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Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
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Discussions > Coffee > General > Bought a...  
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TheEther
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Dec 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Lexington KY
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 12:05pm
Subject: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

First post BTW.. thanks!

I've been trying coffee at different places and I notice everything from coffee I have to sissify to make it drinkable to coffee that I can drink black although I'm typically not a black coffee drinker.  Honestly after doing all of the reading, I'm not completely sure I've ever had a proper cup of coffee correctly brewed.  I certainly don't find Starbuck's black coffee to be anything special and frankly I find McDonald's coffee, at least here locally, to be much nicer than $tarbucks.  I bought a Brazen 3 days ago (dont have it yet), that led me to do a bunch of coffee/roaster research.  I totally get this is a slippery slippery slope at this point. :)  

I guess my question is this, if I was going to buy coffee green and roast a home, what kinds of coffee should I be looking at?  There's so many.  I was thinking I might roast with my heat gun until I decide what kind of roaster I might buy (I'm somewhat of a handy type too so I'm comfortable with heat gun roasting till I figure out what I want to do).  I am one that doesn't usually have to have the best but typically buy more than I'll ever need.  I don't drink a LOT of coffee, but like fine cigars, when I want one, I want a good one.  When I'm entertaining, I want my guests to experience real coffee also.

Thanks all for the help, and Merry Christmas!

Bryan
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,892
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 1:43pm
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

Bryan, welcome to CG.

IMO, as you have a new, revolutionary brewer (in several ways) with several options, why not treat yourself and order a couple of lbs of coffee online, or if you have a local roaster?
This way, your roasting "skills" won't come into play. Several roasters, such as Redbird offer 5 lb specials including shipping. You can safely freeze fresh roasted beans in airtight Mason Jars.

I believe you will enjoy your Brazen to it's fullest the first few weeks a bit more, knowing that you were getting pretty much exactly what the artisan roaster had in mind.

The Brazen is a breeze to program, and you'll be up and running in no time. Read the manual, as the 1st time cleaning instructions are important, as they are on any appliance that generates heat and liquid.

If you are going to roast, email a vendor who sells roasters AND green, tell them your project usage per week, your schedule, and they can direct you to the roaster best suited to you, in your price range.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 3:54pm
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

I agree that maybe buying some roasted coffee first may be a good way to go.  It is overwhelming how many variables there are.  If I had to do over, I would start with Brazen plus a good grinder (Baratza Encore being the go-to recommendation), and buy known good roasted beans.  Just to eliminate variables.  The other variables are: grind quality & coarseness.  Roast level.  Bean quality and taste.

Here are some additional tips for starting out.

- Pay attention to the roast date on the coffee you buy.  Not more than 2 weeks old and fresher the better because you can drink it longer.
- Avoid bins and buy sealed packaged whole beans with a roast date on the package.
- For that matter avoid buying at grocery stores: there are too many mistakes to make there.  Seek out a local roaster or mail order.
- I find 6 cups makes better coffee than 4, using the auto settings.
- A medium or medium coarse grind may be more likely to yield acceptable coffee.  20-22 on my Virtuoso, although the settings vary between grinders.
- Paper filters (Melitta white 8-12 cup flat) may be more likely to yield an acceptable taste than the metal filter
- Centrals (El Salvador) tend to be nice mild coffees that are popular.  Also Colombia.
- Washed coffees (as opposed to wet hulled or dry processed) are more predictable and usually preferred by most
- Medium or light roasts are more likely to taste good or at least interesting.  Beware the way roast level is communicated in the mass market is messed up.
- Brazen indicated temp of 201*F will work well for many coffees.

These are just starting points and you may find you gravitate to the complete opposite in every area!  For example, some people will say they prefer insanely fine grinds, metal filters, dry processed Brazils, and 185*F.  I'd take it all with a grain of salt but there's nothing really illegitimate about any of those choices.  Just remember it's the internet, nuff said.

MC and enjoy the ride!

Look up Sweet Maria's if you haven't already.  They are a great shop and there's plenty of information there to devour.
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TheEther
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Dec 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Lexington KY
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 6:33pm
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

Great advice all, thank you so very much.  On your advice, I've been able to locate (count em) one, roaster in my area.  This roaster is currently roasting three varieties of single origin beans.  ...from their website: Peru Cajamarca organic (nearly sold out!), our Ethiopia Sidamo natural process, and our terrific Sulawesi Toraja Grade A microlot.  I'll grab a grinder and start with these. Is there any reason I should buy something other than an encore for grinding?  It's definitely in the price range of what I think is fair for no more than I'm doing.


Bryan
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,399
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 8:08am
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

For what your grinding for, the Encore is more than enough. If you decide to move to espresso it won't be good as you'll need a capable grinder, but for coarse needs (yours) the Encore is great for the money.
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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 4:34pm
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

TheEther Said:

Is there any reason I should buy something other than an encore for grinding?  It's definitely in the price range of what I think is fair for no more than I'm doing.
Bryan

Posted December 24, 2012 link

I think it's not known.  I chose the Virtuoso because it's faster but I hate the timer knob.  CMIN is right the Encore is definitely the best value for money, and may be as good as you can do for all practical purposes.  It's just not known yet although everyone who owns an Encore is happy with it.

Other than the low-end Baratzas I just mentioned, there's the Bunn LPG or Ditting grinder, $500 or >$1000 respectively.  I've seen no claims or evidence that either of these yield better taste than the Baratza grinders.  Maybe they do but I haven't seen a serious comparison.

The only other reason I can think of to get an LPG for example, is that it's built to last.  The Baratza might break, but if it breaks you buy new parts and fix it.  Or buy another one.

Most other grinders like Mazzers, Macap, are designed for espresso and might not work well for drip coffee.  (Google: "bimodal grind distribution")
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TheEther
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Dec 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Lexington KY
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 7:11pm
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

I bought a Baratza Preciso refurb from Baratzas site.  Should do anything I want to do.  Thank you very much for steering me in th right direction.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,892
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 8:50pm
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

TheEther Said:

I bought a Baratza Preciso refurb from Baratzas site.  Should do anything I want to do.  Thank you very much for steering me in th right direction.

Posted December 25, 2012 link

While the Encore does a fine job, you'll have an even better result with the Preciso. I own one (with the Esatto attachment for weight grinding) and love it.
I'd get a nice digital scale to get consistency pot to pot. Get one withy .1 gram accuracy, as that's what you'll want should you decide to add an espresso maker to your coffee asenal!

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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MJW
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 179
Location: Silicon Valley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Dec 25, 2012, 11:56pm
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

IMAWriter Said:

While the Encore does a fine job, you'll have an even better result with the Preciso. I own one (with the Esatto attachment for weight grinding) and love it.

Posted December 25, 2012 link

Robert, where have you seen these two grinders compared?  For all I know the Encore may be better for drip brewing than the Preciso...
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jbviau
Senior Member
jbviau
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 734
Location: Pembroke Pines, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Preciso / LIDOs
Drip: Trifecta MB / Eva Solo...
Posted Wed Dec 26, 2012, 9:02am
Subject: Re: Bought a Brazen.. (new to home brewing) Now what?
 

Mike, right, there's precious little info. online comparing the Encore to the Preciso AFAIK. I did find this:

Click Here (prima-coffee.com)

Here's the $$ quote:

I matched up the Encore against two other Baratza Models: the now-retired Maestro Plus as well as the Virtuoso Preciso. I do feel like out of the three grinders, the Encore performed third best in brewing trials, but the margins between the three were very close. I attribute the main disadvantage of the Encore to the lack of granularity—I was able to dial in the other grinders more effectively. However, the final products of most brews were so similar between grinders that the difference was hardly notable, especially at coarser grinds used for the Chemex and Café Solo.


Grain of salt, YMMV, etc.
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