Coffee!!!!

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Coffee!!!!

Post by Nightly Orange on Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:08 pm

I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to coffee, but lately I've developed an interest in exploring it a bit more. Actually for years all I drank (at home) was instant coffee, though I pride myself on being a connoisseur of instants. Kind of like being a sommelier who specializes in Walmart wines. I have good taste, dammit. I would never drink Folgers, it's Douwe Egberts only for me.

Anyway, what are everyone's favorite beans, regions, brewing methods, coffee routines, etc?

I'm minimalist in general in the kitchen, so right now all I'm doing is the cowboy coffee method of spooning my freshly ground coffee into boiling water, letting it sit for a few minutes, and then pouring it out through a sieve. Haven't really gotten the timing, temperature, or anything else down yet.

I read somewhere that higher altitude beans have more complex flavors and perhaps higher antioxidant profiles, so I bought some Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee grown at 6000 feet (over a mile!) and am looking forward to its arrival.
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by srinath_69 on Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:27 pm

In my area there is a gas station called Circle K that serves awesome espresso - and please don't let any one tell you its "expresso". Anyway I would try em all. I'm addicted to it. I am lucky enough to have flavia machine @ work, but we have to bring our own packs. So I've splurged and got 100 and finished it all in a month. I have to clear out some K cups - we also have a Keurig @ work, so its next. BTW Keurig is coffee - not espresso. Flavia is espresso (or as close as you can get with a little machine). I'm a quality over quantity guy, I usually drink 3-6 8oz cups a day, and when @ home - I have a Mr Coffee Espresso machine that sounds like a motorcycle. I also am a tea connoisseur and 3-5 a day there too.

Coffee brews better with higher temp, and with pressure. Hence the steam pump machines bring you a better cup = espresso. Its the method that makes it espresso, not the fact that someone labelled the beans as espresso. Also espresso has more of the good stuff in coffee and less caffeine per unit grounds and per unit coffee. As in if you make 1 ml coffee using 1 gm grounds then the steam method has better anti oxidants and less caffeine than the hot water method.

Tea brews with time and just ~190-200F water. So a coffee machine makes great tea. LOL.

Just happy to help someone else with the addiction process. Down this rabbit hole - there are more rabbits where that came from.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by The Walrus on Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:55 pm

I'm extremely fond of a locally roasted coffee called Speckled Axe, in particular the roast called Sock Saunders.  Don't bother looking for it unless you live in Maine.  I did a taste test with three other people and it won hands down - no contest.  However, it is $14 per 12 oz., so I don't indulge all of the time.  I usually go with a locally roasted coffee and look for fair trade, rainforest certified, etc.  I use an Aeropress when I'm not in a hurry, and I just bought a new drip machine that I can't remember the name of, but it makes great coffee - so much better than my old Mr. Coffee (20 years and still running.)  I think the new machine is superior because it is much faster and uses pressure, not as much as an espresso machine of course, but some.  Also, I clean it with vinegar at least once a week.  I'm a two-cup-a-day person, about 14 oz.  

Last week I lost my taste for coffee and hadn't had any in a week - I had switched to matcha and black tea, which I drink a lot also.  This morning I felt like coffee, and one cup sent me into an energetic episode such as I have not experienced in a long while!  I wasn't jittery or nervous, just really energetic.  I charged all over the hospital and checked all of our equipment, designed some new checklists, and fixed everything I found broken or lacking.

I have a tea machine also and am surprised at how well it produces tea. I drink black tea, green tea and any variety of herbal blend that happens to be around. I particularly like Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice.
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Rig D on Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:50 pm

I probably should move to a quality over quantity approach, but I've long been a "vast quantities" consumer and the type of coffee doesn't much matter. I normally buy Costco or Aldi, their house brands  are inexpensive and make what I consider a decent cup in my el-cheapo 12 cup Procter Silex coffee machine.

My elder son on the other hand has a much more refined palate to virtually everything and he really has high praise for Patriot Blend brand from  Infowars Store This is Alex Jones' site, so many may not entertain going there because of his political spin, but the coffee is excellent, though expensive.
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by srinath_69 on Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:20 pm

BTW - regardless of anything else, I strongly strongly strongly recommend - stay away from starbucks.
Utter crap, burnt as hell, blended with anything from salt to sawdust garbage that's been charred beyond recognition.
Peet's - yea believe it or not, they buy stuff from starbucks and burn it some more.

Burnt coffee has no anti oxidants, less caffeine and vile taste, which a lot of clueless people associate with "strength".

IMHO, Seattle's best product is Boeing, space needle and maybe the rainforest and I guess and closely followed by "Seattle's best coffee".
Tully's is a not too bad second in the coffee chains.

Then, just IMHO caribou and most others are pathetic and over-priced. Caribou relies on grounds getting into your coffee cup to "flavor" it.

Also - single origin coffee is really coffee beans only - from 1 location etc etc.
Blended coffee has a lot of other stuff - non coffee stuff in it - common ones being roasted barley, salt, sawdust and chicory root.
Most of those are actually not bad for you some like chickory is even good, only problem is - the coffee they're blended with is garbage that's burnt to hell after being grown on polluted and probably radioactive soil.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Lovebird on Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:07 am

srinath_69 wrote:
Blended coffee has a lot of other stuff - non coffee stuff in it - common ones being roasted barley, salt, sawdust and chicory root.
Most of those are actually not bad for you some like chickory is even good, only problem is - the coffee they're blended with is garbage that's burnt to hell after being grown on polluted and probably radioactive soil.

That's nonsense. A good blend is simply a mixture of different beans/roasts, that's all. https://coffeekind.com/blogs/the-reading-room/the-basics-of-blending-coffee Like with whiskey. They blend to achieve a better/different result.

When they added other stuff it's no longer simply a blend.
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by srinath_69 on Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:02 am

Lovebird wrote:
srinath_69 wrote:
Blended coffee has a lot of other stuff - non coffee stuff in it - common ones being roasted barley, salt, sawdust and chicory root.
Most of those are actually not bad for you some like chickory is even good, only problem is - the coffee they're blended with is garbage that's burnt to hell after being grown on polluted and probably radioactive soil.

That's nonsense. A good blend is simply a mixture of different beans/roasts, that's all. https://coffeekind.com/blogs/the-reading-room/the-basics-of-blending-coffee Like with whiskey. They blend to achieve a better/different result.

When they added other stuff it's no longer simply a blend.

But the problem is there is no classification for that - there is single origin coffee, and blended coffee - which really is sold as "coffee". There is no such thing as "blend of just coffee's and not other crap".

BTW as common additives go - just IMHO - salt is an awesome addition to coffee. And come on its salt and likely less than 1/10 gm in a cup. Not enough to hurt anything.
Chickory - We used to drink it in India and order them in our "custom grinds" and it tastes good and is damn good for you. Just that in India we used to think of it as a cheaper way to darken coffee.
Roasted barley - no opinion one way or another on this.
Carob - Like any one adds this to coffee, its more $$$$ and very choclate like, and probably pretty good for health too.

Then - the biggie - sawdust.
On the fence here - I am throwing burnt wood chips in my alchy for flavoring it - so it cant be all bad, but another part of me says - WTF sawdust ???
I dunno, I've heard of other things too - mustard, pepper etc etc - cant see how any of those is gonna be bad for health, except it fools your taste buds.

I may only have 20 yrs of drinking coffee under my cup, but I have nearly 50 yrs of listening about it from my parents. We have coffee in our veins instead of blood.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Rig D on Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:26 am

Coffee with chicory -- Luzianne coffee was popular in my youth, the adults liked it, but I never much cared for it. They are still around, but not sold around here in damyankee terrain, seemingly a New Orleans/deep south operation. http:http://www.luzianne.com
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by RedComet on Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:26 am

Coffee is probably my single biggest vice. I drink it pretty much daily, in quantity, and love learning more about it. Dark chocolate is a close second!

I'll drink most any coffee so long as it's freshly-roasted. Lately I've been drinking Peet's, because it's the freshest I've been able to source locally, but this thread reminds me that I need to order some good stuff online.

In defense of Starbucks: When out and about, my go-to is Starbucks. The hate for Starbucks from the hardcore coffee community is not completely unwarranted, but the fact remains that you can get a good cup there if you know their menu. For instance, while their coffees on tap, like Pike Place, are often underwhelming, Starbucks does offer some really high quality coffees under their Starbucks Reserve line. If you have a Starbucks near you that serves these, they're absolutely worth checking out. They brew each cup separately in a Clover brewing machine and the result is just about as good as any cup a skilled barista could make at home. If your local Starbucks doesn't offer these Reserve coffees I recommend ordering an Americano instead. It's espresso + hot water, and is usually leagues better than their options on tap.

I love a good iced coffee or cold brew, too, and Starbucks does both reasonably well. Their cold brew coffee is made in a Toddy brewing system and is every bit as good as what I make at home. Their iced coffee is hit or miss. Adding a little full-fat heavy cream to it (for those of us who don't have issues with dairy) is a good way to shore up its weaknesses.

My favorite brewing method at home is Aeropress. It's just so simple to use, and the coffee it makes is delicious every time. I also have a few different pour-over set-ups, which make good coffee. I have a french press that I seldom use. French presses make good coffee but they're a bit more trouble than the aforementioned brewing methods. One of these days I'm going to buy a nice espresso machine and a premium grinder.

If you want to brew the best possible cup, this is what you need to look for:

1) Fresh beans. Only buy coffee if you can tell when it was roasted. Roasted coffee older than 1 month is going to lose A LOT of character. Aim for less than 2 weeks old.

2) The grind is very important. Buy whole bean coffee and grind it yourself in a good grinder before brewing it. Don't use blade grinders! They hack coffee into uneven bits. It results in a poor steep. Instead, I recommend a burr grinder. There are handheld conical burr grinders that are affordable and which result in a uniform grind, which is important.

3) Use clean water and make sure it's heated to the right temp. Depending on how you're brewing your coffee, the temperature will vary a little, but the standard temp I've seen thrown around is at least 190 degrees. Water that's too hot or cold will result in a sub-par cup.

If you really want to dive down the rabbit hole on coffee, check out the r/Coffee subreddit.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Coffee/
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Rig D on Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:10 pm

I'm with Srinath on Starbucks. Every time I've visited a store, it always tastes burned. Burned flavor/smell, overpriced, no thanks.

I worked with a consulting outfit and in their Chicago office they used Starbucks for their in-office coffee service. We found that using 1/2 the recommended amount of their coffee provided a better tasting brew. The full amount was way too bitter.
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Nightly Orange on Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:39 pm

Wow, a lot more info than I expected, haha. People really love coffee. I'm gonna follow up on some of this stuff...never even heard of a burr grinder before.

srinath_69 wrote:BTW as common additives go - just IMHO - salt is an awesome addition to coffee. And come on its salt and likely less than 1/10 gm in a cup. Not enough to hurt anything.

Oh yeah, this is a trick you learn early on, when you drink a lot of mediocre instant coffees like me. Saltiness blocks the bitter receptors of the tongue, which can mask a subpar-tasting brew and make it seem much smoother.
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by srinath_69 on Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:29 pm

He he, my latest experiment is to soak fresh roasted coffee beans (OK OK The earth fare people said it was freshly roasted) in whisky/scotch then drink the scotch and then grind the coffee beans and then make espresso with those beans.
BTW high temps get all the alchy out ... just the flavor, more like an aroma lingers.

Just an experiment - I want to make weight loss/good health fun.
Never mind, I got a lot of experiments going. But coffee is beyond the "experiment" - its proved to be an anti oxidant power house.
You can thank me later - like much later, like - never.
Love coffee, and tea as well. Anti-oxidants, yea sure, but I drink em for the taste.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Paysan on Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:11 pm

I'd like to join the fun - except that I don't drink coffee. Maybe cappuchino a few times a year, but none in the last 6-7 months.I drink tea. I had a 30-yr Salada Orange Pekoe habit, then woke up one day to the fact it disgusted me. Black teas were too strong even when weak. So for another 20 years I experimented with herbal teas, but anything with peppermint turned my stomach. Now I drink tea - mostly chai, with black tea,(!)one to two cups per day. But there's another amazing drink that I now use - it's clear, calorie-free, available all times of the year, and requires very little equipment. Hot water! Maybe our old grannies were onto something. Very Happy Oh wait! I AM an old granny!  Shocked

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Acroyali on Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:54 am

Nightly Orange wrote:I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to coffee, but lately I've developed an interest in exploring it a bit more. Actually for years all I drank (at home) was instant coffee, though I pride myself on being a connoisseur of instants. Kind of like being a sommelier who specializes in Walmart wines. I have good taste, dammit. I would never drink Folgers, it's Douwe Egberts only for me.

Anyway, what are everyone's favorite beans, regions, brewing methods, coffee routines, etc?

I'm minimalist in general in the kitchen, so right now all I'm doing is the cowboy coffee method of spooning my freshly ground coffee into boiling water, letting it sit for a few minutes, and then pouring it out through a sieve. Haven't really gotten the timing, temperature, or anything else down yet.

I read somewhere that higher altitude beans have more complex flavors and perhaps higher antioxidant profiles, so I bought some Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee grown at 6000 feet (over a mile!) and am looking forward to its arrival.

You had me at Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Laughing

Seriously, that stuff is the best.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by The Walrus on Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:15 am

Okay, I think I need to drive to the food co-op and buy a bag of Sock Saunders. I will carefully check the date, of course! Very Happy I've always had this weird reaction to hearing about coffee or tea, such as in a film - I instantly want a cuppa. I mean really, I can't even smell it! When I read this thread I have an irresistible urge to brew something.

Never liked Starbucks - never researched their product - never liked it, and I hate the way they stink up airports. Can't believe some people think Starbucks smells good. Different strokes, I guess.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by SWSL on Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:45 pm

My wife grew up picking coffee in the mountains of Sothern Mexico and drinking the weak local brew all day long; they typically add sugar and cinnamon and call it "cafe de olla"  

Over the years, her tastes have evolved with mine and we both actually prefer a strong somewhat dark roast even though we know that it's not supposed to be as tasty or easy to note variables as light roasts - it's just what we like.

And although we like dark and strong, we can't stand the flavor of espresso style brewing.  Worse when diluted into the misnamed "Cafe Americano"   Yuck.   It's the only style of brewing we both won't drink.  Again, according to somebody it's the best way for some reasons, but not for us.  I wonder if many people tolerate espresso for all  the dessert drink type additions, milks, sugars, etc.   We drink our coffee straight so we do taste it.

Anyway, the biggest key after finding your preferred roast is to make sure it's somewhat freshly roasted and absolutely grind fresh at home daily.  

As far as brewing, nothing wrong with "cowboy coffee" -  been doing it for years and my Mexican wife as well. Grind somewhat course and throw it into the boiling water as you turn off the heat.  Wait a couple minutes and serve through a tea strainer.  We actually prefer a bit of solids in our cups.

BUT, the last few years we've gone to using (and even traveling with) a french press, using one like this:
(Ok, can't post links yet, but search for: amazon.com - LINKYO-French-Press-Coffee-Stainless )

After brewing 3-4 minutes, we press and then serve half cups, keeping the coffee in the insulated pot  (against purist recommendations!) and enjoying hot coffee for the whole morning.  Hot fresh and black from fresh ground dark roasted beans brewed in a french press.   That's how we roll!

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Neck2 on Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:55 pm

There was a neat rule about coffee. Think there was a number associated....maybe it was 12? So it goes....beans picked within 12 months, roasted within past 12 days, and ground within past 12 minutes. Or something like that.

I haven’t tried roasting my own, but he biggest chang3 in quality of cup that I note is from freshly grinding. So I always buy whole beans recently roasted and grind at home (get a burr grinder). Regardless of your preferred prep method after that fresh ground will make it better!

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by ONTARIO on Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:12 pm

I second the burr grinder. It makes for excellent coffee. We also fresh grind.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by srinath_69 on Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:13 am

I actually think fresh roasting has the biggest bang for the buck. I use a 1500 watt popcorn popper. Old and ugly ones work better, the air vent has to be on the bottom if I recall.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by OnTheBayou on Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:56 pm

srinath_69 wrote:BTW - regardless of anything else, I strongly strongly strongly recommend - stay away from starbucks.
Utter crap, burnt as hell, blended with anything from salt to sawdust garbage that's been charred beyond recognition.
Peet's - yea believe it or not, they buy stuff from starbucks and burn it some more.

Burnt coffee has no anti oxidants, less caffeine and vile taste, which a lot of clueless people associate with "strength".

IMHO, Seattle's best product is Boeing, space needle and maybe the rainforest and I guess and closely followed by "Seattle's best coffee".
Tully's is a not too bad second in the coffee chains.

Then, just IMHO caribou and most others are pathetic and over-priced. Caribou relies on grounds getting into your coffee cup to "flavor" it.

Also - single origin coffee is really coffee beans only - from 1 location etc etc.
Blended coffee has a lot of other stuff - non coffee stuff in it - common ones being roasted barley, salt, sawdust and chicory root.
Most of those are actually not bad for you some like chickory is even good, only problem is - the coffee they're blended with is garbage that's burnt to hell after being grown on polluted and probably radioactive soil.

Oh, please. What orifice do you find the facts in?

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Lovebird on Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:40 am

Neck2 wrote:There was a neat rule about coffee.   Think there was a number associated....maybe it was 12?   So it goes....beans picked within 12 months, roasted within past 12 days, and ground within past 12 minutes.   Or something like that.

Babbie's Rule of Fifteens? Wink


which you'll frequently find touted as a rule-of-thumb on coffee enthusiast forums. The Rule goes like this:

Green coffee lasts about 15 months before it goes stale.

Roasted coffee lasts about 15 days before it goes stale.

Ground coffee lasts about 15 minutes before it goes stale.

Now, there are exceptions and considerations, like the fact that taste is all subjective and staling is a continuous process, so the 15s aren't quite rules so much as they are guidelines, or targets.

https://coffeekind.com/blogs/the-reading-room/on-bean-freshness-and-storage
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by srinath_69 on Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:55 am

OnTheBayou wrote:
srinath_69 wrote:BTW - regardless of anything else, I strongly strongly strongly recommend - stay away from starbucks.
Utter crap, burnt as hell, blended with anything from salt to sawdust garbage that's been charred beyond recognition.
Peet's - yea believe it or not, they buy stuff from starbucks and burn it some more.

Burnt coffee has no anti oxidants, less caffeine and vile taste, which a lot of clueless people associate with "strength".

IMHO, Seattle's best product is Boeing, space needle and maybe the rainforest and I guess and closely followed by "Seattle's best coffee".
Tully's is a not too bad second in the coffee chains.

Then, just IMHO caribou and most others are pathetic and over-priced. Caribou relies on grounds getting into your coffee cup to "flavor" it.

Also - single origin coffee is really coffee beans only - from 1 location etc etc.
Blended coffee has a lot of other stuff - non coffee stuff in it - common ones being roasted barley, salt, sawdust and chicory root.
Most of those are actually not bad for you some like chickory is even good, only problem is - the coffee they're blended with is garbage that's burnt to hell after being grown on polluted and probably radioactive soil.

Oh, please.  What orifice do you find the facts in?

OTB - I have great respect for you, so I'll politely indulge - Only "FACT" here is about single origin coffee vs blended coffee.

This is one source of that fact - http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2015/03/27/what-s-really-in-your-blended-coffee-drink-powdered-coffee.html found courtesy google.
One more http://www.baristabasics.com.au/?Coffee-Blends-v-Single-Origins;News;126

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Nightly Orange on Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:22 am

Lovebird wrote:
Neck2 wrote:There was a neat rule about coffee.   Think there was a number associated....maybe it was 12?   So it goes....beans picked within 12 months, roasted within past 12 days, and ground within past 12 minutes.   Or something like that.

Babbie's Rule of Fifteens? Wink


which you'll frequently find touted as a rule-of-thumb on coffee enthusiast forums. The Rule goes like this:

Green coffee lasts about 15 months before it goes stale.

Roasted coffee lasts about 15 days before it goes stale.

Ground coffee lasts about 15 minutes before it goes stale.

Now, there are exceptions and considerations, like the fact that taste is all subjective and staling is a continuous process, so the 15s aren't quite rules so much as they are guidelines, or targets.

https://coffeekind.com/blogs/the-reading-room/on-bean-freshness-and-storage

What does "stale" mean in the context of coffee? I get that it doesn't taste as good, but healthwise it's not like the coffee oils are oxidizing or anything right?
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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by srinath_69 on Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:47 pm

Coffee you drink is basically a bunch of oil and water soluble ingredients pulled from coffee beans that are roasted and ground.
Stale in the cup but it was only brewed minutes ago = The grounds have changed from the time they were roasted and logically work backwards from there, maybe it was roasted and ground 3 days ago and only minutes from brewing, so it was bad before it got roasted (or it was roasted to ash) ...
Health wise - depends on when the problem originated. Beans roasted to the color of charcoal IMHO are likely to be a carcinogen more than cancer fighting.

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Re: Coffee!!!!

Post by Pedidoc on Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:52 pm

My youngest and fiance swear by cold brewed coffee. My 2nd son and his wife prefer french press (FWIW, he works at Starbucks and she used to manage one). I go the kurig route, since I'm the only one who drinks it at the house. First cup of the day has brain oil and collegen in it.
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