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Tricks of the winners

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  • Tricks of the winners

    So I noticed that the coffeewars site is up and running for DC 14. I thought it would be cool if the judges or organizers could give a little background on how to prepare.

    For example it might be good practice to use the same grind, press, and water temp as what the judges will be using so you can get a taste of how your bean will perform.
    The Dark Tangent: Use PGP for email Key ID: 0x8B0B476D
    Fingerprint: EA2B 63F9 2219 9171 2AB1 0065 FC59 8B0B 476D

  • #2
    Originally posted by Dark Tangent
    So I noticed that the coffeewars site is up and running for DC 14. I thought it would be cool if the judges or organizers could give a little background on how to prepare.

    For example it might be good practice to use the same grind, press, and water temp as what the judges will be using so you can get a taste of how your bean will perform.

    Oh, bossman, the judges just barely acquired posting privileges on the forums (that two-week waiting period was tough, but I've survived it).

    Ahem.

    We (the judges) are quite fond of a fine grind, making it nearly espresso grade for premium caffeine content. We also use cold water, if possible (some years yes, some no, flip a coin for this year), since that will affect the taste. We make it *strong*. Let me say that again. We make it VERY STRONG. No french press. The same three Krups 4 cuppers have been used now for the last four Wars, and are still in fine form. They only get taken out for DefCon, and are packed away otherwise, so I expect them to last quite a while.

    We do the grinding, measuring, coffee making, and coffee drinking. It's the only time I've ever been heard to say that I've had enough coffee. I've actually been heard to say this during two different Coffee Wars, so there's hope for this year as well.

    I'm hoping for a little something out of the way this year. Maybe a little Moka Java or Tanzanian Peaberry will upset the big two (Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain).

    HTH. HAND.

    (shrdlu)

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    • #3
      It is true, we're gearing up for the next round. We've been in touch w/Russ, and we've submitted some text for the program, etc. Official rules and other contest parameters will be forthcoming in the contest announcement, which we send out sometime closer to the event itself.

      Good thinking, though, on the topic of preparing for the war by trying to duplicate the brewing conditions. Let's hope Shrdlu's comments will be of help to some worthy contestants.

      --Foofus.

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      • #4
        A humble suggestion

        As a beer geek (homebrewer) I became aware of the importance of using "good water" for beer and coffee. For example, brew with Phoenix tap water and the result is Nasty - high calcium, iron, chlorine, chloramines a little benzine, trichlorethane, etc.

        When I brew beer I have a preferred tasty bottled water that I use. Everyday coffee gets tap water from a RO unit or Brita filter. Special coffee gets the same water I brew beer with (usually Crystal, fwiw)

        Ok, getting to the point: is there a standard CoffeeWars water? If not, maybe there should be? If you spend $20 on beans, what's another $1.25 for water to optimize them?

        Just trying to help, and maybe participate this year if I find worthy beans.

        Alert regards,

        Surreal

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Surreal
          As a beer geek (homebrewer) I became aware of the importance of using "good water" for beer and coffee. For example, brew with Phoenix tap water and the result is Nasty - high calcium, iron, chlorine, chloramines a little benzine, trichlorethane, etc.
          I now live in an area with good water, and happily use it for coffee. When in Southern California, I regularly purchased bottled water for coffee. When we do coffee wars, we use the same water for everything, and it's random bottled water from the local store (usually). I would be very reluctant to use Las Vegas water for drinking, much less for brewing coffee.

          Originally posted by Surreal
          When I brew beer I have a preferred tasty bottled water that I use. Everyday coffee gets tap water from a RO unit or Brita filter. Special coffee gets the same water I brew beer with (usually Crystal, fwiw)
          Interesting. When you say Crystal, what do you mean? Crystal Geyser? I would think you probably meant something else, but I don't get the reference.

          Originally posted by Surreal
          Ok, getting to the point: is there a standard CoffeeWars water? If not, maybe there should be? If you spend $20 on beans, what's another $1.25 for water to optimize them?
          There isn't normally a standard water. We're happy to have a place to set up, and potable water to brew with. I expect to purchase the same type of bottled water we've used in past. On the other hand, if you're wondering what I'd recommend for home use, I'd suggest that it's more important that it be drinkable and cold, than that it needs to be fancy (and I understand that Arizona water, like Nevada water, is *not* drinkable). Chilled water makes better coffee, if you are using the drip method. A French Press, on the other hand, really should to have the water at room temperature.

          I am particular as to equipment, however. I'm sure that Krups would be happy to hear that all official coffee wars equipment is Krups.

          Originally posted by Surreal
          Just trying to help, and maybe participate this year if I find worthy beans.
          Please. Some of the entries are awful. Some are very worthwhile. You sound the type that will provide the judges with something pleasant and interesting. We'll ramp up a bit closer to con, with a more official announcement. Hope to see you there.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by shrdlu
            ... Interesting. When you say Crystal, what do you mean? Crystal Geyser? I would think you probably meant something else, but I don't get the reference.
            "Crystal Water" / "Crystal Ice" was a Phoenix outfit that delivered 5-gallon carboys of water house to house and rented coolers for at least the last 30 years. Now that I look, I think they may have been eaten by Sparkletts(tm) a few years ago. It was R.O. with minerals added for flavor. They had a catchy jingle, and spiffy blue delivery trucks with their logo rendered in movable inch-wide mirror sequins (looked like moving water, esp. in intense sunlight).

            "Aquafina" has a very similar taste to Crystal Water.

            There isn't normally a standard water. We're happy to have a place to set up, and potable water to brew with. I expect to purchase the same type of bottled water we've used in past. On the other hand, if you're wondering what I'd recommend for home use, I'd suggest that it's more important that it be drinkable and cold, than that it needs to be fancy (and I understand that Arizona water, like Nevada water, is *not* drinkable). Chilled water makes better coffee, if you are using the drip method. A French Press, on the other hand, really should to have the water at room temperature.

            I am particular as to equipment, however. I'm sure that Krups would be happy to hear that all official coffee wars equipment is Krups.
            I've been enamored with the Gevalia(tm) coffee maker for the last year - it was $10.00 when my wife signed up for a subscription for their over-priced coffee. It heats the water to a lower temp than most drip units, probably around 150F, and has sort of a mini showerhead that sprinkles it across the coffee, rather than dumping a stream into the middle of the filter. It uses a very fine grind and allows you to make Strong coffee that's not bitter or overly acidic. We cancelled the subscription pretty promptly after discovering that their brand of coffee isn't really All That.

            Please. Some of the entries are awful. Some are very worthwhile. You sound the type that will provide the judges with something pleasant and interesting. We'll ramp up a bit closer to con, with a more official announcement. Hope to see you there.
            The CoffeeWars folks saved my life at DC9. It felt like it anyway I bought a mug, begged just a little, and it was filled with a damned-fine coffee. I guess I'm now officially hunting for an entry.

            Surreal

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            • #7
              Last year I lost track of time and missed the entry deadline, even though I was carrying a pound of the winning beans with me all day long. This year I won't be making the same mistake. I've got some good beans for the testers...get excited.
              jur1st, esq.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jur1st
                Last year I lost track of time and missed the entry deadline, even though I was carrying a pound of the winning beans with me all day long. This year I won't be making the same mistake. I've got some good beans for the testers...get excited.
                Always welcome something different. You can't have enough coffee. Actually, I've been heard to say I'd had enough, twice, and both times involved Coffee Wars.

                I'm now living in a place that has drive through Espresso everywhere. There's a chain called Espresso World, even.

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                • #9
                  Re: Tricks of the winners

                  I am heading to a local grind tomorrow to pick up the beans for my entry.

                  Do the judges grind to their satisfaction or should I bring the grinder with me?
                  DaKahuna
                  ___________________
                  Will Hack for Bandwidth

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tricks of the winners

                    Originally posted by DaKahuna
                    I am heading to a local grind tomorrow to pick up the beans for my entry.

                    Do the judges grind to their satisfaction or should I bring the grinder with me?
                    Bring only the coffee beans. Ground coffee cannot be judged (in fact, I have been known to slice it with a box cutter, and toss it in the trash, sweet natured soul that I am). Looking forward to it.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Tricks of the winners

                      Originally posted by shrdlu
                      Bring only the coffee beans. Ground coffee cannot be judged (in fact, I have been known to slice it with a box cutter, and toss it in the trash, sweet natured soul that I am). Looking forward to it.
                      Beans it is - two entries .. I hope you guys save some for me to taste as well
                      DaKahuna
                      ___________________
                      Will Hack for Bandwidth

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tricks of the winners

                        Originally posted by DaKahuna
                        Beans it is - two entries .. I hope you guys save some for me to taste as well
                        Of course. Looking forward to it.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tricks of the winners

                          I am bringing some Aussie brother-in-law-roasted coffee again this year, although it will be different from the Rico blend I brought last year. I think that was too subtle for this crowd. I may bring a "cheeky little bean, grown in Ethiopia..." as in this story: http://www.smh.com.au/news/good-livi...816858409.html. Of course, there's always Jamaica Blue Mountain - Wallenford Estate at $150/kilo: http://www.tobysestate.com.au/cat/in...tegory_id=1472

                          jeremy

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                          • #14
                            Why the drip coffee makers? + Tasting Guid

                            I've been meaning to ask for a while..

                            What kind of grinder are you guys using (Burr, Roll, blade, etc?) and what size grind do you go for? I am assuming a medium / drip coffee maker sized grind (http://www.ineedcoffee.com/03/coffeegrind/). Which brings up the following..

                            Why use a drip coffee maker (http://www.ineedcoffee.com/00/08/drip/) as opposed to a vac-pot (http://www.ineedcoffee.com/00/05/vac/), perculator, or french press (http://www.ineedcoffee.com/02/03/press/)? Is it just an easy standard that makes the process fast, or some other reason?

                            After reading some sites, like CoffeeGeeks (http://www.coffeegeek.com/guides/beginnercupping) talking about the whole tasting process, I can see why some people treat this like fine wine.
                            The Dark Tangent: Use PGP for email Key ID: 0x8B0B476D
                            Fingerprint: EA2B 63F9 2219 9171 2AB1 0065 FC59 8B0B 476D

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                            • #15
                              Re: Tricks of the winners

                              Originally posted by jeremycec
                              I am bringing some Aussie brother-in-law-roasted coffee again this year, although it will be different from the Rico blend I brought last year. I think that was too subtle for this crowd. I may bring a "cheeky little bean, grown in Ethiopia..." as in this story: http://www.smh.com.au/news/good-livi...816858409.html. Of course, there's always Jamaica Blue Mountain - Wallenford Estate at $150/kilo: http://www.tobysestate.com.au/cat/in...tegory_id=1472

                              jeremy
                              Just a quick note: I would not think that your entry from last year was too subtle for the judges. There was some serious competition, as is usual. Oh, and I love Ethiopian anything, especially Yirgacheffe. Harrar is also very nice.

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