Friday, March 5, 2010

Try a Cuban Coffee For Something Different

If you're looking for something different and sweet Cuban coffee can fit the bill. Although I am told that Cuban coffee is traditionally a morning drink, for me it qualifies as an evening drink because there is no milk in it. When I make Cuban coffee I use my regular pump espresso machine although traditionally a stove top espresso maker is used.

Sometimes I use it as a desert drink because of its sweetness. Here is an article on how to make it.

I like to use Cafe Bustelo espresso. It can be a great espresso drink with an international flair.
You can find Cafe Bustelo on my web site at

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Good Darker, Medium Roast Coffee

I’ll be honest before trying their Henry’s Blend I had never drank Seattle’s Best coffee before. Seattle’s Best bills its Henry’s Blend as a “medium roast” coffee. Upon first opening the bag however the aroma and the color of the beans gives the impression of a dark roast. The aroma especially is almost like that of a French roast. I ground the beans, put some water on to boil and got out my Melitta Perfect brew to give it a try. Verdict? I really like this coffee. It is much richer and bolder than one would expect from a medium roast blend. Seattle’s Best advertises this blend as having a nutty sweet taste. You can detect the nutty influence but not so much the sweetness which suits me just fine. In spite of the fact that it smells much like a French roast you can only detect a very slight smokiness to the flavor. This coffee has a taste that is much bolder and richer than most medium roast coffees. For this reason people who tend to prefer light roast or normal medium roast may be put off by the flavor. I tend to prefer darker roast so Henry’s Blend makes a great everyday coffee for me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Favorite Places for a Cup of Coffee

Ok, I was thinking the other day about some of my favorite places that I've been and I realized that while I was at many of those places I had a cup of coffee.  One of those places was Maroon Bells CO.  I took a hike up there one day a couple of years ago.  Here is a link to the Wikipedia entry about Maroon Bells 
The trail begins at Maroon Bells Lake which is the place where this picture was taken.  It is a beautiful lake that reflects the mountians. To see a time lapse photo of this reflection follow this link to the video page of my website    I hiked the trail up to the base of the mountians where Crater Lake is located. Although it was a day hike I had some of my back packing stuff with me.  So, after reaching Crater Lake I broke out the back packing stove, boiled some water and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. It really hit the spot because it was sleeting the day that I was there. It was a great day. Share in the comments some of the places that you have enjoyed having coffee.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review of the Hamilton Beach Custom Grind

The Hamilton Beach Custom Grind

Ok. Today I am reviewing the Hamilton Beach Custom Grind coffee grinder. Recently I was in the market for an inexpensive coffee grinder. As anyone who has ever shopped for a coffee grinder knows there are two basic types. One is the burr grinder and the other is the blade grinder. Basically burr grinders crush the beans while blade grinders chop the coffee beans. With all things being equal burr grinders are more expensive than blade grinders. That being said, you get three guesses which type of grinder is said to produce the richest tasting coffee. You guessed it, burr grinders are believed by most coffee aficionados to produce the best tasting cup of coffee. Most believe that the problem with blade grinders lies in the fact that they do not produce a uniform grind of coffee. With most blade grinders the coffee grinds will be of varying sizes and many believe that this results in unevenly extracted coffee. However, if price is a factor, and it was for me, then a blade grinder, like the “Custom Grind” may be your best choice. Certainly though, even using a blade grinder, having freshly ground coffee is far superior to using coffee that is ground at the roaster prior to being shipped to the store. With coffee, just like with most things, freshness is the key and that even applies to when your coffee beans were ground.

Now, on with the product review. The Hamilton Beach Custom Grind is certainly compact in size. If counter space is an issue then you will be pleased with the small footprint of this machine. Also another great clutter reducing feature of this grinder is that it has a retractable cord. You can adjust the length of the cord just by turning the base of the unit. This eliminates a lot of slack cord cluttering up counter space and presenting a hazard. The custom grind is an automatic grinder. That is once you place the beans in the unit you simply place the grind select switch to the amount to be ground and the desired fineness of the grind and then press the button. It has three grind settings. There is percolator, auto drip, and espresso. Within these three setting you can select quantities of 4, 8, 12, or 15 cups. The grind settings of percolator, auto drip, and espresso are also marked coarse, medium, and fine respectively. After selecting the proper grind setting, and the number of cups, you simply press the ON button and the grinder will start and then automatically shut off when the grind is completed. If the coffee is still not ground finely enough you may press the button again to restart the grinder, then a second press will shut it off, thereby, “custom” grinding the beans.

While being a dependable and economical means of grinding coffee, as with other blade grinders, the Custom Grind is not the most ideal choice for either espresso or French press grinds. This is because of the uneven size of the grinds which is an inherent problem with any blade grinder. If you are using a French press to brew your coffee then you may find that even on the coarsest of settings some of the coffee may be too finely ground to be contained by the strainer. On the other hand, if you are using an espresso machine then even with a fine setting you may find that some of the grinds are too coarse resulting in under extracted coffee or even possibly a clogged portafilter.

But, if you’re on a tight budget, and I am (lol kid in college), then the Hamilton Beach Custom Grind is a great choice to get freshly ground coffee.

You can purchase the Custom Grind as well as read additional customer reviews on it by going to Right now there is a great deal on the Platinum model which features a removable grinding chamber for easy cleaning. Just go to and click on the “Coffee Makers, Pods & Accessories” category in the left column. Then click on “Coffee Grinders” and type in “Hamilton Beach”.

Happy grinding!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Morning Cup

Nothing like the proper atmosphere for that first cup in the morning. For great coffee check out

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here's To The Simple Life

Here’s To The Simple Life

The “simple life”. Everyone talks about living a simpler life. Often times people refer to the past as being a simpler, less complicated time. Everyone seems to want a simple life but how many actually practice it? Well, the simple life doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. There are ways to make life simple in the present. One of those is to use the “Melitta Perfect Brew Filter Cone” coffee maker.

As I mentioned in a previous post my coffee maker recently quit and I was having a difficult time deciding what to replace it with. Being a coffee addict, I was in a dilemma. I didn’t want to spend big bucks on a replacement without first taking the time to do some research, but at the same time I needed my daily coffee fix. That’s when the Melitta Perfect Brew caught my eye. A coffee maker for less than 5 bucks, how could I go wrong. So, I decided to purchase it to use while I did some additional research for a permanent replacement. When I opened up the box I couldn’t believe it. There was no electrical cord, no pot, no nothing, just this plastic cone with a tiny hole in the bottom. How was I going to make it through my day without a coffee maker that started automatically, told me not only the date but the hour, minute and second updated via satellite feed from the atomic clock located somewhere important, cleaned itself and then retracted into a hidden compartment under the counter to await its duties the following day? But then that desire for the simple life kicked in and I figured what the heck I’ll give it a try. Surly I could make coffee with this simple device, after all I had seen that wimp on Man vs. Wild make coffee by first boiling water over a fire started with nothing more than two sticks and a piece of thread pulled from his sock and then filtering it through a filter formed from dried yak dung, surly I could do this. So in the interest of the simple life I proceeded. With the Melitta Perfect Brew you simply place the plastic cone on top of your favorite cup or mug, put a #2 cone filter in the plastic cone, then add about 2 to 4 teaspoons of ground coffee into the filter and pour hot water into the cone. When I drank my first cup to my surprise the coffee was the smoothest most balanced cup that I had tasted in years. The key to this smooth taste I believe is two fold. First of all, with the Melitta Perfect Brew the water has very limited contact with plastic parts. Although the cone is plastic there is no plastic water tank or internal plumbing that the hot water comes in contact with. The second reason I believe has to do with water temperature. Optimum water temperature for coffee extraction is approx. 190-200 degrees F. When using the Melitta Perfect Brew I first bring the water to a boil (212 degrees + -) then I allow the water to cool for a little less than one minute before pouring it through the filter. Most coffee makers do not heat the water to a high enough temperature and thus you get under-extracted coffee with a bad taste. With the Melitta Perfect Brew you are in total control of one of the most important variables in making a perfect cup of coffee, water temperature.

Ah you say, but what if I want a whole pot of perfectly brewed coffee? Well then there is the Melitta 10 cup Manual coffee maker. It operates on the same principle except with a bigger cone and a coffee pot included.

So, whether you’re seeking the simple life, or just a better cup of coffee, I recommend giving the Melitta Perfect Brew a try. You Can find it at Click on “Coffee Makers, Pods & Accessories” under the category on the left side and then type Melitta in the search box. Then you can join me in raising a cup to the simple life and a great cup of coffee.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BPA Free Coffee Maker

Ok, so recently my coffee maker finally gave up the ghost and quit, so I started researching new ones. One thing that came to mind as I looked at various coffee makers was the issue of BPA. If you have shopped for a new water bottle lately you have probably seen the, “BPA Free” label on many of them. The term BPA stands for Bisphenol A. It is a chemical building block that is used to make certain types of plastics. The reason why it is of concern is that some studies, although controversial, have concluded that the presence of BPA residues in foods and beverages may pose a health risk. Food and beverages become contaminated with BPA residues when they come in contact with certain plastics containing BPA. Many coffee makers are made with such plastics, but it can be very difficult to determine which ones. Unfortunately, many of the coffee makers that are BPA free do not list this information on their packaging.

One coffee maker that I was interested in was the Hamilton Beach Brew Station. So I went to their product support web site and sent them an email asking if this coffee maker was indeed BPA free. The email that I received back stated that not only was the Hamilton Beach Brew Station coffee maker BPA free, but that all of Hamilton Beach’s new coffee makers were as well.

So if you’re looking for a new coffee maker, and BPA is of concern to you, then you can find full customer written reviews as well as purchase a Hamilton Beach Brew Station by going to and clicking on the Coffee Makers, Pods & Accessories category in the left column. You can then browse hundreds of different coffee makers or just type Hamilton Beach Brew Station into the search box to go straight to it.