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Friday, May 19, 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.

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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

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


Death Wish Coffee "Taste Drive"

The World's Strongest Coffee?

Death Wish Coffee: World's Strongest Coffee?
Death Wish Coffee: World's Strongest Coffee?

Recently, a nice looking box arrived in the mail.  My wife ordered me some Death Wish coffee as a gift.  The bag of ground coffee came in a nice black cardboard box and included a "Death Wish Coffee" sticker suitable for putting on a vehicle.  I put my sticker on a black cabinet in my shop.


Death Wish ground coffee
Death Wish ground coffee


Death Wish coffee claims to be "the world's strongest coffee".  I was pleased to see that it was a dark roast, USDA certified organic, and fair trade.  I don't mind strong coffee, I just don't want something with caffeine artificially added.




I had taken a break from coffee for a week and was drinking herbal tea instead.  But with the Death Wish in my cabinet, I was ready to go back to coffee.  The next morning, I loaded up my Ninja coffeemaker with 5 scoops of death wish to fill my 20 oz travel mug.

This is a good time to explain what Death Wish means when it claims to be "the world's strongest coffee".  When I tasted the coffee, I liked the flavor.  It wasn't particularly sweet for a dark roast, it is more toward the bitter end of the spectrum, but decidedly a good drinking coffee.  I proceeded to drink it all, of course.

Within a few minutes, I figured out that Death Wish is about strong caffeine!  My eyes were wide open and I was almost shaking with energy.  I was zooming around a Home Depot store rounding up things for a project.  After I checked out, I realized that I left my coffee cup mug somewhere in the store.  I raced to the restroom in case I forgot it there.  Then I remembered that the restroom was closed when I came in- couldn't be there.  So I raced to the screws section.  Not there.  Next, I raced to the drill bit section.  Not there either.  Must be somewhere, though... So I raced back to restroom- but wait, it couldn't be there...

I must have looped around the store 5 or 6 times before finally finding my lost mug.  I later learned that Death Wish has 4 times as much caffeine as "normal" coffee such as Starbucks dark roast.  That is quite a bit of caffeine!

I think Death Wish is good organic dark roast coffee and is worth a try.  But now, I just use 2 scoops of grounds and make a cup instead of a full travel mug.

This article in Consumer Reports breaks down how much caffeine is really in Death Wish coffee.  Bottom line: don't drink too much of this, or you'll feel shaky and maybe even sick.  But a little is really good...


Is Death Wish really the world's strongest coffee?

Flavor:  No. I have had stronger french press coffee and even some brewed coffee that is stronger.  But flavor is interesting and a bit unexpected for a dark roast.
Caffeine:  Yes, probably.  This stuff is turbo charged (but 100% organic).
Recommendation:  Try Death Wish, but careful not to drink too much.


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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Take Care of Your Coffee Maker!


How to Take Care of Your Coffee Maker and Get Great Tasting Coffee
How to Take Care of Your Coffee Maker and Get Great Tasting Coffee


Rinse and Dry Every Day!

In the bad old days, I was in a rush to get my coffee and go.  I would leave the wet coffee filter filled with wet coffee grounds in my coffee maker to deal with later.  I would empty as much coffee as I could get out of the pot, but I wouldn't bother to rinse it out before hitting the road.

Now, I have learned to take better care of my coffee maker.  I take a few seconds to empty the filter basket and give it a rinse right after making coffee.  I also rinse out the coffee pot.

Why not do these things right away until waiting until later?  A little bit of timely cleaning will reduce unwanted flavors and odors from stale coffee and coffee grounds from making their way into your coffee.

Not only do I rinse the filter basket and coffee pot right after making coffee, but I also store my equipment in a smart way.  I leave the top off of my coffee pot, and I leave my filter basket exposed a bit so it can dry thoroughly.  Here's a photo of how I leave my coffeemaker every day before I leave:


This Coffee Maker is Clean, Dry, and Ready to Make Great Coffee Next Time
This Coffee Maker is Clean, Dry, and Ready to Make Great Coffee Next Time


See how the carafe has the lid removed and the filter basked is slid out slightly?  This allows everything to dry out quickly to nip algae, fungus, and mold growth in the bud.

Monthly (or Quarterly) Cleaning with Descaling Solution

Another important routine maintenance item for your coffee maker is to clean it with vinegar or descaling solution about once every 1 to 6 months, depending on the harndess of your water.  I once lived in a house where the water was so hard that I had to clean my coffee maker every month, or the water flow rate would significantly decrease due to mineral build-up in the coffee maker.  After a couple months without cleaning, it would take 15 minutes to brew a pot of coffee!

At my current house, I need to clean my coffee maker every 3 months.  Be sure to clean your coffee maker occasionally to remove mineral deposits.  This will shorten your brew time and make your coffee taste better.  Here is my latest article about how to clean your coffee maker.




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



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ninja Coffeemaker Clean Light: What to Do?



 The "clean" light came on on my Ninja- what should I do?
The "clean" light came on on my Ninja- what should I do?


Today the "Clean" light on my Nija coffeemaker came on.  At first I wondered if this meant that my coffeemaker was clean, but I quickly realized that the "Clean" light means that the coffeemaker has a problem and needs to be cleaned.

I went to the Ninja website to find out what to do.  It turns out that the Ninja has a sensor to detect calcium build-up.  That is what makes the clean light turn on.  Calcium deposits can restrict the flow of water in the Ninja and make brewing less effective.

Calcium build-up can form if you are using hard water for brewing.  I used my coffeemaker for about 3 months before the clean light came on for the first time.

So how do you clean your coffeemaker and make the "clean" light turn off?  Fortunately this is pretty easy.  You can run descaling solution or white vinegar through your coffeemaker and this will dissolve calcium deposits.

My grocery store didn't have descaling solution, so I picked up some white vinegar instead.  I filled the reservoir up to the cup line (11 oz), and filled the reservoir with water up to the max clean fill mark (30 oz).

Use White Vinegar of Descaling Solution to Fix the Clean Light on your Ninja Coffeemaker
Use White Vinegar of Descaling Solution to Fix the Clean Light on your Ninja Coffeemaker

If you use descaling solution instead of vinegar, follow the directions on the package and fill up to, but not exceeding the Clean Cycle Max Fill line (30 oz).

With the reservoir filled with the vinegar and water mixture, I pressed the "clean" button to run a cleaning cycle.  This is the same one that is lit up when the coffeemaker needs cleaning.

It takes about 8 minutes to run a clean cycle, heating up the solution and running it through the coffee maker.  At the end of this clean cycle, I was happy to see that the clean light turned off!  I rinsed out the carafe, filter basket, and reservoir since they all smelled like vinegar now.  I also filled the reservoir with water and brewed a cycle with only water to clean out all of the vinegar.

When the Clean light on your Ninja comes on, be sure to run a clean cycle right away with either vinegar or descaling solution.  This will keep your coffeemaker running smoothly.

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


Saturday, January 21, 2017

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...


Update:  After sending a second round of photos, Contigo agreed to send a replacement lid for free!  They were out of the original blue color, so I went with gray.  The replacement lid arrived today, 5 weeks after the leakage event.  Thanks Contigo, I'm still a fan!

My free replacement lid arrived!


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