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What method for overseas (long-term)?

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  • What method for overseas (long-term)?

    Hi all,

    In about a month my wife and I will be heading overseas to live and work in Bulgaria for about 12 months. Im after advice on what coffee brewing method(s) we should be persuing!

    We currently drink mostly milk-based espresso bevs, though I enjoy long and short black coffees too. Milk was not readily available last time we were there.

    MACHINE: We wont have the money to buy a decent espresso machine, plus Im very fond of brewed coffee and dont feel that its much of a sacrifice to have to rely on a brewed method for the year.

    GRINDER: Ill be taking a coffee/spice bladed grinder (chopper!) with us, but I MIGHT look into purchasing a low-end grinder (eg. EM0480 or thereabouts) over there.

    BEANS: I cant take any green beans, and would very much doubt that Ill be able to source greens in BG. If I can, Ill also be sourcing a popcorn popper and enjoying every second of it! If not (which is what Im expecting), Ill be relying on whatever beans I can find over there. That scares me... but oh well.

    Aeropress - kinda ruled this one out, sorry.
    Plunger - not a bad option - I like them.
    Turkish (Ibrik) - highly appropriate given that this is the local method (Southern BG is up to 50% Turkish, ethnically speaking) but not an every day method, IMO.
    Filter (portable style)- Im not really sure whats available here but this appeals to me.
    Stovetop(not a brewed method) - Id be hesitant to go there; would I get reliable results etc.

    Any other options?
    What do people recommend?
    I know the USUAL advice from snobbers is to forget about method until you i) get good beans and ii) get a good grinder... as I said above, these two obviously important factors may be out of my control.

    Having said all that, I know this year is going to be much less coffee-centred than the last! In the last year I have: bought a good grinder, started roasting and now roasted 100kg+, moved in with a VBM, and started working as a barista. In the next 12 months... I guess Ill be finding out how much of my enthusiasm for coffee remains. I think this is good. Itll keep me from getting cynical about this (sometimes crazy) industry!

    Back on topic... all advice welcome!

  • #2
    Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

    Id suggest an Eva Solos "Cafe Solo"

    I use it for work both on board and in hotels. Despite punishment in luggage etc Ive found it to be tough, it looks awesome (Michael Phillips used two of them in his WBC2009 tilt) and makes a damn fine cup of coffee. CG has a review and instructions.

    As for the Aeropress, can I ask why you ruled it out? Just curious as I just bought one for a sailing holiday. Never used one so only time will tell but they certainly review well.



    • #3
      Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

      Assuming the coffee is like Turkish roasts it will be really dark so not much chop in a plunger or for any brewed process.

      I think you will find that if you ask around getting Green beans may not be as hard as you might think. Getting good ones is another story Quick google search got they might sell you aome greens

      Gear List

      Popper or pack a heat gun and go to dog bowl roasting for bigger batches.
      Either Good hand or small electric burr Grinder

      Drip Filter, good option but remember you may need to get some additional papers posted to you when you run out due to lack of availability.

      Syphon with butane heater, possible breakage issues with glass but makes a great brew. Also fully portable and butane should be readily available for cigarette lighter refills.

      Plunger good brew but for toughness and quality go a Stainless Steel twin walled Avanti.

      Last choice take up drinking Apple Tea ;D


      • #4
        Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

        Thanks for those suggestions...

        Epic - Aeropress look fine, I guess Im just more interested in low-cost options! I also suspect that Aeropress (like stove-top) would disappoint me because theyre both aimed to imitate true espresso.

        The Cafe Solo does look cool and is a simple, clever way of filtering... but seem to retail at around $145, so I probably wouldnt bother given the results wouldnt be much different from plain filter, right?

        BF - I hadnt considered a heatgun/dogbowl method. The first 3-4 of my 200-odd roasts were using that method, and Id be more comfortable with that method rather than popper.

        Syphon is a method Id like to get into, but Ive ruled it out because of all that glass! I think Im tending towards filter - just need to look into some options for the small/portable/in-cup kind.



        • #5
          Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

          Originally posted by 4C4B4A5E4D4B584D5E514B3F0 link=1240142605/3#3 date=1240199383
          Epic - Aeropress look fine, I guess Im just more interested in low-cost options! I also suspect that Aeropress (like stove-top) would disappoint me because theyre both aimed to imitate true espresso.
          Hi StuartGrant

          I have an aeropress, and although the marketing material compares it to an espresso, it is nothing like espresso. Read on this forum or coffeegeek for reviews to get more insight.

          My personal view - a mix between a long black and syphon - if that makes any sense

          Another thing to look at (depending on your budget) is buying from somewhere like squaremile coffee in the UK or some of the boutique roasters in Denmark. Postage in Europe can be very reasonable.

          When I was living over there, you could get a lot of stuff posted free.



          • #6
            Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

            Hi Stuart,

            another option is a flip pot or Nepoletana generally all aluminium and sometimes the old ones were brass. Plenty of info on the net about them. This one below was $20 including postage off ferralbay (arrived this morning) :


            • #7
              Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

              Easy, hand grinder, cone, paper filter, kettle. 8-)


              • #8
                Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

                Tell me about hand grinders. Im intrigued... Ive used a couple and both were slow, uncomfortable to use and produced very uneven grinds. I presume there are hand grinders available that do a good job?

                Ben S - thanks for the tip. If its feasible, Id definitely look at sourcing good coffee from elsewhere in Europe. Ill look in BG first, of course.



                • #9
                  Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

                  Hehe - had to post this gem I just found searching for coffee roasters in BG:

                  "You will receive all our attention to your offers for green coffee (all robusta and arabica origins), instant coffee (bulk or packed) or quality roasted & packed coffee. We have also interest to import good label roasted coffee which is close to the end of its shelf life, or already outdated"

                  Oh dear.


                  • #10
                    Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

                    Mmmm Maybe they are selling the old ones for compost or cattle food

                    Hand grinders for plunger or Syphon take around 2 minutes to do 20g of plunger or syphon beans. It varies a lot depending on the grind size but I am yet to see one that grinds consistantly to espresso. If I have a mate around and am doing a syphon then I pass them the grinder while I do the rest, works to corrupting them just a little  [smiley=evil.gif]

                    Side storey a VB/Nescafe drinking mate of mine has been asking me to get him a cheap syphon as he is finding the plunger I got him a while back is a little muddy with my home roast and he is sometimes now drinking Coopers Pale as well. Another snob in the making  8-)

                    The one I use is this one but mine is 45 years old

                    I do have some others but the Zassenhaus is easy and quick to adjust and is by far the most consistant in grind size. A Tresapade I have is now on spice grinding duties and another I nameless one I have is fairly ordinary and sits on the shelf. Also in case you havnt read it this thread


                    • #11
                      Re: What method for overseas (long-term)?

                      There is a hario grinder on evilbay at the moment. I bought it - not bad

                      see this thread