I just bought 5 pounds of Sumatran coffee from Paradise Roasters. This is currently one hot roaster. They seem to get all A’s from Coffee Review’s editor, Kenneth Davids. This particular coffee is rated a 94. Frankly, I’m undecided about grades – after all, I was a pretty lowly student in high school.

Yesterday, after the coffee arrived, I couldn’t wait to brew some. I fired up a water kettle and ground 35 grams, which is the right amount for a half-batch in my Chemex and fills exactly four small cups of coffee. I’ll skip the details, but it was a disappointing cup of coffee. Before you say I’m criticizing Paradise, I’m not. That is, I’m not sure what was wrong. I brewed another batch when we finished dinner. My friend Father Tom Corbino was over, a great coffee drinker. He was polite but I could tell he wasn’t blown away by the coffee. He hardly mentioned it. That time I used a Technivorm ,full bore and 60 grams of grounds. Lackluster, if I do say so.

This morning I tried again, using the Chemex again. I adjusted the grind, coarsening it up just a notch, but to no avail. After lunch, I made a small batch in my four-cup Kitchen Aid brewer. It was wonderful!

What happened? Well, I’ve found the Kitchen Aid to be one of my favorite coffee brewers. It is delightfully consistent. While it errs on brewing at just under industry standards, reaching only about 195 at peak during the brewing cycle, it does do a terrific job at getting all the grounds equally wet. In this way it is the best automatic drip machine I’ve yet tested. I use 34 grams of ground coffee for 4 cups.

But, I suspect it is more than this wonderful brewer. The coffee is now three days old. I’m convinced that many coffees need an adequate rest period before their flavors mellow out to the balanced cup we desire. This is not a subtle taste difference.

I intend to test using the Chemex and other brewers and report my findings, but while the vast percentage of coffee beans are brewed too late, I think too early can be disappointing as well. Think of unripe fruit.

Copyright 2010 Kevin Sinnott All Rights Reserved

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