Recent Posts

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Welcome to Coffee Maker Journal!

Welcome to Coffee Maker Journal!

Whole coffee beans
Welcome to Coffee Maker Journal
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Coffee Maker Journal is a blog about making and enjoying great coffee.  Learn tips to make better coffee, and found out about the latest in coffee makers and coffee equipment.

Subscribe to Coffee Maker Journal to receive occasional tips on making coffee and enjoying coffee.  As a bonus, you'll receive a list of the Top 10 best-selling whole coffee beans when you sign up!
 
We will not sell or share your email address!


Popular Articles

What is the Best Temperature for Coffee?
What is the best temperature for coffee?


How Many Calories are in Coffee?
How many calories are in coffee?


Coffee Drink Names and Definitions
Coffee drink names and definitions


How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
How to reduce your caffeine intake

Popular Topics

Coffee Makers (8 articles)
Coffee makers

Making Great Coffee (12 articles)
Making great coffee

Coffee Maker Journal Store

Check out the Coffee Maker Journal Store to find recommended equipment to make great coffee at home.
Recommended coffee making equipment


If you are interested in coffee, explore Coffee Maker Journal to find tips on making and enjoying great coffee.



Copyright © 2015 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal


Ninja Coffeemaker: Brewing Temperature and Serving Temperature

When I had my previous coffeemaker, the Melitta with cone filter and thermal carafe, I was excited to try out my non-contact temperature gun to check out the brewing temperature and the serving temperature.

Here's what I found measuring my Melitta Coffeemaker:
Melitta brewing temperature:  158 F
Melitta serving temperature:  152 F

The brewing temperature was measured in the filter basket during brewing, and the serving temperature was measured in the thermal carafe just after brewing.  Of course, the temperature of the coffee will drop a few degrees further when you pour it in a cup.

Now for today's question:  What is the brewing and serving temperature for the Ninja Coffee Bar?

Ninja Coffee Bar: Measuring Coffee Temperature
Ninja Coffee Bar: Measuring Coffee Temperature

This was pretty easy to test.  I brewed a pot and got out my non-contact temperature gun again.  Here's what I measured for temperatures on my Ninja Coffee Bar:

Measuring Water Temperature During Brewing in Ninja Coffee Bar
Measuring Water Temperature During Brewing in Ninja Coffee Bar

Ninja Coffeemaker Brewing Temperature:  175 F
Ninja Coffeemaker Serving Temperature:  160 F

Again, the brewing temperature is the temperature of water in the filter basket during brewing, and the serving temperature is the temperature of the brewed coffee in the carafe just after brewing.

Comparing these coffee temperatures with what I measured on my Melitta coffeemaker, you can see that the Ninja brews about 15 degrees F warmer.  The coffee in the carafe is about 8 degrees warmer from the Ninja than for the Melitta.

So is this good or bad?  The coffee from the Ninja tastes great and is not scorched, so I don't think 175 F is too hot for brewing.

Actually, the brewing temperature for the Ninja and the Melitta may be more similar than my measurements show.  I measured the Melitta brewing temperature with coffee grounds in the filter basket; I measured the temperature of the water in the filter basket with NO GROUNDS for the Ninja.  I think the coffee grounds would provide a lot of surface area and tend to result in a lower temperature measurement.  So taking this into consideration, I would say that the brewing temperature for Ninja and Melitta are actually pretty similar.

I want to double check my temperature measurements, and I like to play with my temperature gun, so I look forward to taking more temperature measurements.

Copyright © 2017 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal


Friday, January 20, 2017

Contigo Travel Mug FAIL

Today, I had a bit of a problem with my excellent Contigo travel mug.  This mug has worked great for several years, keeping my coffee hot and making it impossible to spill.  You see, the Contigo travel mug has a trigger mechanism in the handle- no coffee comes out unless you squeeze the trigger,  You can even turn the mug upside down, and it won't leak .  At least until today.

I pulled into the parking space at my office and noticed some drips of coffee on my car seat.  I figured I simply neglected to tighten the lid and gave it a bit of a twist before heading in to my office.

But at my office, things went bad really fast.  I ended up spilling coffee on my lap.  I'm sure this looked ridiculous!  The cause:  the Contigo travel mug failed.  I took some pictures to show exactly what went wrong.

         
How My Contigo Travel Mug Failed!
How My Contigo Travel Mug Failed!


Contigo Travel Mug Leaking
Contigo Travel Mug Leaking

The problem appears to be a stress fracture along the attachment of the blue threaded ring to the black lid assembly.  Coffee was leaking out, and there was nothing that could be done about it.  I ended up with coffee in my lap to start the day...

This was a great coffee mug for 2012 to 2017, but is no longer usable.

Now for the next question:  will Contigo send a replacement?

Stay tuned to find out if Contigo is as good of a product as I once thought...


Copyright © 2017 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Coffeemaker Upgrade


My Coffeemaker Upgrade

My Old Coffeemaker...

My Melitta Thermal Coffeemaker was a great coffee maker in the $50 price range.  It has a cone filter and thermal carafe, and made great coffee for years.  I stand by my evaluation that this is the "best value" coffee maker in terms of features and quality that you get for the money.  Here is my review of the Melitta Thermal Coffeemaker.


Melitta Coffeemaker with Thermal Carafe
Melitta Coffeemaker with Thermal Carafe:  Best Value Coffeemaker!

My New Coffeemaker...

A couple months ago, I found that my Melitta wouldn't turn on.  I suspect that the computer got zapped by a power surge or something.  My first thought was to get another Melitta since I liked it so much, but my wife bought me a fancier model as a present: the Ninja Coffee Bar with Thermal Carafe.


Ninja Coffee Bar with Thermal Carafe
Ninja Coffee Bar with Thermal Carafe
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Here is my review of the excellent Ninja coffeemaker.  Check this out if you are looking for a coffeemaker with some really convenient features to make it something you look forward to using every day.

Free Book Offer!

As a bonus for Coffee Maker Journal readers, make sure to download your free copy of Great Coffee: Craft Your Cup of Joy from Amazon.com today!


Copyright © 2016 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ninja Coffeemaker Review

Ninja Coffeemaker Review

My Melitta Thermal Coffeemaker was a great coffee maker in the $50 price range.  It has a cone filter and thermal carafe, and made great coffee for years.  I stand by my evaluation that this is the "best value" coffee maker in terms of features and quality that you get for the money.

A couple months ago, I found that my Melitta wouldn't turn on.  I suspect that the computer got zapped by a power surge or something.  My first thought was to get another one, but my wife bought me a fancier model instead: the Ninja Coffee Bar with Thermal Carafe.

Ninja Coffeemaker
Ninja Coffeemaker
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The Ninja Coffeemaker is a step up in price, around $150, and provides a step up in features. I like the removable water reservoir of the Ninja.  It is easy to take the reservoir to my refrigerator to fill it with filtered water.  The reservoir then snaps back in place on the Ninja coffeemaker.

Ninja Coffeemaker Removable Water Reservoir
Ninja Coffeemaker Removable Water Reservoir
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Another great feature is the easy size selection knob.  You can select a single cup, a travel mug, a half carafe, or full carafe.  Most days I select the travel mug size to fill my mug for my drive to work.  The other day I was running out of coffee beans, so I made the smaller 1 cup size.  The Ninja automatically uses the correct amount of water to brew the selected amount of coffee.

Ninja Coffeemaker Single Cup Brewing
Ninja Coffeemaker Single Cup Brewing
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Another interesting feature of the Ninja is that it has a stand where you can set a coffee cup during brewing in place of the carafe.  This makes it handy to brew a single cup.


Ninja Coffeemaker Single Cup Brewing
Ninja Coffeemaker Single Cup Brewing
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The Ninja came with a permanent gold cone filter.  This can be used instead of paper filters, but I still use paper filters.

Ninja Coffeemaker Permanent Gold Cone Filter
Ninja Coffeemaker Permanent Gold Cone Filter
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher


There are several types of Ninja coffeemakers available, I went with the thermal carafe model to keep my coffee hot when I want to use the carafe.

Ninja Coffeemaker Thermal Carafe
Ninja Coffeemaker Thermal Carafe
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The Ninja coffeemaker has a tube that extends into the carafe that helps keeps coffee hot as you pour it.  This is just one of the many details that the Ninja coffeemaker has that makes it a great coffeemaker.

The Ninja set also includes a milk frother for making coffee drinks such as cappuccino.  The milk frother is a "hand pump" style frother and is a separate item that is not attached to the coffeemaker.

Another feature that the Ninja offers is an "Over Ice Brew" setting.  This brews stronger, more concentrated coffee that can be used to make iced coffee drinks without getting watered down.  If you like stronger hot coffee, you can select the "Rich Brew" instead of the "Classic Brew".

Ninja Coffee Bar on Sale for $50 Off
Ninja Coffee Bar on Sale for $50 Off
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher
The Ninja Coffee Bar can brew great hot coffee with its cone filter and thermal carafe.  It can make iced coffee drinks using the "Over Ice Brew" setting.  The handy size selection knob lets you dial up a full carafe, half carafe, travel mug, or cup.  The Ninja takes the right amount of water from the water reservoir- no need to measure water.  The Ninja has a fold-down stand so you can brew a single cup right into you cup without using the carafe.

This coffeemaker is rated nearly 5-stars on Amazon, and I can see why:
Ninja Coffeemaker







Copyright © 2016 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What Does The Brew Strength Setting Do?

Testing The Brew Strength Selector

What Does the Brew Strength Button Do?
What Does the Brew Strength Button Do?
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The other day, I noticed a button on my coffeemaker that I had not played with: the Brew Strength selector.  I had been brewing coffee for years at "regular" brew strength.  Pushing the Brew Strength button brings up "bold" and "robust" options.  Was I missing out on making better coffee by not turning up the brew strength?

I tried brewing with "bold" and a "robust" brew strength selected.  I noticed that it took longer to brew the coffee, and the resulting coffee was more bitter.  "Bold" brew was a little more bitter and "robust" brew was quite a bit more bitter.

This got me curious enough to find out exactly what the brew strength setting on a coffee maker does.

What Does The Brew Strength Setting Do?


The brew strength selector adjusts how much time it takes to brew a pot of coffee.  The same amount of water is used, but the higher the brew strength, the longer water stays in contact with the coffee grounds.  This does extract more flavor, but not necessarily good flavor.

The good sweet coffee flavors are extracted first.  Longer contact with water results in extraction of more bitter flavors from the coffee grounds.  So turning up the brew strength does change the flavor of coffee, but not in a good way!

Bold Brew Strength Setting
Bold Brew Strength Setting
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

I decided to find out how much time the hot water is in contact with the coffee grounds for each brew strength setting.  I got out my flashlight and a stopwatch.  I brewed a 16 oz pot of coffee at each brew strength setting: regular, bold, and robust and timed how long it took to brew.

Here are the results:

Regular Brew Strength
3:46

Bold Brew Strength
5:38

Robust Brew Strength
6:28

The times stated above are in minutes and seconds, for example it took 3 minutes and 46 seconds from the time I started brewing until brewing was complete for 16 oz of water on the regular brew strength setting.

So brewing a "robust" pot of coffee not only makes the coffee bitter, but takes nearly twice as long!

Robust Brew Strength Setting
Robust Brew Strength Setting
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

My recommendation is to stick with regular brew strength.  If you want stronger coffee, use more coffee grounds and don't mess with the brew strength setting.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Free Coffee Book Promo Jan 29-30, 2016

Free Coffee Book Offer!

My book Great Coffee: Craft Your Cup of Joy is regularly $2.99, but will be free on Amazon on January 29-30!



"Unfortunately, many people have never experienced great coffee. With the techniques in this book, you can make great, world-class coffee at home for only 60 cents! Learn the characteristics of great coffee and how you can make great coffee every time using inexpensive equipment and simple coffee brewing techniques. Once you have experienced great coffee, you'll never want to go back to mediocre coffee again!"

Not only can you learn how to get better coffee, but you'll save hundreds of dollars every year by making coffee at home...




Get it free January 29-30, 2016!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal