Q: Should I store my coffee in the refrigerator or the freezer?
A: The best coffee is made from the freshest beans. Store your beans in an airtight container away from direct sunlight - never in the fridge or freezer, because when you take the beans out of the fridge or freezer condensation forms on them. That moisture destroys the freshness of the coffee beans. As coffee ages it gives off gas; this process, too, causes the beans to lose flavor. There are many ways of retarding this off-gassing (sealing the beans in an airtight nitrogen-filled pack) but they only slow the process, they do not stop it. The best solution is freshly roasted beans!
Q: What is the difference between espresso makers?
We will answer the easy part first... Pump , Steam and stove top. The pump makes true espresso - the kind of coffee you are likely to get at your favorite coffee shop. This process takes very finely ground coffee and forces a relatively small (50 - 100 ml) amount of water through it at high pressure, extracting the maximum amount of flavor and aroma with the least amount of acid. Both the steam makers and the stove top models are often rather confusingly CALLED espresso makers, also use a fine grind of coffee (thought not as fine as the pump) and force the water trough it using steam pressure. It does not extrect as effectively as the pump, but does extract more than a plunger pot or a drip maker.
Q: Should I get my coffee ground for me or should I grind it myself?
A: There is no easy answer here because it really depends upon what type of coffee maker you use at home and how fast you will be using your coffee. The rule of thumb, though, is that fresh ground is better - so if you can grind it yourself that is optimal. The following types coffee-makers take coffee that can be ground in a relatively inexpensive "blade" grinder (available in most housewares departments.) You can also grind coffee for these methods using a blender or a food processor. Simply put the amout of beans in and blend for a few seconds in short bursts. You can also use a "wand" style blender but you must make sure that you use a deep vessel for the grinding. ( for more in-depth instructions on this method see "How to make a great cup of coffee".)
Q: what kind of grinder should I get?
A: If you are NOT using a Pump Espresso Machine, then any blade grinder will work fine for you. If you ARE using a Pump Espresso than we recomend the M M Espresso Grinder from Gaggia ( around 150 euro)or the GVX2 Espresso grinder from KRUPS (around 75 euro). They are both great grinders, though the Krups does seem to be able to go a fair bit finer than the Gaggia. Sometimes we have these in stock, contact us if you are interested and can't find one in your favorite shop.
Q When I put the water on my coffee grounds ( in the cafetiere or in the measuring cup method) there is a lot of bubbling. What the heck IS THAT?
A: That is the gasses in the coffee reacting with the hot water. It is also a great way to tell how fresh your coffee is: the more bubbling the fresher the coffee! Just stir it up and it will go down.
More Questions? Email us at feedback AT hedgehogcoffee DOT com