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Old 09-24-2011, 09:19 PM   #1
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Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

Jim Bennett wrote:
"There are many ways to make coffee that do not use an electric pot, most of which make superior coffee. I would highly recommend one of them, especially if you plan to be off the grid at all."
When you use the word "superior coffee", I start listening! How do you fix your coffee?
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:17 AM   #2
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

Hi: HokieEscape...We prefer unbroken coffee. Then you don't have to "Fix it". We always get a site next to a current bush so "Mr. Coffee" can work his magic. Now if only I had a remote for him!!! Alf
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:36 AM   #3
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

I too am curious to see what ideas others have for brewing their favourite cuppa Joe while Escaping.

I have tried many different ways of brewing, and can enjoy most of them, as most any method can produce a decent to excellent end product if used the right way.

I roast my own coffee beans, and truly enjoy trying different beans from all over the world, but do have some favourites. I also enjoy roasting to different levels to bring out the different characteristics at these levels, a more fruity and earthy taste towards the lighter roasts and the chocolaty nut tastes at darker roasts. Not really a fan of the super dark roasts like Charbucks uses.

I almost always grind my beans right before brewing, it makes a HUGE difference in the flavour and how smooth the cup tastes.

Though many, many people do use them, I have not used an electric drip maker in many years now. They just can’t produce as good of a cup due to their design. For starters most don’t heat the water high enough, and don’t get a full extraction of the different flavours because of this. There is a couple high end drip machines that are around $300 or more that do control the brew better, but I spent less than this buying all the brewers I own together.

Anyhoo, here are a few of the methods that I use that work well camping and need no electrical hook-ups. These are all very affordable methods.

1. Aeropress - My favourite and most commonly used method of extraction, which we have been using for four years now. It is very easy to use, and produces a great extract that can be used as an espresso, making coffee, iced coffee, cappuccino (with a mild frother) or latte. I usually make a full four shots, and we add hot water to make three 10-12 ounce cups of coffee.
Aeropress Site – LINK
How to use video –

2. Moka Pot – This has been a traditional Italian method of making coffee for many years now. The moka pot is often described as a stovetop espresso maker, due to the high heat and pressure created to extract much more flavour than normal methods of extraction) It is a real simple way of brewing an espresso, and the tastes are great. It is best to use a coffee that is meant for an espresso. The shots can be drank straight up, made into an Americano (named for the Americans in WWII who added hot water to their espressos to closer resemble the coffee they are used to), a great iced coffee, or a delicious cappuccino. One thing with the moka pot is that you must make a full pot due to its design, but many sizes are available, and many people will have about 3 sizes on hand. Bialetti is the most common maker, but there are other brands too.
How it works –

3. French Press - Another great way to extract coffee. It basically works by mixing coarse grounds with hot water, stir, let brew a while, and then press the grounds to the bottom of the pot. Bodum is one of the biggest and best manufacturers, but there are lots of other good brands to be found.
Video on using –

4. Cowboy Coffee – You really can’t make coffee more simply. If done properly this is a great way to make coffee. Many, many times it is made in ways that results in a brew that is not so good. I have made hundreds of pots of cowboy coffee over the years. This is the method I have developed. First bring a pot of water to near boiling, but not to a full boil. Too hot of water will extract the bitterness out of the coffee. Then add coarse grounds to taste (don’t be too wimpy now). Stir them in and let it sit for at least 3-4 minutes after removing from heat. Most of the grounds will settle to the bottom. Some people sprinkle a bit of cold water on the surface with the intent of settling the grounds better, but I just prefer to let them settle naturally, and will sometimes pour through a screened filter. Either way you may want to pass on the last sip in your cup.

5. Percolator – Properly done, a percolator can extract a decent coffee. One of the biggest problems is that people let it perk to long, and too hard. Once the grounds and water are in the pot you can use a high heat to bring it to the point it starts to perk. Immediately reduce the heat so that a moderate perk is attained. Too hot burns the coffee in the bottom. I allow it to slowly perk for about 3 minutes tops, and then shut the heat off.

6. Pour through – Melitta style extraction. You can get cones for single cups, and on up to big pots. There are a few methods used, and this is my preference. First, don’t forget to rinse the paper filter good first to get rid of the manufacturing paper taste by rinsing real good under cold water. Add the appropriate amount of fine grind (between espresso and coarse), then pour your near boiling water on to the grounds, with just enough to soak them thoroughly. Let sit for 30 seconds while the grounds blossom (expand). Then slowly pour water in a circular fashion on the grounds, circling in and out to the edges but never pouring on the filter. Continue doing this until you have use up the appropriate amount of water. This can take from 30 seconds for a single cup, up to 3 minutes for a full pot. Many people will just fill the filter basket up with water a couple times, and some manufactures even suggest doing so, but I can guarantee that you will get a fuller extraction using the slow pour method.


There are a few other methods that I have not covered as I am not real familiar with them.
As well, others will have their own favourite methods to extract the coffee using the methods I described. There is no one right way that works for everyone, I have just described my favourites. The one thing I learned is to try new ideas, and experiment with various factors, from grind size, water temp, brewing rates and times, amount of grounds used, level of roast, coffees of different origins, and so on.

I would also recommend trying a few different coffees from a local roaster, if you have one near you. You would be surprized at the different tastes available, and how the roast level affects the taste.

I loves my coffee.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:14 AM   #4
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

I only had cowboy coffee once - up on the Spatizi Plateau on a guided hunting trip that we were covering for a story.

This was after dinner. In the dark. The method used was to place a large coffee pot on the fire. When it began to boil over you'd hear the coals sizzle. Then, staring into the fire, the camp chef dumped coffee grounds from a large can into the pot or the vicinity of the pot, since you couldn't see the coffee can or the pot and had no idea how much grounds was actually going into the pot. Then he threw a bunch of egg shells left over from breakfast into the pot 'to settle the grounds' and took it off the fire.

It tasted like s**t. In fact all the food on this super expensive guided camping trip tasted like s**t. But what do you expect from Kraft dinner made by the camp cretin.

The two German hunters we were following for the story paid about $10,000 each to shoot an elk. We spent a week on horseback in the wilderness and on the last day found the herd of elk up on a hill right next to the camp and they each shot one.

BTW, the owner of the guiding company was a pilot and flew his own plane. I'm quite certain he knew exactly where all the game was at any given time.

Last time I've ever had cowboy coffee or ridden a horse.

baglo
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

Jim:

You "Roast your own Beans"!!! Wow.. I'm a slug.. But I do love a good cup of coffee.. if I had my way on the road I would choose the French Roast method.. but since I travel with Liana, who isn't a coffee drinker and who does the clean-up we just settled for a .. drum roll.... a "Mr Coffee 4 cup".. The coffee is what you expect (we're roughing it eh?), but the clean-up is an absolute snap. I installed a 2000w inverter just in case we can't run the generator for the coffee maker, or some other stuff..

As for at home I had for years now a Solis Expresso maker that grounds the beans & then does it's magic.. It a great little design.. press a button & "whamo" a great cup of expresso or coffee..

You know when you get a great cup of coffee when there's that "nice rich foam" layering the top of the cup..
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Old 09-25-2011, 04:19 PM   #6
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

Thanks Jim....now that's what I was looking for! Gonna try the Aeropress...looks like a great way to make a good cup of coffee off grid (or away from the electric bush that Alf is so fond of). If it's as good as it sounds, it may become our favorite way too, grid or no grid. Looking at the simple clean up Jeff, Liana will be "pressing you" to use the Aeropress!
Thanks Jim...always knew there was a reason to keep you hanging around the forum : - )
I love my coffee too! And a little professional advice .... like cream or not, a little cream cuts down the stain on your teeth significantly. Not sure if it's the fats in the milk, or just what, but it works. Probably with tea also.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:02 PM   #7
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

Jim,

What's the advantage of the Aeropress over Bodum French press? ( Filter? ).

I tried the Bodum once, but found the coffee slightly more than luke warm when ready to pour.

I use the Melita filter holder and filters into a thermal carafe in the trailer. At home it's a programmable 10-cup Krupps coffee maker. The Krupps makes a good hot cup of coffee, using the filter system ( basically, automated Melita ).

The dumbest machine I ever bought was the Cuisinart Grind and Brew. It is programmable, and grinds the beans just before making the coffee. I like my coffee ready as soon as I wake up, but the grinder would wake me up and then I had to wait for the coffee to brew. And, brewing the coffee resulted in steam that filled the coffee bean chamber coating everything in wet coffee ground residue. You had to clean the filter and the pot and the beans chamber and the grinder.
The retailer ( London Drugs ) took it back, no questions.

baglo
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:06 AM   #8
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

A couple advantages of the Aeropress, flavour aside, is that it filters out all the fine, which a French Press doesn't, plus it is way easier to clean.

Flavour wise, the Aeropress seems a bit cleaner of a taste, possibly due to the lack of fines in the cup, though the French Press does tout a fuller taste due to a longer brewing time. Sometimes I end up reheating coffee, and the FP coffee tends to get more bitter if you need to do this. With the AP, I very often save the extracted coffee I don't use, even for the next day, and when adding hot water to it to make a regular coffee, it tastes just great.

A French Press coffee can cool faster in the glass brewing pots. There are quite a few brewers now that have a thermal body, especially in the large one cup size. I know Bodum makes a cozy that wraps tight around their glass pot to keep the heat in.

All this said, I won't say no to a good cup brewed by either method.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:52 PM   #9
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

Coffee in the Smokie Escape is made "off Grid" but with an 1750 watt modified sine wave inverter and a Keurig electric coffee machine using K cups. We are hooked on this thing. It is fast and no coffee grounds to deal with just used K cups. It uses 11.2 amps for 35-40 seconds per cup to make the coffee. Solar panel to rewind the battery.

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Old 09-28-2011, 01:03 PM   #10
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Re: Fix'in Coffee...Yummmmmm

We loves our coffee as well. I've been using a percolator recently, but am very cautious to control the extraction. First, I use a LOT of coffee in the basket...normally I fill it completely to the top of the basket's interior post. Second, as noted earlier, once it begins perking, I reduce heat until I get a slow perc. Third, I only let it perk about 2-3 minutes maximum. We keep the coffee hot in one of those air-pump insulated containers.

I am going to have to take a serious look at the AeroPress Jim mentioned.

Dave
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