Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Sunday Filler – Coffee & Cigars

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Every morning, work or not, I spark up a mild to medium bodied cigar, and fill up a mug of coffee. The coffee gives that kick of caffeine while the cigar relaxes the mind. A good way to start any day.

While browsing The Stogie Review, I ran across an old article about pairing coffee and cigars. Make sure you check it out, because it covers a lot that I am not.

What prompted me to do this quick post is coffee makers. They are not all created equally. I’ve gone through several over the years. Some better then others, ranging from $40.00 to $100.00 and available at any local store. All of them were basically the same consumer product. This is probably fine for most people, but I’m picky. I want good coffee with minimal bitterness, and I want it HOT.

Mr. Coffee, Kitchen Aid, Krups, Cuisinart, Starbucks brewers, etc… All garbage in the end. They didn’t make coffee hot enough, or broke within a year or two. All have plenty of bells and whistles, but fail at their primary task – Making good coffee.

Apparently to make a good cup of coffee, besides the proper grind, you need water at the proper temperature. “They” say around 200 degrees F is required. To reduces that bitter taste, you must limit the time grounds are exposed to the hot water. Doing it too long extracts everything from the grounds, good and bad. Not long enough, and you’ll have weak coffee with mild flavor.

After years of experimenting with various brands and reading reviews, I almost gave up. I started looking at industrial brands like Bunn, a popular brand used in coffee shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, you can pay upwards of $600.00 for that stuff. Not possible on my budget.

My requirements are simple: Make good hot coffee, and no glass carafe with a heat plate that burns the coffee. An insulated thermal carafe is great and can keep coffee hot for hours, minus that burnt taste.

Enter the Bunn BTX-B, a consumer coffee maker.

BTX_B No bells and whistles, no timer, no clock. Just a coffee machine. This looked promising.

A good friend Jay has used a similar model for years. So I took his advice, as well as many positive reviews, and gave it a try. A trip to Wal Mart and $150.00 later, I was set.

Operation is simple. On the back, the large silver tank houses 10 cups of water. It is kept at 200 degrees at all times. I turn the tank off and flip it on at bed time. This saves energy and the coffee maker is ready to go when I get up. It takes about 15 minutes to heat up the tank if you are making multiple pots of coffee. Basically if you brew a pot, you have to wait 15 minutes to brew the next pot. Not an issue for me.

To brew a pot of coffee, you pour 10 cups of water into the top of the unit. Once you close the lid, the hot water in the tank is forced through the grinds at a quick pace at high velocity. The fresh water you just poured into the top is automatically placed into the holding tank to heat up for the next pot. Total brewing time is 3 minutes. Worth noting, its advisable to use Bunn filters. They are a little taller and eliminate grounds spilling over and getting into the pot. Again not a problem for me, they are cheap and readily available at any Wal Mart.

How was the coffee? After some experimentation with the grind and amount of grounds placed into the basket, I found a sweet spot. Piping hot coffee with minimal bitterness. The insulated carafe keeps coffee hot for hours. Even at the end of the day, coffee still tastes fresh. 30 seconds in the microwave is all it needs.

So if you are a picky bastard like I am with your coffee, consider the Bunn BTX-B. So far I’ve been happy with it. Although its only been a few weeks since I’ve owned the Bunn, I am at least hopeful now.

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