Best Coffee at Ormsby Hill

Hi Everyone,

I was looking into coffee grinders the other day and came across this graphic. It shows visually how concentrated specialty coffee shops are in San Francisco relative to other cities. That means more competition but it also means that there is a large audience who appreciates specialty coffee. Perhaps we should hit a couple of these specialty coffee shops in San Francisco to learn more about coffee serving technique and equipment. Check this out:

We learned from Pierre Capy, the owner of Mocha Joe’s in Brattleboro, VT, that the best time to brew coffee is within 2 weeks from the roasting date. That’s why we order our coffee every two weeks. I saw other people mention that the coffee pros claim that 4 days to 14 days is the best time to brew coffee. The moment after roasting, the process of oxidation starts and “oxidation” is another word for being stale. You are losing flavor as the roasted coffee becomes stale.
Now, a similar thing happens when you grind your coffee beans. By grinding your beans, you are increasing the surface area that is exposed to air which increase the loss of flavoring gas. Some of our guests mention that when we grind our coffee in the morning, the smell of coffee fills the entire house and they can smell it from their bedroom. Now that is the flavor gas of coffee beans leaking out. By grinding just before you brew, you are trying to capture some of those fleeing flavors in the brewing process.

By the way, I told some of you that Pierre used to put water through 3 water filters at his coffee shop in Brattleboro VT. By the time, water comes out from the third filter, it is pure H2O. He then reintroduced the exact mix of minerals to mimic the water in Italy, and that’s the water he used to brew his coffee. That’s pretty deep into the water dimension of brewing coffee, though an ideal cup of coffee is less than 2% coffee solubles and 98% clean hot water, so it makes sense to work on the water element.

Also you might have heard me tell the story of Mocha Joe’s technician, Benjamin. He calibrated our FETCO coffee machine to optimize the coffee extraction, testing the results with a digital refractometer to obtain the right level of TDS, i.e. total dissolved solids. Extraction is one of the most important elements of finished coffee. While coffee beans are comprised of about 70% non soluble materials and 30% that dissolve in water, not all of the 30% is desired for a good coffee. Too much extraction can give the finished product bitter flavors. Hitting the optimal balance, which is typically 18% to 22%, is what makes a great cup of coffee.

Coffee brewing is as much a science as an art; therefore, you can improve a cup of coffee with technology that leverages your knowledge of what makes the best coffee. Yet, there is variability in what coffee people like. Different types of coffee appeal to different people. Some like dark roast, some like medium roast, some like strong caffeine and a few like the mildness that acidity brings. At Ormsby Hill, we purposefully avoided defining what type of coffee is the best coffee, but instead we defined “fresh” coffee as the “best coffee” for everyone. We then pushed the definition of “fresh” coffee as not only “fresh brewed” but also “fresh roasted” and “fresh ground.”

Come to Ormsby Hill and taste Mocha Joe’s Peruvian Organic French Roast. It is guaranteed fresh.

In pursuit of the best coffee…


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