Big Update

February 11, 2010

Well, ever since i’ve been up in Chicago i’ve done a very poor job of updating, but you know, i’m in Chicago so it can be excused.
I’ve had some wonderful coffees from Intelligentsia and have yet to visit another cafe that wasn’t completely sub par on every level. A week or so ago Intelligentsia started offering two Burundi and two Rwanda coffees that have been very interesting to taste a couple different ways. I’ve especially enjoyed the Ikirezi, Burundi: Kirundo Muyinga as pour-over and single origin espresso. Tons of oak or cedar on the nose and hits you in the face with a nice sweet clementine orange acidity and some nice bitter chocolate and nuts on the finish. Almost reminds me of a chocolate covered orange candy in that sense.

Besides enjoying some amazing espresso and interesting conversations with the baristas, i’ve also been working on my siphon skills (although i still need a thermometer), as well as trying to modify my Skeleton Hario Hand Grinder, which i’ve finally found a way to have “settings”.
Basically i’ve made a small sharpie mark on the washer that controls the burrs while having the burrs completely closed together, added a mark on the plastic hopper cylinder directly below it that matches up. Then i’m measuring “settings” by half rotations or full rotations from this zero mark. So far i’ve been able to do some tests and determine which settings i generally use for which methods, and now i will be able to modify my grind settings according to taste because i know the settings rather than merely guessing on vague memory and sight.

Thats all i have for now!

Syphon Coffee

December 26, 2009

Hario Syphon and Hand Grinder

For Christmas I was given a wonderful Hario TCA-5 Syphon Coffee Maker from Avenue 18 which is the only retailer in North America i’m aware of that has an extensive collection of syphons for sale.
As a basic guide for brewing i’ve found Coffee Geek’s Guide as well as this Short Intelligentsia Trade Show Video very helpful and informative.

Short Instructions
Fine drip grind with Hario Skerton Hand Grinder
45g for 20 ounces (5 “cups”)
Completely Saturate Grounds
Stir 5 times at 55 seconds
Remove heat source
Apply Wet towel to bottom glass to increase speed of drop down
2:15 complete contact time from coffee deposit to last bit exiting top chamber

So far the best cups i’ve had have been with Ethiopia Amaro Gayo and the Cup of Excellence #15 El Salvador San Jose/Shangrila from Catalina Coffee. The fruit acidity in both is nicely accentuated as the cup cools, and the cup is very smooth when its hot.

Anyways i’m still playing around with my brewing method and what coffees work best with it, so any comments are greatly appreciated! I ordered a butane burner from Sweet Maria’s last night, and hopefully the heat increase will let me do everything quicker because the small alcohol burning i’m using makes the water take forever to get up to temperature even with a boil before.