Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to adjust the OPV on Silvia – 2010 and up

This is defiantly the easiest and fastest mod that I have ever made for my Silvia. But never the less, I think it might be the most essential so far.

For a while now, I have had some suspicions about my OPV being set wrong (factory setting). My shots wiggled a bit too early and blonded too fast sometimes as well.

Adjusting the OPV is no problem, simply follow this video.

But if you like me don’t have the pressure gage in store, here is a method that can be used. I found it on Home-barista.

Use the video above, to know the inside of the machine.

Measure the flow in the return line using a pyrex cup while pumping with a blind filter. With a stop watch, time how long it takes to go from the 2 oz mark to the 6 oz mark or 4 oz to 8 oz etc, etc. You\'ll come up with 4 ounces in \"X\" seconds. \"X\" should be between 27 and 28 seconds.

Very simple and accurate. If you get 6 oz in less than 28 seconds, turn the OPV clockwise to tighten the spring inside, decreasing the water flow. If you get less than 6 oz in 28 seconds do it the opposite way.
Keep adjusting till you have the seconds right.

My experience is a better flowing shot, with no blonding or wiggling. You would properly have to adjust your grinder a bit to the new flow.

Highly recommendable to spend 20 minutes, to check if it’s all set correct.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coffee Jam at Great Coffee

On Sunday I took a trip to Aarhus. Great Coffee opened their doors and welcomed everyone with interest in coffee.
At the same time the Danish Unofficial Championship Of Home Baristas were held. Three contestants entered, and they all delivered beautiful coffee and great results.

Beautiful surroundings for a coffee shop IMO

Every possible method of brewing can be found here, of course Søren Stiller, award winning latte art, and bariata champion and owner, made exquisite espresso on the Synesso for the audience.

One of the contestants home setup. Some serious equipment.

The big roaster

The lifestyle program, "So fucking special" made a program about home baristas. Hoast Christine Feldthaus interviewing Søren.

Søren Stillers trophyes

The contestants. Winner in the middle, second place to the right and third place in the left.


Competitors, who all know each other in privat.Lots of love and friendship, even when competing.

All in all a really great day, with great coffee and many participants all with the love of coffee.

The event was arranged by and Great Coffee

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cleaning your grinder with rice

I have heard several times, of the possibility to clean a grinder with white instant rice. As my old Bodum grinder is up for a cleaning, I thought of the rice experiment as a great opportunity.

Usually I just take this grinder apart and clean it manually, because it is really easy to disassemble. I use it only for frenchpress. 

Most common, as I understand, is Grindz for cleaning a grinder and it does a really great job, but it is expensive. There are some things to keep in mind using rice. It has to be instant and white, otherwise the rice will be too hard and the grinder will properly stall. Rice should do a fair job of sucking up the oils, as of what I have read. 

A picture of the burrs before cleaning. As you can see it’s about time.

I set the grinder at espresso setting (this is no way near fine enough for espresso; this grinder cannot be used for espresso brewing.)

I must admit that the noise is a little freighting. But no sign of damage though. Hard steal burrs should cope with rice in my opinion. 

The small well used motor, had a hard time getting thru the rice, I had to add it little by little to prevent stall.

As you can see, the rice powder gets more pure and white as I got along.

End result, looks pretty god, the burrs are clean, and there are no visible oils. It’s only the burrs that gets clean this way, the surroundings has to be cleaned by hand. But as a weekly routine this should do the job just fine. I used a vacuum cleaner getting the last rice powder out, washed the container and hopper and ran thru some beans before using it for coffee. 

I am really excited about this. I am going to use rice as my weekly routine for the next couple of months, and I am sure I won’t feel any difference from Grindz.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

How to convert a bread maker in to a home coffee roaster (Coretto Method)

This is a guide to make a cheap fully functional home roaster out of a bread maker.

The Coretto Method is a very common roast method, many users get exquisite results just as good as high-end equipment roasters can deliver. With some small modifications you can even roast by profile.
The basics of the method, is that the dough arm in the bottom of the bread pan, mixes the beans for an even roast. A heat gun from your local hardware store will deliver the hot air in to the pan, roasting your beans. A bread maker can be bought for less than 80$ same goes for the heat gun. I bought both secondhand, saving more than half the price of new. In a Coretto, you can without any problem roast 500gr batches. Compared to the other option, the popper this is way more convenient.

It can be done in two ways, each with different modifications.

The easy way
Open Coretto

The easiest and most effortless way, is simply to open the lid, and place the heat gun in a stand pointing at the beans. There are some things to be aware of though. You have to look and listen closely, and determine the roast by sight. Most people keeps a fan near the heat gun to prevent chaff from getting to its intake, it won’t survive for long, getting chaff in there all the time. It’s going to take some batches getting the time and heat in order. You will control the heat by switching the levels on the gun up and down. 

The geeky way
Closed Coretto
This way many think you get a sweeter roast. I choose it because i think that you get more control, because the heat loss is significantly smaller.
The closed way can be done in several ways:

The lid:
One option is to simply drill a hole thru the original lid, placing the heat gun in the hole. I wouldn’t recommend that, because of the fire hazard. The temperature gets really high, and the lid is typically a simple plastic shield, with an inner lid of thin aluminum. Make your own lid, if you have the tools and the craftsmanship you can make a lid appropriate to your needs.

 I Did 


If you just want it nice and easy, but still closed, use a bathroom tile and a stand for the heat gun, leaving a gap at the side to entry air. This way you can slide the tile back and forth, looking, listening and even controlling small parts of the temperature letting heat out.

Thermocouple (TC)
Mounting a TC thru the side lets you know the bean temperature. It’s essential when roasting by profile, and very useful when starting home roasting because you can see the different stages much easier. There is different TC on the market, combined with software to log your roast on a computer, this way you don’t need to write it all down by hand. It’s a good gadget, very time saving, but also quite expensive in my opinion.    

A way to keep even more temperature stability, is to insulate the pan. Easiest way to do this, is to wrap the pan with a fire blanket and steel wire. Often you would have to remove the original heat element from the bread maker, or else there won’t be enough room for the pan. 

Heat control
Control of your roast to the smallest detail requires a mod, controlling the heat element inside the heat gun. To control the heat gun, you need a light dimmer. Most heat guns are 2000W, therefore you need a big light dimmer, and they are really expensive. So if you already know, that you want the option of stepless heat control, consider buying a heat gun with stepless control from the beginning. They are not much more expensive than the other ones, but they are defiantly a lot cheaper than the dimmer. 

If you don’t want the chaff flying around inside the pan, you need to make some kind of exhaust. I made my lid slightly bigger than the machine, this way two corners are open, letting out the chaff this way. Others have made their thru the side or in the lid. 

Of course most of the mods above, can also be made for the open coretto.

Keep safety in mind. The parts used in the coretto were not meant for the purpose.

Always keep a fire extinguisher in range.
Never leave the machines while running, or still hot.
Use your common sense, if its looks like going wrong, abort and start over when cooled down.
Coffee channel can in no way be held responsible for any damage you may have dealt to your equipment or surroundings.

I have just yesterday received three kinds of different raw beans from The Coffee Collective; I’m going to roast them in my coretto, showing the results along with a review on the blog.

Enjoy roasting

Best regards

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jamaican Blue Mountain Review... So i thought..

Review of Jamaican Blue mountain

(What were meant as a review, transformed in to a guide about storage and purchase advises.)

As a gift I was given a small bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain pre-roasted coffee beans. This bag were in the same gift basket as the Kopi Luwak I have written a review(link) about. Opening the bag I was again disappointed. No aromas, only blank, flat coffee-like notes. Coffee from the supermarket smells richer than this. I brewed it only as French press, and it was a good coffee. But in no way mind blowing. I am starting to think the beans itself is not the issue. They must have been mistreated in some way. I have talked to other coffee enthusiast, who commends this particular coffee very much. Starting the detective work, I took contact to a friend of mine, living close to the shop were the beans were purchased. He went down there, and could report back to me, that the roasted beans are kept in a glass bowl, not even with a lid on it, in the sun…
What we’re supposed to be a review of a discussed and highly recognized coffee, from the legendary blue mountains of Jamaica, has become a lesson in the great importance of storing coffee the correct way. 
Roasted coffee beans are extremely fragile to oxygen and sunlight. It’s essential that they are kept in a dark and airtight bin or bag. The best possible option is a special container with a one way valve, letting gasses out, keeping oxygen from getting in. Hendrup has made a very good and enlightening guide about this topic, running over three posts.   

The lesson of this topic is that even the best and most expensive coffees can be ruined in several links of processing. The first link is the farmer, if he doesn’t care about the coffee plants, harvest or the after-harvest process it is most likely impossible to get good coffee from the bean. 

Next is the roast master. Learning the art of roasting, and getting the best flavors out of a particular bean, is a craft which takes years and years of practice, building and learning skills.

After roasting comes the storage and packing. As mentioned a one way valve bag is the optimal and most common way. Kept dark, and at room temperature. Many people storage their roasted beans, in the refrigerator, or even the freezer. This is supposed to keep the volatile aromas in the beans. This is an option; it should actually work quite well. But I prefer buying only what I can consume while the beans are fresh. This way I only get the best product.   

Different size Co2 bags - all with the same qualities

Last but not least is the brewing. There are so many techniques for brewing coffee that I won’t get in to it in this post. Essentially for all brew methods, is to read and learn about the best way to extract your ground beans, with your chosen way of brew. Learning the basics first, and then experience what suits you and your taste buds along the way. It is a long way with tons of trial and error. But that’s what makes it exciting and fun.

The best way of always getting fresh beans, and being sure of the quality, is to roast them yourself. This is a whole new adventure, with even more money and time spend. If you don’t have the time or interest in roasting, here is some things to look for when buying coffee. 

Usually you get what you pay for. Cheap coffee from the local supermarket is not worth the time if you are looking for a fantastic coffee experience. Find a store specialized in dealing fresh and good coffee , which has been pampered from the time the coffee plant was put in the ground. 
Look for the roasting date; get it when it is no more than a couple of days old if possible. If you can’t find a date, don’t buy it. A roast master confident of his product will always date the roast. 

Quality coffee are always kept in a one way valve bag, this way the roast master are certain that his product are delivered the best possible way.

If you look for these few things when purchasing, storage and brewing your coffee, you are most likely to get a great coffee experience.

It is a lot more expensive, but much more satisfying. Drinking coffee this way, it teaches you to enjoy, more than need coffee. The usual household pores down coffee, because it is a regular part of the day. Do yourself the favor of learning what really great coffee is.             

Closing up, I want to specify that I still don’t know if Jamaican Blue Mountain is a nice cup of coffee… I still have that experience to look forward at. For what I have heard, a fresh newly roasted, correct brewed Jamaican Blue Mountain bean is a heavenly, soft and smooth drink.   

Best regards