Q: What is the best way to brew coffee?
A: For a snazy printable brochure about this please click here: brew_brochure_03.pdf
There are several steps:
Buy Fresh Coffee.
Buy your favorite Vienna Coffee in small packages. Freshness is vital to get the most out of any coffee. Even though we use high-tech barrier bags with a one-way freshness valve, buy just what you expect to use up in the next two weeks. We’ll make more so you won’t run out.
Start with Fresh Cold Water
Coffee is 98% water. It’s only logical, then, that you must start with very good water. Some tap waters are better than others so it depends on where you live whether we recommend bottled or treated water. Too much mineral content including hardness OR too pure water will make your coffee less than it can be.
Perfect coffee water, the “Gold Cup” standard contains about 150 parts per million (ppm) total dissolved solids (TDS), including about 50 ppm of Calcium hardness; no residual chlorine and no objectionable tastes from iron or other minerals. Many spring waters are excellent for coffee but don’t expect a strongly mineral spring to yield very good coffee. Never buy distilled water for your coffee!
Brew your coffee at the right temperature. The best temperature for brewing coffee is 195 to 205. This is just below boiling. Water that is too hot results in bitter coffee and too cool will yield weak, flat tasting results.
Use the Correct Grind Size
For best results, grind your coffee fresh just before brewing. The flavor and aroma are far better that way. Even the best coffee will lose a lot of its “Specialness” within a few days of grinding. If you can’t grind it yourself, buy only what you’ll use in a week.
There is no all-purpose grind. Conventional drip makers use a fairly fine grind but too fine a grind will result in bitterness from over-extraction. Paper filter brewers take a finer grind than metal (permanent) filter brewers. Espresso is ground very fine and French Press pots (our favorite way to enjoy great coffee) use a much more coarse grind. Avoid a percolator, but if you must, use a very coarse grind to try to keep down over-extraction and bitterness.
Use the Right Amount of Coffee
We recommend using one (1) well-rounded (almost heaping) Tablespoon of ground coffee for each “cup” of water. This translates to just over ¾ measuring cup of ground coffee per “12 cup” pot-full. Note that the usual “12 cup pot” is only 64 fluid ounces (only about 5 1/3 ounces per “cup”). A standard coffee scoop is 2 tablespoons. Use 6 of those, heaping, for a 12 cup pot-full.
Start there and if it’s too strong, dilute the finished product with hot water. Don’t use less coffee! Even if you enjoy your coffee weaker, don’t use less coffee because that will cause the bitter components in the coffee grounds to be extracted too. Brew it strong and cut with hot water if you want the best tasting coffee!
Treat it Right – Get it off the Heat Right Away!
Brewing a perfect pot of coffee, then letting it cook on the heat plate is almost criminal! If you don’t plan to serve it all within minutes of brewing, transfer your coffee to a pre-warmed thermal server. An airtight thermal server or airpot will keep coffee hot and preserve its flavor for hours.
Q: What do we do with all of the scrap coffee and chaff from the roaster?
A: Coffee is such an amazing plant! All forms of it can be used in multiple ways. This is lucky for a roaster who ends up having a large amount of scrap coffee or coffee chaff that is roasted off of the green coffee beans. These two elements are perfect for composting or mulching your garden!
"Ground coffee is high in nitrogen, making it a very good mulch for fast-growing vegetables. Many organic growers swear by coffee grounds as mulches for tomato plants, both for the nitrogen boost this heavy feeder appreciates and for coffee's ability to help suppress late blight.
Coffee grounds can also be used to mulch plants that slugs love to feast on, such as hostas, ligularias and lilies. Try them for daffodils and other spring bulbs as well. You also can rid areas of slugs and snails by mixing up some instant coffee and making it two to three times stronger than you ordinarily would. Spray this concentrated coffee where slugs roam free and you'll notice a definite dropoff in damage.
When coffee is roasted, the papery chaff is removed and discarded. The lightweight, sand-colored chaff can be mixed into your compost heap or blended into compost for mulching beds and borders. Don't use too much chaff at once, however, or this fluffy stuff can sheet into a sticky mess, repelling water and keeping air out of the soil."
(excerpt by Ann Lovejoy, http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/nwgardens/143052_lovejoy09.html)
John Clark has a beautiful garden in his backyard and plans on having a larger orchard and English garden in his new green home that he is building. One of the contributing factors to his garden's splendor is his composted coffee beans and chaff. At this time, however, John cannot use all of the scrap coffee and chaff. So we are offering it to anyone who would like it. Please come by the roastery to pick up as much as you would like.
Q: What is so great about Shade Grown Coffee?
A: There are multiple reasons Shade Grown Coffee is so great.
First, you need to know what Shade Grown coffee is. Shade grown coffee is coffee that is grown with a canopy of diverse species of trees over top of the coffee. This was the way coffee was first found. But the USAID and other international organizations talked farmers into growing a sun tolerant coffee that would have a higher yield per tree and allow for more trees per acre. This did actually up the amount of coffee being produced, but this practice has a large environmental impact.
- Increases coffee yield in the short term.
- Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides need to be added because natural ecosystem is destroyed.
- The trees root structure is shallow causing more erosion and toxic run off.
- Creates a mono-culture system where the field must lay fallow every couple years.
- Mimics a forest with many layers giving habitat to many types of trees including hardwood, fruit trees, epiphytes, and other bushes which gives the farmers an extra income or food.
- Provides a habitat for many migratory song birds and other animals.
- The canopy of trees "protects the coffee plants that grow beneath them from rain and sun, help maintain soil quality, reduce the need for weeding, and aid in pest control. Organic matter from the shade trees reduces erosion and provides natural mulch, contributing nutrients to the soil and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers."
- Since the soil is such high quality the fields can be grown on year after year.
For more information check out: http://shadecoffee.org/shadecoffee/Coffee/AboutShadeCoffee.aspx
Q: What does SHB mean?
A: The SHB stands for “Strictly Hard Bean”, a designation reserved for coffees grown at an altitude of at least 3,900 feet above sea level. The higher elevation forces the coffee tree to work harder to produce fruit. The result is a more developed flavor and greater aromatic complexity.
Q: What do you mean by water processed decaf?
A: By law, decaf has 97% of the caffeine removed from the original level, making it greater than 99.9% caffeine free.
Check out this site for a more elaborate answer to your question.
And here for more specific info on our water processed decaf.
And this site for more even more info.
Generally, the darker roasted the coffee, the lower the remaining caffeine content since it tends to burn away with darker roasts (higher temperature roast).