The Perfect Bean

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Here is a blog from a fellow passionate specialty coffee dude

There is only one step in creating “The World’s Finest Fresh Roasted Coffee” that is just as important as the roasting process itself. That is to say, you can do a so-so job with grinding and brewing and, with a bit of luck still have a great cup of coffee.

Selecting the most heavenly green coffee beans possible IS that all important step. The actual creation of the perfect bean, we of course leave to God. However, discovering that bean is something else altogether!

Apparently, God has quite a sense of humor since it’s clear that most things extraordinary seem, shall we say…less than easy to possess?!

Thus, locating that perfect bean is a quest taken no more lightly than that of a Knight on crusade for the Holy Grail. If you think I’m just exaggerating, you should visit some of the major specialty coffee importers. Talk about serious business!

Plus, I have noticed that this search is not always about the money. In fact, it seems that coffees mystical qualities inspire a passion for the bean that is truly an uncommon “labor of love”.

As a professional roaster, I’ve had my own experience with the spiritual side of fresh roasted coffee. I certainly care more about it than anything I’ve done, professionally speaking, thus far in my life.

Assuming it’s moral, loving what you do always returns big dividends for everyone involved, especially yourself, and those who partake of your final creation.

Everyone should try to do something they love and if you aren’t or can’t, then at least make an effort to love whatever you do. I think good fortune is in the wind for those who at least give it their best. From my experience, all it takes is a firm decision. Actually, that’s the hardest part.

O.K. O.K. Enough coffee philosophizing!

So I got a little carried away.

The whole point of this is to say that without excellent green coffee, all of the care taken by a Roast Master will be like pearls cast to swine. Thus, “The Perfect Cup” becomes sadly unattainable.

Therefore, we rely on another group of professionals who clearly love what they do. That would be our green coffee importer who has wonderful and fortunate people who travel the great far and wide in search of those farms that produce the most exquisite coffee beans in the world.

 

Coffee Blends

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Why do coffee roasters blend their coffee?  Well, the altruistic answer is: the true purpose of blending the beans enables the roaster to highlight each attribute of the coffees in the blend thus creating a coffee experience like no other.   Realistically and more times than not, they are actually creating a blend so they can add/hide a much less expensive coffee bean in the blend to increase their profit margin.

The phase “proprietary blend” gives a company legal license to not have to release as much information about what is in the coffee. Let me share an example with you. Coffee from Hawaii commands a high price because of the expense of the land, labor and taxes. In fact, the wholesale price of a truly great 100% unroasted Kona coffee is much higher than most store retail prices.  So how can a Hawaiian blend at the grocery store be the same price as the other coffee?  Because the Hawaiian blend will contain as little 10% Hawaii coffee and the remaining 90% comes from somewhere else.  People are attracted to the Hawaiian label and the roaster can also increase their profit margin.

Another common practice is to blend the better tasting mountain grown Arabica bean with a bitter tasting lowland grown Robusta bean. There are different types of bitter. There is the citric acetic bitter of fruit. Then there is the acrid sour bitter that upsets your stomach. The Robusta bean can contain as much as 50% more caffeine and the acrid sour bitter compound.  But by blending the two, the drinker gets a bigger caffeinate rush and the bitterness is eased by the Arabica bean, and yes, the roaster can again increase their profit margin.

An espresso is a blend. By design espresso is bitter/sweet. Many espresso blends sold to coffee shops are as high as 50% Robusta beans. This creates a very bitter/acrid espresso. The owners are not that concerned because they want to sell the lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas which contain lots of milk, sugar, etc. to cover up some of the bitterness. The lower cost for the blend and the higher mark up on the drinks is very profitable for them.

COMING SOON

Tap Dancers sell single origin specialty grade coffee.  All the coffee we roast is very complex and will delight your palate with lots of different notes of flavor. So much so that we feel that blending them would do them a disservice instead of enhancing them. That said, we also realized that we were not able to satisfy those individuals who love to drink espresso….until now that is!  We have been working with a top coffee consultant to help us create a truly great espresso blend. We are seeking to find the right combination to blend the boldness of the Sulawesi medium roast with the sweetness of the Ethiopian Kenabata and then combined them with our extra dark chocolaty nutty Ethiopian Wata Dara to create a very specialty espresso blend that you will simply LOVE!

 

How to make the Ideal Cup of Coffee.

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Ideal cup of coffee

Many people are asking me for tips on how to make a great cup of coffee. Not only have I invested a great amount of time finding wonderful rich coffee to roast, I have also invested into learning how to brew an ideal cup of coffee. I was originally going to use the word “perfect” instead of “ideal” in the title. Alas, too many people pointed out to me that perfection is impossible. Yet, excellence is achievable, so I will be happy to share what is needed to create the finest cup of coffee. If you choose to change even ONE of the elements in the list below during your preparation process, you will find a nice improvement over the traditional way of brewing coffee.

Click the link below to watch my video blog

Ideal cup of coffee

Check List

Fresh whole bean Tap Dancers Specialty coffee (available at www.tapdancerscoffee.com )

Clever Dripper (available at www.tapdancerscoffee.com)

#4 filter

Filtered/bottled water

Coffee Grinder

Something to boil water

Thermometer

Stopwatch

Digital scale

Calculator

Spoon or stirrer

Instructions

Set your coffee cup/mug on the scale and press tare. That will enable you to measure the weight of the water and not have to subtract the weight of the cup. Fill the cup with filter/bottled water (my favorite mug uses 12 ounces).  Divide the weight of the water by 17. That will tell you how much coffee to use.  In my case, the answer is .70 ounces of coffee.

Then, pour the water into the water boiler. I use a little electric boiler instead of the microwave because it is actually faster, automatically turns off once it reaches the boiling point and I do not have to deal with a hot coffee mug.

While the water is boiling I weigh out my fresh roasted Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee beans and proceed to grind them. Because I am using the Clever Dripper, I use a medium grind.  Place the #4 filter into the Clever Dripper then place the ground coffee into the #4 filter.

The proper temperature for the water should be 200 degrees plus or minus 5 degrees. If the water is too cold you get a sour cup. If the water is too hot you end up with a bitter cup. So, once the water starts to boil, pour the boiling water into your mug first. This action helps cool the water down a bit. Put your thermometer in the water and start the stopwatch. By timing how long it takes for the water to cool to the proper temperature, you will not need the thermometer each time.

Once the water “cools” to 200 degrees pour the water into the Clever Dripper, place cover on top and start the stopwatch. This is when the magic starts to happen. The coffee and water are now infusing. The elapsed infusion time is between 2-4 minutes depending on your preference. Halfway through the brewing process uncover the Clever Dripper and give the slurry a quick stir with a spoon or stirrer. When the time is up, place the Clever Dripper on top of your coffee mug and let it filter/drain into your waiting cup.

Sit down, relax and enjoy your ideal cup of coffee.

Coffee is to be Savored not Saved.

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I truly enjoy being out with the public when we are doing different events. It gives me a chance to interact with my customers. One thing that floors me however, is a conversation that goes something like this:

Customer: “We really love your coffee!  We bought some from you 3 months ago.”

Me: “Thank you, why haven’t you bought more from me?”

Customer: “Oh, we still have some in the freezer. We only drink it on special occasions, because it is so good.”

I have spoken with people who brought home some coffee from their Hawaiian vacation. Every once in a while they will break out the Kona coffee from the freezer and brew some. When they sit down and smell the aroma and sip the coffee they are flooded with wonderful memories of their stay in Hawaii. I do not want to take that experience away from them. However, they are actually drinking stale coffee.

Here’s the deal. Fresh roasted coffee is only truly fresh for two weeks. The only way one can keep the freshness in during those two weeks is by storing the coffee in an air tight container. That is why we chose to buy the more expensive air tight sealing packages to place our coffee in. Keeping coffee in the refrigerator or freezer does NOT preserve the freshness. Once coffee is roasted it starts to expel carbon dioxide and absorbing oxygen. It is the absorption of oxygen that makes coffee stale.

This leads us back to the title of this blog. Savor coffee, don’t save it. Here at Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee we go to extremes to make sure our clientele have the finest, freshest coffee available. Each and every time someone drinks a cup of our coffee we want them to experience the unique joy of a wonderful cup of coffee. Since you cannot save, store, or keep fresh roasted coffee, drink it every day.  Do this for yourself. Do this for me. I want the last cup to be as great as the first cup.