I’m whole bean

extract coffee

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It was part of my new years resolution or shall I say coffee shake up that I’ve decided to start putting all the coffee related gadgets I’ve amassed over the last year to use. Having sat on the sidelines and dabbled with various AeroPress techniques and french press trials I needed to regulate my methods and science this passion into reality.

Crucially for any whole bean convert is the bean! I could have grabbed the oversized and drastically cheaper than most bag from Lidl but this wasn’t going to give me that whole bean persona I craved. To be a true convert I’d have to go hunting off the beaten tracks and take to the deeper Instagram and even deeper twitter webs to source a new bean for each month.

The criteria was nothing fancy just a pick the “workhorse”, “benchmark” or “daily” offering from a new supplier each month. Now factors like cost of delivery are a real sticking point for me. I can’t stand it when I’m looking at a £6–8 bag of beans and then I’m faced with an additional £3 postage cost! I’m not saying the beans and service don’t warrant the cost but with so much variation in pricing for a daily bean and the uncertainty that these beans will suit my novice pallet, I’d like to see a sample offering from more suppliers. Maybe just 28g for a £1, this would allow me to get a feel for the flavour and also help me line up my next order.

Now I’ll admit I don’t have the educated palate or bean knowledge to offer much comparison other than opinion and honest observation. If I can’t keep my experiments to the following criteria I hope to be able to at least offer some insight and maybe not waste too much of your time in reading this each month.

The scoring:

With 12 bags across 12 months I’ll be choosing beans from a new supplier each month but I don’t want anything special. I want to know that if I like that bag of beans I can order another from the same place with as closely matched criteria as the last. No specials and no seasonal chancers! I’ll keep track of the cost per bag with and without shipping, quantity of beans, how unique the packaging is and lastly did I get some great material slipped inside to help me get the best out of my brew.

The method:

I’m admittedly new to this and I’ll be picking up tips along the way I’m sure but for the purpose of my “best” science approach to this I’ll stick to only considering comparisons that are a result of the inverted aero press method. I’ll weigh my beans each time to ensure consistency in the product, around 14g and I’ll keep my grind as close as possible. However one thing I won’t be so precise on is the amount water. Rather than tare the weight then add precisely the same amount of just of the boil water each brew, I’m going to do this purely by eye. For one I’m not great on pouring whilst keeping an eye on the scales and two I think a fill mark is just fine for my standard of brewing currently. I’ve settled on a brew time of around 2mins total, this includes the first point of coffee contact with water, to the point I hear the slight sound of air hissing from the aero press post press. This may be all wrong and I welcome tips and advice but its kind of working for me right now so I will continue with this.

Conclusion:

Everything seems about right for my 12 bags and 12 months of experimenting. During my whole beans conversion I’ll still grab a coffee from the odd cafe and no doubt will drink a few instants but the important thing is to gradually phase this out as I become more equipped in my methods and my technique. That said if someone lends me a Rocket Espresso machine in particular I’ll step up my coffee game no doubt. My next post will be a summary on the month of January whilst drinking and brewing Extract Coffee Roasters, Original Espresso.

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