Today’s Cold Brew

  • 15 grams “Cold Brew Blend” medium roast (Guatemala/Colombia) from Local Coffee Roasting Co. in Roxana, DE
  • JX: 2 rotations minus 6 clicks (54 total clicks or 18 on the grind chart) for a medium to slightly fine grind
  1. Set AeroPress up in inverted orientation with plunger inserted about 1cm, and add coffee.
  2. Fill AeroPress to within about 1cm of the top with room temperature, filtered water.
  3. Start timer and stir vigorously for 1 minute.
  4. Flip AeroPress and press gently into an 8-ounce tumbler.
  5. Add a drop or two of stevia and stir.
  6. Add 2 or 3 ice cubes to chill.

For kind of obvious reasons, I wanted to try making cold brew with these beans at least once. This was only my second time making AeroPress-style cold brew with freshly ground coffee. I have made most of my cups using Wellsley Farms Breakfast Blend pre-ground coffee, but we’re out of that. Last week, I tried making cold brew with Maxwell House Original Roast, but did not like it at all. Today’s cup turned out pretty good: probably a slight step up from the Wellsley Farms, but not leaps-and-bounds better. I went with the same grind setting I used last time for cold brew, which, coincidentally, is the same setting I used for my pourover cup this morning. The brew was pretty strong — as I wrote the last time I did this, I could probably get away with using less coffee, or diluting it a little bit. I’m curious what this would taste like if I made it the old-fashioned way (24 hour steep in the French press) but that would probably use up almost all of the beans I have left.

Cold Brew Redux

I made some cold brew at dinnertime today, with the same recipe I’ve been using for most of the summer, and decided to measure the quantity of water used so that I can double the recipe more easily and accurately. Here’s the latest recipe. Note that a “scoop” refers to the scoop that comes with the AeroPress.

  1. Set AeroPress up in inverted orientation and add 1 heaping scoop of drip-grind coffee
  2. Add 200 to 220 grams room-temperature water (enough to fill AeroPress to about 1cm of the top)
  3. Stir vigorously for 1 minute
  4. Flip and press into a glass tumbler (30 seconds)
  5. Add 2-3 ice cubes and a few drops of stevia to taste
  6. Stir and serve

Doubled recipe:

  1. Set AeroPress up in inverted orientation and add 2 heaping scoops of drip-grind coffee
  2. Fill AeroPress with room-temperature water to 1cm from top and note how much was added by weight
  3. Stir vigorously for 1 minute
  4. Flip and press into a tall glass, small pitcher, or carafe
  5. Top up to a total of 400-440 grams of water
  6. Add several drops of stevia to taste
  7. Stir, pour into tumblers, add ice, and serve

I’m still using Wellsley Farms Breakfast Blend pre-ground coffee to make this, but I’m almost out of it. Once it’s gone, I’ll try it with some Maxwell House Original Roast that we have in the cabinet.

Afternoon Report

The “AC Loss” issue with our new alarm panel seems to be resolved, at least for now. After reprogramming the last few zones in the system, I unplugged the system and let it run on battery for several minutes. Then, I swapped out the old Ademco 4300 X-10 transformer, replacing it with the transformer that came with the new panel. When I plugged it back in, the AC Loss condition cleared up. I have a hard time believing that the transformer was the issue. I read the panel voltage across terminals 1 and 2 with both transformers, and it was exactly the same — about 16.7 volts AC. Maybe the panel was just in a confused state, and needed an actual AC power loss and recovery to “reset” itself. However, the problem did persist through several power cycles (although I’m not sure I ran the panel on battery at any point). The only way to find out for sure would be to swap the old transformer back in, and see if the problem returns. However, since it’s working now, I’m inclined to leave it alone.

I decided to try doubling my cold brew recipe this afternoon. I put 2 slightly heaping scoops of Wellsley Farms breakfast blend into the (inverted) AeroPress, added room temperature filtered water up to near the top, stirred for 1 minute, and pressed. Then, I split the concentrated coffee equally into two tumblers, topped them up to roughly 8 ounces, and added ice and a couple drops of stevia to each glass. The extra coffee made it a little bit harder to press, but it turned out just fine. I couldn’t tell any difference from my single cup recipe. The next time I do this, I may measure the total amount of water per glass more carefully, then press into a carafe or pitcher instead of directly into a tumbler.

More Cold Brew

I’ve been making a cup of cold brew, using this recipe, almost every day that I’m at home in the afternoon. Somehow, though, my bag of Wellsley Farms pre-ground breakfast blend never seems to run out. I still have a ton of it left. Today, though, I decided to shake things up:

  • 15 grams Lost Dog “La Esparanza” medium/medium dark roast blend beans
  • JX: 2 rotations minus 6 clicks (54 total clicks or 18 on the grind chart) for a medium to slightly fine grind
  1. Set AeroPress up in inverted orientation with plunger inserted about 1cm, and add coffee.
  2. Fill AeroPress to within about 1cm of the top with room temperature, filtered water.
  3. Start timer and stir vigorously for 1 minute.
  4. Flip AeroPress and press gently into an 8-ounce tumbler.
  5. Add a drop or two of stevia and stir.
  6. Add 2 or 3 ice cubes to chill.

This turned out pretty good. I think I like it a little bit better than the cold brew that I make with the pre-ground coffee, but it does seem slightly stronger. It would probably be fine with 13 to 14 grams of coffee, although I’d need to be careful playing around with the ratio since I’m measuring the water by volume and not weight. I’ve been using the stevia for a while now with this recipe, as I’ve found that I like a tiny hint of sweetness with cold brew. A little definitely goes a long way — a couple of drops is plenty.

Tomorrow, I’m going to try making a hot cup with these beans for the first time in a week or two. I figure I’ve got 9 or 10 cups worth of beans left, so I’ll see if I can get a good, repeatable recipe dialed in before I run out of them.

Cold Brew

I started experimenting with making cold brew in the AeroPress last week at the beach. Here’s what I did today, and it turned out pretty good. I’ve been using the scoop and stirrer that came with the AeroPress.

  1. Set AeroPress up in inverted orientation with plunger inserted about 1cm.
  2. Add one heaping scoop of drip-grind coffee. AeroPress says this is about 15-16 grams, but I haven’t confirmed this. I have been using Wellsley Farms pre-ground medium roast breakfast blend, because I have a bag of it I’m trying to use up. Once it’s gone, I’ll switch to grinding whole beans by weight.
  3. Fill the AeroPress to within about 1cm of the top with room temperature, filtered water.
  4. Start timer and stir vigorously for 1 minute.
  5. Flip AeroPress and press gently into an 8-ounce tumbler. Add ice cubes to chill.

When I was doing this last week, I used less water to brew, and then topped the glass up with water or milk after pressing. Today, with more water in the chamber, it seemed like the coffee got mixed up a little better, and there was less coffee “sludge” on the stirrer when I removed it. The finished product seemed a little more flavorful, although it was subtle, and I’m not sure I’d be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test. I didn’t really care for it with milk. The milk gave it kind of a watered-down taste, probably because I was expecting it to have a milk-like consistency, which it didn’t, because it’s mostly water. I wonder how it would turn out if I brewed it with all milk instead of water? Might be worth trying one of these days.

Ride/Brew Notes

Today’s ride took me west from Bethany to Frankford (DE) and back, passing through the town of Omar along the way. On the whole, this is a more pleasant ride than south through Bayard, because there is less traffic, and the roads are wider and more bike-friendly. The town of Frankford itself is something of an exception, with more traffic and narrower roads that are not exceptionally well-maintained, but that’s a rather small portion of the ride. My total distance was just under 24 miles, which is about what I set out for today. From Frankford, the route can be extended by heading north to Dagsboro, South to Selbyville, or even east to Fenwick via DE-20 and DE-54.

I’ve been making a glass of cold brew every day this week, and I think I’ve gotten it nailed down to this recipe:

  1. Pre-moisten 2 new or used paper AeroPress filters
  2. Set AeroPress up in inverted orientation
  3. Add 1 heaping scoop (roughly 15 grams) Wellsley Farms Breakfast Blend pre-ground medium roast coffee
  4. Fill AeroPress a little over halfway with room temperature water
  5. Stir vigorously for 1 minute
  6. Press slowly into an 8-ounce glass
  7. Add ice and top with water

I had been brewing this in standard orientation previously, but a lot of water was dripping through while stirring, which the inverted orientation avoids. I think inverted produced a slightly superior result, but I’d have to do a blind taste test to say for sure. Next time, I think I’m going to try topping off with milk or cream, and see how that tastes.

I also found that using the drip coffee brewer makes a better hot cup with this coffee than the AeroPress method I was using earlier in the week. I’ve been using 4 level tablespoons coffee to 8 ounces (1 cup) water. I’m sure I could get better results from the AP with a little bit of tweaking, but haven’t really bothered fooling around with it.

Beach Brew

I brought my AeroPress on vacation with me, along with a big bag of Wellsley Farms Breakfast Blend pre-ground coffee, in hopes of using most of it up before its “best before” date in early August. After a few rather unsuccessful attempts to brew a good hot cup with the equipment available to me here, I decided to try the cold brew recipe from the AeroPress web site. I’ve tried making regular cold brew in a French press, which takes 24 hours and requires a coarse grind. I’ve also tried making pour-over iced coffee, also with the Wellsley Farms pre-ground beans. Both turned out pretty good, but I think the cold brew was slightly better. The AeroPress recipe produced a decent cup more quickly than the French Press and with less work than making pour-over iced coffee. I’ll probably experiment with this recipe a few more times this week. One thing that I noticed is that the long stir time allows more water than usual to drip through the filter before pressing. I might eventually try brewing this with the AP inverted (which would avoid the dripping) and see if it makes any noticeable difference.

Afternoon notes

Something is definitely up with my right foot and calf, as I’ve been getting some discomfort in the rear of the foot towards the heel while walking on my treadmill desk. My right calf also seems really tight, which is an issue I’ve dealt with a lot over the years. As I wrote yesterday, I suspect that it is an ankle mobility issue. It has gotten a little bit worse since I started swimming backstroke a few days ago, and I do think my kicking technique needs a lot of work. For the time being, I am going to stop doing backstroke and probably cut down a bit on freestyle, focusing more on breaststroke and butterfly, and see if it calms down. I’m also going to focus a little bit more on exercises to improve ankle mobility. I found this page, which seems like a pretty good resource.

I tried making some iced coffee this afternoon. I have a fair amount of pre-ground Wellsley Farms (BJ’s store brand) breakfast blend coffee with a “best by” date of August 2023, so I’m looking for creative ways to use it up. Since it’s ground fine for drip machines, it’s not ideal to use for cold brew, so I decided to try this recipe for iced coffee. I followed the recipe to the letter, using my electric kettle and measuring everything out with a scale. It’s the closest I’ve come to doing pour-over coffee. I don’t (yet) have a pour-over dripper, so I used a strainer and a regular coffee filter, and dripped the coffee into a Pyrex 2 quart measuring cup. Ideally, I need something a little bit deeper for this, as I had to lift the strainer up at the end to keep it out of the brewed coffee. But other than that, it turned out fine, and made about 24 ounces of iced coffee. It wasn’t all that strong, but good for a summer afternoon. I tried mixing some with a little bit of chocolate almond milk, which was tasty, but the almond milk doesn’t mix well with the water, and I had to keep stirring it to keep it from settling. Real dairy milk might fare better. At any rate, I’ll probably try doing this again.

Today’s (cold) brew notes

  • Beans: German St Coffee & Candlery Private House Blend
  • Coarse grind (JX: 3 rotations + 4 clicks / 94 total clicks)
  • Recipe: https://www.acouplecooks.com/french-press-cold-brew
  • 140 grams coffee (roughly 2 cups ground), 840 grams water

With summer upon us, I decided to try making some cold brew. The hardest part of this was grinding 140 grams of coffee with the JX. This job would be better suited to a higher capacity electric grinder. Other than that, there’s not much to it: just add the ingredients to the french press, stir, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 24 hours, and strain into a glass jar or pitcher. The resulting brew is concentrated, and the recipe recommends diluting 50/50 with either water or milk. I tried it with milk, and it was pretty good. Now, I need to work on trying to get a good cup of regular hot brew with these beans, but that’s for another day…

On an unrelated note, I just moved the back end database for this blog to a AWS RDS MariaDB instance. It had previously been running in a MariaDB Docker container on my old EC2 instance. This is the first step to getting my stuff off the EC2 instance and into (probably) EKS with Fargate. If you’re reading this, it means that it worked. 😀