Cool Coffee Facts

The Art of the Roast

Roasting green beans is truly an art form; you can be as creative and innovative as you desire or as you dare.  Home roasting has an allure about it.  The thrill of the intoxicating aromas that only come from freshly roasted beans along with the pursuit of that perfect roast can actually become quite addictive.

We here at Original Pilot House Coffees have worked diligently to perfect our proprietary roasting process which produces the unique full-bodied flavors you have all grown to love.  One reason few people roast coffee at home for very long is the cost.  Most people get into it as a hobby or as a way to save money, but any savings quickly disappear the moment you realize a loss of 10 – 20% if you roast light, and up to 30% loss of weight the darker you roast.  One failed roast wipes out any potential savings, and every home roaster knows the inevitably of such failures.

There are several terminologies to describe the depth and differentials of each roast.  These roast differences can be measured in many different ways.  Here are a few examples that are easily recognized.  Roasts are measured by specific temperatures for a specific duration. There are six stages that are recognized in this industry.

1. Cinnamon

2. City or Full city

3. Vienna

4. Espresso

5. Italian

6. French

The higher the number represents a darker bean governed by temperature and duration used in any roast process.  There are several different ways to home roast coffee.  It can be as simple as a black skillet on your stove top or your home popcorn popper.  You can roast beans over an open fire in your own fireplace or you can purchase a roaster for home use.  They vary in price from a couple of hundred bucks to a couple of thousand.

If you do decide to try your hand at home roasting there are a few things you need to be aware of.  During the roast process a coffee bean loses a really thin skin called chaff.  This skin is much like the skin on a roasted peanut.  This skin can be your nemesis because during the roast process it can and will burn or catch fire.  Being able to dissipate this skin quickly and efficiently greatly improves your chances for a phenomenal tasting roast.  Each roast technique produces a different flavor.  For a true gourmet cup of coffee you must start with a great bean or a blend of beans.  Your home roast technique will differ according to your specific taste and desire.

My advice to you is to have fun and let your creative juices flow.

If you are one of my customers and want to try your hand at the fine art of gourmet roasting coffee we can provide you with a great bean to start with. For more information about our green coffee beans, please feel free to shoot me an email at


The Art of the Grind

Brewing coffee, like brewing craft beers or making a fine wine, is a process. Understanding that process is half the battle, making or perfecting your own unique process is where the fun comes in.

This specific segment I am going to call the Art of the Grind and it’s all about the details. Mostly what I want to share with you guys and gals in this educational segment is that grinding or choosing the right grinder is a key element in releasing the unbelievably complex flavor of your newly purchased bag of 5AM REV, 5AM REV ESPRESSO, MONROE BLEND, SUNRISE SERENADE, WEEKEND BLISS, MORNIN’ MUDD, and our world famous STUPID GOOD coffee.  Altering or manipulating grind sizes, techniques and consistency absolutely affect the overall fullness and flavor of your next cup or pot of coffee.  So my advice to my customers is to experiment, have fun, and understand the huge dynamics of the gourmet coffee bean, the uniqueness of different roasts, grind techniques and brewing processes.

There are several different kinds of grinders and techniques used on the market these days.  I would like to briefly speak on two of them.

Blade grinder vs. Burr grinder

The blade grinder is super-fast and inexpensive, but the the blade grinder is also extremely unpredictable and inconsistent.  If you are using a drip coffee maker, it could do a great job on one pot of coffee and the next batch may be too fine or too coarse.  This is because the blade grinder actually chops and does not grind.  Why do they call it a grinder??  I don’t know….it actually works just like the blender in your kitchen; they should call it a blender. 😉

This so-called grinding process actually causes inconsistencies that can and will greatly affect your overall flavor. The burr grinder on the other hand, in my opinion, offers a much more consistent and mechanical approach to the grinding process.  The metal discs and the conical cone-shaped cogs give the burr or mill grinder the ability to control with pressure the shape and consistency of the grind and does not leave anything to chance.  Example:  If you put hot water on whole coffee beans you would still get a dark cup of coffee, but it would take hours and hours and it might taste fruity and nutty and maybe kind of like bark from a tree.  A far cry from your acquired taste for your normal cup of Joe.  We actually grind our coffee beans to achieve consistency and greater water saturation to the bean, cutting down the time it takes to brew our pot of coffee. For example, the espresso grind is a fine powder 200 microns or smaller.  Without getting all scientific on you guys, this brew takes super-hot 200 degree water and only seconds to brew, and the end result is a super-strong, super-concentrated, super-bitter shot of espresso.  Where, another example, your drip coffee maker grind may be as big as 800 microns and it brew process for complete saturation chugs along at 8 to 12 minutes for a pot of Joe.

In closing, for a great cup of coffee you need the right grind for your taste, and being able to add consistency to your process is important.  The wrong grind can actually change a coffee’s taste.

Enjoy your  organically grown, fair trade Original Pilot House Coffees.


How Do You Brew?

We, the coffee fanatics here at OPHC, are often asked this loaded question…

In a world of a thousand different ways to brew (ok, that *may be* an exaggeration…), we have a few favorites. Honestly, our morning mud (get it?) is served up by Mr. OPHC, who uses the old drip coffee pot each and every week day. But he brews it STRONG. It’s … an experience. That happy, gurgling noise of our coffee maker tells us all is well with the world and it’s time to get up and Get Stuff Done.

French Press

The favored way of Mrs. OPHC is usually the French press. I think this is the friendliest way, done right at the table, with enough to share. Never done it? Here’s the basics:

1) Put your grounds in the bottom of the empty carafe (I usually use 2 heaping Tablespoons per 8 ounces of water)

2) Pour in hot water (just less than boiling temperature). I pour it slowly enough to use the water to drown the floating grounds.

3) Put your lid on to trap the heat and wait 4 minutes.

4) Give it a little swirl to break up the crust of coffee grounds (some people stir it, but these are probably the same people who use a spatula to turn over a pancake instead of the tried-and-true toss/flip method… Whatever. Your choice.)

5) Press the plunger. Slowly, it’s not a race. Figure about a 20-second process. If it takes too long, or you’re thinking you’re going to break it, back it up a little and press again. And try a coarser grind next time. Pour and enjoy!

Cold Brew

As the weather here in our hometown displays hints of Spring, and the “heat” turns up, we eventually turn to our new favorite, the ever-versatile Cold Brew method. This is just genius. It brings out so many beautiful aspects of your favorite OPHC blend. You’re going to need some new equipment for this one, but it won’t set you back too much, and you’ll be ever-so-grateful. The nitty-gritty of this method is soaking. This is how we do it:

1) Put the cork in the bottom of your cold brewer.

2) Place your ginormous filter into the brewer and add a pound of coarsely ground 5am Rev. Okay, okay, you can use Monroe Blend, Stupid Good, or Sunrise Serenade too, but Mr. OPHC’s favorite is still the 5am Rev Espresso.   

3) Now the water needs to be added slowly, to combat the natural floating tendencies of the coffee grounds. Your cold-brewer should’ve come with some sort of container to place on top which you fill with water, and it slowly drips into the grounds. This dripping part may take as much as 45 minutes. No biggie. Just fill the top and walk away.

4) Remove your empty dripping device, cover it with a plate or something and… Set. It. Aside. That’s right, ignore it. For about 12 hours. We actually don’t get back to it until the next day.

5) Place your cold-brewer over a carafe, or a quart jar, a big bowl, what-have-you, and pull the cork. That dark, lovely goodness can now be used in a variety of ways. It’s basically a coffee concentrate. Mix a bit with some hot water and you’ve got some quality “instant coffee”, or throw it in with cold milk and ice and you’ll be making all sorts of indecent yummy noises.

Turkish Coffee

While we’re at it, let’s discuss another family favorite—the Ibrik! What is it? A lovely little brass pot, with a skinny neck and a long handle off the side that makes some absolutely delicious Turkish coffee. Here you go:

1) Place a Tablespoon of sugar into the ibrik, add water up to the neck, and a couple Tablespoons of extra-fine ground coffee. The coffee goes on top, and there it will float until step 3. Trust me.

2) Set your beautiful ibrik on your stove top, on medium heat. Do not walk away. When it starts to boil up around the grounds remove it from the heat.

3) Stir in the grounds (see? it’s okay) and put it back on the heat, where it will boil up again, this time making a nice foam. Do it once or twice more, if you feel the need. Then let it cool a bit, at which time the grounds will settle.

4) Pour it off into the little cup you’ve been saving for just this occasion. Add cream if you want, and enjoy your itty bitty mug of joe. You can count on some grounds at the bottom, so don’t drink it to the last drop.


The Aeropress is a great invention, sort of the love-child of the French press and the espresso shot. The basic idea is to pour hot water into the chamber of the press, let it sit for a bit, 15 seconds, then use the top attachment to press the water thru the grounds, giving you a quick equivalent to an espresso shot.

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is made in a little silver pot placed on the top of your cup, where a screen is holding down the grounds. You add your hot water which stays just long enough to make your tiny bit of strong coffee. This is traditionally stirred into an equal helping of sweetened condensed milk.


The pour-over is a work of art, in which you pour hot water into a cone filter on top of your cup or carafe. But it’s not that simple. First, you “bloom” your grounds, by giving them just enough hot water to swell the grounds, which enables them to give you full flavor when you finally pour over the pre-measured amount of hot water. It really IS quite delicious, and worth the education. I recommend snooping around on YouTube.

However you brew, be sure to treat yourself to some good grounds. Life is too short to drink bad coffee. Lift your cup and enjoy!