Smell the Coffee

May 18, 2017

Written by Art Petrosemolo

I am a coffee nut… I like good coffee. I am not a Starbucks fan as I think they over-roast their beans but my search for good coffee is ongoing. I recently finished a story for the Lititz Record on local coffee roasters and coffee shops which will be published soon. It was eye-opening to learn what I didn’t know.

I visited large and small coffee roasters including a very small roasting coffee shop right here in New Holland (New Holland Coffee Co and owner Sara Bare in the small mall next to McDonald’s). But, by far, I learned the most from Dennis Tessen and his wife Peggy Woods at Whiff Roasters in Lititz. Many local coffee shops sell Whiff coffee and it is available in beans and ground in stores. Stauffers of Kissel Hill is their biggest outlet both in packages and to drink right there.

What I learned about coffee is it doesn’t make too much difference how you brew it – perk on the stove, automatic drip like Mr. Coffee, manual drip in a carafe, or even French Press or my favorite siphon. Coffee needs to be the right grind for the process and it needs to be measured properly for the number of cups as well as brewed with the correct water temperature. Lots of places online offer that information and you can also check your coffee pot instruction manual.  If you are using Maxwell House and a Mr. Coffee machine you don’t have much control except for the proper measuring. Be sure you know how many 8 oz. cups the machine brews. Then, use two tablespoons of coffee for each cup as a starter. Going forward, adjust for strength and taste. See if you see a difference.

Now if you are like me and grind the beans, be sure you grind at the right size for the coffee brewing method…. Medium grind is the appropriate grind for many coffee machines but coarse is the grind for perk coffee and fine is the grind for many drip machines. Also if you purchase beans to grind yourself, be sure to use a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder. A burr grinder crushes the beans and releases the oils needed in brewing. A blade grinder just cuts the beans and releases less oil.  Yes, electric burr grinders are more expensive but small, hand-held models are relatively inexpensive. If you own an antique from your mom and dad’s home… let me know, I WANT IT.

And, measure, measure, measure correctly. Use filtered or bottled water whenever possible. I don’t have to remind you of the flavor of New Holland water. For a French Press or manual drip pour, get the water to boil in a kettle (never re-boil water) and then remove from heat for one or two minutes to drop the temperature to the ideal 180-190 degrees before pouring.

I am taking my time now making coffee thanks to what I learned from Dennis at Whiff and I am enjoying it more… it smells better and tastes better and I can drink two cups leisurely (I put coffee into a thermos after brewing) in the morning after my early morning swim workout.

My favorite coffee… I like Whiff’s Three Amigos (Lancaster) blend and his Kenya AA single source coffee.

Don’t be discouraged… give it a try and let me know if your coffee tastes better?

And, finally, I learned if coffee upsets your stomach, you don’t have to switch to Decaf. Try a Sumatran coffee…Sheetz sells it and you can try a cup there. It will be much easier on your stomach or so Dennis tells me. Friends who have tried it agree.

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