Spilling the Coffee Beans

DIY Flavored Creamers

We love flavored creamers (like International Delight or Coffee Mate) because they are amazingly easy. In this modern, fast-paced world in where Keurig brewers trump standard drip brewers in sales and popularity — because they cut down coffee prep time to a matter of seconds — taking the time to garnish your cup of joe with milk, sugar, and flavorings just seems too time consuming. After all, there are steps — like, more than one: first you have to pour sugar in your cup of joe, stir, take the cream or milk out of the fridge and adding it to your coffee, stirring again, and adding flavoring if you are into that sort of thing.

Store bought creamers are delicious, but packed with sketchy ingredients and high in calories and cost. I like to save money by cooking my lunches for the week on Sunday afternoons. After realizing that I can make my own coffee creamer, too, and that this stuff is actually much more delicious than the store-bought oil-based creamers, this recipe has hit my weekly prep list. You can spice it up by adding whatever flavors you like — making you an instant coffee creamer artist! In case you lack inspiration, I have experimented with a few recipes myself and have formulated my favorites, as follows.

Here is the basic recipe, I call it “sweet cream”:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup half and half or whole milk (the fattier the base dairy used, the creamer the end product will be)
  • 1 – 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Combine ingredients in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk ingredients together continuously until combined. Turn burner to low/simmer when steam begins to rise off of the milk. Continue to stir until cream appears to have thickened, then turn off the burner and add your flavorings.

Vanilla: Follow above recipe but add a quarter to one-half teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the saucepan after turning off the heat. Stir to combine well. You can substitute for pure vanilla extract if you must, but vanilla bean paste imparts a very genuine flavor with real vanilla bean specks you can see!

Brownie Bite: After turning off the heat, add 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup. Stir to mix well. You can use milk chocolate cocoa powder or dark chocolate cocoa powder for a more bitter, intense flavor.

Vermont Maple/Cinnamon: Decrease your use of sweetened condensed milk from one 14 oz. can to one half of one 14 oz. can (7 oz.). Add two tablespoons of real maple syrup before heating the mixture. After cream is reduced and taken off heat, add 2-3 dashes of cinnamon and whisk well.

Coconut Caramel: Decrease your use of sweetened condensed milk from 14 oz. to 12 oz. After heating sweet cream, add 1 tablespoon of Coconut Cream Concentrate and 1 tablespoon of caramel syrup (the kind you use on ice cream). Stir to mix well.

Oatmeal Cookie: Okay, I saved the best for last. I really love oatmeal, and the use of instant oatmeal in this recipe will actually help to thicken the cream. Here’s one you won’t find in grocery stores. After reducing the heat from medium to low, add one half packet of raisin date walnut instant oatmeal. Stir to mix well and remove from heat. Strain the liquid, separating any solids from the cream, using a fine strainer or cheesecloth. Be patient and make sure the liquid is strained well before consuming.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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The Chemical Compound of Caffeine

Are you coo-coo for caffeine? If you’ve found yourself on this site, chances are the answer to this question is a resounding “YES”, because one of the top-known caffeine facts are that this drug naturally occurs in large quantities in coffee and black teas. Other common foodstuffs that contain caffeine include chocolate, some berries, mate tea, sodas, and energy drinks. “Supplements” and medication such as diet pills, cough suppressants, and no-doze also carry this powerful stimulant. It is for this exact property of stimulation that caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world. In fact, 83% of Americans indulge in coffee alone — and this figure does not include other caffeine-based beverages and foodstuffs.

Without getting into advanced scientific jargon, I’d like to explain to you what caffeine, the chemical compound, is exactly. Caffeine is: C8H10N4O2 — and you don’t have to be Walter White to know that this means it’s made from hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen (in the order of most to least prevalent). These are also the most prevalent elements in the human body and more profoundly, everything on this planet. Woah. Okay back to caffeine. Not only is it made of these four common elements, it contains some undeniable properties:

  • Acts as a stimulant — an addictive one at that — to humans and other animals who consume it
  • It’s an effective pesticide to insects that feed on coffee bean plants (as well as yerba mate and cocoa plants)
  • Stimulates the nervous system, heart rate, and respiration
  • Acts as a diuretic
  • Can have psychotropic (mood alternating) properties

As such, we love drinking coffee and tea in the morning, because it gives us that nice little jolt of energy that lasts just about as long as it takes us to go through our morning routine, drive to the office, and settle in before we need another cup. Or two. Or three. This is because caffeine is short-acting — it only lasts an hour or two before it is completely dispelled from the brain. Caffeine is addictive, because when it is coursing through our body, it is stimulates the nerve cells to release adrenaline — increasing the heart rate and releasing the body’s natural “feel good” chemical dopamine (a neurotransmitter). Once these “feel good” sensations are gone, our body’s pleasure center begins begging for more. A tolerance will slowly build, and your body will need more and more caffeine to reach the stimulation you are used to.

Don’t start to panic — caffeine is a relatively safe drug. Levels that would be considered “toxic” begin to emerge at around 13-19 grams. A typical caffeinated beverage contains 100mg of caffeine, so you would need to consume 130-190 cups of joe to reach a lethal level, and the folks at Coffee Wholesale are pretty sure that’s physically impossible.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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The Short and Sweet Life of Dumb Starbucks


In Los Angeles this past Friday (February 7, 2014), a brand new coffee shop opened up in a the neighborhood of Los Feliz to hour-long queues of people dying to get their hands on free mediocre coffee, pastries, and espresso drinks. The cafe was called Dumb Starbucks and appeared, in almost every way, to look exactly like another generic Starbucks franchise, but with the addition of “Dumb” in the names and titles of their products. I use the past tense in the last sentence because the life of this live parody of America’s favorite coffee shop has already come to a close — at least temporarily — as the health department shut Dumb Starbucks down as of yesterday afternoon for operating without a permit.

Why “Dumb”?

The elaborate prank, which came out to the public as a media stunt by Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder for his Comedy Central show “Nathan for You”, claimed that by using the word “dumb” in front of a copyrighted trade name, it was made clear that the fake business was an imitation, protected by the parody law. Fielder never applied or received a valid permit from the health department, they rationalized, because they didn’t charge customers for the coffee, and therefore should be categorized as an art gallery as opposed to a for-profit restaurant. Clearly, the health department disagreed on the latter argument and beat Starbucks Coffee Company to the task of ceasing and desisting Dumb Starbucks.

Don’t Mess With Starbucks

Starbucks, over the past couple decades, has become famous for shutting down (or attempting to shut down) small-time coffee shops and roasters for coming even close to referencing their name in products, titles and labelling. Family owned New Hampshire-based Black Bear Micro Roastery was sued by Starbucks in 2001 for copyright infringement over the use of the word “Charbucks” in the names of their products. Two months ago, in December 2013, Starbucks famously sent a cease and desist letter to Exit 6 Brewpub to change the name of their “Frappicino” brew, on the grounds that this word too closely resembles a registered trademark of Starbucks Coffee Company. Clearly, Starbucks was planning on at least threatening legal action towards Dumb Starbucks; their last official statement declaring the two are in no way affiliated. Lawyers specializing in intellectual property speculated that the argument that Dumb Starbucks could effectively exist on grounds that it was protected by a parody law was completely unfounded. An email from Starbucks to the media this past weekend stated, “”We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” The health department surprised everyone by beating Starbucks to the task of shutting Dumb Starbucks down.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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Coffee Condiments

Drinking coffee in the morning is a routine that, for many of us, will never change. I know that personally, I take my coffee the same way every day, with the exact same amount of raw sugar and 1% milk, but in the spirit of the new year, I am trying to branch out and try new things, and the first step is my morning coffee. Besides cream and sugar, there are plenty of other tasty treats that can be added to coffee, and some are even health-conscious. I’ve spent the last few weeks delving into the world of unknown coffee condiments and listed a few of my favorites for you brave coffee lovers out there to try!

Cinnamon: I have often seen cinnamon jars placed near the cream and sugar in coffee shops, so it seemed like a natural place to start. You can use ground cinnamon, or cinnamon sticks crushed into a fine powder. In my first attempt, I poured a cup of coffee and added the cinnamon on top, which created a clumpy, grainy texture. Then I discovered this pro tip: mix your crushed cinnamon in with the coffee beans in your filter, that way you get the same spicy flavor, without the texture issues!

Maple Syrup: This viscous liquid is best associated with pancakes, but can also make a delicious addition to your cup of joe. As the dangers of sugar become more and more apparent, many of us are looking for alternative ways to sweeten our food. Instead of turning to a chemical concoction that is walking around, pretending to be sugar, I tried maple syrup that was harvested locally. The thickness of the syrup proved to be a little challenging, but after a few vigorous stirs, I had created a fairly homogenous solution that was sweet enough to deter me from adding milk.

Cocoa/Chocolate: Coffee and chocolate, my two great loves, finally together at last. Some mornings, I mix a small amount of cocoa powder in with my coffee beans so that the flavors are brewed together flawlessly. More often than not, however, I simply drop a piece of dark chocolate into my mug when it is still very hot and watch it dissolve, after all, dark chocolate in moderation can even be good for you!

Almond Milk: As much as I do enjoy the occasional black coffee, and can appreciate it for its robust flavor, I greatly prefer coffee that has been lightened with some sort of creamer. In an effort to cut down on my daily dose of saturated fat, I have switched from cow’s milk to almond milk. If you haven’t tried almond milk, I highly recommend it. Though the nutty flavor might deter you from drinking an entire glass, many people find that it is delicious when combined with cereal or coffee. There are even vanilla and chocolate flavored almond milk options. Here are a few nutritional facts I learned from comparing the nutritional labels on almond milk to regular 2% cow’s milk. Almond milk contains 30-40 calories per serving, while cow’s milk contains around 150 calories per serving. Almond milk contains no saturated fat, which means it will not raise your cholesterol, while one serving of cow’s milk contains 5 grams of saturated fat. Because it is made from nuts, almond milk still contains helpful protein, as well as magnesium and vitamin E, making it an excellent substitute for milk, even if its only at breakfast time.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a leap and try one of our condiment suggestions, or create your own and let us know how it tastes!

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Coffee Around the World

If you’ve ever traveled outside the United States and tried to order your favorite double-shot, soy milk, extra whip frappucino, you may have been disappointed. Coffee preparation techniques vary around the world and, therefore, so does the coffee drinking experience. If you are visiting a foreign country, especially one where you do not speak the language, having a rough idea of the local coffee terminology can be helpful, and you may end up trying something new that makes a lasting impression.

France: Picture yourself in Paris in the afternoon, tired from a long day of sightseeing. You sit down at a picturesque outdoor cafe, preparing to enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up, but alas! You do not see caramel macchiato listed on the menu! In France, it is rare to find a flavored coffee such as hazelnut, or ironically, French vanilla. It can even be rare to find a typical blended coffee, which is what most Americans are used to drinking. This just means that it is time to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy coffee like a Frenchman. If you try ordering a café, you will receive a shot of rich, dark espresso served in a demitasse cup, which is very tiny and usually made of porcelain. This drink is meant to be sipped and savored slowly. If the bold flavor proves to be too much for you, try a café au lait, or espresso with milk, which will lighten the taste.

Brazil: Now imagine that you are in Brazil, the world’s largest producer of coffee. It is summertime, and you decide to go get breakfast at a local cafe. Though it is morning, the temperatures are already sweltering, so you figure you will have an iced coffee with breakfast right? Probably not. Brazilians, like the French, prefer their coffee concentrated and scalding hot. Try pairing your coffee selection with an iced water to cool you down. In Brazil, the cafezinho is the drink of choice. Similar to the café in France, it is served in a small cup, and though the coffee is very strong, it is not always made with espresso. If you want something more familiar, try a média. This drink is made with espresso and steamed milk, similar to a latte, and probably friendlier for your American palette.

Austria: When I visited Austria, I was overwhelmed by the grandeur of the coffee shops. Unlike in America where coffee shops are overrun with hipsters on their computers and the sound of folk music permeates the air, the coffee shops in Austria are old, historic, and full of splendor. Café Central is one of the oldest and most famous cafes in Vienna and I had the privilege of spending many afternoons among the rich and opulent furniture, greeted by waiters in tuxedos, and serenaded by a professional pianist playing Mozart, Brahms, and Schubert on a grand piano in the middle of the chandelier-lit hallway. Melange is the usual coffee of choice for Austrians, and contains steamed coffee topped with frothy milk, making it a bold, but not overwhelming choice. Another option (my personal favorite) is an Einspänner made with strong, black coffee, complete with a dollop of whipped cream. It makes a perfect dessert coffee.

Ethiopia: Coffee in Ethiopia has important cultural significance. In homes as well as restaurants all across Ethiopia, the coffee ceremony that is performed while brewing allows you to witness each step of the traditional preparation process. It begins with a woman roasting the coffee beans over an open fire until they pop, like popcorn. Next, they are crushed with a pestle and mortar and boiled with water. The coffee, called Bunna, is served black, in demitasse cups, in 3 different servings, abol, huletegna and bereka, and each serving being weaker than the previous.

Travelling is all about experiencing new things. If you go abroad and find yourself facing new coffee options, fear not! Trying something new is exciting, you may just develop a taste for the unusual.

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Coffee in Pop Culture

If you spend 60 seconds on Pinterest, you are almost guaranteed to see some sort of clever meme about coffee and the role it plays in our lives. If you watch television, you can probably recite 3 catchy coffee slogans. Magazines on newsstands are filled with pictures of celebrities grabbing a cup of joe. What is it about this delicious beverage that causes its presence to be so dominant in pop culture? Maybe it is the universality of the morning brewing ritual or the way caffeine makes us feel, or how sharing a cup of coffee can bring people closer together. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite coffee lovers who helped make our beloved drink the icon it is today.

Johann Sebastian Bach:

J.S. Bach, father of harmony, master of counterpoint, and yes, lover of coffee. During his tenure in Leipzig, Germany, Bach not only wrote many (MANY) liturgical works, but also served as the director of a musical society called Collegium Musicum, which performed many secular works at the very posh Zimmermannsche Kaffeehaus (Zimmerman’s Coffeehouse). One of the most amusing pieces is known as the Coffee Cantata (Schweight stille, paludert nicht, Be still, stop chattering). It tells the story of a young girl, Lieschen, who is addicted to coffee, and after many attempts to break her of the habit, her father, Schlendrian (whose name literally means ‘stick in the mud’) is forced to give her an ultimatum: she must give up coffee before she can marry. This realization makes Lieschen change her tune (literally and figuratively) and scheming ensues. In the end, both father and daughter come to the conclusion that drinking coffee is only natural, and the people of Leipzig rejoiced.

Teddy Roosevelt:

26th President of the United States, founder of the Bull Moose party, Rough Rider, and coffee addict/slogan master. Coffee did not become a popular drink in the U.S. until the late 18th century following the Boston Tea Party, but quickly became a national staple. Perhaps Roosevelt’s travels out west carrying a big stick required high doses of caffeine, because the president was rumored to drink a gallon of coffee a day! The Trust Buster was also a marketing mastermind, having been credited with coining the Maxwell House slogan “Good to the last drop,” which he exclaimed while drinking coffee at Andrew Jackson’s home in Tennessee.

Frank Sinatra:

200 years after Bach brought the comedic Coffee Cantata to Germany, Frank Sinatra brought it to us! His 1946 hit “The Coffee Song” is a novelty song about Brazil, which produces about a third of the world’s coffee. The song is an exaggeration of coffee consumption in the South American country, or at least we hope so;

And when their ham and eggs need savor
Coffee ketchup gives ‘em flavor
Coffee pickles way outsell the dill
Why, they put coffee in the coffee in Brazil

This particular piece was so popular that it was re-recorded in 1961 for Sinatra’s album Ring-A-Ding-Ding and has been featured on the Muppets.

Friends:

As the modern day Kaffeehaus, Central Perk serves as the location for much of the drama in the beloved television series, Friends. The very first episode begins with the characters congregating in their local coffee shop, above which, 4 of the friends live. Central Perk plays an important role in their lives, with both Joey and Rachel finding employment there under the watchful eye of Gunther, and many first dates, break ups, and make ups occurring in the shop where there is miraculously always enough seating. The series finale ends with the friends turning in their apartment keys and deciding to go to Central Perk one last time. The meeting place has become such a cultural icon that there is even a replica in Bejing!

Coffee is way more than a tasty beverage, it has become a part of our culture. Do you have a favorite coffee loving icon?

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Caffeine and Our Memory

There are many reasons that countless numbers of Americans indulge in delicious cup of coffee or tea each morning. It tastes delicious, helps to wake us up, and is part of our routine. We don’t need another reason to love our morning cup of joe, but we have one anyway- new research shows that 200 milligrams of caffeine (approximately the amount found in a large cup) may actually improve our complex memory.

In a recent study by Johns Hopkins University, researchers found that caffeine can provide a memory boost. 160 participants were asked to look at a series of pictures, followed by ingesting either a placebo tablet, or one containing 200 milligrams of caffeine. The next day, the research participants were asked to look at another series of pictures that varied slightly from the images they were shown the day before. The participants who ingested the caffeine were more likely to be able to identify the differences between both sets of pictures which “reflects a deep level of memory discrimination” according to the study’s lead author, Michael Yassa. The study also included manipulation of the dosage of caffeine, which varied from 100-300 milligrams. The 100 milligram caffeine dose did little to improve the memory of the participants, and the 300 milligram dose did little more to improve the memory than the 200 milligram dose.

So, if you have a big test or presentation coming up, sipping a cup of coffee or two may actually give you an advantage. However, it is important to remember that caffeine is a stimulant, which means that too much of it can cause unwanted side effects, such as jitters and headaches, so make sure you are paying attention to your intake!

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Which Tea is For Me?

As winter weather blankets half of the country and snow falls in record breaking totals, many of us would like nothing more than to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Aside from water, tea is the most consumed beverage on the planet — and for good reason! It provides us with an array of health benefits, and it tastes delicious. The important thing to remember is that there are many different types of tea, and each type has its own qualities. Some tea can help us drift off to sleep, while others help us stay alert. Don’t be overwhelmed by the varieties of tea — here is a helpful guide so you can choose the right tea for your mood.

Green Tea
All types of “true” teas are made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. The differences come from the harvesting and fermentation process.The ancient Chinese and Indian cultures that developed this tea have long been aware of their benefits. Green tea is un-oxidized, meaning that it is harvested before being exposed to oxygen-rich air which causes it to have the highest levels of antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E and lycopene, which fight signs of ageing and prevent disease. Un-oxidized tea also contains low levels of caffeine (about 30 milligrams per 8 oz cup) making it an excellent choice for soothing sore throats, since it will not dehydrate the vocal tract. The benefits don’t stop there! In a recent study by The National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols found in green tea were shown to reduce tumor growth in laboratory experiments and stimulate the immune system. Green tea such as this Lipton Green Tea often has a pleasant “earthy” taste that many drinkers find soothing.

Black Tea
Black tea is named for the color that the leaves turn when they are dried and oxidized and is the most widely consumed type of tea. It is referred to as “red tea” in some cultures for the color of the liquid that the tea leaves produce. Even though it is oxidized, it still contains many healthy antioxidants, which prevent DNA damage caused by toxins in the body. The oxidization process causes black tea to contain high levels of caffeine (about 50 milligrams per 8 oz cup) which can boost your metabolism and help to wake you up in the morning. This makes tea varieties such as Pickwick Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea a nice alternative to a cup of coffee.

White Tea
The leaves of white teas are harvested before the buds open, which causes them to be un-oxidized and therefore contain high levels of the same antioxidants found in green teas. In a recent study by Pace University, white tea was found to be the best type of tea for killing many harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, virus and fungi. The leaves are steamed and dried which creates a delicate, sometimes floral flavor. One of my personal favorites is the Berry White Tea by Organa.

Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that originated in the Fujian province centuries ago. The leaves are partially fermented, which makes oolong tea fall somewhere between green and black tea. While you may not be familiar with the name “oolong tea”, you may have already consumed it at a Chinese restaurant. Because oolong tea is caffeinated, it can boost mental alertness which makes it an excellent choice for a midday pick-me-up.

Herbal Tea
Technically speaking, herbal tea is not actually tea at all! Herbal tea often does not contain leaves from the camellia sinensis plant, but does still contain organic ingredients that can be helpful in other ways. For example, chamomile is a popular herbal tea that contains the amino acid tryptophan (think, ‘turkey coma!’) that induces feelings of calm and sleepiness, making it a perfect bedtime choice. If you are suffering from a cold, tea containing thyme can help relieve your symptoms. Peppermint tea is a popular wintertime choice that can settle queasy stomachs.Thyme is another common ingredient in herbal tea, which contains essential oils that act as a decongestant and also protect against infections.

When choosing the right tea, the most important thing to look for is the ingredient label. Make sure you select teas with organic ingredients that contain no artificial preservatives. Many of the teas on coffeewholesaleusa.com are also Rainforest Alliance Certified, which means that the habitats in which the tea is grown, as well as the workers who harvest the tea, are protected, so you can rest easy knowing that you’ve made an excellent tea purchase!

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Coffee for Heart Health

The human body yearns for coffee. It helps us wake up, keeps us energized throughout the day, and is delicious when properly prepared or mixed with a ton of cream and sugar! What is it that we love about this mean bean? Is it the caffeine? As the world’s most widely used drug, our body may be physically and psychologically attached to our favorite morning drink on a molecular level. Other than acting as a stimulant, coffee (in it’s fully caffeinated form) offers several additional health pros: it increases memory, decreases muscle pain/fatigue, keeps Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s at bay, increases stamina and aids in weight loss… just to name a few. Now, thanks new evidence presented at last month’s 2013 Scientific Sessions by the American Heart Association, caffeinated coffee is adding another major health benefit to its repertoire: decreasing risk of cardiovascular disease. How? By increasing small blood vessel function. A small study’s results showed a 30% increase in blood flow for 75 minutes after consumption of caffeinated coffee.

As a consumer, why should we care? Blood vessels transport blood throughout the entire body in an intricate web. Increased blood vessel function means improved circulation. Oxygen-rich blood needs to reach all parts of the body, or lethargy, dizziness, and delayed mental reaction will present themselves upon onset. Memory retention is also negatively impacted by poor blood flow. Eventually, if left untreated, your chances of suffering kidney damage, a heart attack, or a stroke increases significantly. Poor blood flow is also the culprit for unsightly varicose veins. This is all great news for the world’s most popular beverage and its consumers. The study does not reveal exactly why this occurs, however, lead researcher Masato Tsutsui, M.D., Ph.D., believes it most likely results from reduced inflammation combined with actual widening of vessels.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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Grind Your Way to Better Coffee

Grinding coffee beans right before you begin to brew is the number one thing you can do to improve the taste of your coffee at home. Most people buy coffee that is pre-ground (as opposed to whole bean). Who can blame them? Coffee making is a process that can be a time-consuming addition to your morning routine. Grinding coffee at home is another step in the process that can be messy and takes a little focus and concentration early in the morning. Right after awakening, the common mentality is “I WANT MY COFFEE AND I WANT IT NOW!” Instant gratification can be found in a Keurig or an expensive brewer that you can set to begin brewing at a certain time resulting in a hot, fresh pot o’ joe. I used to make one pot of coffee on Monday morning and reheat it for days. Gross, yes, but it certainly saved some time.

After visiting a friend in the morning, I had to admit that her coffee, although the same brand and roast type/flavor, was significantly better than my reheated, pre-ground, lazy coffee. This lead to a little bit of research that changed the way I prepare and consume coffee every day since that morning.

Did you know that freshly roasted coffee has more flavor compounds than a glass of wine? Flavor compounds are organic substances found in the bean itself that give your mug of coffee many trademark characteristics like flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. Once the beans are exposed to oxygen via the grinding process, these lovely compounds begin to perish. When you grind your beans at home right before you fill up the filter, the compounds remain intact. Pre-ground beans, even if “sealed for freshness”, will indeed save you time and energy but are devoid of a significant amount of flavor and other pleasantries found in whole bean coffee.

So what’s the best way to grind whole bean coffee to achieve the ideal mug? Grind those beans the right way by following my step by step instructions:

  1. Before you even think about grinding, you’ll want coffee that is freshly roasted. Sorry, large chain grocery stores of the world! Independent coffee roasters, most indie coffee shops, and many small/natural-foods grocery stores have beans that are freshly roasted. “Freshly roasted” refers to beans that are roasted on-site. Freshness remains for 5-7 days (ideally) but are still tasty for up to two weeks.
  2. Buy a burr grinder as opposed to a blade grinder or coffee mill. They are slightly more expensive but offer the most precise level of coarseness and can be used in all types of brewers (drip, french press, espresso machines, etc.) Blade grinders simply break up the coffee and you can try to achieve the ideal texture by adjusting the amount of time you turn on the grinder but there is no real precision, and you can forget about finely-ground beans (for espresso or turkish). Plus, blade mills are very loud, break easily, and produce more heat which deteriorates flavor compounds Burr grinders pulverize the beans, and you set your level of coarseness manually, from coarse to super fine and everything in-between. Coffee wholesale offers the Krups GVX2-12 Burr Coffee Grinder (free shipping) and the extra fancy Cuisinart CBM-18N Programmable Conical Burr Grinder.
  3. Decide on the grind level, or coarseness, that you need or want. This will largely depend on what kind of brewer you are using. Coarse grind is ideal for a french press or percolator. Medium grind is ideal for drip brewers. Fine grind is ideal for espresso machines. Extra fine is necessary for Turkish coffee. Check out this awesome grind chart with illustrates grind levels.
  4. Again, grind your beans immediately before brewing. This cannot be emphasized enough. So try to use only the amount of coffee beans you will need for the amount of brewed coffee you will be consuming that day.

Okay, so you have a small bag of freshly roasted beans from a roastery? Check. Purchased or otherwise inherited a burr grinder? Check. Set the grind level on your burr grinder to align with the type of brewer or other coffee maker of your choosing? Check. Ready, set, go! You are now ready for the best cup of homemade coffee you’ve ever whipped up. A perfect cup of coffee can be the perfect way to start a great day!

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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