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Thread: List your coffee myths

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    List your coffee myths

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I was talking to a friend the other day who is a coffee roaster by trade. He was talking about the myths surrounding coffee making.
    All of the myths we hear have their foundation in truth, and I suspect many come from commercial coffee making where you have to standardise a lot just to keep going.
    Here are a few to start the ball rolling:

    If you buy a silvia and rocky youll make perfect coffee (great pairing but quirky?)

    If you follow the 25 sec rule youll get a perfect extraction (great guideline if you regularly check that there is a corresponding 30 ml and no blonding)

    The professionals can always do it better

    The better the machine the better the coffee

    Feel free to argue whether or not these are myths or the extent to which they are or arent


    Brett

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    Re: List your coffe myths

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    If you buy a silvia and rocky youll make perfect coffee
    Its true!! :D

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    If you follow the 25 sec rule youll get a perfect extraction
    I dont follow too many rules when it comes to making coffee, I just stick to technique and making my technique consistent. :P

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    The professionals can always do it better
    ;D Yes we can! ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    The better the machine the better the coffee
    This one I will be serious about because its been said here ad infinitum. You cant make great coffee with just a machine, you need all the ingredients. It would be like making a cake with just an oven. Unless you include everything youre not going to end up with cake are you? If you dont have a grinder, beans, water and an operator youre not going to end up with coffee! Youll just have a great machine sitting there looking great!
    :)

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Well I think coffee making is more an art than a science..... ;)

    And if you had asked Picasso could a painting be made with a four inch paint brush and house paint.... he would have said no (probably not quite in those words!!)

    But Rolf Harris does an excellent job (in my opinion) with those very tools.

    Comparison between machines, grinders, beans, techniques etc can never be absolute...

    The result is, like paintings, in the eye of the beholder..... and the method and tools which are best are those which suit your style and achieve what you want...

    Ill never be a Picasso or a Rolf Harris and my coffee will never be the best in the world (not by a long way)..... but as long as I (and hopefully others) enjoy it... Im happy! :D ;D


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    Re: List your coffee myths

    That "Instant Coffee" is coffee! :P


    Java "Yuck!" phile

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    The professionals can always do it better
    Its probably largely true in that the more experience, the better. Conversely bad habits can become ingrained.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    The professionals can always do it better
    Experience means nothing.
    Learning and improving from that experience is the key.


    The better the machine the better the coffee
    True (all other variables being equal).

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    ^
    Experience means a lot but youre right, learning and improving from that experience is the key.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1160879403/0#5 date=1160907205
    The professionals can always do it better
    Experience means nothing.
    Learning and improving from that experience is the key.


    The better the machine the better the coffee
    True (all other variables being equal).
    Unfortunately the other variables arent always even present when it comes to buying the latest fashion accessory. Whos old enough to remember that item of male jewellery from the 70s and 80s- the 35mm camera slung around the neck with brand advertising on the 2" wide strap. I wonder if the results were often better than those of more lowly camera toting happy snappers. Any parallels in the coffee world?
    A case of image is everything.
    Brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Experience comes from Good Judgement unfortunatly a lot of that comes from Bad Judgement

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    If you buy a silvia and rocky youll make perfect coffee (great pairing but quirky?)
    I dont know that theyre any better or worse than anything else in the price range, but the good domestic HXs certainly seem to me to be a lot easier to use and a lot more consistent. But "good" is relative - it depends entirely on your frame of reference.

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    If you follow the 25 sec rule youll get a perfect extraction (great guideline if you regularly check that there is a corresponding 30 ml and no blonding)
    That ballpark is always a good starting point. But I dont understand why people try to characterise perfect extractions by different characteristics to what they ultimately judge them by. If your perfect extraction is the one that tastes the best, surely you adjust all of your variables to achieve the best taste?

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    The professionals can always do it better
    Whats a professional? Charging money for coffee that comes from a commercial machine or charging money from roasted coffee says nothing about quality. That description would apply to both a kid working the superauto at your local McCafe and the current WBC.

    There are certain advantages to making coffee in a cafe compared with doing it at home. The biggest that I can think of is that you would usually dial in the machine in the morning with throw-away shots and make heaps of coffees throughout the day, enabling you to adjust the grind and get into a bit of a rhythm.

    Generalisations are always dangerous, but I suspect that the different environments probably mean that a good home barista will dial in a familiar blend with less wasteage than a good professional barista, both might pull equal shots, but the professional barista will probably be faster and might be a bit more consistent. That said, how many good baristas are there?

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/0#0 date=1160879403
    The better the machine the better the coffee
    If you define the better machine as the one that makes the better coffee, then obviously that must be true.

    I guess the myth that I most often see is that a hard tamp will make the shot pour a lot slower than a normal tamp. I havent really found that to be the case.

    Cool, Ill have to return to this ...

    Luca

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Im really enjoying the responses on this post- have we hit a raw nerve?

    The bit about professionals is interesting Luca- Id heard that in general in the US if you want to be a professional anything you do a course. In the UK you just charge for it? Where do we fit?

    Better machines- as Thundergod said, All things being equal, but what I hear constantly is the upgraditis before people have come to terms with what the equipment theyve got will do. If we make crap coffee on a domestic will we make great coffee on an hx- better maybe but not unless the biggest factor in the equation is operating at peak- us!

    Brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Actually, the funniest thing I get is this...

    When an espresso is offered and drank, the comments are Geee, this will keep me awake for hours... but when an "Instant" coffee is drank, no such thoughts are even thought about, not to mention spoken... when its possible the instant coffee could have more Caffeine in it...

    So, the Myth is, an espresso has more caffeine then instant... well, we all know the answer to that....

    Its all in the mind.. I confronted someone about it once.. and I said, you know you probably had less caffeine in that drink (espresso) than the Instant you drink at home... the puzzled look you get is priceless... it provides its all in the mind most of the time....

    The general public really have no idea... I find it funny :-)

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1160879403/0#11 date=1160957120
    Actually, the funniest thing I get is this...

    When an espresso is offered and drank, the comments are Geee, this will keep me awake for hours... but when an "Instant" coffee is drank, no such thoughts are even thought about, not to mention spoken... when its possible the instant coffee could have more Caffeine in it...

    So, the Myth is, an espresso has more caffeine then instant... well, we all know the answer to that....

    Its all in the mind.. I confronted someone about it once.. and I said, you know you probably had less caffeine in that drink (espresso) than the Instant you drink at home... the puzzled look you get is priceless... it provides its all in the mind most of the time....

    The general public really have no idea... I find it funny :-)
    Interesting...

    I think theres also the issue of extraction- I get the same thing with the anti coffee league at work- the old Can you make me a really weak coffee or I cant drink coffee after lunch it keeps me awake
    I began to wonder whether the caffeine level of a well extracted espresso mightnt actually be lower than the badly made over extracted 1/2 cup of dirty coffee grounds drinks they get at local cafes. Interestingly I rarely get told my milk drinks are strong, even with the 18g basket. They are usually described as creamy, smooth or rich.
    Brett
    p.s. marcstolk I see your tag about chinese machines. Heres another myth:

    Italian made machines are over priced and unreliable.

    I had a Via Venuto stovetop espresso thingy (also steamed) for 20 years, a Saeco Via Venezia since 2000 (my son now has it with non pressurised p/f) and have ECM botticelli which is built like a tank, also free gift of antiquated bezzera commercial. All are low electronics (only switches or nothing), made of stainless steel and fully repairable.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1160879403/0#11 date=1160957120
    So, the Myth is, an espresso has more caffeine then instant... well, we all know the answer to that....
    This question has come up in the past and the consensus of the research appears to be:

    • a single shot of espresso contains 40-60mg
    • a cup of brewed coffee contains 100-250mg
    • a cup of Instant contains 100mg


    Your milage (kilometerage?) will vary but from the data out there those are the numbers.


    Java "Hhhmmm...Data!" phile

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1160879403/0#13 date=1160959011
    Quote Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1160879403/0#11 date=1160957120
    So, the Myth is, an espresso has more caffeine then instant... well, we all know the answer to that....
    This question has come up in the past and the consensus of the research appears to be:

    • a single shot of espresso contains 40-60mg
    • a cup of brewed coffee contains 100-250mg
    • a cup of Instant contains 100mg


    Your milage (kilometerage?) will vary but from the data out there those are the numbers.


    Java "Hhhmmm...Data!" phile

    Wow Java Im impressed- that makes a lot of sense because I used to get the Sunday afternoon jitters when drinking stove top and percolated coffee but very rarely get any of that sort of effect with espresso.
    Thanks
    Brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Actually, wouldnt a stovetop have Less??? as it brews the coffee at a higher temp??

    telemaster, Italian Machines are awesome compared to the Chinese equivalent (If there is an Equivalent) - You will always get agreement on that - however at least the Chinese made machines gives people the chance to make decent coffee at home without wiping there bank accounts out....

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1160879403/15#15 date=1160960328
    Actually, wouldnt a stovetop have Less??? as it brews the coffee at a higher temp??

    telemaster, Italian Machines are awesome compared to the Chinese equivalent (If there is an Equivalent) - You will always get agreement on that - however at least the Chinese made machines gives people the chance to make decent coffee at home without wiping there bank accounts out....
    aha, maybe another myth- my son has the old saeco via venezia- going new for 475, add 45 for non pressurised handle- the espresso with that handle is very close to the silvia /botticelli

    in the hands of an experienced operator it will give much better espresso than a commercial hx in the hands of a cafe hack! (no insult to the growing band of baristas who are worth their weight in gold)

    still lets hope that the new sunbeam makes chinese manufacture and reliable espresso not a mythical statement- i believe it is possible and has been marred by a rush to cut corners- lets hope sunbeam has learned and will lift their game
    all the best
    brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Hi Brett,

    I have to say, now that Im on the 3rd machine, its been the most reliable of the past and shows no signs of problems and produces a great espresso (in my book anyway)... perhaps the initial problems have now by and large been resolved. But the new Sunbeam offers promise....

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Actually, wouldnt a stovetop have Less??? as it brews the coffee at a higher temp??
    I think you will find that caffeine takes relatively longer time to extract than our prized coffee oils. *When extracting espresso the caffeine only has 30 seconds to dissolve into our tiny cups, however when brewed over a longer period, such as a press pot more caffeine is extracted from the grounds. *On the other hand the pressure that hits the coffee during espresso increases the amount of caffeine however not enough to reverse the first point.

    Temperature may have some impact also however I believe time is the greatest influence.

    My $0.02.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Is it a myth to say coffeesnobs are better looking, more intelligent, have better taste etc than tea drinkers. Or is the only part of this that isnt mythical the intelligence part- coffee buffs (including manufacturers and educators) have found ways to get to spend huge amounts of time and money in a way that tea drinkers could only dream about!
    Brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Dan, that makes sense... thanks...

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    It is said in Italy that if you want the best espresso you have to go to the busiest bar because the machine that works the hardest makes the best espresso and the machines on the auto route must work the hardest in Italy because the coffee from them tastes like it was made by God himself. To make the perfect cappuccino (machine excluded) you first have to put a large shot of the finest espresso in the cup then steam the milk until it is hot and thick (almost impossible on a home-type espresso maker). Roll the milk around like you are swirling a wine and tap it on the table a few times to release the larger bubbles then with a shaking motion add it to the shot of espresso. If you are very good you can make a little heart. Add lots of sugar and you have it. Sounds simple, but it ainít!..
    From the Book Of Rai
    Food Forum

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/15#19 date=1160967195
    Is it a myth to say coffeesnobs are better looking, more intelligent, have better taste etc
    Brett
    Its not a myth its a fact.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    In my case it is a mix of myth and fact.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by grendel link=1160879403/15#23 date=1161005814
    In my case it is a mix of myth and fact.
    Myct?

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    All myct up

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by grendel link=1160879403/15#23 date=1161005814
    In my case it is a mix of myth and fact.
    So, grendel, which is it? Are you less intelligent or do you have poor taste? Weve seen photos, we know youre goodlooking. :)

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by Viviane link=1160879403/15#26 date=1161071569
    Quote Originally Posted by grendel link=1160879403/15#23 date=1161005814
    In my case it is a mix of myth and fact.
    So, grendel, which is it? Are you less intelligent or do you have poor taste? Weve seen photos, we know youre goodlooking. :)
    Youll go far Viviane- your name is well chosen!
    Brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Dont know about that, Brett, I seem to have brought this thread to a screaming halt.... :(

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by Viviane link=1160879403/15#28 date=1161179916
    Dont know about that, Brett, I seem to have brought this thread to a screaming halt.... :(
    Oh well does this mean you, or noone else, have any more myths?
    Heres Alan Frews top 10 coffee myths:

    http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/alanfrew/07-15-2002

    it makes for interesting reading

    Brett

    ps My roaster friend is beginning to reintroduce robusta to his blends (and I have to admit they tast great) so myth 2 may be contentious

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/15#29 date=1161237608
    ps My roaster friend is beginning to reintroduce robusta to his blends (and I have to admit they tast great) so myth 2 may be contentious
    Hmm, interesting you should say that, Brett. I brought home from a Melbournian roaster a blend with about 20% Robusta beans and quite enjoyed the coffee it produced. Others here would probably argue that you can get just as good a coffee without the robusta but I certainly didnt think it detracted from the taste at least.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1160879403/30#30 date=1161244334
    Quote Originally Posted by telemaster link=1160879403/15#29 date=1161237608
    ps My roaster friend is beginning to reintroduce robusta to his blends (and I have to admit they tast great) so myth 2 may be contentious
    Hmm, interesting you should say that, Brett. I brought home from a Melbournian roaster a blend with about 20% Robusta beans and quite enjoyed the coffee it produced. Others here would probably argue that you can get just as good a coffee without the robusta but I certainly didnt think it detracted from the taste at least.
    Hi Scoota
    interesting you should say 20% was good- the roaster, Ian, is using about that (and recently up to 30%). I tried mixing robusta with different coffee blends he had- the resulting blends varied quite a bit. If the blend had above average acidity the robusta was not a good addition.
    His feeling was that the 100% Arabica thing was another American must, and that the Europeans had no such rule. In fact the Italians often favour a mix with some robusta for fullness of flavour and enhanced crema.
    Heres one for you- recently I commented to him that his flavour had come back after a bit of a drop. Id assumed that hed been buying inferior beans. The opposite, he said. Hed asked another roaster how to get back the character in the beans he thought he had lost. It was suggested that many suppliers had such a rarified product that roasting/blending might be improved by adding some of the more rough or earthy beans. Cant remember which ones, but whatever- the flavour is back in abundance!
    Brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Here is an article from a roasters website that provides a good overview of the merits or otherwise of using Robusta. I quite liked it as it appears to present a balanced view. Not sure if it has been posted here before or if I found it while wondering around the net.

    http://tinyurl.com/yjlftb

    In the end I wouldnt mind adding some Robusta to a blend to see what changes are effected.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    I know that Robusta is a dirty word but (and heres another dirty word I guess... ;D) Paul Bassett on one of his early DVDs (Coffee Crazy I think it was) on his travels around Italy and France, kept talking about Robusta and in the end we thought, "Well itd be nice to try this." On our own coffee travels round the country wed ask roasters and coffee people alike if they used/liked/tried robusta in their blends. Everytime wed get a dirty look and told it was not worth anything, let alone a mention!

    Up until I stepped into a roaster in South Melbourne, who showed me their most popular blend. At first the lady wasnt going to tell me what was in it until I blurted out "Are those bigger beans Robusta?" and she smiled and said yes and opened up and told me all about their business and why they liked the robusta in their blends. It was like they were embarrassed to let people know they were using robusta.

    I kind of feel sorry for the robusta bean. Its being rejected because theres a myth that arabica is the one and only! :D ;)

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Yeah I think you hit it pretty close there - Robusta has its place - it doesnt have to dominate but it is useful! Ive used a small amount in many blends, and like arabica robustas are not all the same - a good robusta is interesting to try on its own but even better in a blend.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Heres one thats been going round for ages- "You must always use older milk to foam up. The fresher stuff doesnt cut it!" :o
    RH

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by rayzurhed link=1160879403/30#35 date=1161252799
    Heres one thats been going round for ages- "You must always use older milk to foam up. The fresher stuff doesnt cut it!" :o
    RH
    Wow, never heard that- Id heard the one that only lite milk would froth. Interestingly, until I got my milk skills in better shape (still having trouble with weather changes) I needed fresh milk to steam.
    Brett

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1160879403/30#33 date=1161251860
    Everytime wed get a dirty look and told it was not worth anything, let alone a mention!
    Yeah, definitely an interesting one.

    Im sure that there are a lot of bad robustas out there, and there might well be more bad robusta around than bad arabica. The Vietnamese stuff springs to mind. Of course, there is also heaps of crappy arabica around. PNG T grade springs to mind ... the samples that I have seen are half black beans, sticks and concrete.

    Bottom line is that robusta is coffee and all sorts of things, like terroir and processing, can influence the cup. Check out this robusta, which scored a whopping 94 points from coffeereview.com! Id definitely be up for trying some uber, uber premium robusta ... like better than the kaapi royale.

    ... and, then, lets remember that there are a million different cultivars of arabica, which you practically never hear about. Im pretty sure that there are crosses of robusta and arabica around. Wonder if any roasters sell those as arabica?

    A long time ago, I think that I basically came to the conclusion that preconceptions are useful only insofar as they help you to get the best cup possible. I have had some truly splendid coffee with robusta in it. In fact, I remember that the blend that I used at the La Marzocco factory was something like 50% robusta!

    Hmm ... maybe people arent letting their robusta sit for long enough?

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Doesnt robusta also have a higher caffeine concentration than arabica?

    Maybe its also put into blends to boost the caffeine content. Theres food for thought.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1160879403/30#38 date=1161265575
    Doesnt robusta also have a higher caffeine concentration than arabica?
    Yup! Roughly twice as much.


    Java "Taste before caffeine!" phile

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Probably why robusta is very disease resistant.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    I thought that the reason for the higher caffiene levels was to act as a deterrent to insects etc. Robusta is generally grown at lower altitudes where insects/disease are more prevalent than compared to the higher altitude Arabica beans ???

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Myth: 43 beans in every cup.

    I gazed deeply into my cup, and confirmed my suspicion. But that was not enough. I then pulled out a magnifying glass, and scanned the cup once again. Mmmm. But that wasnt enough. I then turned the cup upside down. Nothing fell from it.

    Myth busted. There are no beans in a cup.

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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Myth 43 beans in every cup....another take.

    I counted the beans in my 7g and 10g scoops, and got about 55 and 63 respectively (obviously would vary a bit depending on bean types), so unless it was a 7g sccop with elephant beans I cant understand how they worked out it was equivalent to 43 beans? ;)

    Robusta, Hmm, yep there is a lot of marketing hype about that one. India apparently does grow some very good quality stuff, and some other places grow and sell bad stuff. The relative caffeine levels between Arabica and Robusta seem to be pretty well documented, so if your watching your caffien intake Arabica is the way to go, however....
    at the recent Hobart Coffee Training Day, so well done by our very own 2MCM, one of the mystery blends that I had to dial in on Silvia was a popular commercial blend which contained some Robusta, to my relatively untrained palate, once dialled in, the shots were good, dont recall noticing much difference in the crema, but there was definitely a nice mouth feel, (which seems a common perception :)
    Then I used it to make a latte, which was one of the best lattes I have ever had, anywhere! :)
    (Pity I cant make em that well at home all the time)

    Bullitt

  45. #45
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    Re: List your coffee myths

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Ive found Sumatran beans can yield the same mouth feel/crema as Robusta, you might try them in a blend for added crema as well as flavor. :)


    Java "Hhhhmmm.....Rich silky crema!" phile



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