Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Difference Between Cold Brew And Iced Coffee

By Taylor Nachtrieb

Since the recent popularity of cold brew coffee many consumers have wondered - what is the difference between cold brew and iced coffee? The main difference is the brewing method itself; cold brew is steeped with cold water for 12-48 hours, where iced coffee is brewed with hot water and then mixed with cold water and refrigerated. Both methods are relatively easy to execute, but the flavor profile achieved can be dramatically different. 

The Cold Brew Process

There are many different brewer options that can be used in order to make cold brew, but our favorite is the Toddy. You want to start with freshly roasted coffee; we recommend using our Golden Gate Java and you will need a medium-coarse grind so that it will allow the cold water to properly steep through the grounds. Once the coffee is ground you will insert the stopper into the bottom of the container from the outside and then wet the filter and place it at the bottom of the container from inside. The Toddy brewers are available in different sizes, so depending on the size you are using you will need to add cold filtered water into the bottom of the container, followed by coffee, more water & then the remaining coffee. Once the Toddy is filled with cold water and ground coffee you want to use the back of a spoon to gently press down any dry coffee grounds to make sure it's evenly saturated. Now you must wait, which is probably the hardest part of the brewing process! 

Keep the Toddy at room temperature while the cold brew is working it's magic for anywhere from 12-48 hours. Once the grueling 48 hours passes you can now remove the stopper and let the coffee slowly pour itself into the included glass decanter. The cold brew concentrate you just created will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge! The reason I refer to it as a concentrate is because you will want to add cold water to it so it is not too strong, depending on your preference. 

Cold brew coffee has emerged in popularity over the years due to the following characteristics; it has a higher caffeine content because it is in contact with the coffee grounds for a substantial amount of time, it is considered smoother in taste and less acidic than regular drip coffee, and lastly is brings out more of the flavor profile of the beans that are used in the brewing process.

The Iced Coffee Brew Process

The iced coffee brewing method is not as simple as pouring hot coffee over ice due to the simple fact that the ice melts almost instantly and turns the coffee into a watery, lukewarm coffee - and no one wants that. Hot coffee = good; cold coffee = good; warm coffee = bad. You will want to start with our Premium Iced Coffee Blend, which is conveniently ground and packaged into 5 oz. fractional bags. We have carefully taken the time to experiment with different blends, roast shades, and grind settings to come up with what we believe will make the best cup of iced coffee. You will want to use a standard coffee brewer like a Bunn Machine to brew the pot of hot coffee. Although you are using more ground coffee than you typically would (2.5 oz.) the grind is coarse enough so the brew basket will not overflow, and you will get a stronger tasting coffee which will in turn not taste diluted when the cold water is added to it. For every pot of coffee that is brewed you will want to add a third of a pot of cold water to it. Ideally you will want to keep the coffee in the fridge overnight to ensure a nice, cold cup of iced coffee for the following day.

No matter if you prefer cold brew, or iced coffee - one thing we can all agree on is there's nothing better than an iced cold cup of freshly brewed coffee on a hot summer day...or a cold snowy night like tonight! 

 Chris Coffee Service

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Friday, January 20, 2017

A Few Coffee Basics

Some of the best coffee beans in the world are grown between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn in and area known as the "Coffee Belt". South America dominates coffee plantations with Brazil contributing more than 40% of all coffee production worldwide.

The coffee bean is actually a seed, and it is tucked inside the fruit of a coffee plant similar to a pit of a cherry. The two most common coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans top the charts with a smoother taste, yet Robustas, as the name suggests, provide a bold and slightly bitter taste and have twice the caffeine as their Arabica sisters.

Coffee plants need ample rainfall early months of growth, and less after the fruit begins to ripen. Rainforests prove to be an ideal location for coffee production. The hand picked coffee seeds are processed by either using a wet or dry method. For the wet method the seeds are soaked in water for a few days to remove the excess mucilage of the seed. The dry method takes the fruit picked from the seeds and laid in the sun to dry for a few weeks. Most coffee is washed, except for Ethiopians and Brazils. The drying method is less expensive and a lower quality method of processing. The reason one is done over the other generally has to do with available space, and the fact that a lot of people don't want the fruitiness associated with the wet method.

The length of time the bean is roasted will determine its flavor profile and caffeine content. Beans that are roasted longer will have a shiny black appearance and will be slightly bitter and bolder in taste. Lighter roasted beans tend to be sweeter, smoother, and even floral in flavor. The lighter roasted beans actually contain more caffeine than the darker roasted ones!

Coffee will either be sold as single origin, or blends. Blends are much like blends of wine - a red blend vs. a Merlot or Cabernet. Single origin beans come directly from one location only, exactly as you would assume. Single origin beans are typically for the coffee gurus - often no question as to their flavor profile. When you grind your coffee beans it releases their oils and grinding fresh beans allows you to change the grind for different applications. It is very important to store your beans in an airtight container immediately after grinder to keep them as fresh as possible.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Why Soft Water Is So Important

Filtration - Why do we need it?

By: Tynnetta Eckler 

So, you’ve done all of the research on which espresso machine is best for you and after what seems like forever, you make a decision and choose that a gorgeous direct plumbed espresso machine of your dreams. So why should I worry about the water?

Scale deposits - which are due to a high amount of carbonate hardness in your water. These deposits can cause several issues, the least of which is coffee, that does not taste as it should! Hard water can also affect the crema of your espresso.

The scale build up can cause your machine to stop working properly and can be very costly to repair. It is our recommendation that you should always use a softening/filtration system to protect your investment.

Mavea is our brand of choice for softening and filtration. Why? Because Mavea uses Hydrogen Ion Exchange rather than Sodium Ion Exchange, they are NSF approved, easy to use and replace, and come compact in just 1 cartridge that both softens AND filters your water!

How the MAVEA filtration system works

The MAVEA filtration technology is an optimized mix of activated carbon and ion exchange resin. These work together with the unique cartridge shape to improve water taste and reduce carbonate hardness and other contaminants such as chlorine, cadmium, copper, mercury, atrazine, simazine, benzene and tetrachloroethylene.

100% of your water is filtered

Water is split within the filter head, the by-pass water feeds over activated carbon with the mainstream water flowing through ion exchange resin. The result is 100% of the water is treated for taste color and odor as well as preventing scale buildup in the machine.

 100% of your water has bad taste, color, and odor taken out. Scale causing minerals are removed along with heavy metal.

Something NEW is the Mavea FlowMeter. This is a vital part to have for anyone purchasing a plumbed in espresso machine.

This FlowMeter measures the amount of water that passes through your filter/softening system. Softening systems are rated to remove a specific number of grains of hardness.

Based on the hardness of your water, i.e. the number of grains of hardness per gallon, and the number of grains of hardness your system is rated to remove, you can calculate the number of gallons of water your system will soften.

Simply divide your systems capacity by the number of grains of hardness per gallon in your water and the results are how many gallons of water your system is capable of softening.

Enter that number in the meter and it will count down in 1/10th of a gallon increments. Once it reaches zero the filter capacity is exhausted, the capacity is displayed as negative and flashes.

In addition, a timer indicates the recommended replacement of the filter cartridge by causing the residual capacity to flash after a maximum of 12 months. This ensures the filter cartridge is being changed on time.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How To Brew With A French Press

As the saying goes, when in France do as the French do. Well, we’re not in France but you should definitely do as the French do when it comes to making coffee with a French Press. Some say that this classic coffee brewing method produces the best coffee with its rich and bold, yet clean taste. One of the reasons that the French Press brews such a great cup of coffee is because the concentrated, complex flavors of the beans are revealed when the water is in contact with the grounds for the entire brew process. In addition, the filtration that occurs with the plunger creates a much cleaner taste then the traditional brewing method, which uses paper filters. There are only a few simple steps that need to be followed in order to produce that great cup of coffee. It’s important to first preheat the press by filling it with hot water, placing the top on and then pressing the plunger all the way down. This not only allows for temperature stability but it also ensures a hot cup of coffee. You will then want to grind the best, fresh and locally roasted coffee from Chris’ Coffee to a coarse grind that resembles the texture of breadcrumbs. The amount of coffee that is ground is dependent on the size of the French Press that you are brewing with. It is recommended to use about 2 tbs. of coffee for every 6 oz. of water. Add the grounds and fill the press about half way with hot water (200 – 204 F) and allow for the coffee to bloom for 1 minute. Use a spoon to then break the crust of the bloomed coffee and pour in the remaining hot water. Place the plunger on the top of the press and wait four minutes, not three and a half, not five, but four! Once those long, time standing still, four minutes has passed you can now press down on the plunger in order to filter the grounds to the bottom. You may now serve & enjoy!

Although this may seem like a simple brewing method, there are a few things that we as humans can do to screw this up. The most common mistake is not properly grinding the coffee. If you grind your coffee too coarse then you will notice that the plunger will press down with little to no resistance, end result – watered down coffee. If you grind your coffee too fine you might embarrass yourself if around others and you are struggling to press down on the plunger, end result – muddy coffee. Another common brewing mistake is not using the correct coffee to water ratio, so do a little research if you’re not the best at measurements. Lastly, you do not want to leave coffee in the French Press once it is brewed because the coffee will continue to brew which leaves you with bitter, over extracted coffee – yuck. If you are able to avoid these common mistakes then you are sure to have one of the best tasting cups of coffees each and every time.

Try one of our freshly roasted coffees in your new French Press


Keep your ground coffee fresh using one of these airtight coffee containers:


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Monday, October 31, 2016

How To Choose The Right Grinder

How To Choose The Right Grinder
By: Mary Delong 

A consistent grind is hugely important in the process of making a high-quality cup of coffee, which is why the grinder is the most important piece of equipment when it comes to coffee preparation. Can it be more important than the actual machine itself? Yes, it can be. The grinder determines if the coffee you brew after you grind actually can be any good. Bad grind = bad coffee.

To prove the level of consistency of grind, we need a burr grinder and not a blade grinder. Burr grinders provide speed, quality, efficiency, consistency, and flavorful extractions.

There are two types of burr grinders - flat & conical. Conical burrs simply use gravity to draw the coffee beans into the grinder, where they are chewed up and spit out. Flat burrs use centrifugal force which is more taxing on the motor and creates more heat. This might not necessarily be a problem for you home baristas, but commercial locations don't want to continually heat up their beans because it will alter their state.

The larger the burrs are, the more coffee they can grind, and the faster they can do it. Not only are bigger burrs generally more efficient, but they don't heat up nearly as fast, especially if they are ceramic. As stated above overheating the beans can result in unwanted scorched flavors if you are not careful.

Another important feature in a grinder is whether they are stepped, or stepless which both have their advantages and disadvantages. Stepped grinders have defined settings making adjustments easy and convenient when switching between different types of beans. However, that being said, sometimes there will come a time when one setting will be too fine, and the next one down is too coarse. Stepless grinders give you endless adjustments and no limitations for dialing in your espresso. You can find that "sweet spot" of the bean most preferred for pulling a great shot of espresso.

The third feature to look for is doserless vs. doser. A doser grinder has a dosing chamber on the front which pre measures out the ground coffee precisely for each shot. A lot of home users find that by using a doser grinder they are able to fluff their coffee before dispensing it into their portafilters which cannot be done on a doserless grinder. For that reason, and a few others, that is why some prefer a doser grinder.

Doserless grinders can be a little messier, but the grind on demand feature is the best way to get the freshest coffee. Oil from the coffee beans start to break down within 4 minutes of being ground. A lot of people are "single dosing" now so having a doser grind would not be practical for them and they would need to get a doserless on demand grinder. Doserless grinders are controlled either by time or weight, which both help with consistency and repeatability of drinks.

If you have any questions on what grinder will best suit your needs, or will pair nicest with your new or current espresso machine give us a call at 518-452-5995 or send an email to,, or

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Is the Linea Mini all it's cracked up to be?

The simple answer would be yes, but let us explain why.

The linea Mini is a compact version of the popular, well-known, classic Linea. If you don't recognize the name, than you don't know espresso! 

This miniature beauty is available in 3 bold colors - red, white, black, and of course stainless steel. The simplicity of this machine makes it not only a breeze to use, but to maintain for years to come. Although the brew paddle resembles that of the GS/3 MP don't be fooled, you cannot play around with the pre-infusion. La Marzocco has it pre programmed for you, eliminating inconsistency in your shots. The steamer on this workhorse is unbelievable! You can steam 8 oz. of milk in the blink of an eye. Be careful, because if you're not use to this kind of steam power you can burn your hand on the pitcher (GUILTY!) 

The proof is in the pudding, and as you can see from that latte art above, this machine delivers. It has quickly become one of our favorite machines to use here at Chris' Coffee Service.

Check out how beautifully the Linea Mini pairs with the matching Fiorenzato F4!


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 Linea Mini Overview by Mackenzie

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Importance Of Tamping


By: Taylor Nachtrieb

The importance of a good espresso tamp can easily be compared to the quality of grapes that go into making a fine wine. The tamping process involved in pulling a shot of espresso can be a make or break scenario. The reason why tamping is such a crucial part of this process is because it greatly affects the taste of the espresso. A ‘bad’ tamp will cause uneven extraction and channeling, where all the water goes through one part of the espresso rather than being evenly distributed throughout. The end result – bitterness, yuck! The key to a successful tamp is even, consistent downward exerted pressure. Therefore, consistent tamp pressure = consistent espresso extraction.

You may be thinking to yourself, ‘this all sounds well & good, but how the heck do you actually achieve this perfect tamp?!’ The first thing you want to do is step up to your espresso station with confidence like you are about to strike a home run at the World Series, Yankees vs. Red Sox final game. Once you have ground only the best espresso, Machristay Black Pearl, and filled your portafilter you are now ready to tamp. You should rest the portafilter on either the edge of the countertop or your preferred tamping mat to ensure stability. It’s important to hold the tamper loosely in your dominant hand while making a 90-degree angle with your elbow and press straight down with even pressure. Some people will choose to knock on the side of the portafilter after the initial tamp to allow for any excess espresso to settle before tamping again. However, this may cause the seal of the espresso puck to break, which could affect the extraction process so we do not recommend this.

If you want to practice your new tamping skills but aren’t necessarily an espresso connoisseur when it comes to taste & aroma, the answer is go naked! Don’t worry you don’t have to take your clothes off, but you do need a bottomless portafilter. A bottomless portafilter will not lie to you because if the tamp is uneven the espresso has a tendency to shoot out in all directions & can give you quite the shower. Pictured below is what you want your extraction to look like, beautiful brown and caramel coloring concentrated in a single centered stream of espresso. Another indication that you have succeeded with your even tamp is when you knock the espresso out of the portafilter it comes out as a perfectly round shaped ‘hockey puck.’


For the commercial setting espresso user you may already be an expert tamper but you are also probably one step closer to carpal tunnel after tamping up to 100 times each day. We have the answer to this problem and it is called the Puq Press automatic tamping system! All you have to do is place your portafilter into the system and the tamper is automatically activated giving you the perfect, even tamp time and time again! Some of the features of the PuqPress include; adjustable tamping pressure between 10-30 kg, consistent pressure no matter the coffee dose, and the ability to use any style or size portafilter. Visit our website for more information, photos, & videos, and to place your pre-order today.

Happy tamping to all!

 PuqPress Tamper


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