Coffee recommendations anyone... ?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by fed_the_savior, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. fed_the_savior

    fed_the_savior Banned

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    So I've been pretty happy with supermarket coffee having found a flavor I like, but you can't help thinking you might be missing out on something. Any special order coffees you people particularly recommend if I wanted to branch out?
     
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  2. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    Explore vacuum packed finely gound varieties and prepare using turka.
     
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  3. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Buy a coffee grinder (if you haven't done so already).

    Buy fresh (oily) beans.

    Grind the coffee just before brewing.
     
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  4. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    ^^ This

    Also, prepare freshly ground coffee in a French Press ;-)

    [​IMG]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_press

    Whichever types/flavors you try... always grind fresh beans and use a press or strainer. When you run coffee through a paper filter, all the nice coffee bean oil is removed.
     
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  5. Tina

    Tina Banned

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    I am not a coffee drinker; I pass it this time ^_^.
     
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  6. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Get medium (Vienna) roast beans, not dark (Italian or French) roast beans (assuming you aren't having espresso).
     
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  7. fed_the_savior

    fed_the_savior Banned

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    Anyone try Jamaican blue mountain coffee?
     
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  8. pabletion

    pabletion Professional

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    Guatemalan coffee is the best damn coffee in the whole wide world, hands down.
     
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  9. fed_the_savior

    fed_the_savior Banned

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    any particular brand?
     
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  10. fed_the_savior

    fed_the_savior Banned

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  11. pabletion

    pabletion Professional

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    Well, Im not sure about the international brands, but if you wanna try search for coffe from Antigua, Chimaltenango, to mention a few. I have a friend who is in the coffee business I'll ask him tomorrow what you should look for, Im not that keen on coffee, just know its awesome.

    Haha, check the thread ;) otherwise fed_the_savior gonna be all maaaaad!
     
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  12. new_tennis_player

    new_tennis_player Banned

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  13. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    For me it has to be espresso-style coffee... has to be Italian ... Lavazza and Illy are my fave 2 brands... I also love Spanish coffeee, and, certainly where I am, a whole range of wonderful worldwide coffess from South America, Africa, etc, are readily available... as you'd expect from a racketaholic, I'm a bit of a coffee addict! :shock: ... er, I'd also add that, being English, I also love a nice strong cup of tea! :wink:
     
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  14. AmericanTemplar

    AmericanTemplar Professional

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    OP: where do you live? There are several awesome roasters here in SF, & there should be something that's at least decent in most cities.

    As for brewing, I use the Aeropress & I like the cup that it produces more than any other brewing equipment/method that I've used. If you get a burr grinder, an electric kettle that allows you to set the temperature, an aeropress & some good, fresh beans, you'll be hard pressed to find a better cup at any coffee shop.
     
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  15. goober

    goober Legend

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    Basically there is a progression that many coffee lovers go through.

    You start out with your preground tin of coffee that you get at your supermarket- folgers, yuban, ect.

    You go to starbux and think hey this is better. So you start buying their coffee or some other "premium" brand.

    Then you start grinding your own coffee because you want it fresher with your typical blade grinder that you buy in the store for $20. You are happy with that, because it is better than what you had before.

    But then you start reading coffee websites and learn the most coffee afficianados consider coffee only retain its peak flavor for 7 hours after it is ground and 7 days after it is roasted. Blade grinders only grind coffee one way- in a bunch of irregular peices.

    Then you arrive where I am currently at- I roast my own beans at home and use a conical burr grinder ($100-500+) to get the exact grind to match the type of coffee you are making (french press/espresso/drip, ect.)
     
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  16. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    It seems to me that at this stage of the progression it would be cheaper to just patron a really good coffee house. They will typically have better "gear" than you can afford, roast the beans better and more often so it will be fresher, and come up with better blends as well.

    Unless you just enjoy the process (and some people really do).
     
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  17. goober

    goober Legend

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    I certainly enjoy the process, but cheaper is not really the case.

    First it is not that easy to get past all the starbux and find a good coffee house.

    If you consider that a good cup of coffee costs around $3-5/cup and if you are into coffee you will drink let's say 2 cups a day at least. That's $1095-1825/year.

    Green beans (unroasted) are fairly cheap to buy even the higher quality ones. I spend about $150/year. My coffee maker, grinder and roaster I bought 5 years ago. My initial lay out for the equipment was probably over a $1000 easily, but every year after that I only spend $150 on beans, plus I don't have to drive somewhere to get my coffee.
     
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  18. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    This is what I was thinking about. The professional grade coffee maker is expensive. As is the nice burr grinder. How much did the roasting equipment cost and how much space does it take?

    Then if you want an espresso / cappuccino you have to buy yet another machine and the good ones seem very expensive. Then it also appears that these need meticulous cleaning, are prone to malfunctions, and require costly repairs (I see these machine on E-auction).

    I looked into doing this before but thought the cost was prohibitive.

    I only made it to your "blade grinder" progression, but I do go to a nice coffee house from time to time as a treat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
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  19. siata94

    siata94 Rookie

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    AmericanTemplar and Goober know what they speak of... AT is spoiled, great roasteries and cafes in SF...

    If not espresso-based drinks, a drip cone is $3 (french press $20, moka pot $20...), better than any "commercial" drippers. Most high end cafe are doing single cup pourover using the cheap drip cones. No need for expensive equipment.

    If espresso-based drinks then there is some startup cost of machine and grinder, plenty of options under $1K or even under $500. Even less if you buy used combined with a conical hand grinder ($50 or less, I have one).

    There are more reasons to roast than saving money: You can buy whatever beans you want, roast as light/dark as you want (try asking for a different roast level at your local roastery, good luck), you can blend anything you want or not.

    And "oily" beans are not necessary "fresh". Oily means they were burnt to kingdomcome to mask the fact that they're cheap beans to begin with. Think Charbucks...

    As for the OP:

    There are tons of roasteries to order from online. Here are but a few:
    http://www.counterculturecoffee.com/
    http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/
    http://vervecoffeeroasters.myshopify.com/
    http://www.eccocaffe.com
    http://barefootcoffee.com/
    http://www.fourbarrelcoffee.com/
    http://www.bluebottlecoffee.net/
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
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  20. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    mmmmm......I'm out of my league here.

    I'm still at the stage that I think Starbucks is pretty good and I also think Starbucks beans are pretty good too. :oops:

    Can you post a link to good examples of these?

    Also, any good places to buy good coffee beans, or is it just better to buy them local?
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
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  21. miraq

    miraq New User

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    Coffee

    If you are ever in Chicago try Intelligentia coffee shops, drip cones made brews, many fresh organic central/south america.
     
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  22. siata94

    siata94 Rookie

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    also, try looking in craigslist, you might find a local home/small roaster...
     
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  23. siata94

    siata94 Rookie

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    Depends which league you're talking about, I hear there are sandbaggers in certain leagues... tennis joke... :)

    A Hario or Zassenhaus manual grinder, this vendor sells refurb (and new) units:

    http://www.orphanespresso.com/Espresso-Coffee-Hand-Grinders_c_239.html

    Or go on **** and bid on one that isn't all rusty. I got a mint one there, they usually go for < $40 on ****.
     
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  24. siata94

    siata94 Rookie

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  25. AmericanTemplar

    AmericanTemplar Professional

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    siata94 - I finally got to Sightglass the other day. Great cup & venue. I want to try to sell them some of my furniture. ;)

    Another good cheap method is the Swiss Gold single cup filter. Although it costs a little more than a generic cone, there is no need to buy filters. I was using that at my last job with the pre-ground, vacuum sealed Tully's beans that they provided in the break room & it made a pretty decent cup--much better than a machine drip.
     
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  26. Feña14

    Feña14 Legend

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    Good man! What kind of tea you like? I'm a fan of Sri Lankan.
     
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  27. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    Ive had my coffee machine and burr grinder for a number of years and nothing has gone wrong with it.. in terms of cleaning, i usually just add a bit of vinegar to the water and flush it out a few times..

    I use grinders beans and i make a pretty good coffee

    here is the machine and grinder that i have

    [​IMG]

    burr grinder

    [​IMG]

    http://www.sunbeam.com.au/Pages/Browse/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=1136
     
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  28. TenniseaWilliams

    TenniseaWilliams Professional

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    It's a great hobby, and there are a lot of brewing methods and different coffees to explore. Coffee is a very complex and individually subjective experience, so take any advice with a grain of salt, for YMMV.

    I have a few cones, a clever dripper, an aeropress, a french press, a cold brewer, a mypressi, and a fancy semi-auto e61 espresso machine. I have a hand grinder, an inexpensive burr grinder, and a Vario. I also have three different roasters.

    For a beginner, a good bang for the buck might be a clever dripper and a blade grinder. Maybe thirty bucks, produces a nice consistent cup without a lot of technique that that the other cones benefit from. The next step up would be a nicer grinder, maybe an inexpensive baratza.

    For the most part, I recommend spending your money on the coffee, read the counterculture or klatch descriptions, find a few friends to split up the coffee with. (so that you don't let it go stale, or find one that doesn't sit well with you but is too expensive to throw out)

    For the advanced guys, have you ever tried cold brewing?
     
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  29. LameTennisPlayer

    LameTennisPlayer Professional

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    learn to use a mokka pot most italian homes have these, grind beans before use, i use Ducale brand in melbourne, as its imported beans from italy but roasted in melbourne....then depends on whether u want latte, cappucino or espresso etc...
     
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  30. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Not super gourmet, but if you need a super quick coffee fix anywhere, try starbucks VIA. I love making iced coffee with it. Ice, milk, via, mix and drink. Done in 30 seconds.

    BTW- you don't need to get the "ice coffee" version as the normal version dissolves just as well (IMHO).
     
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  31. crazysoccer00

    crazysoccer00 Rookie

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    Make sure you buy fresh artisan roasted coffee. There are numerous respected roasters in the country and you can buy fresh online.
    As someone mentioned, oil is not a indicator of freshness but in general indicator of roast degree. Darker roasts tend to exhibit more oils.
    Blade grinders even for beginners are not recommended. Blade grinders create inconsistent grind particles, leading to inconsistent taste notes. With blade grinder, to grind finer you have to grind longer and this creates excess heat. This will affect the taste notes (burnt taste).
    Many others here have already mentioned easy brewing methods.
    I personally have a french press, aeropress and a 1 cup-hand drip.
    They can all prepare wonderful cups of coffee, but one note with the french press is it creates sediments in the cups which some (including me) don't prefer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
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  32. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    I'm a big Sumatra fan. I like to grind it and use a french press. However, coffee is kind of like beer on that it's all about time, people, and place. The best cup of coffee is one you share with the right people in the perfect place in a special time in your life.
     
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  33. fed_the_savior

    fed_the_savior Banned

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    Sumatra is my favorite flavor from the grocery store, and I'm fairly happy with it, but wondered what I was missing. I used to like Java Dave's Kuala Cream, but I can't find that anymore.

    Now it seems a lot of people think the processing method is maybe more important than the kind of coffee? I've read up a bit, and it seems the aeropress is too weak and the french press is too muddy, neither of which I'd like. The other suggestion was to find a coffeehouse; I've tried Starbucks and was unimpressed. Not sure what else is around this area, but I don't want to be running out all the time.

    So no one has a specific link to a coffee they actually buy on the web? I'm surprised. Guess everyone buys local.
     
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  34. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I purchased a nice Del Mar blend this evening and it's excellent. The beans are aromatic and oily. I always use a fine metal strainer to separate the grinds while preserving the nice coffee been oil :)

    French press is muddy? What do you mean?

    The Aeropress uses a microfilter so you'll be filtering out the bean oil.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
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  35. fed_the_savior

    fed_the_savior Banned

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    Everything I've read says it leaves grinds in the coffee... no me gusta.
     
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  36. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    On "America's Test Kitchen" they tested this (as many people believe it to be true). They found that you would have run the grinder for quite a long time (I believe over a minute) to get the burnt taste.

    I have since long ago conducted this experiment myself and agreed with what they said.

    YMMV, but I personally do not believe in this "myth".
     
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  37. AmericanTemplar

    AmericanTemplar Professional

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    Yeah, I'm not sure about whether or not the burning thing is true of blade grinders, but the inconsistent grind is certainly true. I also like that my burr grinder can be set to dispense the same amount every time. My preferred set up with a conical burr grinder, an adjustable temperature electric kettle & an aeropress makes a perfectly consistent & excellent cup in less than 2 minutes with clean up.

    As for muddiness vs cleanliness. Personally, I like black coffee without any cream or sugar & I find that the aeropress allows me to taste the subtleties of the beans the most as the flavor isn't overpowered by the oil or the grinds. It is a weaker cup than what's produced by a French Press though. Aeropress coffee can be made stronger though by inverting the aeropress with the plunger just inside & letting the coffee steep with the grinds for longer. There are lots of different methods for preparing a cup with it. Here are the 4 top recipes from the Aeropress World Championships: http://worldaeropresschampionship.wordpress.com/recipes/
     
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  38. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    A good french press will not leave grinds in the coffee. Make sure when you grind the beans that you grind them 'course'.
     
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  39. crazysoccer00

    crazysoccer00 Rookie

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    Yes, not particularly grinds but sediments (muddy).
    Even with a good burr grinder, it's almost unavoidable.
    And to the above poster about the America's Test kitchen, thanks for that. I always wondered if it was true. Maybe it is true if someone is trying to use a blade grinder for espresso :shock:
     
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  40. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Not a widely held opinion (outside of Guatemala).
     
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  41. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    If that bothers you, pour the finished coffee through a fine metal strainer. That will remove most of the sediment.
     
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  42. Tina

    Tina Banned

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    Starbucks Coffee is one of my favorites
     
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  43. crazysoccer00

    crazysoccer00 Rookie

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    No it doesn't bother me so much that I would do that. I just drink until I reach the sediments. French press is still an excellent brewing method though.
     
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  44. LameTennisPlayer

    LameTennisPlayer Professional

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    seriously this is my last choice in coffee, its more like a milkshake for me, and overpriced from my experience in Melbourne not sure how different it is in the U.S; alot of great espresso bars here i prefer latte's- ducale
     
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  45. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Seriously? What do you order there?
     
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  46. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    starbucks is not even a blip on the coffee radar in melbourne with the number of cafes and quality coffee going around
     
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  47. goober

    goober Legend

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    I have looked into it and there are some cheap cold brewers out there. I am not sure how good they are though. It looks like a pretty easy process just takes a long time. From what I understand it produces a mild, nonacidic brew. Have you tried the Toddy or hourglass cold brewers or have any suggestions?
     
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  48. TenniseaWilliams

    TenniseaWilliams Professional

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    Cold brewing is amazing. It takes very little gear/skill, and the concentrate lasts in the refrigerator almost a week without noticeable taste degradation. Mix it with a little water into the microwave for a very quick smooth non-acidic cup, or poured directly over ice for summer cold coffee without some of the bitterness.

    Yesterday I coarsely (about french press) ground 4 oz of lightly roasted Ethiopian Amaro Gayo. I threw it into an 8 cup Bodum french press, and filled it the rest of the way with room temperature water, gave it a quick stir, and then let it sit for 14 hours on the counter. It came out surprisingly well.

    You could also pour it through a drip filter instead of pressing it, experiment with finer grinds/less brewing (standing) time, or even use ice and let it brew in the refrigerator for longer periods to really emphasize the taste differences.

    Neat alternative coffee method, and it can be quite convenient if you plan ahead.
     
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