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Best coffee technique

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
(this is my first thread.. yea!)

I am not a great coffee connaisseur or addict but I like good java.

The best restaurant coffee I have ever tasted was at the Montréalais restaurant at the Fairmont-Queen Élizabeth hotel in downtown Montréal (about 15 years ago during a business meeting).
Obviously the choice of coffee is important but I asked the Maître D anyway about the coffee thinking he will tell me something like: <it's a house blend> but instead he explained it was the process that made the better cup which dates from the 60s.
Apparently, coffee grounds are placed in a cloth bag then lowered in a jacketed silver box full of cold water. The grounds are left to steep (for many hours) then steam is passed in the jacket to heat the steeped coffee. I searched the net and found that there is a cold water process for making coffee at home but not exactly the same way. Brewing Techniques

Has anybody seen or worked with this type of coffee making?
(i will fiddle around my home lab and make some trials)

Luc
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post #2 of 15
Hi,

Coincidentally, I had a cup recently that was brewed in a similar fashion. It was quite mild, and can easily be a good choice for people with a sensitive stomach or who just prefer a mild brew. I've had coffee this way several times over the years, and don't care for it all that much except when specifically in the mood for it. Generally I prefer stronger brews and use a Bodum French press.

Shel
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Shel,

I assure you the coffee I am talking about is full flavoured, high in roasted notes (almost chocolate) yet not acrid : little bitter, low acidity and little burnt notes.

Apparently the batches they make uses many pounds of grounded coffee (I had forgotten to mention this). The machine is apparently quite big like a washing machine.

Luc
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post #4 of 15
Ahh, that makes sense ... all the cold brewed that I have had has been made in much smaller batches, and, I suppose, the steam treatment added to the flavor and depth.

While I don't drink coffee as much as I used to, I still love a good cup, and I'd like very much to try this brewing method. If ever you get more information about it please let me/others know.

Kind regards,

Shel
post #5 of 15
There is a device that sounds like what you describe. I believe it's called the "Toddy" or maybe "coffee toddy". My neighbor always made great coffee and it was kind of like instant. He'd pour a teaspoon or two of very dark thick liquid in a cup and added boiling water. It was great. I believe he would start with a whole pound of coffee.

I have tried many coffee makers, from percolators, to french press to various types of automatic makers and I keep going back to my old $10 Melitta drip where you pour in boiling water and it drips through.

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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi Foodnfoto,

how did your neighbour actually reheated the reconstituted coffee?
Add the concentrate to boiling water or nuke the whole thing?

Luc
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post #7 of 15
I believe foodnfoto may be referring to the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker (described here on Amazon Amazon.com: Toddy Maker Cold Brew Coffee System: Home & Garden
Though I do love my french press coffee maker, the cold brew system is great. It probably isn't the same thing the Fairmont used, but it does have its benefits. You add coffee grounds and cold water and leave overnight, then filter in the morning. The result is a concentrated coffee liquid that is great for cooking and making all kinds of iced coffee beverages. The liquid lasts for three weeks in the refrigerator. To make regular coffee, you just add hot water. The results are very smooth and slightly less acidic than other brewing methods.
post #8 of 15
I used to live in Corvallis, Oregon, where there's a coffee master who actually invented a coffee roasting system that is now considered tops. His last name is Sivetz (and his first name might be Michael, not sure). Okay, I will get to the point in a second.

The roaster he invented blows hot air up through the coffee beans so that none get scorched on the bottom. He didn't sell any flavored coffees, but his were the best because:

1) the selection of the best green beans (this I took his word for)
2) the roasting method
3) freshness freshness freshness, whole beans stored in glass jars and frozen if not used immediately
4) the method of preparing it, preferably ground just before use so that they would not oxidize (fresh coffee beans are a world better, and I know from experience)
5) preferred preparation method, in a French press, although espresso method is great for darker roasts

They also sold cold-water steeped extracts, which I thought were superior to others' fresh ground, but not as good as Sivetz' fresh beans brewed in a French press coffee maker.

My 2 cents.

Andy
post #9 of 15
Yes I just googled "Sivetz" and it is Mike Sivetz. His store is pretty modest looking on the outside, looks like it used to be a small church, but you step inside and the aroma is anything but modest. The coffee they serve is phenomenal.
post #10 of 15
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post #11 of 15
Sorry. I guess I am not allowed to post links yet for some reason. Anyway, here is what i wanted to post:

I have a couple of questions regarding the cold brew method:

1) It says on the Toddy website (I originally posted the website where I got the info, and that crashed my post) that this method produces concentrate. For me, a concentrate is a syrupy substance...is that the case with this? Or is it just regular liquid that needs to be diluted?

2) I read somewhere that the 3:1 ratio of hot water to coffee concentrate was too weak. Has that been your experience? If so, what ratio do you suggest?

3) Is there a preferred water tempurature that should be used when making hot coffee? I have heard that the water tempurature, when brewing, has much to do with the flavor of the coffee. This is why when you buy a bag of coffee from, say Dunkin' Donuts and brew it at home, it never tastes the same as it does when you buy a made cup from the store (this applies to Tim Horton's for my Canucky friends). Does one tempurature make the coffee taste different in this method as well?

Thanks in advance.
post #12 of 15
1) The concentrate is not syrupy - it is just like coffee, only much stronger.
2) I am not sure, you would need to experiment to your taste. I like milk in my coffee, so I substitute that for some of the water and just do it to taste. Although, the first time I made it, I did use their recommended amount and found it weak. No problem, just add more concentrate. I like my coffee strong, even with the milk and haven't had trouble getting it to where I like it.
3) My understanding is that you should not use boiling water. If you bring water to a boil, take it off the boil for 15 seconds before adding it to the coffee. By boiling the water (if using tap water) you will reduce some of the chlorine flavor, but if it contacts the coffee at this temperature it will provide fairly harsh results. According to McGee, the ideal temperature is 190-200 F.
post #13 of 15
Thanks, Clove. Would you say, from your experience, that this method produces a superier cup over your traditional drip? I want to try it, but dont want to spend the $40 if it is not an upgrade over what I have.
post #14 of 15
Goose - I am not really sure. My alternative method is french press and that can be very good, too. If you are using good coffee beans now, I don't think you need to buy the cold brew system expecting to see a big improvement in your coffee.

I would only recommend the investment in the cold brew if you thought some of the other benefits would make it worthwhile. When you want just one cup of coffee, it is very convenient to have the concentrate ready to go. As I mentioned before, it makes outstanding cold beverages (I just happen to be drinking my version of a Vietnamese iced coffee now) and the coffee is very smooth.
post #15 of 15
Here is a basic brewing tip sheet from SweetMaria's. I personally get good (but different) results with both my french press and Chemex.

take care,
dan
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