I apologize in my latency for getting videos up for my most recent posts. I have been fairly swamped between studying for Linux + and working. All this work and studying is only possible due to my best friend in the entire world…yup, you guessed it…Coffee!! In this lighthearted post, I will cover a few of my favorite coffee making methods and a few of my favorite coffee blends. I’m eager to see what kind of coffee preparation methods and coffee blends the rest of you in the caffeinated IT world use, please comment with your own methods and blends.
It’s All About That Grind
One of the most surprising things in my journey to becoming an ultra caffeinated coffee snob is the incredible difference the grind makes. When I refer to the grind I not only refer to how fine or course the grind is, but also the method in which the coffee is ground. There are fundamentally two different kinds of grinders out there…the blade grinders and burr grinders. Blade grinders are your standard coffee grinders with a flat blade that essentially chop the coffee over and over again into a grind. While these are fairly effective at grinding, there are a couple of things they don’t do so well. If you’ve ever tasted the difference between chopping cilantro with a knife vs crushing it with a mortar and pestle, you’ll know where I’m going with this. The longer you grind with a blade grinder, the hotter the coffee gets, which can lend a burnt taste to your grounds. Additionally the consistency in the grind provided by blade grinders is moderately inconsistent. Enter the burr grinder.
Burr grinders are a familiar site in most coffee shops, we’ve all seen the large grinders with the large bean hoppers. There are much smaller versions available for home use, both in electric and hand grind options. Burr grinders function by crushing the coffee either between 2 conical cogs (similar to an old school pencil sharpener) or by crushing the bean against a flat surface with a grinding cog. The result is that the beans are crushed in a way that provides a consistent smooth grind without the heat of a blade grinder, and with the flavor that can only be unlocked by pulverizing a bean through crushing rather than chopping away at it. At a previous job, I tried a blind taste test with a few of my coworkers, giving them the same blend of coffee one prepared with a blade grinder and one with a burr grinder. The results were overwhelming, most of them thought the burr ground coffee was a completely different blend. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself, I’m sure you’ll never go back.
Favorite Brewing Methods
There are countless methods of brewing coffee, many of which I have never tried but hope to someday, including the siphon brew methods. Personally I am a super busy person always in a hurry and looking for the strongest cup of Joe I can get my hands on. My preferred methods tend to be an espresso maker or the good old french press. I’d be interested to hear what others are using for their prep methods.
Top 3 Favorite Coffee Blends
- Ravensbrew Dead Man’s Reach: Hands down my favorite coffee blend. This wonderful brew was recommended by another coffee loving IT colleague, and certainly the best I’ve run across in a long time. Dead man’s reach is a very dark brew coffee that’s extremely aromatic, packs a nice caffeine kick and never ceases to satisfy. This coffee is great every way I’ve made it, and goes great with cream or black.
- Kicking Horse Hoodoo Joe: Kicking Horse coffee has been a long time favorite of mine. I think I have had nearly every blend of coffee these guys produce. I have yet to find a coffee of theirs I don’t like. One of my favorite things about Kicking Horse in general is that all of their coffee is really low in acidity, which is fantastic, because no one likes acidic coffee on an empty stomach. Hoodoo Joe is the absolute darkest Kicking Horse coffee out there. This blend is a shade grown dark roast coffee that’s aromatic and has a nice full body flavor
- Sleepy Monk: Of course hailing from the Pacific Northwest I am inclined to plug a local favorite. Sleepy Monk is a local coffee roaster on the Oregon coast, this is by far one of the strongest coffees I’ve ever had both in flavor and punch…Seriously, this one will blow your hair back if you’re not ready for it. Anytime I travel to the coast, I’m always keen to stop at the little road side stands that use Sleepy Monk coffee, this is a nice way to keep awake on the ride home after a long day at the beach.
Hopefully I will be finished up with Linux + in the next couple of weeks and will get back on track with posting more regularly. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I look forward to your comments regarding your favorite coffees, preparation methods, and what sort of grinding methods you’ve used.