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Old 11-05-2011, 09:26 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,440,335 times
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I hope this thread does not disappear. Coffee is such a diverse food it deserves a lot of analysis to get the most enjoyment from it.

I suppose from my previous postings here that most of you know that I spent a couple of years as a products research technician at the Folger PR laboratory at Winton Tech Center. It was a few decades ago. I was a professional coffee taster on the Folger QC panel for factory production as well as for product research and development at WHTC. I had a lab with every piece of coffee making and serving equipment and access to every type of coffee bean from anywhere in the world. I blended and roasted coffee at the direction of P&G food scientists and for my own entertainment. I had access to a freeze drier, instant coffee spray tower, grinders, mills, etc.

I can only tell you that among all of the choices, the Folger Drip ground coffee (of the 1970's at least) was the best coffee available. Best made in an electric percolator with distilled, demineralized water.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
I agree with Chemistry_Guy that White Castle has some good coffee. So does Dunkin Donuts. Boils down to what you desire, a good coffee fix or some sort of perceived treat. As the economy continues to decline I am skeptical about the future of the coffee palaces. When coffee becomes more expensive than beer there is no contest.
I agree with you on White Castle and sometimes Dunkin Donuts. The best coffee that I have had in Ohio has been at Tim Horton's. Don't eat the food there as it is truly miserable (in the US only).

A few years ago, a friend teased me about my habit of buying coffee at Starbucks. My wife overheard. We went out and bought a good coffee maker and a good thermos.

I started off with whole beans. The best that I tried were Trader Joe's Bay Blend and San Francisco Bay Coffee Co. They were all pretty good coffees and as good as most coffee shops.

However, in the last few years, I have switched over to Community Coffee out of Baton Rouge. It is a first rate coffee that is served in most restaurants and quickie marts in Louisiana.

I think that the coffee palaces will remain in business as most people "don't have time" to make their own.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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I love (and have become somewhat addicted to) Caramel Frappuccinoes from Starbucks...I love walking up to the one on 4th and Vine. I also have tried a white chocolate Macchiato from Saxby's across the river (Newport on the Levee). That was pretty good.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati (Norwood)
3,383 posts, read 3,703,315 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post

I suppose from my previous postings here that most of you know that I spent a couple of years as a products research technician at the Folger PR laboratory at Winton Tech Center. It was a few decades ago.

I can only tell you that among all of the choices, the Folger Drip ground coffee (of the 1970's at least) was the best coffee available. Best made in an electric percolator with distilled, demineralized water.
No, many of us had no idea that you've had such an extensive background in coffee research, but now it does make it clear how you've afforded to live in Hyde Park!

Your assessment of Folgers' past preeminence seems accurate--many of us can remember it being the top coffee for years and years (only really challenged by Maxwell House). So, Wilson513, I know you must have experienced terribly mixed feelings when you learned that P & G was putting Folgers up for sale. (If it's possible, in layman's terms, to elaborate on just why they did that, it would certainly be appreciated...)
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by motorman View Post
No, many of us had no idea that you've had such an extensive background in coffee research, but now it does make it clear how you've afforded to live in Hyde Park!

Your assessment of Folgers' past preeminence seems accurate--many of us can remember it being the top coffee for years and years (only really challenged by Maxwell House). So, Wilson513, I know you must have experienced terribly mixed feelings when you learned that P & G was putting Folgers up for sale. (If it's possible, in layman's terms, to elaborate on just why they did that, it would certainly be appreciated...)
Well, I made $169/week at P&G. But if I had stayed there instead of college I'd be a very wealthy man today.

Maxwell house had a formula that was secret like all brands, but the analysis at the time had it containing a whole lot of cheap beans called robustas. But, they roasted them dark like Starbucks does today which may mean they were ahead of their time. For my part, those dark roasted bitter coffees are not my choice. I like it strong, but not bitter.

As for P&G's sale of Folger, I was not much conflicted. When I got to P&G they really had only owned the Folger company for a couple of years having bought it from the Folger family for a lot of $$$$ (1963). So the culture of the Folger people was not completely integrated. I was a P&G person but a lot of the staff came from Folger and didn't care a bit for P&G.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati near
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My wife worked for P&G on Folgers and Millstone at the time of the sale. Coffee is a very competitive and volatile business, and it was ultimately the fluctuations in global commodities costs that caused the sale. We did have quite a bit of free coffee during that time, though.

The recent trend of 'organic' coffee also did not help. Organic coffee is just a marketing gimmick. Two identical cans of coffee, one stored in air (oxygen damages beans) and the other vacuum sealed in nitrogen, and only the air-sealed can is considered organic. Thirty plus years ago, when caffeine was extracted using dichloromethane instead of steam, I can see where avoiding chemicals could be seen as a plus, but now it is just a way to justify charging more.

My wife also was not a big fan of the 'burnt' Starbucks style beans, or even the gimmicky flavored coffees, but when you are in marketing it is your job to make your supply meet the demand.
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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I thought all canned ground coffee would have had nitrogen purge. Oxygen does degrade the flavor of ground coffee although the aging of whole beans under reasonable conditions is not too severe.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:20 AM
 
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Default Illy coffee in a Bialetti Moka express stovetop pot

Well, this post has become quite fascinating so I will say what we do in the house.

We use Illy canned espresso dark roast coffee. This is from Italy. I must say the best espresso I had was in Italy although San Francisco was probably as good in North Beach (which is strongly Italian).

I would like to hear the opinions people have of Illy. Its a bit pricey but worth every grain...

We use a stovetop Moka pot. Here is where the science comes in. There are all sorts of subtleties. For example: to pack the coffee or not??

The gas burner is set on 3. The water rises up through the coffee into the upper chamber rather than fall down through the coffee by gravity (drip). I don't know who came up with this.

The temperature is a mystery. I usually let it go up to boiling but then immediately drop the setting to low. There is some controversy about whether it should ever boil!

Finally, we cut the espresso with boiling water to produce an "Americano".
Americanos have a great flavor but not so concentrated as espresso. It sounds crazy but it has been virtually my only drink for years.

One more word about water: we use the tap water, but filtered through Brita water filters to remove bad tastes etc.
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Old 11-08-2011, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
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Willson, you mention that Folger's was the best back when. Would you agree that today it is quite bad?
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:40 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,440,335 times
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Originally Posted by progmac View Post
Willson, you mention that Folger's was the best back when. Would you agree that today it is quite bad?
No, I still drink it and enjoy it. I am sure though that it no longer has the high percentage of rare and expensive Ethiopian beans. Seems like they have substituted Columbian for Ethiopian. I was told that Folgers bought most of the Ethiopian output when I worked there.

If you don't like Folgers today, let me suggest that you double the amount of ground coffee you are using and try distilled water. It will make a better cup for you.
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