Does flavored coffee add flavor to the next pot of coffee?

by Janet Barletta
(Baltimore, MD)


QUESTION:


Several of my co-workers (who do not like flavored coffee) have asked me to stop using it because they assume that the flavor of the grounds in my coffee will be retained by the coffee maker which they also use to make coffee. We use separate filters and nothing is unusual about this filter coffee maker in any other way. I realize the aroma may be very strong for flavored coffees, but this does not necessarily mean the coffee-maker retains the flavor.

I do not want to inflict my coffee flavor on their filtered coffee, so I would really like to know if any 'scientific' studies have been performed to either support or negate this hypothesis. We are all serious scientists, so I'm sure we would all support the findings from actual tests which have determined whether this is a possibility or not.

Hope you can answer this question.

ANSWER:

Janet, hi

Thanks for the question.

I don't imagine any scientific research has been done on this topic. However, I do know that some coffee tasters and roasters would agree that a very small amount of coffee flavoring can remain on surfaces in the brewer.

However, as the filter basket is the last stop in the process between with water reservoir and the carafe, cleaning the filter and the part of the brewer that supports it should solve your problem. Rinsing with water between brews should do the trick. If you want to be absolutely certain, wash it with a little vinegar and water and then rinse thoroughly.

As a scientist you may also want to actually test your colleagues and see if they really can taste any flavor residue.

Make some regular coffee in the brewer. Then separately just pour some hot water onto some flavored coffee grinds, to get a little aroma in the air.

Now wait for them to make their own coffee and see just how "honest" or accurate their claims are.

If they claim to be able to taste the flavoring, you'll know that the culprit is the aroma and not the taste.

If all else fails, get yourself a separate coffee maker.

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How long should coffee take to brew?

The best brew time for coffee is typically about 4 minutes

The best brew time for coffee is typically about 4 minutes


QUESTION:

Why does my coffee pot take so long to brew? I am talking like 20 minutes....The pot gets cleaned to remove hard water etc..

ANSWER:

That is way, way too long. Any kind of coffee maker should get the job done in about three or four minutes.

This will depend, of course, on the type of coffee maker you use. Some of the single serve brewers have been designed to brew coffee faster.

If your coffee is being brewed for longer than 4 or 5 minutes, you'll get a very bitter and unpleasant taste.

If you have cleaned your coffee pot regularly, and there is nothing else obviously wrong, I suggest you get a new brewer.

A decent coffee maker doesn't cost a great deal, and at least you'll be getting a decent cup of coffee from it.

If you're interested, we have a page on coffee makers that cost less than $50....

Nick

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What exactly is Gourmet Coffee?

by Charles
(Tempe, Arizona)


QUESTION:

I work in a small office and a couple of people insist we buy coffee beans in packages that say 'gourmet coffee' on the label. Myself, I don't see any difference with coffee that isn't described at gourmet coffee. Is there a difference? What is gourmet coffee?

ANSWER:


Charles, hi

Thanks for the question.

Basically, you're right. When a bag of beans is described as being gourmet coffee, that is no guarantee of quality.

One would hope that any coffee roaster who did call its coffee 'gourmet' would be selling you 100% Arabica beans, and that the quality of the original green beans was high.

But there is no regulation or even agreement as to when and if the term should or shouldn't be used.

In North America the term can be traced back to the 1960's when Alfred Peet began to shift people's attitudes about coffee. Before he opened his first gourmet coffee store in California in 1966, most people's idea of coffee was a cup of joe from the local diner.

Nobody thought about the origin of the beans or even cared how they had been roasted or brewed. Coffee was a generic beverage.

Alfred Peet began to change attitudes about coffee and then, as we all know, Starbucks picked up on the same idea and completely transformed the coffee business.

When we use the term gourmet coffee today, we are simply talking about that shift in perception from "any coffee will do" to "I'm interested in the origin, quality and roast of the coffee I buy".

You can learn more about this on our gourmet coffee page....

If you want to know more about Peet's, they are still going strong. Here's the Peet's Coffee web site.

Nick

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Is it better to buy my coffee online?

by matt
(carmichael, CA)


QUESTION:

Usually I buy my coffee locally when I do my shopping. But I'm thinking maybe I'd do better buying from an online coffee store. What are the advantages? Or disadvantages?

ANSWER:

Great question. Buying coffee online certainly offers a lot of advantages.

The greatest advantage is that you will have a lot more choice when you shop online. Supermarkets have limited shelf space and, within that, they limit the amount of space allocated to gourmet coffee beans and ground coffee.

Go online and the range of choices increases a hundred times or more.

You can buy from established online stores like Peets, Starbucks, Green Mountain Coffee and many others. In addition, if you dig a little deeper, you will find smaller, specialty coffee retailers online and, of course, coffee roasters.

Another benefit to buying from online coffee stores is that in spite of the shipping times, the coffee is often lot fresher.

Coffee beans on supermarket shelves may have been roasted and packaged weeks or even months before. Online you can find coffee roasters who won't even roast your beans until you place an order.

If you have found a favourite coffee at a local store, that's great.

But if you want to experiment with a wider variety of coffees from a range of different retailer and roasters, try shopping online.

We have a page about choosing the best online coffee store here.

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