Friday, September 30, 2011

Sumatran Coffee and the Aeropress

Hey everyone! It's been a while since my last post, but I finally have the time to sit down and and write about my experience with the Sumatran beans from Sweet Maria's and my new Aeropress! I'll post picture at the bottom and I hope everyone had a wonderful National Coffee Day yesterday!

I'll start off with the two Sumatran beans I got from Sweet Maria's; Sumatra Tarbarita Peaberry and Sumatra Grade 1 Mandheling. Now right off the bat when I got the two beans, the Mandheling beans were a lot larger than the Peaberry ones. I thought the size difference from the same region was interesting, but anyways on to the roasting. I roasted the Peaberry at a Full City roast and the Mandheling at a Full City + roast. The dry fragrance of the beans I think is interesting to note because I enjoyed the Mandheling fragrance more than the Peaberry's, but overall I enjoyed the Peaberry cup of coffee more the the Mandheling. What I liked about the Mandheling fragrance was its nutty and fruity mixture while the Peaberry fragrance was more earthy and nutty. The Peaberry definitely won me over though when I tried both beans as an actual cup of coffee. I used my new Aeropress to brew both beans and even though both were delicious, the sweetness of the Peaberry made me want to brew and drink the whole pound of coffee. Not to take away from Mandheling, it was a very good cup of coffee with some dark chocolate notes and a very strong body, but man the sweetness of the Peaberry and the hints of cinnamon was amazing. I did roast the Mandheling though at a Full City + which might have taken away some of its flavor to be fair. Maybe if I did a Full City roast like I did with the Peaberry it would have been different. That's the beauty of coffee though and if I ever get these two beans again, which I probably will, maybe I'll reverse the roast and do Mandheling at Full City and the Peaberry at Full City + just for kicks and giggles. Anyways onto my Aeropress!

I was super stoked to get my Aeropress last week because I had read so much about it and had been confined to my french press for so long. Not to knock on French press coffee, it's good coffee, but I like to switch it up every once in a while. The first sample I did side by side was the Peaberry beans from Sumatra, a cup French pressed while the other was Aeropressed? Did I just invent a word? Anyways, it was brewed using the Aeropress. The French pressed cup was very consistent and very earthy all the down. The Aeropressed cup though was crazy flavorful at first, then at the back of the tongue settled down into a deep earthy flavor. I enjoyed the kind of roller-coaster flavor of the Aeropress, but I had my Great Grandma try the cups too and she definitely liked the French press consistency more. This difference in opinion is also another wonderful thing about coffee, its very subjective and you just got to drink what you like but be open to new taste too! The other experiment I did with my Aeropress was brewing the same type of bean, this time it was Starbucks Shade Grown Mexican blend, with the Aeropress, but one cup was brewed normally while the other cup I did the inverted method. I had read a lot about the inverted method and how many people prefer it to the normal, so I decided to do a side by side tasting with a friend. The inverted method definitely was both of our favorites between the two because it made the coffee way sweeter and smoother than the normal method. It would have been nice to try the Peaberry with the inverted method but I had already used up the whole pound :( Trying the inverted method definitely made me a believer in it, but the normal method was still pretty good and I definitely wouldn't knock either. As I said before, it's very subjective and you should brew it however you like it!

Well that's about it, I'm probably going to order some more beans soon from Sweet Maria's. From where, I do not know yet, but I'll keep you guys updated via twitter! Here are some pictures and I wish you all the best in these upcoming weeks!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Different Brew Method: The Toddy Coffee Maker

My grandma has sworn by this method of brewing coffee for the longest time now and I finally was able to get ahold of the contraption she has named "The Toddy Coffee Maker." I'm going to post the pictures below, but basically for this method you grind 1 lb. of the beans (in this case I used some of the Yirga Cheffe I had left over) at a medium or regular grind. You then basically dump this pound of coffee into this white bucket that has a damp filter on the bottom of it and a cork in the hole at the bottom where the coffee will come up after you let it sit. After the cork, filter and grounds are set up, you finally poor 9 cups of regular water on top of the grounds and let the grounds sit for 10 - 12 hours, depending on how strong you want your coffee. Then you pull the cork out of the bottom of this white bucket after the allotted amount of time and your coffee flows into a glass container and is ready to consume. My grandma loves this method because it makes the coffee really strong, so all she has to do in the morning is make some hot water, pour a little bit of this coffee into her mug and then fill the rest of the mug with hot water and bam she has her cup of coffee every morning.

I decided to only let the Yirga Cheffe sit for 10 hours, to see how strong it would turn out and maybe next time I will try 12. The 10 hour Yirga Cheffe though turned out surprisingly smooth and much more lighter on the tongue compared to the French press. Though at the end of the day I liked the French press more because the body was stronger, it was still a pretty good cup of coffee and I was impressed by most of the body flavors still being present.

Anyways I thought it was a interesting method and definitely is better than drip coffee in my opinion. Here are the pictures and I'll have another post soon when I finally get my Aeropress! Yipeeee!