Pragmatic 30A: Coffee Follow-up 1

4 November, 2014


Follow up (Part A) to Coffee where Marco and John revisit Johns coffee setup, oxalates, different milk warmer/frothers, portafilters, cold-brew coffee, reasons why grounds are left behind when you pop an AeroPress filter off and lots and lots more.

Transcript available
This is Pragmatic Follow-Up Part A for Episode 30 Coffee. Follow-up for this month is sponsored by Harvest. Harvest lets you start and stop a timer for any task you might be doing, anywhere you might be doing it, mobile devices, desktop, web browser and so on. You can keep track of your time. If you're doing client work, it's handy to know what projects and tasks are taking your time, but even better, you can use that information to create invoices directly through Harvest which integrates easily with PayPal and Stripe. Check out Harvest at and sign up for a free 30-day trial and start tracking your time and invoicing others simply and painlessly. Once your 30-day trial is over and you've realized how great Harvest is, use the coupon code 'Pragmatic' at the checkout and you'll save 50% off your first month. And that applies to any of their plans. Hurry, though, because this offer expires on January 15, 2015. So be quick. I'm John Chidjy and joining me is Marco Arment. How you doing, Marco? - Good, how are you? - Very good, thank you. Well, we got quite a little bit of follow up on that episode. So I thought we should probably start talking about a few things. First of all, I've actually, my setup has improved since that episode. - Mine has gotten worse. - Yours has gotten worse? All right, let's start with that. That sounds far more interesting. What happened? - Yeah, well, 'cause as you know, during the setup of this show right as you called me on Skype I learned that the amp for my mic had died or the preamp I guess they call it. So, I had to quickly switch and delay the show by a few minutes to switch back to my old mic. So, I have had a mic downgrade that is USB powered at least so I can get around that problem. So, sorry for sounding slightly worse than I usually do but the same as I sounded for years before I got the fancy mic. sampling noise, I don't know, it's terrible. 16 bit A to D, I think it is, or whatever. That's the Rode Podcaster, isn't it? That's your-- - It is, yeah. Is that why? Well, 'cause the biggest problem, I think, with the Rode Podcaster is, and you can hear it, a lot of people blame the ADC. I don't think it's that noticeable. I think the bigger problem is it just has a certain resonance, a certain mid-ring frequencies that make people sound a little bit harsh. - Yeah, okay. Well, it's probably a bit of both. It's the sort of thing, I think, that if you know what to listen for, you can sort of tell that it's a Rode Podcaster, but probably not so much from the, thing is a Skype is also gonna filter all that out. So when I hear the raw audio, I'd probably hear it, but you know. - Yeah, definitely. - Yeah, but I mean, I'm much the same. The ATR 2100 has a lot more switching noise than you've got from a Rode Podcaster. So it's far more noticeable with my old crummy mic, but the Hile's doing okay. So I've had a lot of positive feedback about it. So that's pretty, I'm happy with that. But anyway, you sound fine anyway, so it's all good. But no, when I actually said setup, I actually referred to my coffee setup, not my microphone. Oh, well, this is a podcast where you can only talk about podcasts. Oh, God, yeah, that's right. It's one of those. Okay, so getting back on topic. Wow. Okay, so I know how much you enjoyed me describing my milk frother/warmer last time. So, you'll be happy to know that particular one is no longer in use. which was the stainless steel mug thingy with the plunger thing to froth the milk up. Okay, that was bad. So instead, I've invested in a Breville BMF 300, I think it is. And what it is, is it's a milk warmer and frother in the one. What it does is you pour the milk in, oddly, and this thing has a small spinning element in the middle of the bottom of the cup that basically is inductively spun around and heated by the base. You can set the temperature and basically pour it in, set the temperature, hit go and away it goes. And it's got two different attachments, one will froth it up more than the other. The funny thing is I like a very, very, very small amount of froth in the milk, not too much. So the froth attachment that like really froths it up is just insane. You end up with this like an inch and a half of froth and I'm like okay that's ridiculous so anyway so I'd never use the extra frothy one but anyway look I know you don't have milk in your coffee but for anyone else that does I highly recommend that one is very very good and anyway perhaps more interestingly is my grinder so I had lots of votes of support for being a manual hand grinder I did. You know, I know how much you... Now wait, is this from people who actually do manually hand grind their coffee? Or who just like the idea of it? Because there's a... Like, I liked the idea of it until I started doing it when I was traveling and quickly realized that just bringing tea bags was way easier than trying to hand grind my own custom AeroPress coffee on the go. Okay, well... Okay, so I'm not gonna... I'm not gonna name names, but... Nicholas Ward, Marcus Wetherill, Ravzin, because I don't actually know what his full name is, And he's only using his manual grinder because his electric grinder died. Okay, so that's partial credit. Ben Tsai, he uses the third click on his Hario grinder. And Steve Ahrens. So, thank you to all those guys for backing me up that hand grinding is awesome. So now, let me disappoint you all by saying I don't hand grind anymore. I've actually... I'm surprised. I am shocked. Shocked, stunned and totally amazed. Yeah, I know. So, I got myself a Baratza Preciso. Preciso, I don't know how to pronounce it. - But you went really high up there. - Ah, yeah, but I did 'cause I had to. 'Cause the local, sometimes being in Australia sucks when it comes to getting, you know, harder to get items. So I had a look originally at the Virtuoso, which is the one that you'd recommended. And a lot of people, frankly, on forums and so on, speak very highly of. Anyway, so I went for that one originally and the distributor in Australia, there's only one distributor for Baratza and that's Five Senses Coffee. and so I am there in Western Australia, I think. So anyway, so I messaged them and said, "Hey, this is no longer showing up in your website. "What's the story?" And they said to me, "Well, unfortunately, "most of our customers prefer to spend a little bit more "and get the next model up "because it's got a far more better range "of grind settings, significantly more." And once I did the comparison, because these things are very heavy, they're very big electric motors in these things. So they're quite heavy and solid and robust, as I'm sure you know. and that makes it an expensive proposition to ship. So getting it from anywhere else in the world was gonna cost me almost the value of the grinder in shipping. So it worked out cheaper to get it through the local distributor, such that it would cost me the same amount of money to get the next model up, which is what I ended up doing. So. - That's reasonable. - Yeah, it came down to that. And it's a beautiful grinder, don't get me wrong. But, you know, okay. So no, I do not hand grind anymore. I still have it on the shelf just in case I ever change my mind and I need to feel that beautiful tiring feeling. But anyway, okay. So what's next? What's next? Oh yeah, and I use the bin to grind into. You can actually get a portafilter like the Expresso filter basket for these things, but seeing as how I'm using an AeroPress, I didn't really see the point, I guess, if I had an an actual ridiculous machine. But then again, if you're gonna spend that kind of money on a machine that does it all, you'd have a grinder built into the machine, surely. I don't know. - I wouldn't count on that. Well, it depends. I mean, if it's one of those like totally all-in-one systems then yeah, I guess most of those do come with grinders. But if you go like really high end, like into like prosumer or professional level stuff, I mean, first of all, there's a ton of money for espresso, but I would expect that would keep things separate because in an actual low-end commercial or high-end prosumer environment, you would have those things be separate roles. - Yeah, I suppose. I've looked at different, 'cause now I pay attention when I go on, when I have a coffee, I look at the machine that they use to make it. And a lot of the machines, I guess it depends, now that I think about it, you're right, actually. Some of the machines, they do, some of them, they don't. But in any case, I use the bin on my grinder bin on my grinder and I use the aero press scoop to measure and I haven't quite got to the point of weighing my coffee but we'll get to that in just a minute. I also am really happy that I found someone local to me, this doesn't really affect anybody other than me probably but Glass House Mountains Coffee is just up the road for me and they roast their own so yes I'm very happy with that so that's always handy to have. And I want to talk a little bit about the cold press, like cold press coffee. Cold brew coffee. Is somebody using an air press with ice? OK, here's what I did. OK, I kind of made it. Have you created a new kind of coffee method? I think I accidentally made, I had accidental cold press coffee and it was just weird. So, here's the thing. Sometimes. I'm again surprised. Sometimes, you know, when it's like five in the morning and you're making a coffee, you forget things like, what I know, turning on the kettle. And your brain doesn't connect the fact that when you're pouring it, there's no steam coming out. And you're like, OK. And then you press the thing down and you pour it in. You're like, that's funny. There's no steam in this thing. What's going on? And you realize that you've just made a cup of coffee with cold water. And in the AeroPress, and it was just a bit weird, you know, but, you know, so anyway, I did a bit more research about this, and we actually got some feedback about a company called Toddy's. And have you come across this before? Cold, cold? Yeah, I actually have. Yeah, so the Toddy's been around for a long time, you know, cold brew is, as a trend, I think pretty recent, I think, like in the last couple years, it started becoming trendy and in demand. But the Toddy cold brew system has been around for as long as I've been a coffee nerd, which which is longer than the last few years at least, I think it's fairly old. And it's basically like, it's like the AeroPress of cold brew. It's like the least sexy, but just as effective way to make cold brew compared to, like if you go to a trendy coffee shop these days, you'll see these giant like glass tower. They all look like a science lab. Usually like these like handcrafted upscale Japanese cold brew systems that, it just, you know, there's like, It looks like a whiskey distillery or science lab. It's like all these big coiled glass tubes and this big tank that then everything flows down into a little tiny spout and it slowly drips the coffee out into the cold brew basin. And it's very, very fancy looking. However, from what I understand, from people who are more into these things, the toddy is just as good at cold brew because the way cold brew works is not particularly finicky. It's basically brewing coffee, but using not hot water. And so the process of getting the coffee into solution, or whatever the technical term would be, it just takes a little bit longer. And it does taste very different. And some people like the taste. I personally don't care for it, but I recognize why a lot of people like it. - It's not acidic in any way. - Well, and you gotta be careful with the word acidic. - Yeah, okay, I understand that too. A bit of this, maybe. - Yeah, yeah, like a lot of people have different, you know, there's the scientific definition of like acid versus base, like on the pH scale. And then there's like people associate it with stomach acid and heartburn, and that's a little bit differently caused too. And it's also, there's a taste, there's like an acidic taste, like a citrus. So it's a hard word to use in a way that's not gonna mislead somebody. And unfortunately, that's very prevalent in the cold brew scene where a lot of people will say, "Oh, I need to drink, or I prefer to drink cold brew because it's lower acid." And that's... I don't think there's a lot of science behind benefits of that, except it does taste different. And it does lack the acidic taste accent that hot brewed coffee has, usually. So it does taste different. I would be very hesitant to assume or to even tell anybody that there's any difference to things like stomach acid. Yeah, sure. Well, the bottom line, and thanks just quickly to John Polakek, I think it's pronounced, for sending in that link about the Toddy's cold brew stuff. My understanding is because the temperature is much lower, you need to have a much longer, well, call it steeping time, I guess, of the cold water in the coffee grounds in order to extract anything from it. And my problem, I think, was that when I made my accidental cold-pressed coffee, that unfortunately was not actually suspended in solution long enough. There was not enough time to actually leach out much of the flavor. So I actually got a very weak tasting. Yeah, so it's not representative of what a cold brew coffee would really feel like. It was just a mistake and oh well. - Yeah, that would have sucked. Well, and you know, the way Cold Brew works, it's... Have you ever seen those sun tea pitchers? It's just like a giant clear pitcher that you put ice water and tea bags in and it makes quote "sun tea"? No. And you're supposed to like leave it outside in the sun and it brews your tea. Seriously? You don't have those in Australia? No, that sounds weird. This is... It's at least an American thing. It's mostly bought by hippies. My mom, of course, has had many of these things. And it works in the sense that many new age things "work" in that they can achieve the desired effect. But the reason why it works has nothing to do with being in the sun. It's because if you put tea bags in water at pretty much any temperature long enough, it will brew the tea. You know? So it works just because it's sitting in the sun. You could put it in the closet and it would work at pretty much the same speed, give or take minor temperature differences. So cold brew coffee works very similarly. If you put coffee beans, or coffee grounds and water into a solution and leave them there long enough, it will brew. It will eventually get there. And the vessel that it's sitting in doesn't have a whole lot to do with that if it's on the colder end of the scale. If it's a hot brew, then you have things changing faster. You have more extraction, you have different flavor changes happening faster because the the heat of the water increases the speed of this process. But sitting there in cold water, it's a very slow process and it can be sitting in pretty much anything. The main difference with the Tati and other systems like that compared to just putting it in a mason jar and putting the lid on, the main difference is that the systems that are built for this tend to have some kind of filtering built in. Because if you have to filter it manually after it's done brewing and you just have this giant jar of coffee with grounds in it, it's kind of a pain to filter that. You can pour it through a paper filter, but it takes a while, stuff like that. So if you use one of the pre-made systems, it's easier. It's not necessarily particularly different tasting or clearly better. And so that's why the Tati system is cheap. I think, isn't it like 30 bucks or something? It probably depends on where you are. There's a link in the show notes. Check it out. I actually didn't check to see how much it costs to be honest. It's a very, yeah, $37 on Amazon, $35 on Amazon. It's an inexpensive system. It's really just like a big plastic thing and you stick it over a jar. It couldn't be simpler and less sexy, but if you like cold brew, it probably works just as well as everything else. Would you define the AeroPress as sexy then, in contrast? Not even close. That's why I said the AeroPress is similar. It's like what frustrates a lot of coffee snobs and people who love like the boutique handmade high-end Japanese glass things, like what frustrates a lot of them about the AeroPress is that it's not fancy. And what's even more frustrating is that like if you put it in taste tests next to all these fancy machines, usually the AeroPress either ties or wins. And so you have this like $25 plastic plunger that is made by a Frisbee company and it is the best coffee maker in the world. I remember reading a couple years ago that some group did a big taste test against the Clover, the $11,000 machine, and Starbucks ended up buying the company, big drama. Same thing, I think it either matched or exceeded the ratings of the Clover for $25. I've had Clover coffee, not at Starbucks. Well, I did have at Starbucks but I also had it at Cafe Grumpy in Brooklyn. And I've had Clover coffee and it is, yeah, it's good but it's not better than the AeroPress. So it's, I don't think it's worth the hassle. Anyway, so like it drives people nuts in the world of fancy coffee equipment when the cheap unsexy plastic thing is just as good or better than the fancy thousands of dollars, you know, custom boutique thing. But that's just how it is sometimes. And I think that's overall we're better off for it because now like I'm not going to have an $11,000 coffee machine in my house Yeah, but I can get a $25 error press for and I can recommend that to pretty much anybody Yeah, exactly And I've had a lot of people have come back and have said as a result of our Episode they've gone invested in one and they've and they've loved their error press. So Yeah, they've invested in a $25 plastic plunger. Well, yeah, so I mean but the point is that you know It is a good product and it sells itself, irrespective of whether or not I should have asked for a cut from Arobi when we did the episode, but nevermind. People do love this, the AeroPress, and I love mine. So it's all good, but okay, right. So a few more observations that I've had since the last episode. It's actually been two months since, geez, two and a bit months since we talked about this. So, and I'm further along in my journey, if you want. Anyway, that sounds a bit weird when I say that. Okay, so I found that freshly ground coffee will actually come off the rubber plunger on the end of the AeroPress almost perfectly cleanly when you pop it off into the bin. But if it's not freshly ground, even as much as like 12 hours later, it doesn't come off. It's sort of like it sticks to the rubber. That's what I found anyway. And I know it's a little thing, but still it's interesting, the clumpiness of it. And that is totally not a science. - I've noticed inconsistency in when my coffee sticks more than other times, and usually it doesn't stick. So maybe that's it, I don't know. I just assumed it was either fairly random on how exactly I squeezed at that time, or how much water was left on it, or how long. If you wait even a couple of minutes before cleaning it, before popping the grounds off, it usually gets harder and worse. If you do it immediately, it's usually better. and it's probably because there's more moisture like against the plunger, but I don't know. - It could be actually, 'cause once you take the pressure off, then any moisture that's on that boundary layer would be drawn back into the grounds 'cause there's no more pressure forcing it out. So maybe that is it, I don't know. I might try that and see how it goes, but it's just one of those things that I observed and I thought, okay, well, it seems to happen 'cause I tend to, I've gotten into a routine and I tend to take it off at the same time. So I'll clean it the same amount of time after I've actually pressed, pretty much irrespective of what grounds I use. And I have to pre-grind stuff because again, the grinders, you know, brilliant, it's wonderful, I love it, but it's also incredibly loud, even much louder than my hand grinder. And that causes a problem. 'Cause if I'm doing this at, you know, five in the morning, I'll wake everyone up if I did that. It's already bad enough with the kettle and the milk frother, but you know, it's like, I can't run the grinder at 5am, you know, I will wake everyone and then they will come out in zombie mode and murder me before I get a chance to go to work. So yeah, it's one of those things that I pre-grind and store in an airtight container and I've noticed that when I do that it affects, you know, pre-grinding really does affect it. So we'll get to that in a minute though. Alright, so we talked about concentrations and I had a few people come back and quiz me a little bit about how much I use because I wasn't sure at the time. So what I've done is just some numbers for the people that are interested is that I have a large thermos cup, which I didn't talk about in the actual episode, but in fact, I may have even bought it after the episode. I'm not sure, but anyway, and no, no, no, no, that's right. I did have it for the episode anyway, but this particular cup, it holds about 500 mils. I should have figured out what that is in fluid ounces, but anyway, and so-- 16.9. There you go. Very good. Thank you, sir. to 16 ounce cup then and I use three cups little Aeropress scoops. Now, I weighed that and it works out at around about, so you used eight grams with a three setting on your Aeropress or 12 grams of the four setting on your Aeropress. That s right. Yep, and you have one or two cups per day. I covered that last time. Now, this is the bit that shocked me is that I only ever make the four setting equivalent which is about 250 mils of coffee. I actually use three scoops worth weighs at my grind setting weighs 44 grams. So I'm actually using an insane amount of coffee and I did not realize how much I was making until you told me. I checked, I double checked and I triple checked and I'm like holy crap I am making like three times the concentration. Well I'm I think I'm the weird one here. I think I'm the one making too little coffee, just because I can't handle more caffeine than what that has in it. If you go to a fancy coffee shop and you get a pour over, a place like in the US we have Stumptown and stuff like that, if you go to one of these fancy places, you can get a fancy pour over. Now if you ask them or if you pay attention, how much coffee they're using to make a small pour over, and their small is I'm pretty sure 16 ounces roughly, and it's about the same amount, so about 16 ounces. To make 16 ounces worth of pour over, they usually use something on the lines of 22 to 32 grams. And that's a lot, not as much as you're using apparently, but that is a lot. But in order to get that amount of flavor out of pour over or drip, you have to use a lot. Like this is one of the reasons I prefer the AeroPress is because you get a very bold flavor, you get a very strong amount of flavor out of using relatively little coffee. And so because I can't have more than that for caffeine reasons, I'm able to have just overall like better and more coffee with an AeroPress than I would be able to with drip or pour over. - Yep. Well, I really need to consider maybe two scoops, but I find that I like the three. So I kind of, hmm. But anyway. - One thing, how finely are you grinding? - Ah, okay, yes. That was the next thing. I'm using setting number six on my grinder, which is... - And that goes up to 40? - Yes, that's right. It's the same grind settings, I think, as the Virtuoso, but it's got the fine grind between A to K for each of those settings. So between a one and a two, you've got A to K as well. So you can have like a one A or a one K. - Oh my God. - Yeah, I... - That's crazy. - I know, but I leave it in the middle. Like I don't really care about that fine grinding. It's just like, okay, whatever. But I'm not... I've already explained why I got the model I did, but anyhow. So yeah, setting number six is what you use and yeah, I use the same. So I imagine it's the same. I'm surprised, like, you know what, you know what it probably is. How much milk are you putting in? Ah, yeah, well, this is the thing, isn't it? So I like having it as a, I like having it as a latte and technically it's actually not latte because I'm doing 50/50, right? So I'm doing half milk, half coffee. So I reckon that if I cut out the milk and I just went to straight black coffee, that I could probably get away with only the two scoops or maybe even the one. Cause having that much coffee in the AeroPress is an issue for pressing it, especially if you go too fine a grind. But the other thing I found that was interesting is that freshly ground coffee is much harder to press compared to coffee that's been pre-ground. Once it's pre-ground and it's dried, it's a lot easier to press it for the same grind setting, which I've sort of experimented with, which is interesting, but I suppose probably not too surprising because when you grind it, that allows a lot of that moisture that was trapped inside the coffee bean to actually dissipate. So the actual-- - That's interesting. - Yeah. But see, from your point of view-- - Yeah, I wonder if that's actually what's happening there or not, because it could be like, the fresher the coffee is, the more CO2 comes out of it when water hits it. And so maybe what makes it hard to push fresher coffee is you're getting all this air backing up in the press as you're pushing down. - It's possible. - But I don't know, that's worth scientific people telling us about. - Well, but yeah, there is this-- - So I just realized, so you're saying you're using like 44 grams in an AeroPress. - Yeah, I know. - So when I make iced coffee, I make, so my method of making iced coffee with the AeroPress to make the strongest concentrate that I possibly can, which an AeroPress, of course, as I've been talking about, is great for. And then I use that concentrate to make short iced coffees, like in an old-fashioned glass. So anyway, and to do that, I've established that roughly, like the most coffee I can generally fit comfortably in an AeroPress is about 40 grams. - Okay. - And to think that you're doing this every day as your main cup. That is crazy. - Yeah, I know. - That is, I mean, in addition to just being a lot of caffeine, I mean, that's one thing, but that's also, that's gotta be expensive. And that's just, that's so much coffee, like, oh, I can't even imagine. - Well, this is, like I said, is that once I have a, you gotta realize that I have no basis for comparison, except talking to you, because most of the people that I talk to with coffee will just go down to, you know, the coffee joint in the basement of the building and get that coffee, which is a thing called Toby's Estate is the bean that they use, but it's all right, but it's store-bought coffee, right? So I'm used to now doing it my way, but I have no basis for comparison. So I just kept adding scoops till I'd like the taste and I went up to three. - Wow. - So yeah, okay. - Try dropping the milk and then, 'cause if you're trying to get a very strong coffee flavor while also adding half of it being milk. That's a lot of milk to overcome. Like, you know, the milk will dull the flavor of the coffee. So you're having to brew 44 grams in order to make one cup of coffee because it's half milk. Like maybe I'm pretty sure that's your problem. - Yeah, well, the other thing to keep in mind also, Marco, is because this is a thermos, it actually keeps it warm for several hours, like quite warm actually. So it'll still be quite warm after two hours. It does take me between one or two hours to drink it. It's not like- Whereas if I made it in an open coffee mug, if I don't drink that within, you know, maybe 30 minutes, it'll be too cold and not really very nice to drink. So, I think that- My excuse is that I'm making it stronger so it can last longer. There you go. I'm not sure if I even believe that, but I'm going to go with that for the moment. All right, let's move on, because it's- I want to talk about cost because I've sat down I've crunched the numbers now I've had time to figure this out so I realized before I even start on this that cost is relative okay obviously this is you know how much it costs me to buy this stuff it's going to vary depending on where you are in the world you know and if you roast your own again we talked about that last time because the cost argument for that but I'm talking about pre-roasted coffee but at that point that's where I'm drawing the line right now and I know that's the next step but believe me it was hard enough to get to this step let alone roasting we'll see what happens in the future but drop the milk first and then you get into it cuz you're wasting so much money just drop the milk first get past that stage okay well I'll give that a shot I'll promise you I'll give that a shot so I now have had a chance to sample a few different ones a few different kinds of coffee quite a few different ones actually although Colombian still on the list I feel terrible cuz I know that's your favorite so it's on the list I will get to it wait what Columbia I don't care about I thought you said you liked that. Kenyon is my favorite. Oh, Kenyon. Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I'm misremembering. Okay. No, Columbian's boring. Columbian's boring. Okay, good. Well, Kenyon then. I haven't tried either, so there you go. All right, Kenyon. Fine. Right. There's a... One of the great things about where I live is that it's... There's a whole bunch of different kinds of produce that grows in the area. Like we have strawberry farms on our back doorstep, macadamia nut farms, pineapples. They grow. They're nice, but not as nice as the ones up in the tropics, but they're still pretty decent. So there's lots of nice stuff around here. And if you go up into the mountains around there, Stanthorpe, close to the border with New South Wales, and you've got all your stone fruits and, you know, all that sort of stuff. It's really, really cool where we live, raspberries and so on. One of the other things that we can grow in a very small area of Australia is coffee. And up on the mountain ranges behind where I live, so I say behind where I live, I'm talking about 30, like 20, 30 miles away, but still close-ish, there's a place they call themselves Oswana Coffee, and they make, they grow their own. organic and they roast their own and package it and sell it. It's $28 a kilo you buy it from their shop front it's it's about the same you buy it online and that includes shipping so it works out to about $11 US a pound so that's not that's actually not too bad that's my now my favorite coffee. There's also I found just sampling around I mentioned Toby's Estate before the Glasshouse Mountain blends they average about $38 a kilo and that works out to $15 US a pound. I'm not sure how that compares with pre-roasted coffee that you would get, single origin or blends in your area. Around here, good single origin coffee from a reasonable roaster, you're paying a minimum of $16 a pound. If you get it from one of the fancier, more upscale boutique roasters like Stumptown or places like that, you're looking at more like 25 to maybe even 30 a pound. Mail order places are usually more expensive. Usually mail order places like Shipt you're looking at about 30 bucks a pound. And a lot of times they'll, a lot of them have switched to using 12 ounce bags to try to make it seem not as expensive. But anyway, I, yeah, I mean, this is one of the reasons why I roast because I can get what I want. But another reason is that unroast coffee is about five bucks a pound, maybe seven if you get really fancy stuff, you know. But it's not much more than that. I get it all from, which I believe I mentioned last time. If you're getting into home roasting, SweetMarias is by far the best site to not only learn how to roast, but also to buy the roaster and then to buy the beans. So definitely support them. Yeah, I mean that's... Any argument about coffee cost, if someone has a problem with how much it costs, I totally understand that because a lot of good coffee is very expensive. If you're paying 25 bucks a pound or something that's good money after a while especially if you drink 44 grams per cup. Who would do such a thing? Just the other thing to throw in the cost equation is just to continue on my side of things I also have what I call my cheap backup coffee. When I run out of my nice coffee I've got this cheap back up in the and it's from Costco and it's actually a name brand it's it's a Lavazza Torino Qualitia Oro I think I don't know how to pronounce that correctly but there you go and it's 20 bucks a kilo which whatever that works out to in dollars per pound so it's actually quite relatively cheap compared to the others and it's just there in case of emergency and I try not to use it too often. It might have even been roasted this year. Possibly yeah maybe if you're lucky. No guarantees. But in any case, it's actually so, it's nice, but it needs sweetener. It needs, even sometimes I put syrup. I don't put syrup in my nice coffee. So I buy a Swanna Coffee or a Glasses Mountains Blend, I do not actually anymore, I do not add syrups. And half the time now, I'm not even adding sweeteners because the coffee itself just tastes so much nicer. You don't need it. And this is what I'm finding is the nice coffee, you don't need the sweeteners, you don't need the syrups, you don't need any of that to make it drinkable, which is terrible to suggest. But anyway, so as my taste is sort of changing and evolving, I'm finding that. So it works out to if I make a nice cup of coffee with the Oswana, for example, it's $1.50 a cup. And you compare and contrast that with what you would pay at a store-bought coffee. And store-bought coffee could be $3, $4. In some places, even, you'd be looking at $6 for that sort of size, depending on where you go. And I can do it for $1.50. So making it at home or work with an AeroPress works out significantly cheaper. It's somewhere between a quarter to half the price depending upon where you get it from, compared to store-bought. Plus you get what you want. But if I use the cheap coffee, I find I've got to put sweetener in it or I've got to put a syrup in it. Otherwise it's just, it's too, it's difficult to drink. I find it unpleasurable to drink. So I'm kind of at that point where then cost me $1.60 because the syrup and the sweetener cost money. So, you know, shrug. Anyhow, so there you go. I think that my conclusion is if you pay a bit extra for a nicer coffee, then you don't have to add anything to it and it works out being cheaper in the long run. So, honestly, that's my conclusion anyway. You might be the person who I know who has put by far the most thought into cheap cost. It's about it's about economy I don't know I don't know I guess so I trying to think about why that is now that you've put that up hmm don't know it's all about well I tend to I can't explain it I'm just gonna run with it okay this is why I'm here to just stump you yeah you stump me once I had hmm yeah I'm not really sure what to say so all right here's what we're going to do? I'm just going to move along through the notes. Okay, so now I did also measure, all right, so I talked a little bit about the pressing thing, about how it was harder and I did a bit of research into this, because when you push water through sand there's this effect called granular cohesion, so I just thought that was worthy of mentioning is that the surface tension and granular cohesion is what causes it all to clump together and So the initial, the more you press, the harder it gets to press after a while, which is interesting. But in any case, oxalates, right. Now for those that follow my Twitter feed and so on, know that I had a bout of kidney stones a few months ago and that was pleasant. And by that, I mean, it wasn't. And my urologist at the time asked me if I drank coffee and I sort of, you know, did the eyes darting left to right saying, maybe. And he said, "Well, you know, do you have it with milk?" And I'm like, "Okay, yes, I do. I know that Marco doesn't approve, but I do have it with milk." And he said, "Well, that's good because adding the milk, which has lactose in it, is thought to bind oxalates in the coffee. And oxalates are naturally occurring calcium-based compound that come from different seeds and beans and so on, of which there is some in coffee." But the problem is it's actually, 'cause that was gonna be my hands up, "Hey Mark, I've got an excuse for adding milk, "like a medical reason, 'cause it'll prevent, "or it'll apparently prevent getting "and developing kidney stones in my case, "because everyone's different, "different people's kidneys process it differently." So anyway, turns out that there's all these different studies that now say the opposite. So I actually don't know what to think anymore, but my urologist was pretty sure, and I'm gonna send him this link actually, I only found this link during the week because I was looking into this before the follow-up, and I'm like, "Yeah, I have to talk about this." So here's a quote from one of the many studies, this is the best one that I found, but it has now been shown, although don't tell me the name of the study or anything about the study, sure, it has been shown, that the amount of oxalate in coffee and tea is actually relatively low and caffeine affects a particular hormone in the kidney, an antidiuretic hormone, in such a way that it leads to the production of a more dilute urine, therefore decreasing the risk of kidney stone formation. So the data currently suggests, it goes on to say, that drinking a single eight ounce cup of coffee per day can decrease a patient's risk of developing kidney stones by 10%, whereas with tea is approximately 8%. And it has nothing to do with the milk in it. So, so much for that urologist trying to tell me that adding milk was a good thing because it would be better for kidney stones, but whatever. So, I no longer have an excuse not to have black coffee. There you go. So, you should be happy with that response. - And that is definitely the first time medical common wisdom has ever been completely the opposite of correct. Really? Yeah, that's never happened before. Okay. Yeah, I liken it to the butter versus margarine argument. So, in another six months someone will release a thing that says, you know, you absolutely, if you don't have butter, you know, you're killing yourself. And then it'll be, no, if you don't have margarine, which is based on canola oil, let's say, you can, you know... It's complicated. Right. That actually is kind of the current wisdom. - What is the current wisdom? I don't know. I've given up trying to keep track. Which is the one what's good right now? Butter or margarine? - Yeah, butter's back. Butter is now the good guy. - But what if it's salted or unsalted? Because salt is bad, apparently. - Well, then, yeah, then it's just, you know, then it's just like salt, you know. Some salt is fine, a lot of salt is bad. I mean, that's... yeah, that's fine. - So, I shouldn't be having a teaspoon, you know. No. All right. Actually, it's funny. I caught my oldest son having it, having it, literally having a spoon of salt one afternoon and I'm like, "What? Why?" - How did that go? - I don't... Sometimes kids do things and you're like, "Why? Why? I don't get it." Anyway, it's all right. Confiscate the salt. I don't know why I said that, but it's true. It actually happened. Right. Okay. So, the actual problem of getting towards the bottom of the cup. So I've done a lot of more thinking and research about this and because you remember last time I talked about how the taste of the coffee changed as you got down towards the bottom of the coffee and you said that could it could be caused by the fact it's in a stainless steel yeah in the thermos and that could be leaching some flavor into the coffee and that certainly is a possibility. However, got me to thinking because I add sugars and or sweetness to my coffee one of the other problems is that sugars will typically... well okay so when you add a solid into a liquid you agitate the solution and that will increase the speed at which it dissolves but you'll reach a point where you've actually saturated or super saturated the solution to the point at which you cannot actually dissolve anymore and that's temperature dependent so if I'm adding sugars or sweetness to my coffee then as the temperature lowers some of that may precipitate out of solution and that will affect the taste because it's no longer dissolved in solution so it won't taste as sweet anymore. So the other thing as well that I thought about is that because I add milk to mine and because you don't add milk to yours that will also change because the taste of the milk when you froth it up it actually changes the way that your taste buds interpret or perceive sweetness because it increases the solubility of the lactose and that effect, because as it sits, all of the bubbles will eventually come out of solution. So that frothing up of the milk will actually dissipate to the point at which you've lost that bit of sweetness. So as the cup sits there, it gets colder, some of the sugars may come out of solution and the milk will actually start to taste less sweet. That will all drive it to taste a lot less sweet. Because of the way that I make my coffee, that actually is a big difference from start to finish and the duration of time also potentially leaching from the container. I just thought that was worth mentioning. I've also heard, and I don't know how true this is, I haven't done a lot of research on this, and by that I mean I've done no research on this, but I've heard that coffee, certain compounds and it starts to break down almost immediately after it's brewed. And so even if you have no external flavor influences, and even if you're not putting a whole bunch of crap in it that's going to then fall out of it like you're doing, but even if you're not doing any of that stuff, that the flavor of coffee just changes over time just as these things break down. And that very well could be, you know, just during a few hours, you know, during the time between when you start a thermos full and you finish it. So I have heard that before. I don't know if it's true or how true it is, but that certainly sounds plausible. Cool. The other thing that I thought about was backwash. And I know that this is one of those icky sort of subjects, but have you ever heard that? "Hi, come on, I've got to cover this. Someone brought it up." You know how you drink out of, let's say, a bottle of Coke and people talk about, well, every time you take a swig and you actually end up with backwash like saliva back in the drink and by the time you get to the bottom it's all saliva or something. You ever heard that? What kind of mouth technique are these people using that can... I don't know. So, obviously I'm sure there is like a very tiny amount of saliva because you know it the liquid is contacting your lips and so a very small amount of saliva that is on your lips and near the front of your mouth might fall back down in the glass when the liquid falls back down but I can't imagine this is a significant amount especially nowhere near significant enough such that it would eventually totally dilute the liquid in the cup and you'd be left with only your own saliva. That is crazy unless you're like sipping it into your mouth, swishing it around and then spitting most of it back out for every sip. But in that case I think your mouth technique could use some work. Yeah, exactly. And I mean you're absolutely right and the problem is that well the problem is that I I mentioned it? No. The problem is that people have actually gone to the trouble of figuring this out because, well, hey, there are other people that are just curious like me. So, what did they do? They actually-- I found a site that did this as an experiment. Now, this is not-- this is kind of like a MythBusters style of thing. It's like-- the site was called "Cockeyed Science" which is kind of a funny name, but anyway. And they did an experiment with a bunch of different kinds of drinking containers. So, everything from, you know, aluminum/aluminium cans with straws, without straws, you know, coffee cups, you know, that sort of thing. And what they did is they put a dye in their mouth of sorts. Anyway, details are in the link in the show notes. Have a look if you're interested. And they monitored to see how much of it was actually backwashed and end up back in the drink. Turns out that it has a lot more to do with the kind of container and the skill of the drinker. So I guess, yeah, whether or not you slosh it around and spit it back in, perhaps. But anyway, so they found that the... This is one of those things like I never realized this is like a skill that might substantially differ between people, but I'm sure it is. Yeah, apparently it is. And they found that aluminium cans and straws were the worst offenders. And I guess when you think about it, it kind of makes sense because the lip on an aluminium can would retain some of that, some of what was left. But I mean, again, it depends on your technique, I suppose. But the straw, especially depending on, I guess, how you release this... Oh, God. I just thought, hmm, how you release the suction on the straw, I guess, could draw some- You're not getting out of this. I know, I know, I'm digging a deep hole for myself right now. Okay, anyhow, so looking at it, though, saliva is actually 99.5% water. So, guess what coffee is? There's another thing is that, you know, it's not going to sink and separate. And this is the thing is that- So, the first assumption is one, that you would get a lot of saliva back in the drink. Second problem is there's a perception that either rises to the top or sinks to the bottom because it's a different density. Well, no, it's not a different density because it's water. You know, there's like 0.5 percent of other compounds in saliva, you know, and most of which will have no taste. So it's like, well, OK, it's negligible, most likely if you're drinking coffee out of any of the standard. I mean, I don't know about you, but I've never drank a coffee out of an aluminium can or with a straw. So probably unlikely to be an issue. So I think that the just to wrap up why the last few sips taste the way they do. I think that the best explanation I could find is that it tastes worse because you're sad that it's the last sip of coffee. So go make another one. It's also the oldest sip of coffee and the coldest. Yes, exactly. Which is far more, you know, honestly, probably what it is. But there you go. So hopefully that's answered all of the people that brought in. Yes, all of that feedback. Yes. So yeah. You have weird listeners. I have awesome listeners. They're awesome. Okay. Rightio. There were some people that had some feedback saying they'll listen to the episode whilst they're in a coffee shop and whilst they were drinking coffee, which is kind of nice. There were a few people that were from Stumptown and Starbucks. But anyway, lots of people recommended, just like you did, that I stop putting "crap" in my coffee, which I'm improving on. I'm improving on so you have had I hope they actually said it that way. They actually did yes. That's amazing I love that. Yeah Derek Peden said he got a new Aeropress after the show there are a few others as well and and that's always nice. Dear me there were lots of people that made mentions most of the amount of feedback I've had about an episode only just edged out another previous episode but yeah it was certainly a lot of people and I thought that was odd when we did this originally, but anyway. We also talked about the different blend taglines, you know, the different names, you know, like the mountain blend sort of thing. All the meaningless marketing blurbs. Yeah, that's it. And oh my God, it's so funny. Dean Murphy on Twitter sent through a picture from his roaster of choice, and some of the taglines they used, the two that I thought were hilarious, were "sticky dates" and "a jammy wagon wheel. I have no idea. What does a wagon wheel taste like? I don't know. I don't know what a wagon wheel tastes like, let alone a jammy wagon wheel. But there you go. Jammy as in J-A-M-M-I-E. I don't get it. Maybe that's it. It's an English euphemism for something. I don't know. Like a jammy dodger. I don't know. Which is a biscuit I don't get. But never mind that. Oh, sorry, cookie, whatever. Right. Few people in support about how long it takes to hand grind. Brian Hamilton said it takes him five minutes to hand grind with a cup of coffee with his AeroPress. He's suggesting it doesn't take that much longer. I have my electric grinder and I'm sorry, but now I have to disagree with that. But anyway. - There's a pretty big difference between five minutes and eight seconds. - Yeah, yeah, that's it. That's true. So five minutes of therapy versus eight minutes of efficiency. Yeah, that's okay. I've fallen on my sword on that one. I can say no more. So you know that plenty of people actually were, Some people said, "ashamedly or proudly that they were drinking Folgers while they were listening to the episode," which I thought that was interesting. So, Brian C., yes, thank you. Yeah. He enjoyed watching the show, listening to the show. Oh, I said watching, listening to the show while sipping Folgers. So, that's great. And for those Aussies that ask, it's kind of like Nescafe Blend 43. But anyway, because a few people mentioned like, what's Folgers? Because that's an American brand. So, I'm wondering how it was possible that it took another company 43 attempts to make a coffee blend that's as bad as Folgers. I don't know. Yeah, I don't know. My problem is that I honestly, there's a history to blend 43, like it had something to do with, they had something like 40 or 50 different blends and it was the one that was the most popular or something. And in blind taste tests or something, there's some history behind it. and I... Oh God, I'm gonna have follow-up for the follow-up on that one. But anyway, it doesn't matter. It's an Australian thing and no one else in the world has to drink it. I tried it and I'm like, "Ugh, really?" But it's sort of the staple, so you'll go into most workplaces and that's what they'll have. They'll have a tin of Nescafe Blend 43 on the table and you can, you know, make your own instant-ish coffee with it. Which really isn't... Oh man, I sound so horrible. Do I sound horrible when I say that's not real coffee? Because it just doesn't... Hmm... Anyway... Well, I try not to judge when people say they're drinking horrible coffee, but it's really hard not to judge. It is. Because your coffee is horrible. Because once you've made it, like you grind... Once you've got nice coffee, you grind it, you press it, you drink it, it's just so much nicer. And you're like, "How can you drink that?" Well, and there are reasons to drink crappy coffee. You know, like, if one reason might just be you just don't care. you just don't care, and that's fine. If you don't care, get whatever you can. Get coffee that satisfies things you do care about, convenience, cost, availability, whatever, that's fine. But if you do care, and you could be drinking fancy coffee, and you just aren't because you just don't feel like putting in the effort, that's kind of sad to me. Again, if you don't care, fine, that's great. There's lots of things I don't care about, and it's easy. But if you do care, there's a whole world out there. And you're covering it with milk and sugar. Go ahead. - That's all cool. Excellent. All right, cool. So I'm gonna keep going through this follow-up. I'm on the last page now. Yes. So, all right. So Steve Arenz via Twitter, he's a fan of Mexican coffee, suggested that I give that a shot. It's on the list. I'll get to it at some point. He roasts his own using an iron skillet. He's roasted about six pounds so far and counting. So yeah, that's interesting. Not too many people came back and said that we also roast like Marco, but he was one that did. Scott Wilsey via Twitter recommended Trailhead Amazon's coffee. Is that one you've ever tried? Trailhead Amazon. Is that from the Amazon? From near a trailhead? I don't know. Or is this like Mountain Blast fresh coffee? Like, what does that even mean? I don't... Okay. Well, I'm going to take that as a no, you haven't tried it. And yeah, anyway. No, I haven't. See, for all I know, this stuff is common in North America and, you know, but maybe it is because I hear, for example, Toby's Estate, you'll find everywhere and, you know, like because they're like a big coffee, you know, blend company in Australia that shipped a bunch of different cafes and you'll see their little sign up everywhere. So, for all I knew, that's what that was, but apparently not. That's okay. Yeah, Toby's sounds delicious. Toby's Estate? Yeah. Yeah, it sounds all right. It's not too bad, but honestly, no. Anyway. Okay. I am actually going to buy a kilo of that at some point and grind it myself and make it myself and see if I can do a better job than the cafe does downstairs. So, but that's on the list at some point in the coming months, we'll see. Okay. Friend of the show, Peter Evans via Twitter threatened to build his own ball mill to instead of a grinder. I'm honestly not sure if that's an attempt to pulverize coffee. I mean, if that's the point I'm really sure how the particle size consistency would work with a ball mill. Cause the last ball mill I was in had anything to do with was pulverizing coal at a coal-fired power station. It wasn't really all that precise. It was just a bunch of massive ball bearings, but maybe he was kidding. I don't know. Anyway, friend of the show, Simon Pilot via Twitter and also in person, recommended Bunker Coffee for locals from Brisbane. Also, Odin Dutton, who's another fellow Brisbaneite, recommended LTE in the Valley. So if you're a Brisbaneite and you're listening to the show, check those out. They're on my list and I'll get to that. They sound, they look pretty nice. Also, a friend of the show, David Legate, via Twitter, noted that he used the same thermos that I do. So yeah, thumbs up for that one. Chris Gonzalez wrote on his blog Spark Journal about his coffee habits. He was spurred on by the episode. So it was interesting to read how he, about his AeroPress and the way he does things. It's linked in the show notes. But as he doesn't listen to the show regularly, I can reject his apology anyway for not listening. There you go. And he's never gonna hear it. There we go. Nevermind, if you read the article, it'll make sense. Florian asked on Twitter, many guests that the outro music from the last episode was actually a medley of the Fish song that was the used for your, built for the Build & Analyze podcast theme for the last most half of it, if you remember, anyway. So yay to you listeners, if you got the reference for Shame if you didn't, and you should go back and listen to Build & Analyze anyway. Okay, coffee napping. So, friend of the show, and I have no idea how to pronounce this. I'm going to mangle it, but here we go. M-M-Makayj Rut-Wutkowsky. That's my best effort. I'm really sorry, mate. Anyway. - Probably Maciej, maybe? - Maybe Maciej. - But I don't know. - Yeah. And he sent through a link to an article on Vox about coffee napping. I have never heard of this. Have you ever come across this before? I hadn't. I think I'd seen rumblings, but generally no. And I read this. This is very interesting. You know, the only problem is that they said, like, we haven't actually observed this happening in experiments. We just are pretty sure this is what happens. So, you know, take it with a grain of salt. But it's pretty interesting. And certainly, it certainly seems to match, Anecdotally, the way I feel when I'm tired and I have coffee or I have coffee after a nap or I choose a nap or coffee or both. This certainly seems to match what I feel except that it works as far as I know. Well, honestly, my problem is that getting to sleep before the rush of coffee really hits me and then prevents me from going to sleep is my problem. is I can't actually get to sleep quick enough unless I'm already exhausted which why would I then be drinking coffee to... I don't get it. So anyway if it works for you... Well that's exactly it like so so the the theory here is that your brain feels tired as is it adenosine? Yes. However however this pronounced in our various countries. As adenosine binds to certain reactors your brain feels tired and this is a natural process your brain apparently does with just time and also while doing intellectual work. And this makes you feel tired. And then when you sleep, the adenosine receptors that make you tired are kind of naturally cleared out to make way for future tiredness. And the way caffeine works is caffeine competes with the adenosine for those same receptors and therefore blocks the adenosine from taking them. So it kind of artificially keeps you feeling awake because your brain's tired things aren't hitting their plugs, basically. And so the theory is that if you're already very tired when you start to drink coffee, a lot of these receptors are already full of adenosine. And so it's not like the caffeine has a harder time being effective because you're already too tired. It can't compete as well with already full receptors, basically. I hope we're not making some biologists freak out and cry with with the way I'm probably mangling this this explanation Yeah, but so I apologize for that if I am anglers I'm trying to give the the high-level overview of what this article seems to be saying yeah anyway So the idea is if you drink a bunch of coffee and then fall asleep within like 20 minutes then As the coffee gets through your digestive system and starts to take effect in the bloodstream you will already be asleep and the brain will be clearing out these receptors. And so the coffee will arrive just in time to occupy the newly empty receptors. Therefore when you wake up, the coffee will have bound these receptors, adenosine will be blocked from joining it again for a long time, and then you will therefore be more awake and more alert for longer than if you had done either a coffee by itself or a nap by itself. And it's an interesting theory. Again, I don't know how much science there is behind this, but it's an interesting theory. I have found just anecdotally that when I'm really tired, like if I have a big lunch and then I'm really tired at like three o'clock in the afternoon, I found that coffee by itself doesn't really keep me awake. And a lot of times I will have coffee, trying to stay awake, realize it's not doing anything and I'm working horribly and barely staying awake. And I'll be, you know, let me try to take a quick nap. So I'll go take a quick nap, and I'll wake up and feel great. So I kind of have, I've felt effects and seen behaviors in myself that at least seem to back up that this might be what's happening. I've also found that the best time to have coffee, I mean, I don't think you need to try to race it where you have a cup of coffee before the nap, then take the nap, and then try to wake up in 20 minutes. I think if you're gonna do this, I think the best way to do it is to just take the nap and then have coffee as soon as you wake up. Yeah. Well, it's probably like I'm sure the difference in how it in like the amount of adenosine is built up in the meantime there. I'm sure it's a very small difference. Yeah. And it's probably just much easier to do that. Yeah, exactly. And that's what the only way it would work for me. But then that would make it not a coffee nap. And, you know, so I guess my problem is that, OK, hands up. Some people can actually fall asleep very quickly. I just happen to not be one of those people. So, you know, but anyway, it's okay. I thought it was interesting. So thank you for sending that link in. It was definitely interesting. So, link in the show notes if you're interested in more about that. So, okay, next one is quantities of coffee. So, how much you can make with an AeroPress. And honestly, I went mad at my wife's 40th birthday party, which was a few months ago, just before the Kidney Stone incident. and I think I made seven of them in a very short period of time with the AeroPress and yeah that thing gets really hot after a while. I kept, you know, you rinse it under cold water, try and cool it down before you make the next one and it's, you know, making multiple coffees with an AeroPress one after the other is not necessarily as efficient. So Dean Murphy also via Twitter mentioned that he prefers to use the AeroPress for solo cups, V60 for two to three cups and French Press for three or more cups. So, have you ever, what are your experiences? Do you ever make coffee en masse? Like when you have a get together or something and you make a lot of it, would you or would you just use the AeroPress in that case or what would you, what have you done? Well because it's only $25, I actually own three AeroPresses. One of them is like, like one of them is breaking it on its way out and it's getting those big cracks on the sides, which they do after a long time. So I actually have two that I use regularly. And therefore I can make my wife and I each a cup with our own press. So it can be like exactly the ratios we like, exactly the kind of coffee we like, etc. So I do that and I have used the two-air press technique to make coffee for multiple people on occasion. But that being said, I know it's a pain. And if you're like, I wouldn't make seven cups with the air press. So what I would do in that case is I would, I like the Chemex, which there's nothing particularly special about a Chemex. It is a hourglass shaped piece of glass that is shaped such that it can hold a pour over filter on top. So it's basically a pour over vessel. Whatever it is about it, and I don't know exactly, I have the V60, I have French presses. French presses work a little differently anyway, but I have fancier pour over things. And for whatever reason, I just like the Chemex flavor the best. And I can't explain it, maybe it's the big weird square filters, I don't know. But whatever it is, I like the Chemex the best. I do recommend if you're going to get one, get the glass handled one, not the wooden handled one. The wooden handled one looks cool, I have one, it's a giant pain in the butt. Because it's very hard to ever take that off to clean and put it back on and everything. And it's hard to hold if you've got a big one, so I would say get the glass handled it's probably way more practical. That being said, and if my wooden one ever breaks I will definitely get the glass-handled one. I'm not, I wouldn't buy another one like this. Anyway, so you know it's hard to say like, "Oh well if you're making this, use this. If you're making this, use this." Because all these methods taste different. Yeah. And so you're making different styles of coffee with them. Yes. That was more... So the AeroPress, yeah, I mean the AeroPress by most people's estimation tastes the best. Yeah. And certainly in my opinion it tastes the best and that it's not by a small margin it's not a subtle difference if you make if you make an Aeropress cup well it's it's quite a quite a big difference from anything else that being said a lot of people don't a lot of people just treat the Aeropress like a French press and they'll use like a very coarse grind they use you know a three to four minute brew time and okay you're basically like you're basically turning it into a French press and that's fine but you know that's different from kind what it's made for and and and the way that most of us are talking about and so if you like that better if you like a French press taste better which I personally don't I find it weak and too sweet but if if you like the French press taste great yeah but but if you if you like the air press taste and you want to make a whole bunch of it there's pretty much nothing that can do that as far as I know. So, yeah, my solution there is just have fewer friends. Oh, dear. Okay, I'm going to leave that one alone. But you know what? The funny thing, just as another side note, this isn't in the notes, but just people are now in my family and my extended family are coming to know me as the coffee nut. I guess that was probably inevitable, but anyway. And one of my brothers-in-law, now whenever he comes to visit with my family, comes to visit with, you know, with his daughter and everything. It's like, my niece, it's like, he'll walk in the door or whatever else. I say, "Oh, hey, how's it going?" "Yeah, yeah, good." And I'm like, "Would you like me to make you a-" "Yes, please." I'm like, I didn't even get a chance to finish this sentence. And I'm over there at the AeroPress making a cup of coffee and he's there like a, I don't know, like a eager school kid or whatever, waiting for their lunch at the QMS. Yeah, so, this is like, it's like if your family realizes that you know something about computers. Yes. Like as soon as they see you, "Hey, my computer has been slow recently. Can you come over and look at it?" That's it. So, suddenly people are complaining, "We don't want to come and visit John because you live out in the sticks." And it's like, because I don't live actually in Brisbane. And suddenly people don't mind coming out here so much anymore because they're like, "Oh, John can make us a nice cup of coffee." I'm like, I never ever expected that, but it's what's happening. So there you go. Anyway, all right. So John May from Devon in the UK So John May from the UK. There you go. See it rhymes. Anyway in feedback form was discussing the quality of the water that we used to brew coffee and indicated that there was a notable difference in taste in the water between London and Devon So when he would make a cup of coffee when he's at work in London or when he's at home in Devon is that he could actually taste the difference I think we briefly touched on this, but I'll be honest, the water here tastes very much the same between where I live and where I work. And it's probably because it's all connected through a water grid and you can't tell where the water's coming from. And I know because I help do programming on half the water grid here. So the thing is that, yeah, it's... Have you ever noticed that as being much of a taste influence in your coffee? I haven't noticed it at home because we just have really good water. You know, we have like the water that New York is famous for. It also comes through Westchester, so we have that. So I have noticed it when I go to other places. And like even like I will bring my coffee stuff with me somewhere like upstate or you know to our parents' houses or whatever. I'll bring my coffee and make everything exactly the way I would have made it and it won't be as good. Yeah. I'll even bring my own beans that I just roasted. Like, you know, I'll set up everything. I have the right grinder, I have an air press, I have exactly what, like, this exact same setup and procedure and beans that I would normally make myself. I'll bring it, you know, two hours upstate where the water's different, and try to make it there, and it doesn't work as well. So, of course, you know, coffee is mostly water. Like, if there is a taste to the water, especially if it's a bad taste or a weird taste, you're gonna notice that. And if it's a really good taste, you're going to notice that. So you know the next thing we need to do, Marco, is we need to invest in a bunch of different brands of bottled water and find the one we like the best. And then we'll take bottled water with us when we go away. And that way we get a consistent cup. Or I could just bottle New York water. I'll just-- that's-- Just bring a giant thermos. That's another option, yes. So because you get like Evian-- I don't even know how to pronounce that. Anyway, so you get all these different brands of water. I wonder about ozonated water. Anyway, okay. Oh, God. Yeah, I know. Just stop putting milk and sugar in it. Start with step one. That's step one. Okay. You're talking about step a thousand. Like, just start at step one. Okay. I'm just for you, I am going to make a cup of coffee later this morning with less coffee in it with no milk just for you, Marco. So, I will do that this morning. Thank you. Okay. You're welcome. Okay. So, the next one I love and we're almost at the end of the follow-up. if you're still listening. Is there a show after this? There is actually supposed to be a show after this. I hope we have time. Do you have time? Oh my god. I might not. We'll see. Okay, go on. Let's see what we can get done. Okay, cool. A friend of the show, Marco Armand, oh that's you, yes, wrote about elephant pooed coffee. Now, I cannot believe this because when I first heard about the Kopi Luwak, I think it is, in Indonesia. I actually saw it on a travel show once and because it's the civet or civet, I have no idea how to pronounce it. So, it eats the coffee bean and then poos it out. You clear out off all the roughage and you're left with the coffee bean, then you grind it and you charge a stupid amount of money for it. So, oh, my God, why do people do this? I don't get it. You wrote an article about how much you thought it was a great idea. Oh yeah, so... Not sure how much else there is to say. Yeah, I mean, so Kopi Luwak is... You know, it turns out, it sounds weird, because the whole process is, you let this civet, or civet, I don't know how to pronounce it either. You let this creature, which is kind of like a cat-like wild creature, you let it eat the beans, it poops out the beans, you brew the beans, and they... You pick the beans out of the poop, you then brew the beans, supposedly it's amazing. And you know the word that's got around to everyday society somehow over the last few years, which has resulted in two problems. One, the easier of the two problems to address, is that every person in the world always asks me once they hear that I'm into coffee, "Oh have you had that cat poop coffee?" And the answer is no, I've never had it. I've never seen it for sale in a place that I could just buy like one cup. You know you can buy it online for like a billion dollars a pound. I've never thought it was worth the risk. So you know if it's if I ever go to a coffee store and it's available for one cup for you know 10 bucks or whatever I might try it I don't know. But the bigger problem is that because there's been all this demand for coffee that has been pushed through these civets they are now being bred in captivity and like force-fed coffee beans and so it's they've kind of ruined this whole thing and made it quite cruel and so now and that's probably the why like even if I saw it for said now I probably would talk myself out of even buying a cup because I don't think I want to support that so it's it's not good so anyway stay away from from Kopi Luwak is what I would recommend yeah anyway so that this story is there's this guy I think was it in Thailand where is he? He's somewhere... I think... Anyway, he's offering elephant poop coffee, which is a similar idea. Coffee that's been fed to elephants has fermented somewhat in their stomachs and then they poop it out. Some people go through it, pick it out, and brew it. And he's offering it as like this whole experience where you can't just buy it online for the most part. I think he changed that recently. I think now you can. But he's making this whole experience out of it saying it's so different it's like tea it's more mild I think most of that is probably not the result of anything specific happening in the elephant I also like I questioned the idea you know he was saying he that like some elephant people were consulted and they said that it shouldn't be a problem for the elephant as long as caffeine isn't leaching out of the beans beans. And I'm pretty sure caffeine has to be leaching out of the beans to some degree because that's pretty much how decaf works. So I would again question, you know, I'm pretty sure that a good portion of caffeine would be going into the elephant and that's probably not good for it depending on how much they're doing at a time. Either way, there's certainly an animal cruelty angle that is worth questioning and investigating. Even if it's being done in a perfectly okay to the animal way, I still don't think it would be worth trying. It just doesn't seem... People fetishize coffee so much and they will do anything to get something a little bit different and fancier. This is what we were saying earlier with the obsession with fancy equipment versus the cheap equipment that is just as good. People fetishize this stuff and there's money to be made. I don't think the guy is necessarily a con artist. Maybe he actually believes that there is a big difference and likes the difference and doesn't think you can get it any other way. I don't know what his motivations are. He probably enjoys it. He probably thinks he's doing something really unique and he might be, but I don't think it's worth it. are other ways to ferment coffee beans that have been done forever that make them taste different. I really wouldn't. Again, I think this is probably just a gimmick that we can safely ignore. Exactly. Because there is that potential animal cruelty angle to it, I think it's probably the best thing to ignore it. I don't get it. Move along. But anyhow, there So, and just quickly about the palm civets as well, Peter Evans on Twitter suggested that true connoisseurs will roast the civet and then extract the beans. And yeah, no. So anyway, thank you Peter. It's different, I'll give you that. It is different. Yeah, it takes cruelty to a whole new level. Thank you Peter for that. Anyway, okay, two more to go. So Troy Burnett via the feedback form had a few comments and he said he prefers a two stage grind. Honestly, I tried it and didn't really notice any difference. So I'm not sure what the advantage is there, the two stage grind. If you're doing it manually perhaps maybe, each individual grind might be in and of itself easier but the problem is that you've got to grind twice as long. I found that grinding the already pre-ground stuff just seemed to take a lot longer. I'm not sure because maybe the way the powder and the conical burrs work in the grinder, I'm not sure. But in any case, yeah, I wouldn't recommend necessarily two-stage grinding, best of my experiences, but still. Pre-wetting the filter, he also suggested has no effect on taste, but it makes it easier to stick the filter to the cap if you're using the inverted method. And I had a few people come back and say that as well on Twitter So, honestly, I actually did try the inverted method, I know that's the way you make yours And, honestly, I had an incident where perhaps the plunger wasn't seated properly And I kind of bumped it and the coffee kind of went everywhere So that was my own fault, but I also found that I made it that way a few times And I couldn't quite get it to seat properly, the filter didn't quite seat properly we want to put the cap on. Not sure what I was doing wrong, but I just found that I was getting the occasional coffee ground in the coffee when I tipped it up the right way and did the press. So I've just gone to making it the, I want to say the normal way up, the intended way up, I guess, I don't know. I know a lot of people swear by the inverted method, but you know, I, yeah, I've stuck with the- - I mean, the fact is they don't taste very different. Like, in fact, I'm not even sure I'd be able to pick one out in a blind test. The main benefit the inverted method gives you is more control over how much water you're using if you're not measuring the water beforehand. And I don't measure the water beforehand, I just brew a pot of water and then I know how much I've poured it and based on the amount that's in the AeroPress right before I plunge it. So it's useful for that, but taste-wise, I think if you're more comfortable with the regular method, just use the regular method, doesn't matter. - Okay, last bit of follow-up And that is from Richard Howe via the feedback form. And he wanted us to talk a little bit about the differences between coffee style and culture between Australia, which has a near total emphasis on espresso, milk coffee and North America, which is brewed coffee, far more common than espresso, you know, notwithstanding Starbucks and how those differences developed. And I guess I I'd love to talk more about that and I guess we'll do our best, but I have not. Okay, I lived in North America for two and a half years, fine, but I wasn't into coffee back then. And that was 15 years ago. So I don't really qualify to compare and contrast the differences. Also, what I can do though, is I can sort of, I found an article by Luke Moritz and it was posted on the Aromas Coffee page in an Australian coffee page. And I guess I'll just quickly try and pick your brains a bit about this, Marco. And essentially, if you order any coffee with foam on top, you'll almost always get a spoon and it'll come with pre-sprinkled with chocolate powder. Is that the case in the US? I don't think so. Usually they just give us the stupid lemon peel that no one ever knows really what to do with. Lemon peel? Really? Yeah. It's some kind of, supposedly it's an old Italian tradition with espresso drinks. I don't, I think when I, last time I researched it, I think I wasn't able to actually find good information about what it definitely was. I think it was just people speculating. Yeah, okay fair enough. Let's see, I've always found that odd here, and I've sort of wondered why they do the spoon and the chocolate powder. I don't get that. But that just seemed to be... Probably just because it looks good. I mean, I don't think you're gonna notice the taste of one spoon lightly dusted in chocolate powder. Like if you put that in coffee, it's gonna be dwarfed by the coffee. I mean, you're not going to notice that. Yeah, absolutely. Anyway, okay. So, the next point was the hanging around in a cafe. In Australia, you pretty much-- my experience is that you go and you grab a-- you grab a cuppa and then you go. That's it. You don't hang around. Most of the cafes are relatively small with very few seats. There are some of the larger ones, but every time I go past them during different times of the day, they're almost entirely empty and unless it's lunchtime and then you've got coffee plus, you know, plus food or whatever else there that they may serve. But generally, I find that, you know, in Australia, hanging out in a coffee shop all day, you know, like programming, writing, whatever else, cafe culture or whatever, I think some people call it, whatever. It's just not really much of a thing here. But I think it's more so in the States. I guess I've never really been that into it, so I'm probably not the right person to ask. I certainly it causes trouble in the States, mostly with like, if you are the coffee shop owner, if your coffee shop is full of people who sit there with laptops all day long and order like one drink, that kind of sucks for you as the owner. - Eating up all the wifi. - A lot of people, yeah, like a lot of people kind of make the coffee shop their office. - Yeah. - But it's like, the coffee shop is usually not getting enough value out of you making it your office for it to really be sustainable for them. - Yeah, that's right. - I know a lot of coffee shops have tried various techniques like either banning laptops outright, or not having Wi-Fi and making a point of that. I heard of some a few years ago that they just didn't have power outlets available to anybody. So you kind of naturally run out of battery power. The problem is, since then, laptop battery lives have gone way up in the last few years. - Yeah, exactly. - And cellular data connectivity is more and more universal for people. So it's, I think those tricks are gonna stop working. But anyway, yeah, I think, you know, if you're one of those people who makes a coffee shop in your office, maybe reconsider whether you're really doing any benefit to them at all or whether you're really just being a leech. Yeah, exactly. I completely agree with that. So, the last point on Richard's list that I want to talk about is house coffee. So, here, well, okay, in North America, what I read in this article by Luke Moritus was that in North America, house coffee is typically done with a drip percolator and it's cheap, so much cheaper than, you know, the other types of coffee that they would offer. And that would mean you get more, you know, obviously you get the most... Here in Australia, that's just not done. Generally, there is no equivalent. It's just you want you're going to get an espresso based coffee. That's it. And it's going to be more expensive. So is that true or is that article full of it? Because I've never heard of house coffee before. Does it literally just mean coffee that people serve you when you're in their house? No, no, no, no, what I mean, what the article suggests is that you go into a cafe and there's a very cheap coffee that you can get that's just percolated coffee. Oh, oh, oh. Yeah. Usually, I've, usually there is like the regular coffee that you get if you just ask for coffee. It is not percolated. That's very, it's usually made on a large auto drip machine, the large industrial auto drip machines. Okay, yeah, sure. By Bunn or whoever. Mm-hmm. Percolated coffee is very different and awful. Yes. And just way, way worse than any method we've talked about. Everything about percolated coffee is horrendous. But it's not freshly ground. The point is it's not freshly ground though, right? Well, it usually was freshly ground when they brewed the pot. Usually they have giant commercial grinders near the pots. And when they're ready to make a batch, they grind some, some, dump it in the giant filter basket, put the filter basket in, and hit brew. And it brews, I don't know, two gallons or whatever, you know, some amount of coffee. Yeah. And that's fine. I mean, it's not the best you can get. You know, a manual pour-over will be better for various ratio reasons. But that's not really, like, it's not that much worse. It has more to do with the beans they're choosing to use than the method they're using. Because usually, at a respectable coffee shop even those house coffees or default coffees even those are only maybe an hour old at most. If you go in the morning it's probably even younger than that. So I wouldn't worry about that. Cool. Alrighty. Well, believe it or not, we just got to the end of the follow-up. What is the show about? Thanks for coming back on to talk about coffee again Marco. We might leave it there on the coffee.
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Marco Arment

Marco Arment

Marco writes at his site and has a podcast with friends called the Accidental Tech Podcast each week.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

Described as the David Attenborough of disasters, and a Dreamy Narrator with Great Pipes by the Podfather Adam Curry.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.