Introducing Friends to Better Coffee

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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#1: Post by drgary »

So many of us try to explain our love of coffee and find our recommendations falling on deaf ears. Just look at some of the newbie posts. People ask us how they can make fine espresso on a $250 budget. I think I've stumbled on a way to turn them onto the coffee experience that's quite effective and would love to hear some of the ways you've done it too.

This is my coffee evangelizing kit. :idea:

Last month I went to my haircutter, and he asked me for advice on a replacement espresso machine for his old Starbuck's Barista and whirlyblade grinder. I suggested some options and he was definitely put off by the cost. So today I returned with the gear you see above and softpedaled the whole experience.

I brought a fine hand grinder, an aromatic single-origin Ethiopian roasted by Counter Culture and at its peak, an AeroPress and a whirlyblade grinder. When I showed up, I offered all the haircutters in the salon a cup of fine coffee and proceeded to heat water in their teakettle, pour it into a carafe and let it cool to 180F. I'd dosed 1 scoop of beans into my LIDO grinder and loaded the AeroPress, where I stirred a bit less than 1 cup water for about 25 seconds and pressed through. As I distributed each cup, I suggested they taste it hot, then let it cool and savor it like fine wine for its flavor subtleties. I brewed a final mug identically except I ground it in the whirlyblade. This was presented with straws so they could dip and sample. I also gave them some nice chocolate pieces as a chaser.

They were entertained by my demonstration, clearly loved the fine coffee I served them and could easily taste the difference the grinder made. Afterwards I told my haircutter of the lowest cost espresso machine and grinder he could get at one of our approved vendors. He asked me to write it down so he could follow up. Another hairstylist asked about my grinder and I told him about the LIDO as well as the Hario sold by Orphan Espresso.

What got my point across? I used very aromatic coffee where the difference was very clear. I introduced only a difference in grinding, which was a surprise to them. I used the AeroPress in the conventional way rather than inverted because I wanted to show it's easy.

What gear did I recommend? Some of you may think it inadequate, but I suggested the Le'Lit PL041 and a Baratza Preciso or Le'Lit PL53 grinder at 1st-Line Equipment. I also told him the price of the AeroPress. Now I may have opened the door to his asking how he might do better because he knows the quality of coffee I drink. I did warn him I was giving him an absolute entry-level recommendation. In other words, I honored his request as he made it and demonstrated that even one piece of better gear can make a big difference.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#2: Post by jbviau »

Love it! What grind did you use for this demo? Just curious. I'd guess the difference in the cup would be even more stark if you went coarser...
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

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#3: Post by RapidCoffee »

Great idea, well done.

Bak Ta Lo

#4: Post by Bak Ta Lo »

That was a great idea! Did you get a free hair cut?

Funny that you thought of that, the owner of of my local coffee shop is doing the same thing to introduce coffee newbies to the benefits of fresh roasted and brewed coffee. He will have an Aeropress class next weekend. Students can learn how to use the Aeropress, get to try some great fresh roasted beans, take some beans home, and keep the Aeropress. I am going to take my Aeropress there and "audit" the class, never miss the chance to have some good Kona!

Coffee is mainly made from instant here, or mixed with condensed milk. The concept of fresh roasting and fresh grinding is pretty new to most people. I think it will be really fun to see people's first reaction to an Aeropress, even better to see them taste good coffee for the first time and then learn how they can make it home.

LMWDP #371

Bak Ta Lo

#5: Post by Bak Ta Lo »

We had the AeroPress brewing class this past Sunday, wow, that was fun! It is really something to watch 14 people using the AeroPress, inverted method, for the first time. The shop running the training arranged each workstation with a kettle, grinder, trays with three kinds of beans, timer, scale, and AeroPress. He did a short sensory skills presentation with acid and sugar in different strengths in cups of water, then used the SCAA aroma training kit to present coffee aromas. Then the fun began.

Started with an Indonesian, then a Kenyan, and finished with some Kona, each round of coffee was paired with a pastry, local freshly made :), that complimented each coffee.

There were only a couple of coffee explosions from overpressurized AeroPresses slipping off of coffee cups.

We checked each teams TDS extract percentage to see how the cups ranked against the Gold Cup standard. This was really interesting, we got to taste overextracted, perfectly extracted, and unextracted cups of all three beans. The Kenyan was the most amazing to try in all three forms, as when it was just right it was amazing, when it was wrong it was awful. The Kona was flexible, and it was hard to make a bad cup with it.

As I have also learned with good food and good music, sharing good coffee with somone who has never had it is almost more fun than enjoying it myself.
LMWDP #371