Saturday, January 7, 2012


Having noticed the information from the signs around the coffee and tea section of Fairway Market in Douglaston, Queens, I figured that I could get much information about coffee on beans and brewing. I met with Fairway Market's Director of Coffee, Benny Lanfranco and certainly got a fill of information.

While Benny was preparing his own cup of coffee floor manager Jerry Seybert had stopped by. He's been around Fairway since 1979 and was the first "coffee guy" when they started with only 7 bins of coffee.

I then approached Benny who explains why he likes to make one cup of coffee at a time.

We finally get an introduction from Benny who had prepared various small portable methods of brewing coffee, all of which either use hot water or can be done on a stove top. Benny then spoke about Turkish coffee, a method of drinking and not that any beans are actually grown in Turkey. It requires coffee being ground to a powdery substance.

Espresso means "fast" and is just a bit more coarser than the Turkish. One shot take about 22 seconds using 2 oz. of coffee. I love the little stove top gadget, so very Italian.

Next in coarseness if for drip coffee. Rather than using a machine, Benny prepared a special elegant glass drip using a paper filter. Coffee has to be ground specifically for the brewing method you are using. I'm getting that water will go faster through a more coarse grind.

Here is an old fashioned Napolitan Italian stove top brewer that uses a drip grind. It brought up images of my trip to Naples as it can be done right at your table.

We're on to the French Press which is coarser than the drip. Depending upon the size of the press, it is another facility that can be prepared at your table and brewed for 4 minutes. Some French presses can also be used to brew loose tea.

The last method is using a percolator. Do your remember those? Now, they are most used at catered functions.

All of the coffee beans are roasted at Fairway. I was able to watch the "green beans" roasted. A chart is given to the person doing the roasting that will determine whether it will be light, medium or dark roast. Benny showed me samples of the various roasted beans noting how much oil is present in the dark roast.

We then talked about acidity in coffee saying that it has to be balanced and is pre-determined by the soil of where it is grown. He tells me that there is a lower acidity in places such as Costa Rica and Guatamala vs. coffee from Africa like the Ethiopian.

My batteries ran low before we could chat about the peaberry coffee. I had heard that the one from Tanzania was delicious although a bit high prices. When you see the roasted coffee beans they are "halved". The plant produces a "twin" bean whereas the peaberry, a single bean.

Now that I have that Italian single cup espresso do-hicky, I bought a coffee grinder from Krups. It says here: "Coffee that is ground too fine for a particular brewing process - (fine espresso grind used in an automatic drip coffee machine) will result in over-extraction and bitter, pungent tasting coffee. Conversely, coffee that is too coarse for a particular brew method will result in under-extraction and weak, watery coffee. It the correct grind is used, adding more coffee simply makes a brew stronger without making it bitter".

There seems to be more settings than just the ones we talked about. Has something to do with ones taste. I will ask Krups for further assistance on this.

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