both).

Loose leaf is fairly expensive for the volume of tea I drink in the cold months but I do keep some around for when I drink tea for its own sake (like when kicking back and watching a snowstorm or enduring the cold while waiting for a lunar eclipse or meteor shower or whatever). For meals and work, I stick mostly with sachets.

Top on the list for me is water temperature. If you dial it in at the right spot then steep time can be quite a bit more forgiving for all but the most delicate white teas. But, of course, going way over on steep time inevitably has an effect on the flavor.

Another thing which harms the tea but which hardly ever gets mentioned is the sachet material. Even some pretty pricey teas come in bleached paper sachets which is terrible as it promotes oxidation during storage and alters the flavor during steeping. Why cheaper unbleached paper hasn't come into fashion ages ago is a mystery to me.

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#24168 - 07/30/11 01:46 PM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: Tsunami3k]
kiku Offline
UPSF Vice Admiral

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 9119
Loc: Temporally Displaced
I wasn't referring to spiced coffee, I was speaking of spiced african red rooibos tea.
I find it wondrous that things such as coffee, tea, and wine; some of the finer things in life (although sadly, I don't partake of the wine any longer; I was a lover of pinot noir, Beringer was pretty good and within my financial bracket), come from very specific regions of the earth and truly cannot be recreated by other means. It takes time for one's palate to appreciate these things; but once it does, it will accept no substitutes. We as a people should take heed from the Earth Mother's generosity and care for her and her resources, lest she might take them away from us. I know, I know; most people (myself included) do not have the time or money to go crusading for a cause, but there are realistic things that one can do like buying fair trade/sustainable agriculture and purchasing thoughtfully such as unbleached sachets. Sadly enough, in this day and age a person's voice is heard through the actions of their wallet more so than even their vote.

Oh yeah, and you can get more flavor out of your beans in a french press by making a slurry before adding all of the water to the press. Just add an inch of water to the beans and stir for a few seconds before adding the remainder of the water.
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#24194 - 07/31/11 11:51 AM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: kiku]
Hobby Ninja Offline
UPSF Captain

Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 1259
Loc: North Carolina
There are days that I can't get throught unless I have something with caffine in it. I didn't used to drink coffee, but this past year I've gone to drinking it nearly every day. I have to doctor it up though. Lots of flavored creamer. I like my coffee drinks cold too.
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#24214 - 08/01/11 01:43 AM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: Hobby Ninja]
kiku Offline
UPSF Vice Admiral

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 9119
Loc: Temporally Displaced
Did you know that 1 cup of black coffee has the same amount of caffeine as 2, count 'em 2 cans of Mountain Dew? Half of the buzz with Mountain Dew comes from the 1/4 cup of sugar sick in every can.
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#24281 - 08/02/11 09:33 AM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: kiku]
Hobby Ninja Offline
UPSF Captain

Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 1259
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: kiku
Half of the buzz with Mountain Dew comes from the 1/4 cup of sugar in every can.

Aahhhhh. I love Mountain Dew. All the varieties. smile
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#24283 - 08/02/11 09:47 AM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: Hobby Ninja]
kiku Offline
UPSF Vice Admiral

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 9119
Loc: Temporally Displaced
Aah yes, Mountain Dew and Red Bull; improving young gamers' reflexes around the world... and destroying their livers and kidneys.
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#24346 - 08/02/11 01:52 PM Re: Dying for a cup! Die! Die! [Re: kiku]
kiku Offline
UPSF Vice Admiral

Registered: 06/13/11
Posts: 9119
Loc: Temporally Displaced
All this talk about coffee compels me to share my favorite brew. I have used nothing but "Deans Beans" for the last several years. (www.deansbeans.com) It is a good company and a great bean. Dean's Beans supports sustainable agriculture and canopy growth and is organic, kosher, and fair trade certified; not to mention that the company makes donations to several charitable organizations. One in particular support education to fight gender violence in the regions where the beans are grown. Another simply guarantees the entire process of production of the coffee (from seed to cup) has "Zero Carbon Footprint". Pretty cool huh? Most importantly the beans are delicious and affordable. They're comparable to Starbuck's in price, which was my preferred bean prior to Dean's Beans. I definitely recommend checking out the Dean's Beans website at the aforementioned web address so you can check them out for yourself. I actually don't order through the website because I can purchase them at my local nutrition center for about the same price. My personal favorite bean that they offer is "Uprising Breakfast Blend" followed closely by their "Moka Sumatra" and "Ahab's Revenge"
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