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Okay, here's my response to xXBatmanXx's homework assignment from the forum yesterday. A perfect cup of coffee is easy to accomplish. Start with clean, filtered water and fresh (whole) beans roasted to taste. Grind the beans in a burr grinder (not one of those cheapie blade choppers). The generally accepted formula is a tablespoon of grounds per cup, but this is a matter of taste, as is how coarsely you grind the coffee (I make incredibly strong coffee myself, so I use a lot of French roast beans and a fine grind). Boil the water, and make the coffee in a simple Melitta cone (give the water a couple of seconds to come off the boil before pouring), which has all the functionality of a coffee maker with none of the dirt, calcium, and bacteria traps. Transfer the outcome to a thermal carafe, and it will be hot and fresh for several hours. Enjoy your coffee.

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15. Re: No subject Nov 16, 2007, 12:57 MeatForce
And to follow up, these just look cool.

Though I have no idea how long it takes and if an electric version is really important.

The Zassenhaus hand grinders are pretty much unanimously regarded as being the best available (although Peugeot makes fantastic grinders as well -- especially for pepper).

I have one of the Zass 156BU 'Knee-style' hand grinders myself and absolutely love the thing. It's a really fine piece of machinery, and the kind of thing that will last not only a lifetime, but for generations. It's seriously that simple and well-built.

It only takes a minute or two to grind up enough beans for a normal pot of coffee -- longer than an electric grinder for sure, but certainly nothing to complain about.

One thing I really like about it is that it's so damn quiet in comparison to anything electric.. I live in a loft, so my GF really appreciates that when she's trying to sleep-in (she's a tea drinker, so the promise of a fresh cuppa Joe holds no sway)

The deal with the hand-grinders is that the grinding action produces vastly less heat than an electric grinder does, and the heat produced by grinding is actually sufficient to destroy some of the more volatile (and tasty) oils in the coffee bean. They also produce a much more even grind, which is important if you're making espresso. Because virtually all the oils are preserved, you get a much tastier cup of coffee as a result.

An electric burr grinder is the next best thing to a hand grinder for this reason (the blade type is an absolute no-no if you care about maximising flavour).

That said, most people are only likely to notice the difference when using freshly roasted, high-quality beans, since many of those same oils are destroyed just as easily by time, poor roasting standards, and improper storage. Plus.. you know.. it's a bit more convenient having it ground for you. Personally, I would NEVER go back to an electric grinder since getting my Zass, but whatevs..

Also, as Blue mentions, DO NOT use boiling water to make your coffee. Allow it to cool to ~92c. degrees and you will get much better flavour.

I'm with him on the Melita cone-brewing method as well, although rather than paper filters, I use a gold-foil (at least in colour) filter I got years ago that's made by Nissan. Cuts down on waste, and the flavour is just tremendous.

This comment was edited on Nov 16, 12:59.
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