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French presses & coffee grinds...

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
I just picked up Bodum's French press/travel mug.



After making a couple cups of coffee with it, I'm hooked. This thing is awesome. Very easy to deal with in the morning when I'm in a hurry, and only one item to clean up when I'm done drinking it.

I've never owned a French press before, though, and typically buy my coffee pre-ground. This now begs the question: how do you go about making a coarse grind for the press? The last grinder I owned was one of those blender-style ones that you couldn't really control. You either had chunks of coffee beans or a fine powder. I'm not really into the idea of using the one at the store since it's been flavored by the coffee of a million other people.

Will a cheap grinder with a few settings like this one or this one suffice? Any other suggestions?
 

Serial Midget

Al Bundy
Jun 25, 2002
12,735
1,425
Fort of Rio Grande
I have a Starbuck's labeled burr grinder that I rarely use... it has 10 different settings.

At my trailer in the woods I use a French press and fine grind coffee - the sludge settles before I pour my cup. I've tried course ground but found it took way to much to make coffee as strong as I like.
 

Serial Midget

Al Bundy
Jun 25, 2002
12,735
1,425
Fort of Rio Grande
Oh... and, no on both, you want a burr grinder - they last longer and have a more consistent grind that makes the most of your coffee beans. You'll use less beans and have a better tasting cup of coffee.

I have this one, it works fine.

Amazon has a Black & Decker model for $25.00 but, I've never had good luck with black and decker anything. Ever. :monkey:
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
At my trailer in the woods I use a French press and fine grind coffee - the sludge settles before I pour my cup. I've tried course ground but found it took way to much to make coffee as strong as I like.
Well with the travel mug, the sludge will be in the last sip which is what I'm trying to avoid.

RE: the Starbucks grinder, I'll pound my beans with a hammer before I spend a hundred bucks on something to grind coffee with ;). I'm sure it's good quality, just not willing to indulge myself in the cost.

The B&D seems to have universally bad reviews... Hmm.
 

Stray_cat

Monkey
Nov 13, 2007
460
0
Providence
Burr grinder is definitly the way to go. But it's hard to find a decent one for cheap. If you use the blade type you end up with chalky residue in the bottom of your cup.
 

Stray_cat

Monkey
Nov 13, 2007
460
0
Providence
I don't think it's an issue of flavoring with a store grinder as much as freshness. With ground coffee your looking at 5~7 days before acid starts to form. With whole bean you have 3~4 weeks. So if your buying a pound of top dollar coffee at a time, I'd avoid the store grinders.

During one of my(our) 'poverty' phases we used to take a ziplock bag and hammer the crap out of it to grind the coffee. Due to static some of the powder would stick to the sides of the bag. I can't really reccomend this, with the exception of the fact it's darn good fun to hit stuff with a hammer at 7 in the morn.
 

Serial Midget

Al Bundy
Jun 25, 2002
12,735
1,425
Fort of Rio Grande
I've never used a store grinder. Does it flavor your coffee much?

The cheap grinders on Amazon all seem to have universal complaints of putting a lot of powder into the coffee.
I've been drinking foo foo coffee for a very long time... :)

I prefer a very dark roast with plenty of oil on the beans - I'll buy whatever bean looks the best to me, regardless of brand. I fill up my bag from whatever bin I like but always grind the beans at the grinder provided by the most expensive brand... in my experience, Seattle's Best coffee brand offers the best grinder. I have never noticed any unwanted flavor in my coffee - there are brushes and levers you can use to clean the grinder before you put your beans in.

I'm not sure what brands you have in your location... good coffee is like good beer, lot's of variety. :)
 
I like the dark oily roasts too. We use a couple of ancient Hobart burr grinders at home - one for dark roast, one for ordinaire. I proportion them about one to three for filtered coffee on weekdays and just use the dark roast for espresso on weekends.

I have a couple of glass French presses that I use camping, races or whatever, and just let any sludge settle out (or whirl the coffee around and drink it). I don't worry a whole bunch about grinding exactitudes.

I don't use store grinders usually, so I don't worry much about cross-contamination.
 

OGRipper

Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
9,722
160
NORCAL is the hizzle
I also grind my beans at the store. A lb. of coffee lasts a week or less around my place. I've done taste tests in the past and don't find a difference big enough to justify the hassle. Plus I really hate the sound of a coffee grinder first thing in the morning - especially before I've had my coffee.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
This one seems to be a decent cheap one...
That's the one I linked in my first post :)

The question mostly arose because I found some awesome coffee in Costa Rica when I visited, so I was wondering about grinding beans that would be shipped to me... thus coffee selection isn't really an issue and because they'd be shipped, I wouldn't be ordering a week's worth at a time, more like a month's worth.

Trying to keep things easy and inexpensive.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
The question mostly arose because I found some awesome coffee in Costa Rica when I visited, so I was wondering about grinding beans that would be shipped to me... thus coffee selection isn't really an issue and because they'd be shipped, I wouldn't be ordering a week's worth at a time, more like a month's worth.

Trying to keep things easy and inexpensive.
I only saw the $99 and BD one mentioned.

I like but I can't drink coffee regularly as I have GERD. I do drink it more often in CR - for some reason I don't get it while I'm there.

My sister lives in CR and supply my parents with tons of CR coffee but they just drink the grinded stuff and store it in the fridge after they open it. I don't think they'd notice the taste difference vs. whole bean as they drink coffeemate instead of milk/cream :ban:
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Just cover the whole beans in dark chocolate and eat them instead :banana:

I'm sure you got assaulted by Britt reps at the San Jose airport handing out free samples :D
 

spocomptonrider

sportin' the CROCS
Nov 30, 2007
1,336
12
spokanistan
Check out those coffee pods. I think they are made for single cup coffee makers but it keeps the mess minimum. Just let em brew a few minutes longer.
imo.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
I'm sure you got assaulted by Britt reps at the San Jose airport handing out free samples :D
No, but we stayed at the Tabacón resort and our room was stocked with Britt every morning, meals were served with Britt each day, and the gift shop had Britt in every form you could conceive of.

The Tres Rios Valdivia was :drool: :drool: :drool:

Check out those coffee pods. I think they are made for single cup coffee makers but it keeps the mess minimum. Just let em brew a few minutes longer.
Did you, uh, miss the whole part at the beginning about needing it for a French press?
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Check out those coffee pods. I think they are made for single cup coffee makers but it keeps the mess minimum. Just let em brew a few minutes longer.
imo.
Are you kidding me - those coffees are put out by the likes of Mars Candy Co. plus higher cost and the huge waste it produces:disgust1: Hell you could probably buy ultra high-end organic fair trade coffee and high end equipment and still save money...
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
No, but we stayed at the Tabacón resort and our room was stocked with Britt every morning, meals were served with Britt each day, and the gift shop had Britt in every form you could conceive of.
I've been there for the hot springs/spa/food but stayed at a lodge right across the bridge up on a hill - forget it name...
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,965
4
I like those travel presses but I prefer the glass ones for everyday use.

Using a coffee mill w/ a press is easy. Pour in the beans, count to three while you press the button. Check the grind. Too fine? Count to two next time. To coarse? Count to four, five, etc.

Burr grinders aren't really critical. Rotary mills are just fine. The little bit of silty particles only add flavor. The joy of a french press is that little bit of mud at the bottom of the cup.
 

RenegadeRick

98th percentile on my SAT & all I got was this tin
The Tres Rios Valdivia was :drool: :drool: :drool:
My old man lived in Costa Rica for a while. Lives in Panama now.

Anyhow, I second the Tres Rios, but liked the Tarrazu even better.
The Cafe Britt was good, but it is kinda like the McDonald's of Costa Rican Coffee.

We picked up some stuff at the supermarket that was even better. Del Oro and 1800 come to mind. They were way cheaper too. I seem to remember spending around 80 cents for coffee for the entire week.

We also did Tabacon and stayed overnight at Arenal. It was way cool and they had awesome seafood everywhere in the country. There were awesome sunsets every night and I remember the one at Ocotal in particular. It was incredible.



In Panama it isn't nearly as pretty and it is way more urban, but Cafe Duran is good and cheap. It is always ground though. :hmm:
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
I had a couple different Costa Rican coffee types. I had both the Del Oro and 1800.

I know that Britt is rather commercialized, but hey, we all have different tastes :)