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My Favourite Coffee Brewing Methods

16 Feb

Coffee should be ground  with a conical burr grinder. The burr grinder is optimal but a blade grinder will somewhat work if you know what the grind size needs to be. I use the Cuisinart burr grinder but there are many other grinders better (and more expensive) than mine. Different brewing methods require different grind sizes. Pour-over requires a ground size around the size of beach sand or granulated sugar. Coffee press needs a course grind, and the Aeropress needs an fine espresso grind. The Moka Express needs very fine ground espresso coffee for it to work properly.Experiment to see what you like best.

The best way to dose out the coffee and water is by weight. Weighing the water and coffee gives the more accurate and consistent results. I have tried many different combinations of water and coffee and I prefer the Intelligentsia Coffee Company proportions best. For pour-over I prefer 28grams of ground coffee to 415grams of hot water just off the boil for about 1 minute. The coffee press needs 34grams of coarse ground coffee and 500grams of hot water just off the boil for about a minute. The Aeropress requires tinkering with weights and water amounts. Following the instructions included with the press work as well. The Moka Express requires you follow the instructions and various demonstrations via YouTube.

You can find Intelligentsia’s iPhone app at the App Store. It has instructions for ALL of the popular brew methods and times within the app.

Pour-Over Method

This is my favourite method. A pour-over should take 2 1/2 minutes to pour, therefore you need to pour the hot water using a trickle.

I personally use the Mellita cone due to its availability and price. I adjust my water pouring method to the Hario. Here is a video for the Mellita method.

French Press (Coffee Press)

Hot water is poured over coarsely ground coffee and it is allowed to steep for 4 minutes. After this time, gently press down the plunger, pushing/filtering the grounds to the bottom of the press. This is a great method for allowing coffee oils and very fine silt-like sediment through the mesh filter. These are crucial for allowing many different flavour compounds to come through.


Bialetti Moka Express

This is a great method to obtain concentrated espresso-like coffee. This method is the standard in all or most Italian homes. This coffee is great as a base for warm milk.

Aeropress

This method is very new to me. It is an ugly contraption that looks like syringe setup. Following the instructions will make really good coffee, but inverting the Aeropress and allowing time for a steep makes AMAZING coffee! There are many videos on YouTube regarding the Aeropress.

I just recently purchased a very DIY coffee ‘roaster’ off Ebay. Soon I will fill everyone in on my first attempts into home coffee roasting.

REVIEW: Leven’s Coffee Company

9 Feb

Leven’s Coffee Company
Sonnenschein Way
Saskatoon, SK

http://www.levenscoffee.com/

As I have posted in previous entries, I am a coffee nut. I am constantly on the search for the perfect bean to brew, best espresso based drink, and the best cup of brewed coffee. I have brewed coffee using many different methods and each have their merits, I guess. This is evident by my coffee brewing gadgets on the counter.

My search for the perfect bean has brought me to Leven’s Coffee Company. I have heard a great deal about this company as of late… they have been on Facebook, Twitter and on the news promoting their fundraiser for a boy named Ozzie. Ozzie has a rare disease called Moebius. You can find out more about Ozzie at http://imsupportingozzie.com

What makes Leven’s unique is that they roast very small quantities of coffee, thus keeping it always fresh. This allows them to offer a fantastic variety of beans and roasts without the risk of massive amounts of waste due to the coffee becoming stale. When you order a press coffee or buy a pound of beans, you are literally enjoying coffee that has been roasted within the last day or two. Some of the coffees offered are Mexican, Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Sumatran, and Dominican, all of which are Cafe Femenino ethical coffees. I tried the Dominican Republic beans.

I choose to brew my coffee using the pour-over method. There are many different techniques and tools for a pour-over, but I choose to use the Melitta method. According to Melitta.com, this method of pour-over was the original drip method of brewing coffee. It was invented by Melitta Bentz in 1908. Her invention permanently changed the way coffee was brewed. It utilizes a cone shaped brewing vessel and a cone shaped paper filter. After adding ground coffee you slowly pour over hot water (just slightly off the boil).  This method, in my honest opinion gives, the perfect cup of coffee. Most coffee officianatos would call me silly and say the coffee press is the only way to truly enjoy coffee. Though I love the coffee press and the results it brings, I personally think that the coffee brewed using the pour-over method is more intense and has a fuller body, rounder mouth feel, and has a more delicious, complex flavour. In future posts I will explore this method (and others) for brewing coffee.

Coffee only stays fresh for up to 14 days after roasting. Since the pound of coffee I purchased was roasted just hours before, it will stay fresh for as long as I am using it. I usually go through a pound of coffee in about a week or two so this is perfect for me.

I visited Leven’s Coffee Company on Saturday to see what all the hype was about. They had just recently opened their new location at the Farmer’s Market on 19th Street. During my visit I asked many questions and they were all answered thoroughly and friendly. I asked about all of their coffees, their roast colours, and the levels of acidity. Since I really don’t like overly tangy coffees, I requested advice on what I should choose. In the end he suggested the Dominican coffee. He knew exactly what to suggest and it was right on the money.

As soon as I got home I ripped open the bag and gave it a big sniff. It was delicious!!! I quickly ground and brewed a cup. As soon as I poured water on the grounds the smell was amazing and the bloom was beautiful. After brewing was complete, I cleaned up, took a picture, and then sat down to enjoy this incredibly fresh cup. It was AWESOME! Honestly, it was the best cup of brewed coffee I have ever had. The flavour was rich, intense, toasty, full-bodied, and had a very balanced acidity. It is as perfect of a balance as I have ever had.

Leven’s Coffee Company roasts simply the best beans in the city. No other roaster can come close to the quality and freshness as Leven’s. As soon as I finish up this pound I am heading to Leven’s once again! I can’t wait to try the other coffees!

Leven's Coffee Company on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Collective Coffee

2 Mar

Collective Coffee
220 20th street West
http://collectivecoffee.weebly.com/index.html

Hours
Weekdays – 8am – 5pm
Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday – Closed currently

Friends who live in Riversdale told me that a new coffee shop would be opening in the new Two Twenty building on 20th Street. Not aware that this shop would be an artisan coffee spot, I was not excited, nor was I expecting anything other than the status quo. On Saturday, I found their Facebook page and ‘liked’ them. Their status was promoting a free shot of single origin espresso. I got the feeling that this place might be different than the norm. Since I can’t pass up free high quality coffee, I dragged my Fiancee down with me.

Coffee Collective is a beautiful little spot. The emphasis is on little! Seating is very limited, but don’t let that deter you from trying it out. There is ample room by a very large garage style glass door. I can’t wait until summer when that door will be open spilling the aroma of coffee yum all over 20th! Rich browns dominate the space at Collective Coffee. The bottom third of the walls are covered with an interesting lacquered wood. Looking closer it’s revealed that the wood is plywood.

We both ordered the sample espresso and a cappuccino. I’ll start with the free espresso. First, the smell was really nice! It smelled toasty, rich, and almost chocolaty. Second, it tasted very acidic. The bitterness was surprisingly low, and the texture and mouth feel was good. The tanginess was just too off-putting for me. Generally, excessive acidity is a sign of poor quality beans. I’m sure that low quality isn’t the case here since they use a very reputable product and a tremendous amount of care and experience goes into pulling each shot. I would guess that it was caused by something not quite perfected with the extraction process. I’m very certain that these kinks will be worked out.

This cappuccino was yummy. Made from medium roasted beans, It had a pronounced acidity from the espresso (discussed earlier). In the drink, the milk softened the acidity. The crema was densely rich and the milk foam was airy and creamy. One other issue I would have was the temperature of the drink. It was a little cool. Well, lukewarm is a good descriptor. I know that proper steamed milk isn’t overly hot, but this was a little too cool.

“Our vision is to join the ongoing effort to bring the city of Saskatoon to the next level of Coffee awareness…”

After trying Museo earlier that week, and experiencing Collective Coffee, I am very excited that Saskatoon is becoming more interested in and passionate about coffee! For many years I have longed for a spot where ‘real’ coffee is the focus. Sure, Saskatoon has the Broadway Roastery, Starbucks, and other small coffee shops, but they are all alike. Their espresso is over-roasted and their drinks are pumped out with out any care or cognition. Collective Coffee, Museo, and Cafe Sola seem passionately determined on informing us Prairie folk on the idiosyncrasies of Coffea Arabica. I will definitely be back!

Check them out @
Collective Coffee on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Museo

27 Feb

Museo
950 Spadina Cres E (inside the Mendel Art Gallery)
Saskatoon, SK S7K
(306) 651-3933

http://www.museocoffee.com/

This last week has been great in terms of coffee. I’ve had two of the best cups ever, and I feel like writing about it. First of all, I’m writing this completely jacked on caffeine. My eyes and fingers are uncontrollably dancing all over the place. I’m hitting the backspace button more than letters due to spelling mistakes. I LOVE CAFFEINE!

I’ve wanted to try Museo for quite some time. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about them and their passion for the bean. Located in the Mendel Art Gallery, Museo offers a fine selection of premium coffees, french pressed coffee, and craft made beverages. And to top it off, they roast their own beans! They also offer a variety of tea. My Fiancee ordered a latte and I ordered a cappuccino.

The smell of the drinks were incredible… two cups full of rich and toasty yum! It was unlike any cappuccino I’ve had in Saskatoon. Most espresso drinks here are one dimensional in flavour and made with over-roasted beans. This creates an espresso that is very bitter. By the smells alone of our two fresh cups, I could tell that the beans were roasted medium before grinding. A medium roast is how a bean should be roasted for espresso. It tasted very similar to espresso made from imported Italian coffees. This cappuccino was so toasty, balanced, and sweet. The sweetness was not from sugar but from the natural sugars in the milk and from a properly pulled shot of espresso. The temperature of the beverage was a little cool but it sufficed. The crema and foam was thick and rich and the design from the pour was an added touch.

“Today, a new zeitgeist in coffee is emerging, where craftsmanship and quality is used to promote ethically sourced, high quality coffee selling above fair-trade price… fostering consumer appreciation for quality completes and makes the entire project sustainable”

I’m stoked that there is a place in Saskatoon where I can find an authentic espresso based coffee drink. In true prairie fashion we are behind the rest of the world by about 20 years…we finally have a cafe that rivals ones found in Vancouver and Toronto! We’ll be back many times!

P.S. On a side note, my Fiancee may have become a coffee person thanks to the Museo Latte!

Museo on Urbanspoon