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Pro-Tip Tuesday: Filter Out the Nasties

Not only is your Craft Coffee boxes on the way - you’re getting a Pro-Tip too!

Coffee has two ingredients: beans, and water. We at Craft Coffee clearly love to obsess over the beans, but without good water, even the nicest coffee may wind up tasting flat. Unless you live in a place with reliably low-mineral water, I highly suggest using at least a Brita pitcher or similar to filter the water you use for brewing. Run of the mill bottled water can work too—no need to splurge since we just want a nice low-mineral water. Avoid distilled water though, you do need some minerals in there to extract the full flavor.

By our very own coffee expert Alex Bernson! Tweet your thoughts at him #cupofawesome.

 

Coffee Wars

The latest tempest in coffee-pot amongst the coffee twitter-sphere is the question of cold-brewed coffee versus “japanese” style iced coffee. The debate was kicked off in large part by Oliver Strand’s post on the subject, http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/ristretto-i-dont-know-what-you-did-last-summer/, and involves a lot of coffee esoterica, but there are certainly substantive differences between the two styles that merit your further investigation. I encourage you to give both styles of ice coffee a try and see which one is more to your liking. And don’t forget, one variable that most people are ignoring this discussion is that cold-brew coffee is 1.5-2x more caffeinated than Japanese iced coffee. 

By Alex Bernson

Which kind do you prefer? Tweet at @craftcoffee #cupofawesome and tell us! 

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Clean Out the Gunk!

IT’S TUESDAY, GUYS!! 
Pro-Tip Time. I give you your favorite: Alex Bernson 

Cleanliness is crucial to good coffee. There are many compounds in coffee that can dirty things up, especially the coffee oils that will coat your brewing equipment and go rancid if you don’t clean them off. You should at least rinse, if not soap and scrub, your brewers after each use, but for deep cleaning, there’s nothing better than Cafiza. Used primarily to clean the tenacious the gunk in espresso machines, a bit of this stuff in hot water will also do wonders on your brewing equipment, as well as any other mess you can imagine. Grease traps from stoves, dirty tubs, baked on food, etc. Just be careful, this will start to eat away at delicate plastic if you leave it sitting!

Get some at Sweet Marias

Be sure to tweet your thoughts at Alex @alexbernson #coffeedisco

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Over or Under Extracted Shot

It’s Tuesday which means Pro-Tip by Alex Bernson!
For all you uber-coffeegeeks out there with an espresso machine in your kitchen, here’s a good way to get a handle on what baristas mean when they’re talking about a shot being “over-extracted” or “under-extracted”.Get ready to make a shot of espresso as you normally would, but get 3 demitasse cups ready.
Have an idea in your head of about how long your shots usually run seconds-wise. Start the shot going and put the first demitasse under the portafilter. A third of the way through the shot (~7seconds) pull the first cup away and put the second one under. Do the same at ~15s with the third cup. 
The first cup will have a dark, dense look to it. If you taste it, it’ll be sour and maybe salty but also have some sweetness, caramel and dark fruit flavors. If your shots tend to taste too much like this you are “under-extracting”.
The second cup will be sweeter and have more of a smooth, round body. A good shot of espresso needs to have a lot of this middle sweetness.
The last cup will be more bitter and sharp. If your shots normally taste too much like this you are “over-extracting”.
Each of these cups will be pretty unpleasant by themselves, but they add up to a delicious shot of espresso when they are all in balance. If your shots are tasting under-extracted to you, try loosening your grind setting, and conversely, try tightening the grind if they taste over-extracted.

Be sure to tweet your thoughts and comments at @alexbernson!