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La Esperanza is a total stranger! Is it water?

 
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boblam
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註冊時間: 2007-05-04
文章: 294

發表發表於: 星期日 三月 28, 2010 6:51 am    文章主題: La Esperanza is a total stranger! Is it water? 引言回覆

People talked about water a lot and let me jive in.

I asked Dixon at Xen Coffee in Quarry Bay a favor to brew my favorite Nicaragua La Esperanza I bought from Fresh two weeks ago.

It was a total surprise for me as if this is the first time I had the coffee which is almost a night and day from the one I had at home (I just double checked with my own brew to confirm this).

The cup I had at Xen was darker and quite difficult to feel the famous clean acidity (think citrus juice like OJ) than what I brew at home.

Only when it cooled down and mostly on the aftertaste that the cup became familiar, though only remotely at best.

While I used French press and Xen used Siphon, the difference shouldn’t be this much as Xen uses cloth filter that let the coffee oil go through.

The culprit I could think of is water. Xen uses an elaborate water filtering system while I just depend on Brita to filter out some Chlorine taste and the like from the tap water.

Is this just a case of too good a thing?

I always subscribe to the idea of leaving something in the water than getting rid of it all. However, I didn’t expect this much different in the cup.

With this in mind, it’s still debatable for some whether you could trust the quality of water in Hong Kong.
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boblam
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註冊時間: 2007-05-04
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發表發表於: 星期一 三月 29, 2010 4:37 pm    文章主題: Correction 引言回覆

I was told by Xen Coffee that they use mineral water so my thinking is totally wrong. Still couldn't understand the difference.

Xen said maybe my brewing temp too low. However, I was thinking the brew temp of vac pot is in the 80ish while I typically brew at 200+/-5 (more in the 200-205F than the lower bound.)

Maybe I try to buy their coffee and brew at home to see the result.

Please feel free to comment and correct my mistake/thought...

Thks.
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dodo



註冊時間: 2008-01-16
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發表發表於: 星期二 三月 30, 2010 7:09 am    文章主題: 引言回覆

Hi... just curious how's Xen Coffee now? It's near where I live but I've only visited once.

Do they still 'pre-grind' their coffee?
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boblam
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註冊時間: 2007-05-04
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發表發表於: 星期二 三月 30, 2010 1:41 pm    文章主題: 引言回覆

dodo 寫到:
Hi... just curious how's Xen Coffee now? It's near where I live but I've only visited once. Do they still 'pre-grind' their coffee?

This means you're there before. Smile If that's the case, I think there's an improvement. At least more acidity in the cup due to the change of brew order.

For the coffee I ordered, mostly Fair Trade, I also specified whatever they freshly roasted. So they grind the coffee at the time.

There's quite a few people there when I visited the cafe both morning and afternoon so I guess they're doing OK.
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boblam
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註冊時間: 2007-05-04
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發表發表於: 星期二 三月 30, 2010 1:43 pm    文章主題: Re: Correction 引言回覆

boblam 寫到:
I was told by Xen Coffee that they use mineral water so my thinking is totally wrong.

After scanning to Xen Coffee's website, they use Diamond filter system which I consider an elaborate filtering setting. If this is still the case, it wasn't really "mineral" water, just the performance of the filtering system.
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dodo



註冊時間: 2008-01-16
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發表發表於: 星期三 三月 31, 2010 8:50 am    文章主題: 引言回覆

boblam 寫到:
dodo 寫到:
Hi... just curious how's Xen Coffee now? It's near where I live but I've only visited once. Do they still 'pre-grind' their coffee?

This means you're there before. Smile If that's the case, I think there's an improvement. At least more acidity in the cup due to the change of brew order.

For the coffee I ordered, mostly Fair Trade, I also specified whatever they freshly roasted. So they grind the coffee at the time.

There's quite a few people there when I visited the cafe both morning and afternoon so I guess they're doing OK.


hm... so you need to specify, otherwise they'll use powder.
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boblam
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發表發表於: 星期三 三月 31, 2010 2:57 pm    文章主題: 引言回覆

dodo 寫到:
hm... so you need to specify, otherwise they'll use powder.
No, I didn't imply that.

I don't know whether they still preground other offering or not though I saw them brew one cup about 9 months to 1 year ago and suspect a preground. It does not mean they use preground now.

I typically ask them to give me whatever they freshly roasted and they freshly ground it all the time. so I don't know whether they still practice something like that.

Why don't you try it there once? The business wasn't bad it was kinda full last Saturday both morning and late afternoon.
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LittleCup



註冊時間: 2009-01-30
文章: 106
來自: Hong Kong

發表發表於: 星期六 四月 03, 2010 4:15 am    文章主題: Re: La Esperanza is a total stranger! Is it water? 引言回覆

boblam 寫到:
People talked about water a lot and let me jive in.

I asked Dixon at Xen Coffee in Quarry Bay a favor to brew my favorite Nicaragua La Esperanza I bought from Fresh two weeks ago.

It was a total surprise for me as if this is the first time I had the coffee which is almost a night and day from the one I had at home (I just double checked with my own brew to confirm this).

The cup I had at Xen was darker and quite difficult to feel the famous clean acidity (think citrus juice like OJ) than what I brew at home.

Only when it cooled down and mostly on the aftertaste that the cup became familiar, though only remotely at best.

While I used French press and Xen used Siphon, the difference shouldn’t be this much as Xen uses cloth filter that let the coffee oil go through.

The culprit I could think of is water. Xen uses an elaborate water filtering system while I just depend on Brita to filter out some Chlorine taste and the like from the tap water.

Is this just a case of too good a thing?

I always subscribe to the idea of leaving something in the water than getting rid of it all. However, I didn’t expect this much different in the cup.

With this in mind, it’s still debatable for some whether you could trust the quality of water in Hong Kong.

It seems to me that there are still some variables that you didn't state in the comparison. For example, the grinder, the coffee machine, the brewing temperature, etc. If all these factors are the same, you may say that the difference is from the quality of water.

Speaking of water quality, a lot of coffee lovers prefer filtered water instead of distilled water, as filtered water gives more vividness and live to the coffee. A water filtering system is definitely worth considering.
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alexfan



註冊時間: 2008-09-18
文章: 266

發表發表於: 星期六 四月 03, 2010 8:55 am    文章主題: 引言回覆

They are not using pre-ground coffee during my last few visits recently (I visit there when I forget to bring my coffee to office). They have two grinders, one likes "horse", another is a blade type grinder (delonghi??).

Their coffee is good, but to me is a bit 'thin'. Perhaps I like to overdose, I use 16gram or more bean for a cup (170cc) of drip.


Alex


dodo 寫到:
boblam 寫到:
dodo 寫到:
Hi... just curious how's Xen Coffee now? It's near where I live but I've only visited once. Do they still 'pre-grind' their coffee?

This means you're there before. Smile If that's the case, I think there's an improvement. At least more acidity in the cup due to the change of brew order.

For the coffee I ordered, mostly Fair Trade, I also specified whatever they freshly roasted. So they grind the coffee at the time.

There's quite a few people there when I visited the cafe both morning and afternoon so I guess they're doing OK.


hm... so you need to specify, otherwise they'll use powder.
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boblam
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註冊時間: 2007-05-04
文章: 294

發表發表於: 星期六 四月 03, 2010 9:52 am    文章主題: Re: La Esperanza is a total stranger! Is it water? 引言回覆

LittleCup 寫到:
It seems to me that there are still some variables that you didn't state in the comparison. For example, the grinder, the coffee machine, the brewing temperature, etc. If all these factors are the same, you may say that the difference is from the quality of water.

Hold all the things and vary one thing, very scientific, indeed... Smile

The reason I didn't mention about them is that I consider the rest you talk about "roughly the same".

First stop, could you explain more about the 'machine' as this is siphon brew, not the espresso machine with lots of variable to adjust and the character, etc. I know that each espresso machine has its own 'footprint' on the taste profile but I haven't heard each brand of siphon, french press has a vastly different taste profile they could a taste profile of each coffee upside down. I heard that you can bring out some taste more than other but I haven't heard you could change the taste profile.... But that's just me. If you could suggest anywhere I can try this or anyhow I could achieve the kind of upside down profile via the machine, ie making the coffee that was good at acidity becoming more of a dark roasty profile in the filtered coffee world, please let me know and I would appreciate that.

The grinder: Two grinders they used are roughly fine for filter coffee. One of them is Feima 600N and the other is Kenwood Burr grinder. Could have been better, of course. Mine is Solis 166. Yes, one does taste the different of the grinder as grind size and shape (more rough particle for more surface area with better extraction) but I doubt the taste profile could totally shift like nice acidity to mostly roasting profile due to different grinders for filtered coffee. I've never found that one and please let me know if you find it on filtered coffee, not espresso.

The brewing temp: Yes, I definitely agree with this temp. Also, this is a concern I heard from Dixon, the barista at Xen, too. My understanding is the siphon coffee typically brew at 80+ degree to low 90 with a rather stable temp profile due to the brew method. I myself brew at 200F +/- 5 ( 93.33C +/-2.78 ) and I measure it with thermometer almost all of my brew. I use a cheap thermometer, unfortunately no probing things, but I do check it with 'distilled' Watson water from time to time to make sure it measured 212F when the water is rolling boiled. The higher temp is "less" like to bring out the acidity in the coffee as Dixon also voiced out his concern too. So, my coffee could have much less acidity vs. Dixon's if this is the case. This is, however, the opposite.

We are not talking about the altitude which affects the boiling temperature of the water as Xen is 'underground' while my place is not but I consider it roughly the same. Smile

So, that left the water as a main variable here unless you can suggest other issues which I would really appreciate.

By the way, the water was not an actual mineral water but the 'filtered water' via Diamond filtering system which claims to get rid of all the bad things and 'add' or 'remineralized' the water. Thus, Dixon mentioned it is a mineral water. Well, lots of us like this water too but this is, to me, the major variable between cup brewing at Xen and at my home.

Mind you that I compare across the brewing method, ie siphon to press and paper... My paper drip and french press shares the same taste profile, ie nice acidity, but I couldn't find it at Xen which uses siphon. I really doubt that the big taste profile will change upside down via different brew method in the filtered coffee style.

If I have to mention all these issues, I probably fail to make my point as you read all these things till this line. That's why I decide to skip it and post whatever I did earlier and am sorry for didn't go through all these issues.


boblam 在 星期六 四月 03, 2010 12:08 pm 作了第 1 次修改
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