# Kilo's Coffee Recs! (Fancy light-roast) *(I try to avoid Amazon links. Try to support coffee-focused online stores, such as https://new.seattlecoffeegear.com. Buy direct from the manufacturer where possible)* ## New to fancy coffee? I will not be able to explain what good coffee tastes like, you will have to discover it for yourself. Read the tasting notes, but don't expect "strawberry" to taste exactly like strawberries. It's like wine: Tasting notes are directional ideas, not absolutes. * Try single-origin pour-overs from the two or three most expensive (~$5+/cup) local cafes you can find. * Trust me, spend $20 to find out if you've been missing out. * Accept recommendations, but don't just trust people who say "this one is the best". * If they don't have light-roast with tasting notes, find a place that does. * Even if their lightest roast is "medium-light", try elsewhere. * Order something African first. * Especially Ethiopia! * You will be tempted by "chocolate" tasting notes from the Americas, but you're here to try something new, so try a tea-like Ethiopian or a big fruity Kenyan. * Leave it black! (no suger, no cream) * Wait for it cool from very hot to barely hot or very warm. * Very hot drinks will usually taste like nothing. * The taste will change as it cools, which is one of the awesome parts of coffee! ## Starting out * Scale: AMIR Digital Kitchen Scale, 3000g 0.01oz/ 0.1g ($13): https://www.amazon.com/AMIR-Electronic-Functions-Stainless-Batteries/dp/B01LYYVJ71 * Or really anything you might already have with 1g or better precision * 0.1g is nicer, but any 1g or better kitchen scale will get you started. * If you don't have a kitchen scale already, get one!! * Kettle: Bonavita 1.0L Variable Temperature Kettle ($50): https://bonavitaworld.com/products/10l-variable-temperature-kettle * It's, uh, an "industrial" look, but it does the job well. * You can also use it for any other hot-water needs, including tea! * Aeropress ($30): https://aeropress.com/product/aeropress-coffee-maker/ * Grinder: Timemore Chestnut C2 ($55): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/10000023195407.html * Wirecutter-recommended! * Distilled water ($2/gal) * Third Wave Water sticks ($15/12gal) https://thirdwavewater.com/products/1-gallon-classic-profile?variant=32477400694830 * If your tap water is anything less than soft and fantastic, mix your own water. It's so cheap, it's so easy, and you won't have to wonder if your water is holding you back. * Also, your kettle won't fill with scale. * Onyx Roaster Sample Box: Four fresh seasonal 4 oz bags, single origin ($30) https://onyxcoffeelab.com/products/roaster-sample-box * TOTAL: ~$200 + $1.50/cup ### Kilo did you just recommend me $195 of coffee gear Yeah, sorry! Thems the breaks, if you're brewing at home. This is why I emphasize trying out coffee at cafes first! The good news: $195 is your baseline, but about $350 is about the most you'll end up with gear-wise, unless you get into the money-pit that is espresso. ### An electric grinder? It's a trap! * You will be tempted by electric grinders, especially because the Hario hand grinder that people gravitate towards (like all cheap grinders) is slow and takes some oomph. **Don't.** Better hand grinders grind much faster, and with less effort. **Electric grinders are roughly three times as expensive as hand grinders** of equivalent quality. * While the Hario makes my arm tired during the two minutes it takes to grind 20g of beans, the 1zpresso grinds in ~20s and is pretty easy, depending on the beans. * I did have someone smaller than me try my grinder and they did have some trouble though. * I still recommend it, and you'll be coffee-buff in no time. :) * Electric grinders are also much louder, which can be less than ideal for an early-morning ritual if anyone is still in bed! * If you simply must get an electric: Baratza Encore: ($140) https://baratza.com/grinder/encore/ ## Alternatives and Upgrades * The last grinder you'll need: 1zpresso JX grinder ($130): https://1zpresso.coffee/product/jx/ * This will be your best upgrade. If you can swing the extra $80, and/or if you already like coffee and are just looking to start brewing at home, skip the Timemore and get the 1zpresso. You will end up here eventually. (Sorry!) * Scale: Timemore Black Mirror ($60): https://www.timemore.com/collections/coffee-scale/products/timemore-black-mirror-basic-plus-coffee-scale-timing-black * Much prettier design * I wish it had physical buttons and a separate tare button, though. * A nicer kettle: Stagg EKG ($150): https://fellowproducts.com/products/staggekg * You really don't need this, but you might end up *feeling* like you do. I did. :) * Alternative: Pour-over kit: Hario v60 ($25): https://www.hario-usa.com/collections/pour-over-sets/products/v60-craft-coffee-maker * If you want something more traditional (but IMO more difficult than the Aeropress), this is a great choice. * Alternative: French press: Bodum CAFFETTIERA "3 cup" 0.35L ($10): https://www.bodum.com/us/en/1913-361bsa-y20-caffettiera?___store=us_en * Alternative: Reusable Aeropress filter: Altlura's The DISC ($10): https://alturahq.com/products/the-disc-stainless-steel-coffee-filter-for-aeropress-coffee-makers-washable-reusable * Metal filter means more oils making it through the filter into your cup, which I prefer. (It's not "oily" though) * Downside: it does let a little fine grinds through, like French Press. * It's reusable, though Aeropress filters are basically free. * If you're supposed to avoid espresso or french press because of your doctor's concerns about your particular cholesterol situation, no metal filter for you, so stick to paper filters. * If your doctor hasn't explicitly warned you against this, don't worry about it. I only mention it for completeness, and because a doctor will probably not think to mention this. ## Beans Fun fact: If it comes in a one pound bag instead of a 12oz bag, it's *probably* not top-shelf stuff! (Sorry!) My favs: (alphabetical) * Brandywine: https://www.brandywinecoffeeroasters.com/ * Devout: https://www.devoutcoffee.com/ * Madcap: https://madcapcoffee.com/ * Onyx: https://onyxcoffeelab.com/collections/coffee * Vertigo: https://vertigocoffee.com/ * Verve: https://www.vervecoffee.com/collections/single-origin Try the ones you haven't heard of first. Journey before destination! ## How I Aeropress 1. Heat water to 85C 2. Weigh out 20g of coffee beans into a small mise-en-place dish 3. Prevent static cling: Wet your finger slightly via the kitchen sink, and swirl through the otherwise dry coffee beans * This tiniest bit of moisture severely reduces the static cling the fresh grinds will otherwise have 4. Pour into grinder and grind! 5. Assemble Aeropress * Place paper filter in cap (Hoffman says don't bother wetting it) * Screw on cylinder * Place on destination mug 6. Pour grinds into Aeropress, place on scale, and zero out scale 7. Start stopwatch 8. 0m00s: Pour 40g of water onto the grinds 9. 1m00s: Pour another 120g of water (scale will read 160g) 10. Take everything off the scale, put the plunger in, and press gently, such that you start pushing air *roughly around* 3m00s * You will get better at this over time! 11. Remove Aeropress from mug and clean out, put away. * You're also done with the stopwatch 12. Put mug (which now contains coffee concentrate) back on scale, and zero out. 13. Add 140g of water to dilute into proper coffee * This will come down to taste. * 20g coffee to 300g water is a little stronger than usual (15:1 instead of the standard 17:1) * If it's too intense, try adding a liiiittle extra water. * 17:1 would be an extra 40g water, which I think dilutes it too much, but play with it! * **You might think that water ratio affects strength and not flavor, but it affects flavor immensely!** * Strong coffee flavors "clip" like playing loud music on too-small speakers. * I mix ~80g hot kettle water and ~60g cold fridge water to bring the coffee to my preferred starting temp immediately. 14. Drink! * *Except* if you used all hot kettle water to dilute it! It may not be too hot for some of you to drink, but it's too hot for the flavors you're here for. Give it a sec!