Introducing…Big Noir Espresso Blend

in Brewing Coffee, Buying Coffee

Big NoirFor the connoisseurs of espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos, The Make Good Coffee Co. wants to make it easy for you to have fresh and delicious coffee in your kitchen.  I want you to start your day with good coffee, and I want you to be able to serve good coffee to your family and friends.

The Big Noir Espresso is a carefully roasted blend.  It is a dark roast, but it is not burnt and will not taste burnt!  You get a smooth and smoky blend of South American and east African beans, with rich chocolate and caramel flavor and some berry sweetness.  Your espresso blend doesn’t need to taste like it was simply left in the roaster for too long.  Start your day with a full flavor espresso blend.

Check out: Make Good Coffee Co. Roastery Store
Buy: Big Noir Espresso Blend

The Roast Date is hand-written on each bag so that you know when it was roasted.  Each bag you receive will have been roasted within days of shipping to you.  That means fresher coffee with flavor that will jump out of the cup.  Don’t drink coffee that’s been burnt or has gone stale.

photo-1445077100181-a33e9ac94db0Shipping to all US points within 1-3 days.  Your fresh coffee will not sit for days at the post office.  It will be fresh when I ship it, and fresh when you receive it.  Going to the store to buy coffee is convenient.  Having it delivered to your address is more convenient.

I recommend buying two bags of coffee from the Roastery Store, for 2-4 weeks of fresh-roasted coffee at home.  When you buy two bags of any coffee and use promo code NOIR at checkout, shipping is free.  Fresh-roasted delicious coffee delivered to your front door, free of charge.

Life’s too short for bad coffee.  Ordering from the Make Good Coffee Co. is an easy way to have better coffee delivered right to your door.  Tell us if it isn’t better than the coffee you’re currently drinking, and I’ll give you your money back.

 

Starbucks Espresso Roast Drip-Brewed

in Brewing Coffee, Buying Coffee

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Over the holidays, I bought a pound of Starbucks Espresso Roast so that I could make cappuccinos while I had family over.  I ended up making about six different cappuccinos so as you can imagine, I have a lot of the Espresso Roast left.  I still have some Peets Major Dickason in the house but this morning, I decided to mix it up and I drip-brewed the Espresso Roast.”Espresso” can mean a number of things, but generally refers to the roast of the bean or the method with which the coffee was brewed.  Espresso does not make reference to the origin of the bean and as such, theoretically coffee of any source can be used for espresso.  An ‘espresso roast’ is when the green coffee has been roasted to an almost black color – learn more about Roast Style and Flavor.

A coffee prepared as espresso is one made in an Italian-style coffee machine where the water heated until it is steamed serves two purposes.  First, the steam is forced through the finely-ground coffee as a means of extracting solids (flavor) from the coffee.  Second, the steam is used for frothing milk if the shot of espresso is going into a cappuccino or latte.

The Espresso Roast coffee however also makes for a great drip-brewed coffee in my regular machine.  The Starbucks blend consists of a number of different sources, including Latin America and Indonesia.  The roast is very dark to accommodate the flavor that goes well with a true espresso.  Made in my drip brewer, it’s not only a smooth but bold coffee, but also has a great aroma that made the whole floor of my house smell like a Starbucks.

Can I brew espresso coffee in a regular brewer?

in Brewing Coffee, Buying Coffee

espressoEvery now and then, a couple questions come in from different folks with the same concern.

Question: Hi Marc: I mistakenly purchased espresso ground coffee for drip coffee makers, instead of regular coffee. Can I use the espresso coffee in a drip coffee maker, to brew regular coffee?? Please advise. Thank you. — Anne

Question: Can you help me… I messed up! My last order from Amazon was accidentally for 5lbs of Jet City Expresso beans. I didn’t even notice it was expresso and read the good reviews and ordered it… a good price. But all I have is a two-cup drip machine, which works quite well when given good coffee. Can I just grind the Jet City Expresso coffee as I would any drip coffee? I can’t afford an expresso machine. — Ed Scott

Answer: Not to worry Anne and Ed, you can go ahead and prepare this coffee just as you would regular coffee. It will have a unique taste that is more bold or pungent, but even at this time, the coffee I have in house is Starbucks Espresso Roast that I prepare in my Cuisinart drip brewer. So good news, you don’t need an espresso machine. In fact, espresso coffee is making reference to how dark the bean has been roasted so in that respect, any coffee can be roasted to be espresso coffee. Learn more about how roast affects flavor.

Let me know how it turns out.

My Starbucks Espresso Truffle

in Make a Good Cafe Mocha

My wife loves the Espresso Truffle from Starbucks. It’s a combination of the trademark Starbucks rich hot chocolate and a shot of espresso coffee, topped off with whipped cream and sprinkled with mocha powder.

I knew we had enough information needed to recreate this drink after having a few $5 samples from the local Starbucks. Want to make it at home? All you need is:

– An espresso machine with milk frother.
– Mocha powder or hot chocolate mix. Starbucks offers a mocha powder, otherwise any mocha powder or a premium hot chocolate mix.
– Espresso coffee beans. Of course, Starbucks offers an Espresso Roast coffee that you can grind fine for your espresso machine or grind regular and drip-brew for a bold coffee. Otherwise, any quality dark-roasted beans. You will be making one shot of espresso per Espresso Truffle.
– Skim milk.
– Whipped cream.

Start boiling some water. Grind your espresso beans to a fine grind. Begin to brew the ground coffee in your espresso machine, including enough water in the cycle to blow steam from the milk frother. Put 2/3 cup of mocha powder in a oversized mug. When your water is boiling, pour 2/3 cup in the mug with the mocha powder. Stir until the powder is completely dissolved into a mocha syrup in the mug. If you’re making two Espresso Truffles, prepare the same in a second mug.

Per your espresso machine instructions, begin to heat 1-2 cups of milk using the frother. You will be heating the milk rather than frothing it so if your espresso machine frother comes with a rubber spout that frothes the milk, remove that rubber spout. Once the milk is very hot, let the espresso brewing cycle complete.

Pour one shot of espresso into each mug with mocha syrup. Top up the mug with the heated milk, leaving enough room for whipped cream. Stir together. Top off with whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with mocha powder.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Espresso Truffle that costs $5 at Starbucks. I’m not suggesting it isn’t worth $5, I love this drink too. But, now you and I can make it at home for much less – and best of all in the case of Starbucks Mocha Powder and Starbucks Espresso Roast, use the same ingredients that they’re using.

Cold Brew Coffee

in Brewing Coffee, Buying Coffee, Coffee Gear

The good people at Espresso Works in Perth, Australia sent in this infographic about cold brew coffee.

Check it out to learn about how to make cold brew coffee, how it affects the flavor, and how it differs from iced coffee.

Cold brew coffee is new to me, but I plan to learn more and start experimenting with my own batches.  Stay tuned – you’ll be hearing more about it soon!

Cold-Brew-Coffee-Infographic

Should I buy coffee in 5-lb bags to save money?

in Buying Coffee

grocerystorecoffeeQuestion:

I can save almost 1/3 if I buy coffee beans in 5 lb bags from my local coffee shop, instead in a 12 oz bag which my family consumes in a week. Is the savings worth it, or will the coffee beans go stale in the 6-7 weeks it will take us to use up all the beans? We grind as much as we need daily in our Baratza Virtuoso, which we then use mostly in a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, although some of it also goes into an Aeropress & a French press,

Diane Allen

 

Diane,

I love this question!
Coffee is perishable, so the more you buy, the less likely it stays fresh before you’re done with it.  I used to buy Costco coffee in 5-lb bags to save money.  I wouldn’t necessarily notice the degradation in quality as I went through that large a quantity, but when I finished it and bought a new fresh bag, I definitely noticed the difference.

3dbeans

Think of coffee as you would any other perishable item.  You likely wouldn’t buy fruit in bulk in order to save money if you knew it wouldn’t stay fresh.  I recommend only buying as much coffee as you intend to go through in the next 2-3 weeks.  Beyond that, what you’re saving in money, you’re giving up in quality.
This often leads into the question of whether you can save money on coffee by buying it in bulk, and putting some of it in your freezer to save it.  Coffee is sensitive to the smells that are around it, and it will absorb smells from the other things in your freezer.  Also, the dramatic drops in temperature to freezing, and from freezing, will also cause some of the coffee’s flavor to be lost.

How to Make Good Cafe Mocha

in Brewing Coffee, Buying Coffee, Coffee Gear, Make a Good Cafe Mocha

cafemocha

I launched this website as an information resource for people to learn to make better coffee at home.  I knew it would help me get better and better at making good coffee at home, and through sharing what I learned, hopefully help you too.

What I didn’t expect, but what didn’t totally surprise me, is the love and interest in chocolate that came along with it!

From all of the similarities they share in where they are grown, the care that goes into preparing each one, their history, and flavor, coffee and chocolate are married.

I knew I had to get wise on how to make a good cafe mocha, that one drink that truly brings the two flavors together.

chocolatenut    Check out the newly revamped page on Cafe Mocha Recipes, how to make a good cafe mocha at home.

This page shows three different ways that you can do it, depending on what you have to work with.

1) With an espresso machine.  The authentic Cafe Mocha is made with espresso-brewed coffee.  If you have such a machine, you’re in business!  If you don’t, then read on because there are still options.

2) Make a cafe mocha from coffee.  If you can make coffee at home, then you only need a few extra ingredients to turn it into a mocha.

3) Quick and easy easy ways to make mocha. Six different tasty recipes that are easy for anybody to make.  Or, you can keep paying $5/cup at your local Starbucks :).

Click here for Cafe Mocha Recipes.  Or share your recipes! Click here!

Visit Portland, Oregon!

in Buying Coffee, Coffee and You

portland1

I just spent the day in Portland, Oregon.  I moved to San Diego from Portland about six months ago, and I’ve missed Portland ever since.  I’m not a Portland native, but it quickly became an important part of my life.  Today was a chance to tour the city and my old favorite spots before meeting friends later tonight.

Here are the top four reasons that you need to visit Portland, Oregon:

1) It is the coffee capital of the USA!
Even if you want to side with Seattle or San Francisco as the country’s coffee capital, you can’t deny that these three cities together have set the country’s coffee landscape.  Portland has excellent and unique roasters almost a stone’s throw from wherever you are in the city.  When you’re here, don’t bother with the many Starbucks locations.  Those are for tourists.  If you insist on a chain, go with Dutch Bros, a Pacific Northwest chain of espresso stands where you’ll find friendly service and amazing coffee every day.

2) It is the beer capital of the world!
OK, I’m taking some liberties here.  It does have more breweries within its city limits than any other city in the world.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 30, more than any other city.  It’s a city that appreciates a personal and well-crafted beverage.

IMG_2162     3) It is a quietly trend-setting city.
I felt so welcomed by the people of Portland when I moved here, and I didn’t know a soul when I arrived.  They are modest, and will never admit (or are possibly unaware) of the trends they’ve set.  There are literally hundreds of food carts in the city, and the trend was definitely made famous here – you’ll have difficulty finding an episode of Eat Street that doesn’t spend time here.  And if the country appreciates craft beer and care-roasted coffee more now than years ago, Portland is one of the reasons why.

4) It’s just a fun city.
The city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird”.  Spend some time here, and it won’t take you long to understand why.  Record numbers turn out for the city’s annual Naked Bike Ride.  Spend time downtown, and you’ll see something weird, whether it’s a clown on a unicycle with a completely straight face, or a man in a dress singing opera (and well).  Everything is just a little off, and it’s awesome.

The biggest complaint about Portland?  The rain.  I say get over it.  If it gets you wet, you’ll dry off when you get to where you’re going.  And when the sun is shining, I don’t know too many places more beautiful.  Portland will always have a special place in my heart.  I’ll always enjoy visiting.

As a coffee lover, you owe it to yourself to visit the mecca!

 

What is the proper grind setting to make coffee?

in Uncategorized

grindsettingsAccording to the Lumosity “brain games” app on my phone, my memory isn’t great.  Combine that with the fact that I brew by more than one method at home, and that my burr grinder has 18 different settings, it’s a wonder I can make good coffee at all.  Many coffee lovers struggle with what grind setting to use.  If you only brew your coffee one way, I have good news.  You’ll only need to remember one of the settings below.  Set your burr grinder to that setting, and never change it.

If you brew by more than one method and have a memory like mine, I’ll give you a quick explanation of the science of grind settings that hopefully helps you remember the right setting for your brewing method intuitively.

If you have a propeller grinder rather than a burr grinder, I strongly suggest making the small investment in a burr grinder.  Check back in a few days, where I’ll have a separate post written that I hope helps you realize the great benefits that proper grinding has on the flavor in your cup.

An Easy Guide
– Espresso maker or Aeropress: Use the Fine grind.  I don’t suggest messing with degrees of Fine.  Move the dial all the way to fine.
– Drip brewer or pourover (Melitta or Chemex): Use the middle grind.  When you buy pre-ground coffee at the grocery store, this is usually the default way in which it was ground for you.
– Press pot (French Press or Bodum): Use the Coarse grind.  Same advice as with Fine – just move the dial all the way to coarse.

cuisinartgrinder     Since I have every brewing method mentioned above available to me, it can get confusing.  To help you understand why settings differ by brewing method, here’s a primer.  The longer the brewing method, or longer the water is going to be in contact with coffee, the coarser a grind you need.  If you used a fine grine in your French Press, you would “overextract”, or draw too many solids from the coffee and have a drink more like sludge.

Conversely, if you used a coarse ground coffee in your espresso maker, the water is not in contact with the coffee long enough to draw enough solids from the coffee, making you a weak coffee.  Imagine in this example, the coffee at a microscopic level.  It is ground coarse, so each piece is bigger.  The water extracts solids from the surface area of the piece, but isn’t exposed to it long enough to get at the solids deeper than the surface.

Drip brewed and pourover coffee falls in the middle, and calls for a medium grind.

Mind your grind!  It’s important to the flavor in your cup.

Remember the woman who sued McDonald’s?

in Buying Coffee, Coffee History

Originally published on October 25, 2011

Marc’s note: Last night, I finally watched the 2011 documentary Hot Coffee, an in-depth look into the lawsuit against McDonald’s for serving coffee that was too hot.  It reminded me of the blog post below, and ironic that the documentary also referenced the Seinfeld bit.  Enjoy!

     When I buy a cup of coffee, I still notice the little icon on the cup that reminds us that the coffee is hot.  It always reminds me of the crazy woman that we all laugh at, who sued McDonald’s because for some reason, she didn’t think their coffee that she spilled on herself was going to be hot.  It led to the little “hot” graphic on EVERYBODY’s coffee cups, and even a parody on Seinfeld where Kramer burns himself in a similar way.

I was forced to buy Starbucks coffee at an airport recently, and noticed the hot warning.  It made me realize that I’ve heard different versions of how that woman’s story ends, but most often that a judge overturned the original decision to award her any money because her case was frivilous.  I looked into it a little further, and I’m ashamed to say that there is much to this case that we don’t talk about because it’s not as interesting a story.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the truth about that case.  It may not change your mind, but you should know the facts before passing judgement on this “crazy woman”:

– She was the passenger in the vehicle, different than what I remembered.  I had an image in my head that she was driving while preparing the coffee for herself.  This is a side point, as a spill is a spill, and it was her accident to spill it on herself.

– The coffee served to her was between 180 and 190 degrees.  This was the standard temperature for McDonald’s coffee at the time.  A vascular surgeon that testified in court determined that she suffered third-degree burns on 6% of her body,  including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas.  She was hospitalized for eight days, and underwent skin grafting in that time.

– She was 79 at the time.  This wasn’t the image I remembered.  Also, a side point as McDonald’s is not going to vary the temperature of their coffee for the age of their customer.

– I remember hearing outrageous amounts that this woman wanted from the big corporation for burning herself.  She sought to settle her claim for medical expenses only, and McDonald’s refused.

– During trial, McDonald’s Quality Assurance Manager testified that a burn hazard exists with any food product served to a customer at 140 degrees or hotter, and that the temperature of the coffee by standard could not be reasonably consumed as it would burn the mouth and throat.  Of course, nobody is expected to guzzle a cup of coffee as soon as it’s handed to them, but other testimony in the case indicated that coffee served at 155 degrees would have allowed the plaintiff time to remove the clothing that absorbed the coffee and scalded her.  155 degrees is still hotter than the temperature at which some chains were serving their coffee at the time.

– McDonald’s asserted that customers are known to buy coffee with the intention of consuming it at home or at work so it would have time to cool down.  This was countered with McDonald’s own published research that their coffee was being consumed by customers while driving and before reaching their destination.

– A jury at first awarded her $200,000, then reduced it to $160,000, stating that she was 20% to blame for the incident.  The judge called McDonalds’ conduct reckless, callous and willful.  None of us know how it was finally settled, because it was settled out of court.

There you have it.  I’ll reserve my opinion, because everybody here in the Pacific Northwest buys drive-through Americanos from espresso stands, and those are so hot, that the ‘baristas’ ask if you would like an ice cube in it so that you can drink it within an hour of it being prepared.

Thank you to the Lectric Law Library for the facts.

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