Coffee for Connoisseurs
Coffee for Connoisseurs has always been about the bean. He have sourced and sold only the best since we opened in 1985. He was the first company in Australia to sell specialty coffees online, from 1996 until today. Thirty years of experience in buying, roasting and selling the world’s finest coffees helps us to provide our customers with rare coffees of outstanding flavour and aroma. Each month he publish a newsletter discussing all types of coffee related subjects; more than 10 years worth of archived newsletters are online. He also offer a “Special Coffee” every month to showcase some of the most rare and exotic coffees in the world.
Coffee, coffee everywhere, and not a drop to drink… (apologies to Coleridge).
According to the International Coffee Organization, 116,428,000 sixty kilogram bags of coffee were produced by exporting countries in 2004, making coffee the second most widely traded commodity, behind only petroleum. Yet the vast majority of people have probably never had a good cup of coffee, let alone an excellent one. Even with the rise of “specialty coffee” over the last decade or two, the overall quality of brewed coffee is poor. There are many possible reasons for this: uncaring vendors, an attitude of convenience over quality, uninformed consumers… the list could go on. A great brew isn’t a simple thing, but even simply realizing that your coffee should be better takes some initiative. Many people regularly drink weak, bitter, brownish hot water and accept it, thinking “that’s what coffee is.” It isn’t.
But an excellent cup of coffee is worth it. If it isn’t a simple thing, neither is it very difficult. Coffee need not taste bitter, nor must it taste like charcoal. It can taste chocolaty, without any chocolate having been added. It can have elements of citrus, without ever having come near an orange. You should be able to look forward to a morning cup for reasons beyond the caffeine rush.
This FAQ explores the how, what, where, and why of coffee. It will explain the elements involved in making a great cup of brewed coffee (espresso is a vast enough subject to deserve its own FAQ). The FAQ will be particularly helpful for those who have little or no knowledge about coffee, but even more experienced people should be able to glean new information.
Coffee and Caffeine FAQ
This FAQ is dedicated to coffee and all that goes with it. There are several newsgroups in which these topics may be of relevance, including rec.food.drink.coffee, alt.coffee, alt.food.coffee and alt.drugs.caffeine. I welcome any and all contributions to this FAQ. If you do not agree with the info in here please let me know or write an article for the FAQ. If you feel you can explain something better than I have, by all means rewrite the article and send it in.
2001 A Coffee Odyssey
My fascination with coffee began long before I actually started drinking it. I was born into a family in which coffee was not merely a morning ritual, it was a companion throughout the day… the coffee was nearly always on.
I remember from my childhood the bruup, bruuuupup of the percolator, later replaced by the stately drip and mysterious rumblings of our family’s first Bunn brewer. The aroma was so full of promise… those first few tastes – sneaked from a cup while my parents weren’t looking – were astonishingly bitter to my unknowing taste buds. It didn’t take long to learn that I could make it drinkable with liberal amounts of milk, and when I learned years later that I’d been drinking café au lait I felt quite the man of the world. Of course, I was ten or twelve years old… it was likely the most continental food I’d yet managed. [French fries do not count; neither do croissant when referred to as crescent rolls.]…
CoffeeKid Newbies’ Guide
So, you’re a newbie to the whole quality coffee and espresso world, are you? Nothing wrong with that. I’m a newbie in training in a lot of things – like programming, flying stunt kites, operating high-skill radio control cars, building stuff with power tools, etc etc. Heck, I’m still a newbie at this whole “life” business. Bottom line is, there’s nothing wrong with being a newbie at anything. But if you want to get some seasoning under that belt of yours, you’ve come to the right place.
Maybe you’re someone who grew up thinking Folgers Crystals were the epitome of good coffee in the home, or maybe you have been going along with the premise that Starbucks coffee is the peak of espresso perfection. Then you started reading the newsgroup alt.coffee. Or you started visiting this website or the CoffeeGeek site. Or a myriad of other online resources that slowly but surely convinced you that there was something better out there, something better than Folgers, something better than Starbucks.
The Original Espresso FAQ AKA Bogiesan
Greetings Seekers, The alt.coffee & alt.food.drink.coffee newsgroups are often crowded with questions about espresso machines for home use. The traffic in such inquiries gets especially heavy around Christmas time. I post this FAQ to help fend off this flood. Please read this document and do yourself (and the rest of the newsgroup regulars) the favor of exploring the archives at http://groups.google.com/groups?q=alt.coffee&hl=en before posting your questions.
Past readers of this document have accused me, in jest, I trust, of trying to terrify the innocent; of attempting to scare the dickens out of espresso newbies by portraying the cuisine as a messy, inconvenient, and potentially dangerous kitchen science. My intent, of course, is to demonstrate that espresso at home can be as intimidating as your first souffle’ or as wonderfully satisfying as a well-crafted omelet…
Semi-Commercial Espresso Machines for Home Use
A “semi-commercial” or “semi-professional” espresso machine is a machine for use in a home, office, or small restaurant. Its general characteristics are:
- A heat exchanger (sometimes called a “distributor”) is used to heat the brewing water. The boiler is used for steam, which is kept at a higher temperature. (In a few machines, there may instead be two separate boilers, one for steam and one for brewing water.)
- Thanks to the heat exchanger (or the extra boiler), steam is available at all times. There is no need to switch between “brewing mode” and “steaming mode,” as with home machines that use a single boiler for both purposes.
- Water from the boiler is also available for making tea.
- The machine is self-priming, and will turn itself off if it runs out of water. It is made to be left on for long periods (e.g., left on all day in an office setting).
- After brewing coffee, pressure in the portafilter is automatically released through a valve which typically drains to the drip tray. (The Baby Gaggia and Rancilio Audrey, which are not semi-commercial machines, also have this feature.)