Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have had a bunch of requests for samples of our coffee in past week or two. I will be sending out samples to all who have requested them as soon as I have leftover of that region or blend fresh roasted. Thank you for your patience!

The Old Wwworld Cafe

The Press! (French that is)

So you own a French press, and you hear about how it makes a better, more full bodied pot of coffee. You brew a cup for yourself (8 oz), and let it steep for 4 minutes just like the box said only to have it come out a bit...bitter. Is this what people mean by "more full bodied?"

As it turns out, no. When using a French press, something almost no instruction sheet will tell you is that the brewing time for a press varies on the amount (volume) being brewed. We had a technical article published on the subject, but here I will just show the you the end results.

An 8oz or less French press can be brewed for about 90 seconds before being poured.

A 16oz French press can be brewed for about 180 seconds before being poured.

A 24oz French press can be brewed for about 240 seconds before being poured.

You can experiment with your own press to find that sweet spot of perfect brew time and volume, but this guideline will greatly help over the standard 4 minutes.

The Old Wwworld Cafe

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quest for the best espresso Pt. 5

We left off with the completion of the first of three phases last time. With this blog I will be starting the second phase the "steam vessel" this will be dedicated to the creation of wet steam for steaming milk. No more sharing the brew chamber with the steaming function or any wait time to cool down after using the steam. This will also let us control the steam pressure as well as the the temperature of the steam will be created. Depending on how this works the steam phase will need to be revisited and a one way valve my need to be placed on the line to keep the water and steam from flowing back into the brew chamber.

So to star this phase I got all the fittings I needed together and made a quick dry build to ensure that I had all the part and that they fit properly. The parts that are show are: a 2nd Rancilio boiler, a modified base to match group head fitting with out the group head, a site glass build, and misc piping fittings (these will depend on the size of you site glass and boiler).

Once I was happy with the dry build I was ready to set the parts together with pipe sealer. I didn't use Teflon tape. Teflon tape is entirely to easy to tare when you are trying to seat the fittings properly. For this I used a putty and PTFE mixture to seal the pipes from leaking steam and water. Don't worry this sealant is rated for 350 degrees and 1000 psi for gas (i.e. steam). It is also food and potable water safe. So with the putty in hand I built the hardware side of the steam boiler.

Now that the hardware was together I started shaping the soft copper piping that will form the steam line to the steam wand and serve for the bottom of the site glass connection. I had the left over copper pipe from the main boiler (remember I use the pipe to attach the pressure gauge). While as I was curving the end back around to meet the fitting, I did the worst thing you can do to copper pipe... I crimped it. To top it off I had not realized that there was so little pipe left so I had to call it at night at this point because Lowes was closed at this point.
Next time I will be attaching the soft piping and placing the boiler inline with the system. So join me next week when I attempt to mold copper piping again. Dan ~

The Old Wwworld Cafe

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday: Drip Tips!

Most of my customers use drip brewers as their method of making coffee. With that in mind I am going to take a brief moment and make sure you are aware of a few easy things you can do to make sure your drip is as good as it can be!

Clean your brewer
. Be honest, when is the last time you ran a cleaning solution through your brewer? You would be surprised what builds up in those machines, and bare in mind you are DRINKING that! Coffee Cleaners are cheap, and can be bought at Wal Mart, so no excuses!

Use good water
. Coffee is mostly water, so it makes sense to use a good filtered water when brewing. This is by far the easiest way to up your coffee flavor, and cheapest.

Use more grounds
! This is true for any brewing method, but I find drip brewers are the most guilty of using too little coffee. It's as simple as this, bitter coffee usually comes from over extraction of your coffee grounds, so put more coffee in the basket before you brew! (if its too "strong" at the end, add water after you brewed! Trust me!). See Coffee Tips

Grind before you brew.
You know how fresh ground coffee smells really good? All those things your smelling are flavors leaving the coffee and going into the air. Those flavors should be in your cup, so grind right before you brew.

Change your grind size.
Mess around with your grind size and find the right size for your brewer, this will change depending on several factors, and trial and error is the easiest way to determine what is best for your machine.

Stir your grounds if able!
Check one day after a brew to see if your drip is actually getting all the grounds in your basket wet. If it is not, you may want to try stirring the ground while it is brewing, WITHOUT getting burned (PLEASE TAKE CAUTION!). Depending on your model, this can be as simple as shaking the basket while your coffee is brewing, or shutting off the brew and stirring the grounds. This will ensure all the grounds are getting extracted from!

I will post up some pics of the drip brewer I use here shortly to show some examples of a few of these tips!

Friday, April 16, 2010

We are in Specialty Coffee Retailer!

I don't know how I didn't post this here, but check us out in SCR!

French Press Article

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quest for the best espresso Pt. 4

With this part of the espresso machine build, I will bring you up to the current state of the project. From here on out, my posts will be on Weds and will follow where I go from now in real time. The wiring isn't much fun to look at, so consider this a light post. Finally, I might be revisiting the wiring once I finish all three phases of the project and replace all the lower current lines with a simple circuit board.

With the mechanical parts assembled I set out to complete the wiring needed to supply the control and life giving electricity to all the components of the espresso machine. I used a wiring scheme that allows the user to determine when they want the pump and the solenoid to be activated which allows pre-infusions as well as separate pressurization of the the main boiler. This wiring will be important in the in the final stages of Phase three when I start programing the steps so the machine can be run either full manual, or semi automatic.
This took me longer then it should have, not because the wiring was difficult, but because understanding how you want to electricity to be supplied and how the wiring actually needs to be done are two different things. This resulted in many tripped GFI outlets or breakers (editors note: not happy about that one!), several shocks from ungrounded wires and bad connections, as well as a melted Solid State Relay in the main PID due to crossed wires.

Looks bad already an this is only partially complete

Once I got the PID repaired and all of the wire end properly terminated, I was presented with an espresso machine that has good visibility of the internal temperature of water in the boiler as well as good visibility / control over the pressure. To obtain the control I wanted over the temperature in the boiler, I needed to program the PID. You can go about doing this using to methods; you can use the system of equations and solve for the values for Proportional , Integral, and Derivative or you can "Tune" the loop by using a general values biased on the type of system you are using and altering the values biased on the way you want to perform. I chose the later of the two options because I had a good idea of how this system was set up. For this type of system high density resistance 800 watt heater is designed to heat up and quickly reach the set point. Unfortunately there are a few draw backs to this system; mainly the heating coil has a fairly long warm up time, the coil puts out way too much heat for the boiler size when trying to maintain a single temperature, and there is a high barrier for the electricity that is running through the coil so that only pulse type PID control can be used as a flow of 20% or even 50% of the electricity flow would not pass through the heating coil. With that in mind we have reached the current state of the espresso machine.

The espresso machine is able to pull a shot a the correct temperature and pressure with a little coaxing because the PID controls that I am using are still not stable. The current espresso machine does not have steaming capabilities and will not till the completion of phase 3. Next week will be the start of phase 2, the heated reservoir. This will allow the PID to be more stable in the long run. So see you next week on Wednesday!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Coffee Tidbits!

New Tuesday segment from Luke starts today, Coffee Tidbits and Tips! Each week I will be bringing you some coffee knowledge, or tips about coffee.

We will start this very, very basic! Most people are unaware that coffee is actually from a plant, and that the seeds from this plant's fruit are then processed into green beans.

Now coffee can be processed different ways, but we won't get into that here today. Afterward, you are left looking at this.

We then take these green beans, and roast them, since we are a micro roastery we use a 6lb roaster, but you can roast on a variety of equipment(see Sweet Maria's for home roasting).

Now, without getting into too much detail, coffee's flavor is affected by how long and how hot it is roasted. The result of those green beans pictured above being roasted for about 14 minutes to 414 degrees leaves you with this:

Seem like a bit of a crash course? Probably, but even this little bit of knowledge helps when making your own coffee, or enjoying another persons cup. You may ask how this information could help that, so look at it this way. Coffee is very much like other spices (think nutmeg or anise) and to an extent shares the same properties as them. That is to say, that just like other spices can go bad over time, and are best when fresh ground, coffee is the same way!

Stay tuned for next week when we explore brewing drip coffee!


Quick Pic

I love this pic, so up it goes!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Old Wwworld Coffee Tasting

Tomorrow we will be hosting our first coffee tasting. We are looking for feedback from our customers because we want to not only meet but exceed their expectations. This will be the perfect way to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. Plus, what's better than a day with good company, pastries, and delicious coffee!?

If you're interested in participating and can make it to Spartanburg from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm tomorrow (Saturday, April 10), contact Luke Hudek at

Have a Steamy Day!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quest for the best espresso Pt. 3

With the parts on hand that I needed to create the first phase of the espresso machine, I started assembly. This started with an overhaul by removing the old replaceable parts on the boiler such as the boiler gasket and the head groups shower screen assembly. This allowed me to clean all old oils and mineral buildup from the the previous owner, and also was necessary to when dismantling the boiler from the group head.

So with the boiler apart I started to mount the RTD by drilling, yes drilling, into the side of the boiler. This was the best way to have an accurate reading of the internal water temperature. This was followed by threading the driller hole for a pressure threaded screw. I prepped the screw I was using by drilling a 1/16 in hole down the center of the screw and inserting the RTD through the hole along with a high temperature and pressure rated epoxy. The bottom of the screw was filled in with a high temperature food grade silicone to keep the water from contacting the epoxy.

Once the epoxy was set and the "RTD Screw" was mounted and the boiler was cleaned it was ready to be assembled again. This was when the real fun of the project began. One phrase: The wiring. The wiring scheme seemed easy enough but it was where the trouble of getting this unit back into operation began. Next weeks blog will be on the difficulties of wiring the up the basic function of the Silvia espresso machine.

The Old Wwworld Cafe

Thursday, April 1, 2010

French Press Experiment

For those of you who have heard us mention our "French Press Experiment" before, check it out, we made Specialty Coffee Retailer!