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Showing posts from July, 2014

Brewing Methods - Automated Pour Over

I may have to partially drink my words. I have previously written that "coffee machines" almost invariably produce a poor cup of coffee. I will be clinging to the "almost" part of that statement to feel better about my reputation...

Coffee shops, including the giant, use commercial coffee machines routinely. They produce drip coffee that can be rich, full bodied, and flavorful. The differences between a home coffee brewer (think Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, etc.) and the commercial brewers are mainly temperature, agitation, and brew time. That means that a home coffee machine CAN produce good coffee, but has to fix those problems. In fact, there are a few that fit that bill.

Final Pan Roast - An Edison Success

"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

I approached this test with the mind set of proving the coffee roasting world wrong. Here is my exact thought: Ethiopians have been pan roasting for 400 years, surely it can’t be that bad.” I was right, but I was mostly wrong.

To re-boil, or not to re-boil: That is the issue (What? You thought I would plagiarize?)

Anyone who journeys towards the perfect cup of hand-crafted coffee has to find a way to bring water to the perfect temperature. Ideally, we would heat only the perfect amount of water to just below boiling, brew some amazing coffee, and be done. Ah… but life rarely allows for simplicity. The coffee gods like to toy with our technique!

Review of Death Wish Coffee

I have not made it to Death Wish's shop, but I hope to one day. They seem to have a very loyal following and should be a great down-to-earth kind of shop.

My partner and I were discussing caffeine in coffee and I pointed out that Death Wish claims to have an “irresponsible” amount of caffeine in their coffee. We had no idea how they could claim that so we started looking into it. There is not a lot of information on their website regarding the coffee ( So we emailed them.

Pour Over Brewing – Part One

Pour over brewing is one of the most common and simple, yet often misunderstood brewing techniques. At its essence, pour over brewing is as simple as it sounds. Hot water is poured over, then runs through, coffee grounds. And that is where the simplicity ends.

Every coffee drinker has had pour over coffee. The most common form is from a home or commercial coffee machine. From your good ol’ Mr. Coffee machine to a large commercial BUNN brewer, machines typically heat water, then pour it over a basket or cone filled with ground coffee. The idea is that the machine will take all of the guesswork out of brewing, and unfortunately, it often replaces guesses with bad decisions. To explore that statement, and to understand where heavenly coffee can come from, let’s review some of the variables in pour over coffee brewing.

Review of Giant Coffee

Giant Coffee ( is one of the shops that pops-up at the top of my Google machine when I search for coffee shops in AZ. I was in the area this weekend and decided I would give it a whirl. My first impression of the shop is that it is both a great location and a terrible location at the same time. It is a great location because it is right across the street from the Art Museum and that just felt very right. The problem is that it is kind of hard to find. It is on a very small side street with no signage on the main road. I also think I got lucky with parking. I’m still not sure where everyone inside was parked (so it may not be as bad as I think).

Brewing Methods - AeroPress

The AeroPress is currently my favorite method of brewing. That does not mean that the AeroPress is without flaws, but we will go over my list of Pros and Cons later in this entry.

The AeroPress is an inexpensive option for brewing coffee, costing under $30 from most sources. A quick Google search will find a unit near you, or one that can be shipped quickly.
Its operation is simple, and similar in many ways to a press-pot, but crossed with a giant syringe and using a filter. There are dozens of variations and schools of thought on how to use it, but a fantastic cup can be produced using the simple inverted technique: Place the plunger in the body just a bit, add coffee in the other end, add hot water, stir, wait, add filter, and plunge. The resulting coffee can be diluted much like an Americano. On top of that simplicity, the AeroPress cleans easily. All you need to do is take the filter cap off the front, and push the coffee puck and filter into a trash can, toilet, of compost bin. One…

Non-Traditional Market Research – Reviews

We have officially started researching for our business plan and we noticed that one of the best sources of information is customer reviews. Maybe this isn’t as non-traditional as I think it is, but it seems fairly new to me.

We have our concept for a coffee shop. We know what we want to create. The question is, will the customer buy it? That is always the hardest part about starting a business. Without customers paying you for what you do, you don’t have a business. So how do you get to know what customers are buying? You ask them.

Brewing Methods - Intro

A great cup of coffee takes a whole series of perfect steps. One mistake is often what separates a good cup from a premium cup.

The coffee seed must be grown between the right latitude and longitude, grown at the right altitude, provided shade and fertile soil, with enough water to support growth but not so much that fungi can get a foothold. Once grown, the fruit must be picked by hand to ensure every single berry is fully ripe and without major defects. The seeds must be separated from the fruit and mucilage, then quickly dried. At this point, even a light rain shower can ruin an entire batch.