Author Topic: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life  (Read 16840 times)

grantmeaname

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Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« on: October 30, 2012, 09:52:23 PM »
One of the my favorite parts of Mustachianism is MMM's occasional emphasis on what incredible luxury we have in our lives. MMM and I share an appreciation for delicious, fancy coffeehouse style drinks, and a disdain for wasteful spending. At this point, you may be asking: how can you drink more delicious, gourmet coffeehouse drinks and cultivate some more luxury in your day while you're at it? Luckily, it's really simple. Grab your plastic tumbler, your smooth jazz, your dim mood lighting, and your scones!

Hot coffee drinks
What you really want for the hot coffee drinks is an espresso making device of some sort. We have the ubiquitous moka pot here, but if you want to look like a barista you'll need something more like this, which is still cheap. You'll also need finely-ground coffee. Our grocery store is located in the nicest neighborhood of town (alternately, "we ignore all the grocery shops closer to us than the nicest one in town"), and they roast and grind coffee in the store, so it's simple to get coffee blend x + flavoring y + grind z, and it doesn't even change the price. If you grind your own coffee, just grind it finer. If you fit in neither of those groups, you can either buy espresso-ground coffee, or make regular coffee the boring way, and just make sure to make it extra strong.

To get a delicious hot coffee drink, take espresso and add things to it. The stuff is so magical, you'll end up okay in the end if you choose anything remotely normal. An americano is espresso and hot water; a latte macchiato is foamed milk and espresso, with bonus points if you go all bartender-style and separate the layers by pouring the espresso onto the back of a spoon (oh, and to get foamed milk you'll want one of these). For seasonal goodness, google "[seasonal craving] syrup" or "[seasonal craving] creamer", and you'll find crazy delicious recipes like vanilla syrup and pumpkin spice creamer. Throw sweetened condensed milk in black coffee or an american coffee for a vietnamese coffee. The list goes on...

When you take a sip of your first homemade pumpkin spice americano, that sweet foam mustache you're left with is the taste of retirement. Really.

Cold coffee drinks
I like the Pioneer Woman's iced coffee recipe, but I never make a full batch of it. As far as coffee goes (the brown solid input to the recipe, that is), when it's iced there's less acidity, so bad coffee tastes good and good coffee tastes great. That old Maxwell house you've got works fine. If you're buying coffee anyway, though, I swear by Costco's Kirkland Signature coffee. It's truly wonderful brewed hot, and it's even better cold brewed. As far as the more complicated drinks:
You can make a frappucino with things you have on hand, plus a few cents of the greatest chemical additives known to all of food science. Leave out the Xanthan gum and it'll still be good, I promise. Soy milk or almond milk are magical in cold-brewed iced coffee. You can make a coffee protein shake with yogurt, protein powder, and iced coffee, I think-- I'm still working on a recipe that's tolerable the whole way through the 24oz plastic tumbler I take it to school in.

Iced tea
If you drink iced tea like it's going out of style, an iced tea maker can be worth the investment; be sure to check thrift stores and Craigslist first, though. I use mine several times a week, and tea bags are like $2 for 24qts worth. Maybe it's stupid, because it could probably be made without a unitasking appliance, but there comes a point at which the volume makes it worthwhile.
You can make syrups for tea with little to no effort, and they make sweet tea a little more interesting--basil is really good and also usable in cocktails, and mint and lemon are other obvious choices. But there's an even cooler idea, one so stupidly obvious I shouldn't have to share it, but I drank 2+ gallons of iced tea a week for years before I ever thought of doing it. You can get big old quart containers of fruit nectar (like this guy) at Mexican grocery stores for a pittance... we get 4-6 $2.50 containers when we go. Two ounces of one is enough to make a kinda sweet and very fruity 24 oz iced tea. I drink like three of these a day lately, and it helps me stay hydrated and completely kills my desire for Starbucks and its ilk.

Postscript: All credit goes to SWMBO for the espresso maker, wand-style milk frother, iced coffee protein shake idea, nectar in iced tea, and my americano/macchiato addiction.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 10:07:16 PM by grantmeaname »

kkbmustang

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2012, 10:03:05 PM »
I am so getting some nectar for my iced tea. I forgo the ice tea maker. An old glass juice bottle and my microwave work just fine. But, I would like a fancypants coffee machine that will froth my milk for me. Who knew you could get a gadget for $20 that could do that for you? That is SO going on my Christmas wish list.  I love a soy chai latte and I can get the Tazo Chai Tea concentrate at Target. It's still pricey there (about $4 for a 32 oz. container), but way more affordable than Sbux.

Thanks for the tips!

sol

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 10:31:42 PM »
fancypants coffee machine that will froth my milk for me. Who knew you could get a gadget for $20 that could do that for you?

Even better than a fancypants coffee machine or a $20 frother is this little beauty from IKEA:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10076320/

Only $3, mine works great.

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 10:33:57 PM »
That's a great deal. Ours is about to give up the ghost, so the next time we're one city over after it dies we'll be sure to pick one up!

trammatic

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2012, 07:44:18 AM »
+1.

With just a little bit of fun, you can make some amazingly cheap drinks.  For my iced tea, I've started using green tea bags for a bit more bitter taste.  Or, use a mixture of black tea and herbal tea to get some unique flavors...

SoftwareGoddess

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 08:22:59 AM »
For making iced tea, I use a glass coffee pot, similar to this:

http://www.mygrannysatticantiques.com/html/pyrex_corning_percolators.html#9cupglasspyrex

Just soak your preferred tea bags (or loose tea in a tea ball) in cold water for about 8 hours. It takes a little planning because of the time involved, but then I don't have to wait for hot tea to cool, and I don't like to dilute the tea with ice. I add some fresh lemon juice and sugar -- yum!

You can put the pot in the sun (sun tea!), but I find it doesn't make much difference to the taste, so I don't have to go tealess if the day is cloudy.

maryofdoom

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 08:30:59 AM »
It is also possible to cold-brew tea in the same way that you cold-brew coffee. Use 1 tea bag per 8oz of water, and let it sit for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. I like to use half plain green tea and half flavored green tea, and I used to add a little sugar, but I've stopped that and just drink it straight.

During the summer, I went through two quarts of the stuff per day. So tasty!

Deano

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 08:59:42 AM »
I like this post, but if you buy a 40 dollar espresso machine like the OP suggests, it will not last long. An espresso machine has two major tasks, one is to heat water on-demand and the other is to push water through the coffee at the required 9 Bars pressure (anything less is not espresso...espresso only happens at 9 bars). Cheap machines break down fast, particularly if used several times a day.

If you're looking to make a tasty drink on the cheap, use a moka pot. If you really want a machine to make espresso (there is a difference) then a good option is to buy a refurb lower-end Saeco. Depending on whether you are using a pressurized or non-pressurized portafilter you may need a quality grinder to get the grind fine enough.

I've been through the low-end machine grind (pun intended). They don't work. For a refurb of a decent machine, 200 bucks is probably minimum. A lot of money, but mine has lasted many many years with only routine maintenance. Given the money it saves in cafe trips, it's been worth it, no doubt.

Buy for life!

TomTX

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 08:33:30 PM »
Y'all can use your espresso machines - I'm perfectly happy with the teakettle and a French Press for coffee.

We've been using the same iced tea machine for well over 10 years now, likely 15. Several gallons a week. Yes, it's a unitasker (well, I also make flavored/herbal/etc teas) - but gets enough use to be worthwhile for us.

kudy

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 10:11:36 PM »
I like this post, but if you buy a 40 dollar espresso machine like the OP suggests, it will not last long. An espresso machine has two major tasks, one is to heat water on-demand and the other is to push water through the coffee at the required 9 Bars pressure (anything less is not espresso...espresso only happens at 9 bars). Cheap machines break down fast, particularly if used several times a day.

I had the exact machine linked by the OP, and it lasted 2 years with multiple daily uses before I was gifted a fancier machine.  It probably still works, but it's been moved to my garage. It made great strong coffee, whether or not it was actually "real" espresso or not.

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 10:52:24 PM »
If you're putting sweetened condensed milk in it it's not like you can even claim to be a gourmand. Strong coffee is strong coffee.

jwystup

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2012, 08:07:28 PM »
oohhh do this

http://lifehacker.com/5949670/freeze-extra-whipped-cream-in-dollops-for-hot-beverages

I have never been a coffee drinker, but I like the occasional hot cocoa as I'm relaxing in the evening. I recently bought a kitchenaid stand mixer (ebay for less than 1/2 the cost of a new one!) so I can make the whipped cream easily from heavy cream + sugar for a healthier no-corn-syrup version too. It's a lot better fresh but the frozen blobs were awesome too.

Saving mom

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2012, 09:07:25 AM »
This is late to the conversation but here is a manual frother that works great (better than the one on my espresso maker). Heat milk in microwave and then pour into this until its 1/3 full and then pump the plunger and you will have awesome foam.
http://www.cudakitchen.com/catalog-product.php?p_ref=12633

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2012, 02:47:58 PM »
Also late to the party.

Perhaps another thing to consider is baking the occasional coffee house/bakery treat to go with that yummy cup of coffee.  This morning I made popovers.  Amazing what happens to two eggs, one cup of milk and one cup of flour.  We enjoyed our popovers with homemade blueberry jam.  Talk about luxury!

One advantage of home baked goods is the control one has over portion size.  Instead of having a massive scone like the ones in coffee houses, I prefer a smaller version.  Scones freeze well and are a perfect grab and go snack.

PJ

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2012, 03:14:36 PM »
The popovers with jam sound delicious!

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2012, 03:56:49 PM »
The popovers with jam sound delicious!

They were! 

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2013, 07:42:49 AM »
So here's a question: is it possible to keep dairy in the fridge for longer?

Costco has really nice, organic heavy cream for like $5.50/2qt. At the rate we use heavy cream, that would last us almost two months; luckily, the expiration dates on the cartons seem to be about two months out. But six weeks after opening the carton, it's gone sour. I know six weeks is pretty good for dairy, but is there anything we could be doing differently to make it last longer?

Daley

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2013, 08:40:03 AM »
So here's a question: is it possible to keep dairy in the fridge for longer?

Costco has really nice, organic heavy cream for like $5.50/2qt. At the rate we use heavy cream, that would last us almost two months; luckily, the expiration dates on the cartons seem to be about two months out. But six weeks after opening the carton, it's gone sour. I know six weeks is pretty good for dairy, but is there anything we could be doing differently to make it last longer?

You can freeze it, but it'll separate. Even after re-blending, it will be kinda gritty in your coffee and won't work as an emulsifier. Still works well for ganache and baking, though.

Side note, the ultra-pasteurized homogenized ruminant milk tends to be even harder to digest and rougher on the body overall than less-processed stuff. Personally, I'd recommend the rBGH/rBST-free non-organic milk/cream over the nearly shelf-stable organic stuff, but I really don't do non-cultured milk products anymore. Probably not a big deal if you're just tossing a dollop in your coffee, but might be worth researching further in to.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 08:41:54 AM by I.P. Daley »

Dee18

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2013, 07:16:27 PM »
Upon opening the cream, pour half of it into a container you will use for the first four weeks.  Seal the original container up and leave it in a cold part of the fridge until you need it.  That might extend the shelf life.  Also,  if your drive home from Costco is more than a couple miles (or it's really hot out) carry your dairy items home in a cooler. 

destron

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2013, 10:18:08 PM »
Great post!

Fortunately for me, I enjoy drinking just regular-old coffee most of the time so I am not tempted to buy expensive coffee drinks.

fancypants coffee machine that will froth my milk for me. Who knew you could get a gadget for $20 that could do that for you?

Even better than a fancypants coffee machine or a $20 frother is this little beauty from IKEA:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10076320/

Only $3, mine works great.

I've had mine for about 7 years. I don't use it that often, but it is still going strong for the occasional latte.

MrSaturday

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2013, 11:55:35 AM »
Hey I recognize that TM3 tea maker!  I've been using one for around 12 years and love it.  It's a shame they don't make that model anymore.

I flavor/sweeten mine with 1/3 can frozen lemonade but I'll have to try that nectar idea.

DirtBoy

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2013, 11:55:51 AM »
In addition to making my own vanilla syrup in bulk, I roast my own green coffee beans, like these:

http://www.deansbeans.com/coffee/products/home_roasting.html

About a 50% savings from buying equivalent roasted beans.  I roast them in a manual popcorn popper like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Wabash-Valley-Farms-25008-Whirley-Pop/dp/B00004SU35

The quality is outstanding if I do say so myself.  The procedure is pretty simple and takes about 15 minutes for 1-2 lbs.

oldtoyota

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2013, 06:17:19 PM »
This is making me thirsty. I usually just drink water. However, maybe it's time to step it up.

My friend's mom used to make sun tea. A giant glass jar, water and tea bags are all you need. Oh, and some sunshine.

The lemonade idea is a good one. I used to make lemonade with 4 apples and one lemon. Throw all that into a juicer and voila!

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2014, 07:06:06 PM »
Bump. Time for a little hedonism.

I was always suspicious of the cold brew iced tea bags like this Luzianne Cold Brew Green, but I've got to say it's actually a really nice tea. Not much subtlety to it, but it's in the right ballpark and has none of that cheap bitter taste that teas sometimes get. We've gone through fifteen or so bags in two weeks, so it's about time to order again.

Today I threw in a single-serving hot fruit tea bag with the gallon-size tea bag. The whole pitcher of tea has just a little hint of peach, and it's way less sweet than when you flavor it with nectar or syrup. So that'll probably be the obsession for the next three or four pitchers.

Still to do: maybe a hand coffee grinder, maybe some home roasting experiments. I'm excited we're getting back to iced coffee weather.

rollingstone

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2014, 05:57:00 PM »
This could be a separate thread, but building off the OP, what do you do to make your home feel welcoming like a coffee shop? I'm moving to a new place in June, and I want to set up my living and dining room so that I can work and relax and entertain and have that artsy, relaxing, focus-helping vibe of a coffee shop.  I have no furniture and will probably look for free ones via freecycle, sidewalk and Craigslist.

Thanks! 


grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2014, 06:08:03 PM »
I don't know, that's a good question. Have you thought about what aspects of the coffeehouse vibe do that? Is it the lighting? The quiet background noise? The music? The furniture?

bikebum

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2014, 08:10:50 PM »
We also have one of those stove top moka pots. Eggnog lattes are a favorite. I also like making mochas with 100% chocolate powder and adding my own sweetener so it is more chocolaty and less sugary.

TheDude

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2014, 08:36:07 PM »
I love the coffee threads. I just started drinking coffee. So far my boss gave me https://www.capresso.com/coffee-makers-coffee-team-ts.shtml and then after a couple of weeks my buddy gave me an aeropress. Still learning but cant wait to try out the aeropress this weekend. Now I just need to find someone to gift me a burr grinder.

RMD

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2014, 09:28:34 PM »
I don't know, that's a good question. Have you thought about what aspects of the coffeehouse vibe do that? Is it the lighting? The quiet background noise? The music? The furniture?

I'll add in art work.  If you've got a favorite couple of spaces, go and analyze...take pics.  You can also see if you can turn up anything doing a google image search.  Find what you like and look for common denominators.

mlipps

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2014, 09:56:38 PM »
OK so this is the most bougeious thing I've ever said but yesterday I realized that the flavors of a great espresso and agave nectar are awesome together. I made myself the tastiest soy latte ever yesterday!

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2015, 08:11:06 AM »
I love the coffee threads. I just started drinking coffee. So far my boss gave me https://www.capresso.com/coffee-makers-coffee-team-ts.shtml and then after a couple of weeks my buddy gave me an aeropress. Still learning but cant wait to try out the aeropress this weekend. Now I just need to find someone to gift me a burr grinder.
I know the thread's been dead a good while, but did you ever get that burr grinder?

I was looking into coffee grinders and ended up settling on the Hario Skerton for $40 - now it's $30. I'm moving to London and so it didn't make sense to get an electric appliance that I'd just have to replace anyway, and a manual burr grinder is actually cheaper than an electric blade grinder. Muscle over motor, eh? It's been well worth the price and whole beans definitely last longer than grounds, but I'm afraid that now that I've got a grinder I'm also thinking about starting to roast my own coffee. I'll have to see how much kitchen I have to work with after the move.

Amanda

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2015, 09:22:42 AM »
No info on burr grinders, but I'd like to add my cold coffee recipe.

I used to own a coffee house and blended coffee drinks are extremely popular in the summer. I wanted to offer something similar to the Frappuccino but better without having to store and buy ice cream or purchased mixes.

The combo I came up with is: two shots of espresso (you can use a similar quantity of cold-brewed coffee), and ounce and a half of vanilla syrup, another ounce and a half of whatever syrup flavor you want, 1/3 cup heavy cream, and about 6 or 8 ice cubes - a 1 cup-sized scoop if you have smaller ice. Blend that up and you'll have the best coffee "milkshake" ever.


Jeff Kent

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2015, 08:41:14 AM »
Slight sidebar, but I am a big coffee drinker and have started roasting my own beans which is both way more delicious and a great deal more cost effective. I buy green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's for about $6/lb and roast them in a $3 popcorn maker I bought at a flea market. I use the pour-over method using a wire mesh system so I don't need to buy filters and keep the oils from the coffee in the drink. Charbucks sells a pound of roasted beans for around $16/lb and they tend to go rancid within a week.

It was truly a game changer, controlling the roast and effecting the flavour has been a very interesting and rewarding little past-time. The best part is that you can roast a batch in about 4 minutes tops.

Someone once told me that storing roasted coffee beans is like trying to save toast, just make it fresh as you need it.

AlexM1359

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2015, 08:48:50 AM »
Roasting your own beans is definitely the way to go. I agree with the above comment, it makes a big difference in taste

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2015, 09:12:51 AM »
Idk if starbucks is a good comparison because it's both expensive and total garbage. I get beans from the grocery store ($7.99-9.99/lb in many varieties and the option of flavoring for free) and the Kirkland Signature estate roasts ($4.99/lb and astoundingly delicious). The Costco coffee is so good I haven't taken up roasting yet - there wouldn't be much cost savings and the flavor of the joe would only go from great to really great. Still, I may do it sometime. What do you guys roast in?

Jeff Kent

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2015, 09:18:05 AM »
I use a popcorn machine that I bought for about $3.00 at a flea market. You can buy expensive roasters but the popcorn machine works wonders on a small scale. If interested, I think you should take a gander at the Sweet Maria's website, the break it down for home roasting really well.

Truth be told, you will spend less on beans, green beans can be stored indefinitely and if I may be so bold you won't believe what flavours can come out of coffee when it's not totally burnt like most roasters. Most companies burn their roast for the sake of uniformity, at the expense of all the flavours contained within the bean.

Just my $0.02.

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2015, 12:25:24 PM »
I've done a bit of research and spent plenty of time on the Sweet Maria website. I read about popcorn poppers, cast iron skillets, and dog bowls and was just wondering which you'd use. Seems like the cast iron doesn't get great results and the other two take up a lot of space (that I don't have). And as I just showed, the beans would actually cost more, so it's a matter of whether I'd be willing to pay a bit more for fresher coffee/an interesting hobby/somewhat improved flavor.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2015, 12:32:03 PM by grantmeaname »

Jeff Kent

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2015, 12:44:21 PM »
Apologies, just re-read your post and saw the Costco price tag.

For me it started as an inexpensive hobby that had a low capital cost and piqued my interest and has since evolved into something that I for one enjoy a great deal.

I am also an long time whisky/scotch drinker and have always enjoyed tasting and picking out flavours, influences and subtleties in various drams. Coffee has been a much more reasonably priced and one might say healthful endeavour for me.

For my money, it's worth picking up the popcorn machine and trying a pound to see how you like it. I would be curious to hear any feedback from anyone else.

Gerard

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2015, 11:22:46 AM »
For my money, it's worth picking up the popcorn machine and trying a pound to see how you like it. I would be curious to hear any feedback from anyone else.

I think a hot-air popcorn popper is exactly the kind of thing that at least one friend already owns and wouldn't miss if you borrowed it for a couple of weeks to experiment.

[disclaimer: I am a tea drinker.]

grantmeaname

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Re: Cultivate a little coffeehouse luxury in your life
« Reply #39 on: May 01, 2015, 08:32:14 PM »
now there's an idea!