Coffee

sledracr

Super Anarchist
4,937
1,026
PNW, ex-SoCal
Looking for ways to make better coffee while out-n-about.

In a marina, I can usually walk to a coffee shop for a decent cup of coffee.  Even in tiny Rosario, the little shop makes a decent drip.... under way, so far, I've mostly been doing instant, and while not a coffee-snob, it isn't cutting it.  I *hate* the taste of Starbucks "via" instant, and Folgers - while drinkable - is pretty lame.

Have been experimenting with a manual bean-grinder and a french press.  No problem converting beans to grounds without 120v, and no problem converting grounds to coffee with hot water from the stove... but it tastes very different from what comes out of the Seattle's Best machine at work, or the Keurig at home (see, I told you I'm not a coffee snob).  I've recently been playing with the ratios, thinking I might be making it wrong with the french press, but... don't know.

Any tips?

ETA - not looking for espresso or anything that takes 18 words to at the coffee place.  Just a good, tasty mug full of drip... without needing anything but propane and 12V power...

 
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eliboat

Super Anarchist
2,324
709
I use a chemex onboard.   It’s glass, so you need to store it accordingly, but it makes the best cup of coffee you can get and it’s also as simple as it gets.  I’ve never been a fan of French press coffee, and as it turns out, French press has been linked to heart disease whilst pour overs and other paper filter methods are not.   

 

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
70,065
13,251
Great Wet North
The French Press on a friends boat is the best "boat" coffee maker I've ever used - small * stores easily, S/S so as unbreakable as possible, makes coffee quickly and well etc. etc.

Basically no downside except only 3 cups at a time.

One table spoon per cup and that's it. If you don't get a cup you like, change coffee.

 

estarzinger

Super Anarchist
7,679
1,084
water temperature, super important, goldilocks not too hot not too cold just right.

what just right is depends on brew method and grind.

however probably most people error toward too hot.

 

ChrisJD

Member
258
180
Boston, MA
We brew a batch of cold-brew concentrate at home before we leave for cruises, but there’s no reason you couldn’t do it just as easily on the boat. Grind a pound of coffee at a time, leave a Filtron out on the counter overnight, and you’ll have great coffee for a week, iced or hot (just add cold or boiled water when you want a cup).

 

sledracr

Super Anarchist
4,937
1,026
PNW, ex-SoCal
There are things that I like about the idea of a pour-over (Chemex, Melitta) approach.  Starting with, picking up a filter full of grounds and putting it in the trash, rather than dealing with a press-pot full of muck.

From what I've read, though, the pour-overs are a more involved process for getting a good cup.  Friends tell me that it takes a goose-neck pot full of not-quite boiling water, and then a sequence of slow pours in concentric circles... one to make the coffee "bloom", and then several more over several minutes to do the "extraction". 

Compared with putting grounds into a press-pot, pouring in hot water (yeah, I've probably been using too-close-to-boiling, so far), waiting 4 minutes and then pressing down the thingie.... the press-pot seems more idiot-simple and requires less operator-time.  Plus I can probably do most of it on deck, if I need to.  Dunno.

So far, in an attempt to minimize the number of variables while I'm learning, I've been keeping to the same kind of coffee
-- Seattle's Best ("signature blend #3") at work
-- Seattle's Best "Portside blend" (same as "blend #3") K-cups at home
-- Seattle's Best "Portside blend" beans, ground coarse by hand, in the press-pot

The third one tastes VERY different than the first two.  Stronger, much more in-your-face flavors, etc.  Not sure how to quantify the difference, but... my thinking is that if I can get the press-pot coffee to taste like the other two, I'll be onto something, and can translate that into other/better coffees underway (Kauai coffee is my favorite)

What should I mess with?  coarseness of grind? ratio of coffee to water? steep time?  water temp?  something else? 

 
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socalrider

Super Anarchist
1,421
780
San Diego CA
There are things that I like about the idea of a pour-over (Chemex, Melitta) approach.  Starting with, picking up a filter full of grounds and putting it in the trash, rather than dealing with a press-pot full of muck.

From what I've read, though, the pour-overs are a more involved process for getting a good cup.  Friends tell me that it takes a goose-neck pot full of not-quite boiling water, and then a sequence of slow pours in concentric circles... one to make the coffee "bloom", and then several more over several minutes to do the "extraction". 

Compared with putting grounds into a press-pot, pouring in hot water (yeah, I've probably been using too-close-to-boiling, so far), waiting 4 minutes and then pressing down the thingie.... the press-pot seems more idiot-simple and requires less operator-time.  Plus I can probably do most of it on deck, if I need to.  Dunno.

So far, in an attempt to minimize the number of variables while I'm learning, I've been keeping to the same kind of coffee
-- Seattle's Best ("signature blend #3") at work
-- Seattle's Best "Portside blend" (same as "blend #3") K-cups at home
-- Seattle's Best "Portside blend" beans, ground coarse by hand, in the press-pot

The third one tastes VERY different than the first two.  Stronger, much more in-your-face flavors, etc.  Not sure how to quantify the difference, but... my thinking is that if I can get the press-pot coffee to taste like the other two, I'll be onto something, and can translate that into other/better coffees underway (Kauai coffee is my favorite)

What should I mess with?  coarseness of grind? ratio of coffee to water? steep time?  water temp?  something else? 
OK... for starters, you want a ratio of 17:1 by weight water:coffee.  Once I figure out how much this for my situation is I just use a cup measure for the beans or grounds.  

For French press: I add a splash of cold water to my kettle after boiling to get the temp from 212 down to around 200-205.  Main variables are grind size and steep time.  I like around 3:30-4min of steep time, and a grind size coarser than standard drip - you need to experiment with this.  Too fine and it'll be bitter.  

For Chemex, I think it's less important since the water cools over the course of pouring over.  No steep time to mess with, so your only variable is grind size.  It should be coarser than french press by a bit, again, if your coffee is bitter, go coarser.  

Fresh beans are the biggest impediment to good coffee if you're out for a while.  

Edit: oh, and a regular kettle is fine for pour-over.  The fancy long-necked ones are nice but not essential.  I usually play around with a new method for a while, find what I like, and then stick with it.  Usually I end up with a method that's substantially less fussy than what was originally recommended.  Particularly when on a boat.  

I agree that French Press is the best tasting un-fussy-est method.  I did have some concerns with the health impacts mentioned above, so I switched to chemex when on land (99% of the time).  Also, you can certainly get French presses that'll make more than 3 cups.  

 
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We use one of these Thermos 34 Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Press: https://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Vacuum-Insulated-Stainless-Accents/dp/B00JFDHMPE/ref=dp_ob_title_kitchen

6178TI-RxQL._SL1500_.jpg


 

socalrider

Super Anarchist
1,421
780
San Diego CA
WTF?

Pushing it through the filter VS letting it drip through will give you a heart attack?

Cite?
It was a cholesterol thing as I recall - something about the paper filter straining out oils present in the beans. 

It certainly wasn’t settled science, but since I enjoy pour over and French press equally and have had high cholesterol in the past it was easy to switch over. That way I can eat more bacon and potato chips before dropping dead. 

 

sledracr

Super Anarchist
4,937
1,026
PNW, ex-SoCal
OK... for starters, you want a ratio of 17:1 by weight water:coffee.  
Heh. 

My first experiment with the press-pot was 4 TBSP of ground coffee and 20oz of water.  Should be about 17:1.  Made my eyes bulge out of my head

So I got a scale out of the garage and weighed things.  20gr of ground coffee to 350 ml of water.  Just about 17:1  ditto.

Apparently (between the machine at work, the Keurig at home, and the occasional big-cup-of-drip from the roadside place on the way to the marina) I'm used to really weak coffee.

In my testing, roughly 25:1 (28gr of coffee, 24 oz /700ml of water) seems to be working better for my taste-buds and my ability to see things without bright lights dancing before my eyes.  Thats with a 4:00 steep time, using coarse-ground coffee.  I'll probably try a shorter steep-time next.  And not-quite-boiling water.

ObNote, the press-pot I'm experimenting with is a 34oz ("8 cup") model, because my boat-mug is a big double-walled/lidded thing that holds ~28oz of coffee and keeps it warm for an hour or more.   But I think filling it with 28oz of 17:1 would probably kill me.  (maybe that's where the heart-disease issue comes in.)

 
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nebe

Member
127
43
RI
One day I noticed with my glass French press that if you add grounds to the top of the lower metal band of the frame and then add water to the top of the upper band you will have a perfect bean to water ratio.  I steep for  10 minutes. 

 

Leeroy Jenkins

Super Anarchist
1,699
690
Vancouver
One day I noticed with my glass French press that if you add grounds to the top of the lower metal band of the frame and then add water to the top of the upper band you will have a perfect bean to water ratio.  I steep for  10 minutes. 
We do roughly the same, but a five minute steep.  Always comes out right. 

 

Alex W

Super Anarchist
3,346
322
Seattle, WA
Aeropress with a stainless filter is the easiest cleanup (much less than a French press) and no waste. 
 

I work at the same place as sledracr. The Starbucks iCup machines make pretty diluted coffee, if you like it then add more water and mix it into your coffee after the brewing is done.  If you look carefully when the iCup makes your coffee you can see that they make a normal brew and water it down. 
 

French Press works well but cleanup is a pain. Pour over works well but not when you are sailing on a heeled boat and it involves waste or annoying cleanup.  Aeropress solves both problems. 
 

A downside of the Aeropress is that it does best with a fine grind, which is more work with a manual grinder. 
 

Having looked inside the iCup I think it approximates an automated Aeropress. 

 
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Elegua

Generalissimo
Coarse grind, 4min at 195-200 Frankenstein into a SS insulated pot. I don't like noise on the boat so I use a Hario hand grinder. The infra-red thermometer from the tool-box makes sure the water temp is correct. Genuine buffalo china my parents bought for their boat ensures the coffee mugs don't break. 

On land a have nice FeiMa 600N coffee grinder I bought in Taiwan. Big olde skoole high torque motor and low RPMs, so it's not too loud either.  

 
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