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Bought a pack of Sheffield's Cafe #9 roast for relatives for christmas and I will buy some ground for my aeropress but I can't do that at work and I can't afford to buy a coffee every day or even every other day.

 

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I'm a bit nervous about asking this in this thread but you do all seem nice.

 

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Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent instant?

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I used to like Douwe Egberts, but now after having exclusively drunk supermarket ground coffee for a few years and then got my own grinder and a subscription to Pact in April, I think Douwe Egberts tastes dreadful.

 

But don't necessarily listen to me - I think my tastebuds are fucked. I'm getting these fairly expensive coffees weekly that have high falutin' tasting notes and no matter how I make it, I'm always left thinking "hmm, that's... pretty bland".

 

It didn't used to be like that with me - pre-covid I would go to coffee shops and get whatever sounded interesting, and really enjoy it. Especially the citrussy ones. But whether I use a french press, an aeropress or a clever dripper; and no matter how I change the grind, the beans I buy all taste meh. They smell incredible, and then after they're ground, they just go very average.

 

Maybe it's actually Pact's coffee. Hmm, I might buy a bag from somewhere else to try.

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It might be worth cupping the coffees - it’s a fairly forgiving method. I sometimes really struggle to get a coffee right and think it must be crap, then I cup it and realise I’m just nowhere near where I need to be with my brew. It can be really frustrating. 

 

edit: Although a french press is pretty similar, so maybe not. Definitely try some other stuff, though. I highly rate Newground at the moment. Have not been impressed at all by my Square Mile batch.

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18 hours ago, Scribblor said:

Maybe it's actually Pact's coffee. Hmm, I might buy a bag from somewhere else to try.

 

I'm working my way thru the Pact advent and there is definitely a house style and I'll say I'm not mad keen on it - they do seem to favour lighter roasts and fruity acidity. There is the odd different one but overall based on 15 days that is really what they are delivering. My other half loves their Zaroca now & their decaf but I'd quite happily not buy any of their beans, they don't hit my target taste sweet spot. 

 

Spiller and Tait on the other hand, the other roaster I've bought the most varieties from tend to be a medium to higher roast with little acidity, which is far preferable to my tastebuds. 

 

I've been constantly surprised at the sheer variety of flavour on offer from coffee, it's like just saying beer, or wine. It encompasses a huge variety of flavour compounds and then drying and roasting technique that alter the end flavour, not to mention your own brew methods. 

 

There are obviously good & bad roasters but with this speciality stuff its a lot about learning what you're after and the language that describes it, which can prove time consuming and expensive !

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Buying instant coffee is like buying mass-market cheddar. Have a rough idea in mind (e.g. mild, mature) then just buy whatever's on offer that week, be it Cathedral City, Pilgrim's Choice or the supermarket's own.

 

I keep instant around as a backup, and always get one of the varieties of "posh" stuff in a tin with a bit of ground coffee mixed in with the freeze dried. Whether that's Nescafe Azera, Kenco Millicano, Lavazza Prontissimo or Illy Classico depends on which one's on offer that week. I think the Lavazza is the best, but it's also the least frequently on offer.

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3 minutes ago, Alexlotl said:

Buying instant coffee is like buying mass-market cheddar. Have a rough idea in mind (e.g. mild, mature) then just buy whatever's on offer that week, be it Cathedral City, Pilgrim's Choice or the supermarket's own.

 

I keep instant around as a backup, and always get one of the varieties of "posh" stuff in a tin with a bit of ground coffee mixed in with the freeze dried. Whether that's Nescafe Azera, Kenco Millicano, Lavazza Prontissimo or Illy Classico depends on which one's on offer that week. I think the Lavazza is the best, but it's also the least frequently on offer.

Pretty much the same here with me. If you go to Aldi their equivalent is just as decent and is consistently just over £2. Looking forward to getting back into my beans now with an electric grinder going under the tree. The little hand grinder I've been using just doesn't cut it (pun intended). 

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17 hours ago, Fireproofradiator said:

Bought a pack of Sheffield's Cafe #9 roast for relatives for christmas and I will buy some ground for my aeropress but I can't do that at work and I can't afford to buy a coffee every day or even every other day.

 

...

 

I'm a bit nervous about asking this in this thread but you do all seem nice.

 

...

 

Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent instant?

What about coffee bags? Taylors of Harrogates have them in most supermarkets and they're pretty much as good as supermarket instant offerings go. Normally around £2.50 for 10 and they're much richer and nicer tasting than Azera (which is probably the pick of the powdered offering). 

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17 hours ago, Scribblor said:

I used to like Douwe Egberts, but now after having exclusively drunk supermarket ground coffee for a few years and then got my own grinder and a subscription to Pact in April, I think Douwe Egberts tastes dreadful.

 

But don't necessarily listen to me - I think my tastebuds are fucked. I'm getting these fairly expensive coffees weekly that have high falutin' tasting notes and no matter how I make it, I'm always left thinking "hmm, that's... pretty bland".

 

It didn't used to be like that with me - pre-covid I would go to coffee shops and get whatever sounded interesting, and really enjoy it. Especially the citrussy ones. But whether I use a french press, an aeropress or a clever dripper; and no matter how I change the grind, the beans I buy all taste meh. They smell incredible, and then after they're ground, they just go very average.

 

Maybe it's actually Pact's coffee. Hmm, I might buy a bag from somewhere else to try.


I found all Pact's stuff to be fairly bland but in general I was feeling the same way as you. I've found that I'm getting loads better results from coffee flavour since I changed my pourover method. I now pour at 45g intervals and let it completely drawn down between each pour. I don't know if it's possible to do this in the clever but it's worth a try.

I got a better grinder around the same time that's helped me dial in the grind, too, but the method has got me better results out of supermarket pre-ground too.


The beans I'm really enjoying at the moment are these Natural Ethiopian. They have a funky, almost agricole rum like aroma that carries over into the flavour and they have quite a fruity, citrussy note to them.

 

 

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Does anyone have a temperature control kettle, and would they recommend it? I don't need a pouring kettle, but I find my daily brew varies a bit too much and the only thing that I can think of is that it's the fault of my kettle. Whether I pour straight of the boil or wait for the thing to settle down a bit, etc. Even when trying to do it consistently, it feels like I am always getting a different cup of coffee and its driving me bonkers.

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I've not got a kettle at all, I use an Insinkerator that claims the water's at 94 degrees, as that's where I think I've got it set.

 

I haven't ever checked, and there's a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that the reason I'm not hugely impressed with the coffee I get is that the water temperature is wrong.

 

It's tough to know because the instructions give a temperature range (71 to 98) but the dial doesn't have numbers on it, just increasingly large dots. But assuming it's a linear increase in temperature per dot, I've got it set at 94.

 

I should just get a thermometer and check, really.

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I've got a cheap temp controlled gooseneck and as long as you are aware that you need to set it to a lower temperature than you actually want, and that how much lower very much depends on how much water you are boiling, it works to provide a stable temperature.

 

James Hoffman suggests just using water as close to boiling as possible, but I don't really get on with Hoffman's method for pourover and I prefer to set my kettle to 85, it will reach about 92 when I start pouring.

 

if you are using a water source where the water is coming out at a constant temperature you'll possibly be having different results to someone who is using a kettle that's cooling down from the time it clicks off. 

 

I think the suggestion is that cooler water gives you more acidity (lower extraction) and hotter gives you more extraction but you can dial that in with the grind size as well, so if you know you are using boiling water use a coarser grind. 

 

My pourover grind is one click below the filter setting on the Wilfa, which works for me to give me the extraction I want (on the acidic side) from the temperature I'm using.

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The inconsistencies in my cup is sorta why I like a pour over in the morning. 

 

I don't know maybe that's bad. I'm very rarely having a cup that is bad. Just sometimes I get different profiles and I change up my filter beans often so to agonise over the right method or grind only for a new kind of bean to throw it all off, I don't worry. But sometimes the different flavours and profiles I notice are fun to think about.

 

I think I am enjoying the lack of fuss with a clever dripper. After a few years with v60 I now like the lack of effort in the morning.

 

It also is easier to maintain consistency because I can just pour in all the water at once from the kettle. Timings become less of an issue, there are less variables. 

 

We've got a kitchen aid kettle that has temperature on it though so I might try going less to get a bit more fruity tang. 

 

In other news my espresso is pretty consistent. Always red brick. Nothing else ever comes close. Same grind, same pull time, it's usually always spot on. Milk frothing is more inconsistent. But all this said despite feeling like I was a lunatic for spending so much on a coffee machine, I do not regret my lelit MaraX purchase. It effectively came "free" with the house as it I bought it with mortgage money. Or to put I another way I am paying for my coffee monthly for the next 25 years. But this faff is probably why I felt like doing a filter could stand to be simpler 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've got new bag of coffee. I love trying new coffees, but hate the dial in process. Sometimes it can take me half the bag to get it right. I made a horribly bitter cup this morning, so bad that I chucked it and the next was too weak and acidic, despite being only a few clicks more coarse.

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On 22/12/2021 at 11:16, HarryBizzle said:

Does anyone have a temperature control kettle, and would they recommend it? I don't need a pouring kettle, but I find my daily brew varies a bit too much and the only thing that I can think of is that it's the fault of my kettle. Whether I pour straight of the boil or wait for the thing to settle down a bit, etc. Even when trying to do it consistently, it feels like I am always getting a different cup of coffee and its driving me bonkers.

 

Bit late but I had a Bosch temp control kettle and I miss it, it seemed to make my coffee nicer and i really should have taken it in the divorce!

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Just got a new bag of planalto from Pact, after it’s been through Royal Mail’s complimentary 1 week coffee resting service and have been so annoyed by it that I’ve made 3 cups of coffee at 3 different grinds because it just tastes completely flat to me. 
 

I’m now jittery having drunk lots of coffee but have established it’s not an extraction issue - I think it’s a dose problem. Need to increase it by a few grams and see if I can actually taste something half decent. I’ve been brewing at 14g/250ml, which normally works quite well but I think that needs to go like 16 or 17g. 

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43 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

I’m now jittery having drunk lots of coffee but have established it’s not an extraction issue - I think it’s a dose problem. Need to increase it by a few grams and see if I can actually taste something half decent. I’ve been brewing at 14g/250ml, which normally works quite well but I think that needs to go like 16 or 17g. 

 

think I took my ratios from Hoffman on the Clever Dripper and 250ml gets 17-18g for us depending on the beans, smaller 200ml cup is 14-15g. I stick with the same too if using the Hario Switch and doing it in 4 stages more like a V60 pourover rather than steep and release.

 

I am expecting some Pact today, Zaroca is my partners new no1 brew so had to order some more. Also got some coming from Foundry roasters in Sheffield that I read about on a coffee forum.

 

Forum wars kicked off with Coffee Forum UK being bought out and all the members leaving en masse to Coffeetime 

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If you're getting Pact on a regular basis, you should set up a subscription. You save a pound a bag and you can set them up how you like in terms of frequency, can delay 7 days with one button, reschedule for weeks off, pause, etc.

 

Zaroca is a bit like Planalto but better, I think.

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I'm pretty anti subs on food/drink items - always seem to end up with stuff sitting round you didn't need or want so would rather just order what we need as and when. Same sort of deal with Spiller & Tait who are still my favourite general roaster but on demand works better for us. 

 

She's loving that one now but we've got a better feel for the language and profiles to try out from doing the advent calendar (learning the lingo and discovering Zaroca on day 2 made that whole thing worthwhile).

 

We've even got my partners mum, who has been a lifelong instant drinker and is over 70, brewing twice daily using the Clever and she can't drink instant any more. She was moaning at xmas that she'd been visiting and people only had instant and she didn't realise how bad it tasted in comparison.

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Like I said, they’re pretty flexible. They always send you a email 48h before that has links you can hit to either send the coffee immediately or delay. It works really well because you don’t need to log in, it just does it. 
 

I don’t think they let you say just send me nothing but Zaroca, though, but I’m not sure. They do let you change the coffee they’re sending, too. 

 

edit: Upped my dose to 16g/250ml and that has made a massive difference in the cup. Like I said - hate dialling in coffee. Espresso sounds like my worst nightmare.

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42186-CCD-984-F-4-EA7-AFDE-A62-D4715917-

€60 out of Lidl.

€13 for their electric grinder.

Paid for using my company card, so we'll get €15.30 back.

 

To think I almost dropped €600 on a Sage when I'd definitely never be able to tell the difference. It took me about four or five cups to get an espresso just right, but we're there now. ^_^

 

Sorry for the commercial coffee. I needed a familiar benchmark to start with as I've never made real coffee before. Any recommendations?

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On 11/01/2022 at 21:20, Fallows said:

Sorry for the commercial coffee. I needed a familiar benchmark to start with as I've never made real coffee before. Any recommendations?

 

My experience is you've got 2 main areas to learn about if you want to make 'real' coffee.

 

One is how to buy it - there is a lot of language used to describe it on the packaging but once you learn what it is you like you start to pick up on key words that make buying new beans more likely to be a success. This James Hoffman vid is great on explaining the language of taste used on packaging and well worth the time to watch. In addition to what to buy you have the general freshness question and pre ground vs beans. 

 

 

After buying it you've got making it, which is a whole area of good info, pseudo science and blokes buying stuff to make gains (both real and imaginary) in getting a good cup.

 

Hoffman again is a great starting point on techniques and general good coffee info, but there is a lot out there depending how far you want to dive down the rabbit hole.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Gotters said:

Hoffman again is a great starting point on techniques and general good coffee info, but there is a lot out there depending how far you want to dive down the rabbit hole.

 

Cheers for the post.

Yeah, some of his videos had popped up while doing some quick YTing the other night. I had to skip because it was going way over my head, plus he came across as a bit of a hipster (I fully well realise I'm heading into Hipsterville when it comes to researching how to make decent coffee). To be fair I've not given his beginners videos a chance, but I definitely will.

 

From his wiki: "One of his first jobs after graduating was working for Gaggia in Selfridges". Heh, one of the regulars over on NTSC recommended their machines once I'm ready to upgrade.

 

I'm not sure if I want to be aiming for crema or not, but this is by far my best tasting shot so far, and it was a double.

 

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Two minutes later:

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Nearly ten minutes later:

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Crema for days. If I can get every shot like this I'll be happy.

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Hoffman is pretty hipster but if you can get past that he's nowhere near as pretentious or over earnest as much of the coffee world on YT (the americans and kiwis can be way over the top), he's pretty self deprecating as his bripe review demonstrates 

 

 

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If you've made coffee you like, perhaps just leave it there. Going down the espresso rabbithole will probably just be an exercise in frustration as that machine probably can't handle proper espresso ground coffee (i.e. super fine) - it'll just make the machine choke.

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1 minute ago, HarryBizzle said:

If you've made coffee you like, perhaps just leave it there. Going down the espresso rabbithole will probably just be an exercise in frustration as that machine probably can't handle proper espresso ground coffee (i.e. super fine) - it'll just make the machine choke.

 

That's precisely what happened with my grind before this one. It took four button presses to extract a single shot that ended up tasting like ear wax. I had to throw out the powder and start again.

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15 minutes ago, Fallows said:

 

That's precisely what happened with my grind before this one. It took four button presses to extract a single shot that ended up tasting like ear wax. I had to throw out the powder and start again.

 

You'll soon learn that this is really a James Hoffmann thread in which we sometimes talk about coffee.

 

This machine probably has a lot in common with your machine and might give you some insight into how it works. He's quite negative about it, but like I say, if you made coffee you like with it, just crack on.

 

 

This m

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:)

 

For €60 it's honestly been worth it for the learning experience. When/if I ever do upgrade to a decent machine I should hopefully end up being the Joe Satriani of the coffee world.

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