Tag Archives: drip

Black and Decker coffeemaker recalled, 68 injured

A popular space-saving under cabinet coffee maker has been recalled by Black and Decker.  The recall involves about 159,000 units sold under different model designations.

Here’s a link to CNN’s telling of the story.

What’s The Best Decaf Coffee Available?

I get asked all the time.

And my response is always cautious.  The question is way too subjective, and there’s about 20 different brewing variables that will impact how any one coffee will behave.  But if you want to know what I think is the best decaf available, I will.  But you need to tell me yours.

What makes a great decaf coffee?  Well, I think some decafs have a processed taste, like the bean has been also sucked dry of flavor as well as caffeine.  I look for a coffee that has a full, complex flavor.  I like something that satisfies not only my tastebuds but SMELLS good too …. in the bag and also in the cup.  I like something that relies on the bean characteristics rather than the sheer darkness of the roast to transmit taste to me.  Again, it’s the quality of the bean and the method of caffeine extraction that makes the difference.

My choice for best decaf coffee that’s widely available is:

Peet’s Coffee,  “Major Dickason’s Blend -Decaf”

My current favorite, Major Dickason's Decaf!

You can find this in many supermarkets or gourmet markets.  You can buy it directly from Alfred Peet’s company for 15.95 a pound.  It has what it takes to be considered an all-world cup of decaf joe:  full and rich, not a whole lot of unwanted roast characteristics, works for the nose as well as the tongue, and doesn’t have that nasty “I’ve-been-messed-with” over-processed quality that cheaper decafs have (think -“Sanka”).

That’s what I think.   I’ll always like this particular blend, but I can be convinced that the crown should go elsewhere.  Tell me what your favorite is and I’ll give it a spin here on the blog.

How Does a Keurig Work?

The Keurig has been on the Coffee Whisperer’s test bench for about two months now.  I’m impressed.  Does it make the absolute best cup of coffee that I’ve ever had?  No.  But it does create a perfectly drinkable cup with the lowest effort of any coffee system, including instants.  How does the K system make this happen?  How does it turn ground coffee into brew in under a minute?  It does this by blending together two traditional ways of making cafe:   It is part drip, part espresso.  A glimpse inside a K cup will illustrate this.

This cutaway view will show you what you’d see if you tore a used K cup apart … there’s a paper filter bonded to the top of the cup.  The cup holster assembly punches a hole in the top foil and pops a smaller passageway  in the bottom.  The 192 degree hot water is pushed through the top hole under pressure and moved through the grounds.  While not extremely high pressure, it IS greater than standard drip coffee makers that rely on gravity to pull the hot water down through the coffee and filter medium.  This pressurized process allows the 8- 10 ounces of water to move through the device in under a minute, extracting the flavors of the final product.  So while there are qualities of a drip system in place, the water mimics the characteristics of a pressurized espresso system.

The difference comes into play when it’s time to clear the spent grounds.  A espresso machine will require a swift rap on a knock box or trash bin to release the coffee “puck” and then a rinse under running water to clean the portafilter.  Then there’s some brushing to clean the metal screen that distributes water from the group head.  The Keurig requires a lift of the handle and cup removal.  We’ll talk later about the need or wisdom of running an empty shot through the machine as part of regular maintenance.  But here’s the real magic of the Keurig:  it’s EASY.  It’s easy to use, and easy to clean.  No brainer, grab a cup and you’ve got it  … coffee maker.  That is indeed the attraction of this system, you can’t make a fresh cup any easier.  Are there some downsides?  Any compromises?  Yes, sure.  But you get a solid cup without a bunch of hassle.  Actually no hassle.

And that’s how a Keurig works.   Basically.    There’s buttons and features and stuff.  But if you’re interested in how the coffee comes out….well, there you are.