Coffee coffee and maybe some more coffee?

Get in my mouth right now!


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Anyone who considers them self a gamer has to have a good relationship with caffeine, how else do you power through a marathon? However For me coffee is much more than a vehicle to get caffeine into my body, it is a borderline unhealthy relationship. Anyone who has talked to me for any extended amount of time knows I have a undying love for my coffee. I’ve lost count of the number of discussions I’ve had with people about what I drink and how I drink it. I’m going to go over my journey with coffee in this post concluding with how I drink it now, how you can step up your coffee game, and how inexpensive it is to drink very good top shelf coffee.


Coffee, when hate turned into love


I actually hated coffee growing up until I was in high school. I couldn’t get past the bitter acidic flavor. That was until I realized not all coffee has to taste like the south end of a north bound donkey. A family member introduced me to sugar and creamer, and a different blend which I was quite fond of. I wouldn’t drink that particular coffee now but back then it was perfectly fine.
I started out as many do, sugar and creamer and just drinking coffee as a normal part of my day. It didn’t take long for me to realize there was much more to this whole coffee thing however, and I started to make it how I wanted it. My first coffee maker was a dual cup drip machine which made coffee directly into one or two travel mugs. This was perfect because at this time I was developing a liking for stronger than normal coffee. I would use a pot worth of grounds for a 16oz cup and it was working out great. I moved out went to college and brought my trusty coffee maker to the dorms as smuggled contraband. It turns out the dorms suck ass and I moved out, shortly after that my pot died and I got introduced to Gevalia coffee.
Gevalia was my first adventure into “fancy” coffee, or what I thought was fancy coffee back then. I now realize it is really not all that good. I got a Peruvian bean that was grown at elevation in volcanic ash and looking back it was an average bean, but for the time it was amazing. This was my first experience with single origin beans which I now love. Since then I’ve always preferred single origin beans meaning beans which only come from one place, where all the beans are the same. Most coffee you buy is some sort of a blend mixing different types and locations to get a specific taste. I’ll go into this later.
After experimenting with beans from different locations grown at different elevations in different soils I finally made the move to espresso instead of drip machine coffee. This was the best move I’ve ever made in my coffee travels and to this day I drink exclusively espresso. I started with steam and finally moved to a mechanical/semi-auto machine. I’ve also recently made the move in the past year to a manual grinder instead of an electric grinder and wow does that make a crazy amount of difference. I can’t even drink electrically ground espresso anymore because it is just to bitter and acidic and quite frankly it taste like swampy ass.
So that’s how I’ve gotten to where I am, but what does all this crap mean? If you are a normal coffee drinker or a bit of a snob like me then I’m going to break this down and get into what all this stuff means. If you don’t like coffee, maybe I can help you become a coffee lover. I came from hating it and now I’m crazy and writing a love story about it on a blog, anything is possible.


Beans! Beans! Beans!


This is one of the most important things about coffee, this should be clear to anyone. I still have the urge to shove a screwdriver into my ear hole when having conversations with people who just drink Foldgers or Maxwell house out of a tub and don’t see a problem with this. I get that each person has their own tastes, but why do that when you can get better single origin coffee for three dollars more? There are two types of coffee drinkers, those who care and those who don’t. Coffee to me isn’t a drug, it is an enjoyable experience. If you are one of these coffee drinkers then I’m sorry, but hopefully reading this post can at least convince you to try something new.


Ground vs whole bean


For anyone who has switched from drinking pre ground to grinding their own they know exactly what I’m about to say. Stop buying pre-ground coffee! Man that shit is terrible. When you buy your coffee pre-ground it loses 100% of its oils and nearly all of its flavor. Even if you got that same blend and ground it yourself you would notice a huge difference in the flavor. The good news is grinding coffee yourself is not expensive and whole bean coffee is not expensive either. The bean acts as it’s own preserver of the flavors and oils and you will get a much richer and more flavorful experience.
There is just no reason to buy pre-ground coffee, grinding it yourself is super easy and it is so worth it. If you haven’t tried it go to the bottom of this post and buy one of these coffee grinders and a bag of coffee and live a little.


Blends vs Single Origin


This is actually an ongoing debate between lots of coffee snobs and I guess it really does just depend on your preference. I prefer single origin because I can choose what I want and get exactly that with every bag. Even the best blends I’ve tried vary from bag to bag. If I want Heavy and rich I’ll pick a Brazilian bean, If I want fruity I can drink an Ethiopian bean, If I want earthy I can choose an Indonesian, If I want floral I’ll go with Hawaiian, I think you get the point. The best part about single origin beans is you can make your own blends just how you want them and get them perfect every time. I’m not quite that crazy, but as I said I prefer single origin. Just keep this in mind if you are looking to branch out, a blend is not going to taste anything like single origin. To me a blend taste more like a fancy Foldgers or some other big brand. Single origin taste like a completely different thing, some don’t even taste so much like coffee as a fruit or like chocolate.


Grinding them beans up!


So there are three main ways to grind your beans from worst to best.
An electric blade grinder:
These are what you see most often. There are two blades inside the grinding cup that spin around and cut up the beans. Normally you have to shake the grinder to try and get the beans to come out evenly ground. This is the most common and the worst of the ways to grind your beans.
Electric Burr Grinders:
This is a fairly good method of grinding your beans. Typically these grinders have a hopper you put your beans into with a hole at the bottom which leads to the grinding mechanism. These grinders use two or more burr grinders. Burr grinders look like a cylinder on its side with grooves running the length of the cylinder, normally at a slight angle. There are two or more of these burr grinders and the beans are forced through them as they spin at a high rate of speed. This results in the bean being crushed up and spun out the other side into the cup for the grounds at the bottom.
Non-electric hand grinders:
This is by far the best way to grind your coffee, but it also takes the most work. It isn’t difficult by any means, you just have to turn a handle to grind the beans since it is not electric. I have only used one of these, but it is all I’ve ever needed. It is a conical burr grinder meaning it is a burr grinder but in the shape of a cone, and there is only one burr not two. They grind differing amounts, but all average at least a normal coffee pot worth of grounds. Mine is a metal tube shape. Half the grinder is for the beans, the bottom half is for the grounds. You simply fill the top with beans, put on the lid, put the handle on and hold the grinder while spinning the handle on top to grind. There is a triangular nut at the bottom of the part that holds the beans. You just twist this tighter to adjust how coarse you want your beans ground.

There are a couple differences between these three ways of grinding your beans. The things you want to pay attention to are oil loss, consistency of the grounds, and static.
The first two both grind the coffee so fast they cause heat which destroys the natural oils in the coffee. A hand grinder will preserve the oils making your coffee taste very rich.
A blade grinder is the worst for consistent grounds, and a hand grinder is the best. You want your grounds to all be the same size with as little variation as possible.
You will also get allot of static build up in both an electric blade and burr grinder, but not in a hand powered one. Static is what causes your grounds to clump up and stick together. If you hand grind your grounds poor out like sand.


What type of machine to use?


Drip Machines:

I’m not so informed on this topic. I’ve been drinking espresso for so long I’m completely out of the loop when it comes to coffee pots. I know a lot of people swear by their Keurig machines. The issue with these is having to buy the special little Keurig pods. I’d suggest if you are going to drink out of a Keurig you are best off getting a Keurig reusable filter so you can just fill it up with your own grounds. There are a few different options for this.
Melitta Java Jig K-cup with paper filters on Amazon.
k-cup filters without paper filters on Amazon.
As I said I’m not too informed on drip based machines , but a lot of people believe Keurig is the leader in the clubhouse.


French Press:
This is a pretty involved way of making your coffee but it does make a good cup. With nearly all French Presses You will have to heat your water separately. You will also have to have a grinder for this type of coffee as it takes a more coarse grind.
French Presses on Amazon.


Cold Brew:
This is the new fassion in coffee making,and it does make a really good cup of coffee. If you are one of those who love coffee but can’t drink it when its hot outside this is perfect. This is a longer process but really simple and is the best way to make cold coffee with a major caffeine punch. You just buy a cold brew pitcher, put in the grounds and let it sit for around 12 hours in your fridge.
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker 4.5 stars with over 1k ratings on Amazon.
Other cold brew pitchers on Amazon.


Espresso Machines:
This is what I’m all about right here. There are two main types, steam powered and semi-auto/mechanical powered. Steam is cheaper and it forces the boiling water through the grounds via steam power. Mechanical heats the water as it is moving through the machine and they typically have multiple pumps that build up the pressure to force the water through the grounds. The reason you need pressure build up is because espresso requires a very fine grind and the filter is metal and typically light won’t even pass through it. Espresso is all about high pressure and forcing every bit of flavor and oil out of coffee. This is why a cup of espresso has a frothy head on it called creama, this is all the oils in the coffee rising to the top. It isn’t for everyone as it is quite strong and when made properly it is only a half of a coffee cup worth of liquid.
Steam Powered Espresso Machines on Amazon.
mechanical/semi-auto De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker on Amazon for $79.
I used this machine for years and just recently upgraded.
If searching out non steam powered espresso machines just look for something that has a removable water tank. Steam powered machines can only make one cup at a time and everything is internal with no removable tank. If it mentions screwing a lid on it is steam powered.
Espresso machines with removable tanks on Amazon.

A note on beans:
A lot of people believe if they like strong coffee they need to buy a dark roast, or that they need to buy light roast to get more caffeine. Both of these are simply myths. It has been marketed for a long time that an espresso roast has to be dark as it gets. This will taste much worse than the same bean as a medium roast. The longer a bean is roasted the less oils it has. Light and medium roasts are best for espresso because they are nice and oily. When it comes to espresso everything is about the oil, and you want to preserve as much of it as possible. This is true for every way of making and grinding coffee, but especially true when it comes to espresso.


How to take it to the next step on the cheap?

I’m only going to go over what I drink here and what I use. I don’t see any point in going over anything I don’t enjoy personally.

Beans:

All these are whole bean bags.
100% Ethiopian. Since I finally got my hands on these I’ve been in coffee heaven. Simply no other coffee can compare to the flavor in these. Ethiopia is where coffee came from, it is the original birth place of every other coffee bean ever. These beans have a amazing fruity chocolate flavor and smell like blueberry’s when ground up. They are also so oily if you run your fingers through the beans your hand will be oily afterwards.
This is my go to, very fruity and very low acid. This particular brand is roasted by a company called RhoadsRoast coffees, they are a little bit more expensive but they are also a major quality upgrade compared to the fresh roasted brand. I drink about 6 cups of this a day every day at minimum. I cannot say enough good things about this coffee.
Ethiopian Natural Sidamo Grade 4 2.5 pound bag on Amazon for $26
Ethiopian Natural Sidamo Grade 4 5 pound bag on Amazon for $37
My second pick, this is much stronger but still with the fruity flavor just not as pronounced, also seems to be a bit more acidic, but still very good. The finish on this is quite intense and really lingers in the mouth.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Washed Grade 1 (Medium Roast 3 Pound bag on Amazon $32
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Washed Grade 1 (Medium Roast 5 Pound bag on Amazon $44
Whenever I suggest coffee to someone it is always one of the two above coffees. If you like light roast there is a link to choose that on the page as well, I’d just not suggest getting dark as even with this amazing bean it kills a lot of the oils. RhoadsRoast is the best roaster on Amazon, but even they can only do so much.

If you already have a favorite bean I’d suggest checking if RhoadsRoast has the same bean. They really are exceptional roasters. Every bag I’ve ever gotten from them is amazing.
The Green Dragon Coffee House by RhoadsRoast Coffees on Amazon.


Death Wish:
This isn’t so much my type of coffee as it is made with Robusta beans and they aren’t my favorite, but lots of people like it for the insane caffeine punch.
Valhalla Java Whole Bean Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company on Amazon 12oz $15
Read the reviews on this one, they will crack you up.


Blends:
You can search them on amazon yourself, I don’t condone this behavior.


Grinders

As far as grinders for me the only way to go is with a manual hand grinder. My suggestion is to skip the progression from electric blade and burr grinder and just go directly to hand powered.

I’ve been using the Java Press grinder and it is a piece of cake to use. it is the grinder I talked about above.
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder, Conical Burr Mill, Brushed Stainless Steel on Amazon 4.4 stars 4k reviews $24
This is by far the best grinder, this baby has been going strong for me with 0 issues and I’ve put near to 100 pounds of coffee through it.

If you just want something easy and cheap get a blade grinder
KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder on Amazon 4 stars 13k reviews $20
If you just want something simpler then a hand grinder then a blade grinder is the cheapest way to go. Burr grinders tend to get a bit more pricey and aren’t worth it in my opinion. I’d still strongly suggest going with a hand grinder for three or four dollars more.

Burr Grinders on Amazon.


machines

I’m only going to list a few here, this is the most expensive part of any coffee making.

Best espresso machine for the money:
mechanical/semi-auto De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker on Amazon for $79.
This baby held up for years and it is super easy to use. If you want to get started with espresso this is the most affordable and easiest way to go.

Best Cold Brew Pitcher:
Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker 4.5 stars with over 1k ratings on Amazon.
I don’t have this one myself but a good friend bought one and liked it so much he bought a second so he could always have a pitcher brewing while he is drinking out of the other.

Keurig machines:
I’ve never owned one of these but have had coffee brewed with them and it is good as far as normal coffee goes.
Keurig K-Select Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker with 12oz Brew Size, Strength Control, Matte Black on Amazon $100
Keurig K55/K-Classic Coffee Maker, K-Cup Pod, Single Serve, Programmable on Amazon $83-$100


Conclusion

Damn but this was a long post to write. I could of made it three times longer, but felt I might be pushing it if I did that. Hopefully this might of made you decide to get a little more adventurous if you are a coffee tub drinker, or to try something new if you are a seasoned coffee snob. If you have any suggestions for me to try please drop them in the comments and I’ll get back to you afterwards. I’m always willing to try new coffees. If you liked the post make sure to hit the like at the top of the page. Normally my posts aren’t this detailed but I wanted to try and cover as many things as possible. If you like stuff like this let me know and I can write more stuff along these lines.

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