Recent Posts

Saturday, April 23, 2016

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!
 
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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

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


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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Peet's Major Dickason Deep Roast "Taste Drive"

Peet's Major Dickason "Taste Drive"


Peet's Major Dickason "Deep Roast" Coffee
Peet's Major Dickason "Deep Roast" Coffee

I picked up a bag of Peet's Major Dickason's Blend for Thanksgiving.  This is not a dark roast- this is a "deep roast".  I am not sure what deep roast means, but I assume this is a very dark roast like a french roast.  I was worried that the roast would be too dark and smokey, but this is great tasting coffee with lots of complex flavors.

This blend has coffee beans from several points of origin including Pacific and Latin American beans.  The flavor is smooth and sweet, not bitter at all.

I think this is an ideal holiday coffee, something special to serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings.


If "deep roast" is not your thing, here are some other great whole bean coffees to try.

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


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Peet's Ethiopia Yirgacheffe "Taste Drive"

Peet's Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

Peet's Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
Peet's Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

If you're a regular reader, you know I have been on a Peet's kick for a few weeks.  I have recently reviewed Peet's Costa Rica Tarrazu and Peet's Guatemala San Sebastian coffee beans.

Up next is Peet's Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.  This is perhaps the smoothest and creamiest coffee I have ever had.

Coffee originated in Ethiopia.  This selection comes from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia and is a dark roast.  This coffee has great floral and citrus notes.  If you want to taste coffee from the premiere growing region in Ethiopia, give this one a try!




Check out the Coffee Maker Journal Store for more great whole coffee bean selections.

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

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Peet's Costa Rica Tarrazu "Taste Drive"

Peet's Costa Rica Tarrazu


Peet's Costa Rica Tarrazu
Peet's Costa Rica Tarrazu

I like this even better than Peet's Guatemala San Sebastian!

Peet's Costa Rica Tarrazu is smooth, sweet, and chocolaty.  The description says "lemon-pristine", but I did not taste lemon or strong fruity flavors.  It is bright and spicy with a bit of cinnamon flavor.

This is a great dark roast single origin coffee with lots of flavor and a pleasant smoky aftertaste.  This coffee is grown on the Poas volcano at high altitude in Costa Rica.  If you want to escape to Central America for a few minutes, this coffee will transport you there.



Check out the Coffee Maker Journal Store for more great whole coffee bean selections.

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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Can Coffee Beans Be Too Fresh?

Freshness Window For Coffee Beans

Are These Coffee Beans Too Fresh?
Are These Coffee Beans Too Fresh?

Many coffee aficionados, including me in my latest book, recommend to get the freshest coffee beans that you can find.  Is this good advice?

For most people, choosing the freshest beans they can find is the right advice.  If you can choose beans that were roasted a week ago vs beans that were roasted two weeks ago- take the freshest ones that were roasted a week ago.

But what if you have a local roaster or can roast your own beans.  Is it possible that beans that are "too fresh" aren't as good?  The answer is yes, you can get beans that are too fresh.  There are discussions on this very topic on these threads at Coffee Geek and Reddit.

After roasting, coffee beans off-gas a lot of CO2 and some CO.  That is why the bags of whole coffee beans have a vent- otherwise the bag would puff up and maybe even pop!  Right after the beans are roasted is when the off-gassing is at a maximum, and grinding the beans speeds up the off-gassing even more.  When the beans are ground, it increases the surface area and breaks the cell walls so gasses come out even faster.

Brewing very fresh beans can result in less flavor than you'll get if you let the beans rest for a few days.  The high amount of gas coming off of the very fresh grounds can prevent flavor extraction.  The flavor can be more watery and "grassy" than it will be after the degassing has settled down.

Coffee beans have a freshness window.  The peak window for most coffee beans is from a few days after roasting out to a few weeks after roasting.

I will still recommend to buy the freshest coffee beans you can find.  Most people are not getting their beans directly from a roaster or roast the beans themselves, so there is no risk of getting very fresh beans that were roasted only a day or two ago.

If you do somehow get beans that are too fresh, you coffee may not taste great for the first couple days.  If you get stale coffee beans, your coffee will never taste great and will only get worse every day.  I'd take the fresh beans every time.

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