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Starbucks - yes or no? - Page 2

post #31 of 42

I dunno about Seattle..

 

Here in Vancouver I can count a least 2 dozen independant roasters.  Some, like J.J. Beans have a 5 or 6 stores with a central roaster feeding them.  I get both my espresso beans and drip grind from a Co. called Los Beans, and have nothing but compliments on the espresso and drip brews from my customers.  Sadly I have a Sawbucks ( sawbuck=Cdn term for a $10 note) one block away from my store and a drive through Sawbucks two and  half blocks away.

 

Vancouver is coffee crazy, on any street you will find at least two cofee shops, some streets like Commercial drive have 4-6 shops per block, and downtown? There are Sawbucks on opposing street corners, with smaller chains like second cup and beans around the world, and Seattle's best in evey mall.

 

When I hear of BDL roasting coffee at home, I think of Beethoven, seems he would count out green beans to a precise, constant number, roast them, grind them, and brew his own cup every morning.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #32 of 42

Finding really good coffee isn't necessarily a given.  Exceptional coffee is... well... exceptional.  That said, if you can't find great coffee in the big cities of the Pacific coast, US or Canadian, you aren't looking very hard.  The left coast probably has the best coffee scene in the world at the moment.  But you do have to search.

 

Starbucks doesn't use any Robusta beans at all.  Very, very few American roasters do.  Italian roasters like Robusta for its crema, while American roasters depend more on freshness.  While Robusta beans don't make very good coffee of any sort on their own; they can be nice in a blend for the crema, some extra caffeine, and a little "zip."

 

Drip coffee is currently undergoing a huge renaissance.  The trendoids are embracing single cup, drip makers.  The best, most high-end automatic drip machines use a thermos rather than a heater to keep the coffee warm.

 

French press coffee isn't good because it's "French."  It's a good method for brewing because it reveals so much about the coffee.  It's not perfect for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that cafetieres do tend to go cold quickly.  Vacuum insulated cafetieres which can hold coffee hot for a little while are also on the market. 

 

Vaccum siphon brewing is another very good method -- especially if you like your coffee mellow.  So is cold brew, with the same proviso.  A siphon method which brings out the edge is "moka pot."  And let's not forget about Ibrik brewing.

 

I want one of these siphons:

royalcoffeemaker_2185_481018

 

The only inherently flawed brewing methods I can think of involve boiling the coffee, as with "percolator," and "camp coffee."  Just speaking for myself, I've had plenty of cups of both which really hit the spot.  Bad coffee is better than no coffee, and often the best jamoke is the in the cup you're holding.  Situational coffee ethics.

 

Beethoven would find a lot of good friends on Home-Barista (great board, BTW).  I brew good beans in a good roaster, but 1/2 pound at a time and can have that much or more in my grinder's hopper.  Some of the H-B guys roast in sub 100g quantities, because they're in love with a particular type of "sample" roaster, and some load their grinders one dose at a time so they can keep them super-clean and free of old "fines."

 

I'm not going to say those things don't make a difference, but... Find the right nuthouse and anyone can look sane.

 

BDL 


Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/19/11 at 4:32pm
post #33 of 42

Hhhmmmm??? ... I thought I said something a few moments ago?

 

T-Y Dr.BDL for what that last post brings us. I use the title "Dr." in praise btw. I happen to be a big fan of "percolator" coffee, "campfire" coffee too. I remember some really great times in the service when our coffee was so thick you could "spread" a glob on some toast. It was sorta "chewy". LOL

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #34 of 42

When I was a grip, I could climb a 30' ladder with a cup of studio coffee in my hand and not spill anything.  That's either good co-ordination or thick coffee.  We report, you deride.

 

BDL

post #35 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post


 

When I hear of BDL roasting coffee at home, I think of Beethoven, seems he would count out green beans to a precise, constant number, roast them, grind them, and brew his own cup every morning.


 

Precisely 60 beans to the cup supposedly.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #36 of 42

I had a very good latte at Caffe Fiore on Queen Anne Hill just yesterday.  Allegro in the U District is a standby.  Anyway, the Chowhound Seattle board is a useful source of recommendations for local coffee bars -- check it out before your next visit.  As BDL notes, you have to seek out the good places.  There are excellent craft roasters.  

 

A few years ago, in Sydney: Campos Coffee.  Unbelievable.  Almost worth the flight.

 

The HotTop roaster looks exciting!  If the next generation has a usb port so you can run it from a laptop, I may bite.  Imagine being able to trade roast profiles...  

 

One of the interesting complications, foodpump, is that some coffees want to rest several days between roasting and grinding, and most want at least a day.  Yet another variable.

post #37 of 42

Well, BDL, it sure TASTES like robusto, but not being a specialist in coffee in any sense, i can't say for sure.  I know the espresso they make is bad for too much water, and can get a good cappuccino from them if i insist that no more than a finger's worth (horizontally) goes into the cup. 

 

I don't like the robusto and don;t like it in blends either.  If there's robusto in there i just leave it.  Instant gastritis! 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #38 of 42

Siduri,

 

Not to commit the unpardonable sin of thread hijack, your post greatly interests me.  If you handed me a cup brewed (in any way) from 100% Robusta, since I don't do comparative "cupping" or "espresso tasting," I probably couldn't identify it as such. 

 

I trust your palate greatly.  How would you describe the taste?

 

Whatever their coffees taste like, Starbucks uses 100% Arabica.  That's for sure.  Fairly good Arabica, in fact; but they treat it poorly.  Starbucks uses the same, ~50%, "brew ratio" (weight of beans/weight of water) for their espresso as most old-style shops use for normales (modern PNW style is more concentrated).  There's little to no variance from Starbucks to Starbucks on that score, their employees may be poorly trained but their machines are nothing if not consistent.

 

Here in America, it's difficult to get specialty roasts intended for espresso with any Robusta beans in them at all.  But, as I understand it, in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal it's hard not to get at least some Robusta in your espresso.  It's not only about price, either.  Hard to make old-fashioned, Italian style espresso without Robusta.  The tradition of Italian espresso and Italian coffee in general includes Italy's old colonial holdings in Africa and the types of coffees grown there.  You won't necessarily find Robusta in every blend, but Lavazza, Illy,  Danessi, and most of the other biggies have blends with at least some. 

 

The big-name American roasters like Folgers have some Robusta in many of their "regular" blends and their instants.... but that stuff is different from specialty coffees.  Even the big boys' premium coffees are advertised as 100% Arabica.   

 

If you drink ordinary or instant coffee in the US, or if you drink any kind of coffee in Italy or western Mediterranean Europe, there's a good chance you're going to get some Robusta.  Why would the limited presence of Robusta, as say 10% of a blend, cause gastritis?  Could you be reacting to something else, signaled by a taste you associate with Robustas?     

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/19/11 at 5:31pm
post #39 of 42

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OK. Now just for research sake, I went to the Starbucks nearest my house (2 miles). I got an espresso. I watched everything involved. Exactly how could "too much water" be used? Steam was put through the grounds for one(1) serving, my "cup/shot". I don't get the point about "too much water"

Please Siduri, educate me.           TIA.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Siduri,

 

Not to commit the unpardonable sin of thread hijack, your post greatly interests me.  If you handed me a cup brewed (in any way) from 100% Robusta, since I don't do comparative "cupping" or "espresso tasting," I probably couldn't identify it as such. 

 

I trust your palate greatly.  How would you describe the taste?

 

Whatever their coffees taste like, Starbucks uses 100% Arabica.  That's for sure.  Fairly good Arabica, in fact; but they treat it poorly.  Starbucks uses the same, ~50%, "brew ratio" (weight of beans/weight of water) for their espresso as most old-style shops use for normales (modern PNW style is more concentrated).  There's little to no variance from Starbucks to Starbucks on that score, their employees may be poorly trained but their machines are nothing if not consistent.

 

Here in America, it's difficult to get specialty roasts intended for espresso with any Robusta beans in them at all.  But, as I understand it, in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal it's hard not to get at least some Robusta in your espresso.  It's not only about price, either.  Hard to make old-fashioned, Italian style espresso without Robusta.  The tradition of Italian espresso and Italian coffee in general includes Italy's old colonial holdings in Africa and the types of coffees grown there.  You won't necessarily find Robusta in every blend, but Lavazza, Illy,  Danessi, and most of the other biggies have blends with at least some. 

 

The big-name American roasters like Folgers have some Robusta in many of their "regular" blends and their instants.... but that stuff is different from specialty coffees.  Even the big boys' premium coffees are advertised as 100% Arabica.   

 

If you drink ordinary or instant coffee in the US, or if you drink any kind of coffee in Italy or western Mediterranean Europe, there's a good chance you're going to get some Robusta.  Why would the limited presence of Robusta, as say 10% of a blend, cause gastritis?  Could you be reacting to something else, signaled by a taste you associate with Robustas?     

 

BDL

 Thanks, bdl.  I do have a good and sensitive palate (or nose actually) and can identify the ingredients in perfumes by the smell of them (a little black pepper, tobacco, green tea, certain flowers that i happen to know, oh god no, musk) and am very sensitive to smells everywhere. (To my detriment i must say, when riding on the crowded busses or walking under bridges)    I never had any "taster" education, but i think i could be a wine taster (except i don;t really like wine) or beer taster or perfume expert, if i did have the education for it.  


I'm being a little sarcastic about the gastritis example but it does immediately upset my stomach and yes, it might be a sort of learned response from the flavor, for which we have some very efficient learning mechanisms in the central parts of the brain and which is tied to long-term memory and protects us from eating foods that made us sick once).  I don;t know if a blend of 10% robusto does, but lavazza rosso (the red package as opposed to the gold package or the club in the black package) makes me sick if i drink it.  I don;t know the proportion of robusto but i think it's a blend, and it tastes acidy on the tongue (and i only take cappuccino and usually cappuccino chiaro (made with less coffee) and it feels after swallowing it like a sort of draino of the stomach.  (well draino is alcaline not acidic, but the feeling is the same).. I avoid small cheapo neighborhood bars because they usually use a more robusto-tasting kind of coffee.   Contrary to what most people say, i feel that i can taste the actual taste of the coffee better if there is milk in it.  I guess it's like spreading it out to experience its texture or qualities, i don;t know.  Maybe just because i don't like the taste of black coffee, though i do love coffee.   Sort of like the lab does when it has to check your blood, it spreads it out thin on a glass slide and they can see it better.  But that may just be an illusion

 

I don't like Illy caffe, i find it too sharp (maybe sharp is the correct term, rather than acidic).  It also tends to make me sick (stomach pain).  Not as bad as lavazza rosso which is poison as far as i'm concerned. 

 

also i remember my parents used to get medaglia d'oro and that, too, was awful.  Not sure why since i had it before i lived here. 

 

My understanding of italian coffee is that it IS toasted very dark, darker than otehrs. but maybe not,but italians would say it is,  and i did understand that the coffee beans are sort of oily.  I don't have time or desire but i could eventually look it up on some italian coffee websites.  I know that some brands (i think lavazza club) toast it less, though still more than american.  I like the roundness of good american coffee and assume that is for the lighter toasting. 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

logo.png

 

OK. Now just for research sake, I went to the Starbucks nearest my house (2 miles). I got an espresso. I watched everything involved. Exactly how could "too much water" be used? Steam was put through the grounds for one(1) serving, my "cup/shot". I don't get the point about "too much water"

Please Siduri, educate me.           TIA.


if you're comparing espresso made in the states to other espresso made in the states, you will have an idea of a larger quantity of coffee coming out, a cup with more liquid.  I happen to have a typical Italian bar cup at home and, just for research sake, i put in the amount of water that a bar here would put in it of espresso.  I poured it into my measuring cup and it measured less than 1/4 cup - LESS THAN A QUARTER CUP.  That's an espresso as made here.  The same measure of coffee grinds in the machine because the machines are all made the same.  My kids have italian friends who work in espresso bars abroad, including starbucks.  They say that if an italian comes in, then they make a proper espresso, with that little bit of water, and if anyone else comes in they make it the american way. 

 

In bars here, if you want more liquid, and some italians do, they ask for an "americano" which does NOT mean more water coming through the grinds, but an espresso with hot water added (as starbucks rightly describes it) - why, you might ask, do they not just make it run through more? because it tastes foul!  like a starbucks espresso.  Now since i always ask for a cappuccino chiaro (light cappuccino, which, by right should be made with caffee ristretto, that is even less coffee coming out of the same amount of grinds, some barmen will see i';m american and make the cappuccino with more water going through it and it's pretty foul.  I usually leave it. 

 

An american would feel cheated by so little in his cup.  We are used to drinking large quantities of liquid.  I was shocked at how small water glasses are here.  Friends will ask me at lunch if i want to share a half a liter of water for the meal, when i can easily drink more than half a liter myself.  If we have a coffee, we want it to accompany a conversation, the reading of a newspaper, a period at the computer (I have my third cup of filter coffee by my side even as i write).  Italians go for a coffee "together" and swallow it down in one gulp and then leave - the only conversation is who is going to pay.  They invariably stand up (it would be cold by the time it got to the table!).  But americans want something that is worth taking to go or sitting with, and what are yuou going to take to go if it barely wets the cup?!

 

So if more than a quarter cup of liquid is in your cup it is "too much water" (or steam, but steam is another form of water) going through the grinds. (and because it is steam it is very hot, and therefore burning the coffee).   That has been my only explanation for why espresso in the states (and its derivatives like caffe latte, cappuccino) have such an awful, burnt flavored. (to reproduce that flavor, take a well-made espresso and put it in a pot and boil it a couple of minutes!)  And though i always get filter coffee wherever i can, when i'm in the states and with an italian (my kids, my husband) i bet them i could get starbucks to make a coffee like they get at home, and i did, and they agreed, it was good.   A "ristretto", by the way has even less.  A cup of coffee is something taken like a shot of whisky.  (Usually with at least two heaping spoons of sugar in it).  (An old napolitan love song goes something like "you're like a cup of coffee, bitter on the top but sweet at the bottom")

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #41 of 42

I wont be caught dead in a Starbucks.  I have said for years they over roast and over charge for the coffee they serve.  There is a small local roaster outside of Baltimore that I hit up for beans and its always very good.

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #42 of 42

Coffee served in most quality places here in Florida brand name is Royal Cup it is good ,consistant and holds up. And their service is very good. Unlike a lot of other coffee co.s they do not over  stock or over sell you.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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