Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

BraZen carafe dribble – Spout Replacement Kit

If you were an early adopter to Brazen brewers you may have a carafe that dribbles when you pour coffee. Joe Behm, head of the company, is offering to send a Spout Replacement Kit to resolve this problem. If you read the instructions and/or watch the video than you will find the replacement pretty easy to do. Future builds of the Brazen and any purchased from us after 10/9/13 will have the newest spout.

Joe wrote:

Earlier this year, we were made aware of an issue concerning a relatively small percentage of carafes that dribbled. When the issue was brought to our attention, we brought it to the attention of the factory, which was surprised. Mr Coffee had used that carafe in over 200,000 units without any reports of this dribbling effect.

I want to personally apologize to every Behmor Brazen customer affected by this.

Despite the low overall percentage of carafes involved, we felt the best solution was to do a complete spout/upper portion redesign. The full vetting/testing is completed, and all involved are more than satisfied with the results. We hope you will be, too.

Starting Monday- September 20th, we will have a kit available for anyone interested (instruction sent via email) in swapping the old upper portion of the carafe with the new one. The swap requires two screwdrivers (small flat head and a Phillips) and about 5 minutes’ time.

Video of the procedure can be found at You Tube by doing a keyword search- Behmor Carafe Upper Portion or directly at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66Ma7kRehd0

If you have a carafe that has issues with dribbling, please send an email to: support@behmor.com

Please provide the following data:

Subject line: Carafe Kit

Body: Name, address, serial number and where purchased.  No P.O. Boxes, please.

I’d also like to thank all those who have assisted and displayed a great deal of patience while Behmor found a solution.

We’ll also be doing a swap on existing inventory, so all new units will ship with the corrected carafe and kits provided to distributors for distribution if needed.

Again, my personal and sincerest apologies for the issue and any inconvenience it has caused.

Best regards,

 

Joe Behm
 

A Taste for Expensive Coffee

The Best of Panama 2013 internet auction was held last Wednesday 7/3 and prices were overall very high and, in a number of instances, extremely so.  By way of disclosure, yours truly was one of sixteen international judges who cupped and scored these coffees in Boquete, Panama in May.  The competition and auction that followed is broken into three categories:  Geisha varietal, Traditional and  Natural process coffees.  The Geishas and Traditionals are all washed or ‘honey’ processed.  Indeed, some of the nicest coffees anywhere are being produced in Panama, though this origin does not signify magic to the American consumer.  Close to zero of the auction winners were from the United States, and this is often true of winners at Cup of Excellence auctions as well.

Almost all of this award winning, expensive coffee goes to Asia where a taste for rare and exotic foods is firmly implanted in the culture, albeit those with the wherewithal to afford them.  Witness Wagyu beef at $1,500 a pound, $1,000 a pound Matsutake mushrooms, the 1.76 million dollar bluefin tuna that was purchased in January, a mere $3,600 a pound or Fugu blowfish.  This quest for unique experiences extends throughout Asia and is also being witnessed in Australia.

At Best of Panama there were 47 coffees auctioned.  Four of them attained prices over $100 a pound and 17 more coffees achieved between $20 and $100.

Coffee
Price per pound
Category
Rank in category
Esmeralda Special Natural Cañas Verdes$350.25Natural1
Kotowa Don K Geisha Nat$170.25Natural3
Los Lajones Bambu Geisha$165.75Natural2
Ironman$160.25Geisha1
Esmeralda Special Cañas Verdes$85.25Geisha3
Esmeralda Special Jaramillo$48.15Geisha8
Kotowa Don K Geisha$45.25Geisha14

In all, 14,550 pounds of coffee were auctioned with an average price of $19.88 per pound.  Most of these were very small lots with 100 to 150 pounds.  But the questions remain 1) who buys and can afford the most expensive of these coffees? And 2) why is the US absent from the top earners?  Americans, even the wealthy ones, seemingly do not place a value on the experience, or, perhaps the experience does not live up to the price?

A $350 pound coffee will yield 10 small Chemex pots each 36 ounces.  $350 is the price of the green, unroasted coffee, which when imported and roasted will be more like $425 per pound, so that pot of coffee has a cost of about $43.  How much would it be priced tableside – $100 or about $15 a cup.  Maybe high rollers would would pay that, maybe not, prefering to dole out the bucks for big name, rare champagnes or cognacs.  It will be interesting to see how this trend develops and whether it turns out to be good or bad for specialty coffee.  Share your thoughts.

 

New Flat Rate for green coffee

By popular request we have added flat shipping rates that will make it more economical to purchase green coffee, particularly in larger increments.  Because of our shipping volumes the vast majority of these shipments will travel via FedEx Ground Service.  You will benefit from very attractive negotiated rates they have provided.  For those instances where the weight and distance combination would provide customers with better service with USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate, then we will utilize that method.  Either way, you pay one flat rate as follows:

Weight
Flat Rate
up to 20 pounds$9.99
21 to 40 pounds$14.99
41 to 60 pounds$21.99

 

These rates apply to the 48 Continental US states only.   Sorry, no Alaska, Hawaii at this time.

 

BraZen about to ship

It’s really kind of silly to think that, until now, none of our home coffee brewers informed us of the temperature of the water used for brewing. Doesn’t it seem slightly unbelievable that by this juncture, when we are raising coffee brewing to an artisan level, that we don’t even know this basic information? Wouldn’t you think we would want to know the temperature of the water, since it happens to be just about all of a cup of coffee, except for one and a quarter percent? Well, the wait is nearly over as the BraZen Coffee Brewer is being shipped to customers the end of the week. Will your House Blend taste different at 196, 200 or 203 degrees? If the answer is yes” we’ll be kicking ourselves for not having this idea first!

BraZen Coffee Brew System

Features like temperature selection (1 degree increments from 190 to 210F) and pre-soak have been reserved for professional coffee brewers, and just the higher end ones at that. The BraZen puts brewing variations in your hand, giving you the tools to tweak your brewing, and doing so in an easy to use package that looks a little space age, but classy in an interesting way. Other features include temperature glide, temperature calibration with altitude correction, ‘auto’ setting for when you want to wake up to a fresh pot, a stainless steel, water heating reservoir, and, a host of other enhancements.

The BraZen Coffee Brewer is $199 including free shipping, a pound of coffee and more from our main site.  There you will also find a more in-depth discussion of features as well as photos.

As I am writing this I am in the Adirondack mountains at the home of friends, where I have brought a BraZen and a Technivorm brewer along with a pro digital thermometer.  I calibrated the thermometer to 208 degrees for this altitude after a minor adjustment for barometric pressure.  Altitude here is 1980 feet so I calibrated the BraZen to 2000 feet.  When calibration was complete the usable temperature range became 190 to 206 degrees (attainable temperature less 2 degrees).  I brewed a full pot of coffee with a target temp of 200 degrees, same as I had last done at home.  When the water reached its target temperature and started brewing I measured the water temp in the reservoir using the separate digital thermometer and found it to be precisely 200, verifying that the calibration process had perfectly done its job.  Separately, I brewed a pot on the Technivorm model and it was able to attain a brew temp of 197 degrees with an occasional spurt reaching 198.  This is very respectable and makes sense.  The target temperature range of Technivorms is 195 to 205 degrees but attempts to hold 200, so at this altitude that 200 was reduced by about 3 1/2 degrees.  The BraZen is accurate to within 2 degrees but was spot on during this test.  A point worth noting is that I could have cranked the Brazen brew temperature up as far as 206 degrees at this altitude, had I wanted.  In that case the coffee temperature would have been about 10 degrees more than the Technivorm, or for that matter, any fixed temperature brewer.

This somewhat unscientific experiment was conducted with the bewildered gaze of my friends, who wondered while the hell I came for a relaxing visit to their mountain home bearing an armada of coffee brewing and lab equipment.  But, all was well as we enjoyed some fine cups of coffee each day brewed with an accurately calibrated BraZen brewer, which was making coffee in the mountains to the exact recipe as that used at our sea level home.

 

Electric Kettle Showdown

Hario and Bonavita are both about to release new electric kettles, the Hario V60 Buono Electric Power Kettle and the Bonavita Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle. They both feature a stainless steel finish, a gooseneck spout for controllable pour-over dispersion, electric base plate, and cordless capabilities. Both have knobs on the lid and a plastic handle to make pouring easy and safe.

Hario Electric Buono

Bonavita Variable Electric Kettle

The real battle of the kettles arises when one considers the differences. Priced at $75.00 the Hario provides ease of operation, key in an electric kettle. There aren’t many bells and whistles here, with an auto-shut off and a “boil dry protection” feature, the kettle will automatically cut off power if it’s turned on without any water inside. Aesthetically, it has a cool factor, with a ribbed body and a classic kettle shape. The design matches other Hario V60 pieces. Maximum capacity is just under a liter at 27 ounces.

On the other hand, the Bonavita is priced at $89.99, but for the extra money you get a whole set of features that could be worth your while. This kettle offers you the option of Fahrenheit and Celsius, and a “hold” button will maintain any temperature for up to an hour. The most significant feature is the ability to set a target temperature, starting at 140F and continuing in 1 degree increments. Temperature can also be set with any of 6 presets. It is also equipped with a count-up timer for accurate timing of coffee brewing or steeping tea. The maximum capacity on this kettle is 1 liter (33.8 ounces).

Feature
Bonavita
Hario
Temperature is adjustableYesNo
Temperature presetsYesNo
Fahrenheit & CelsiusYesNo
Count-up timerYesNo
Gooseneck SpoutYesYes
Auto-offYesYes
Boil dry protectionNoYes
CordlessYesYes
Cord coils underneathYesYes
Stainless finishYesYes
Our Price:$94.99$74.99
Free ShippingYesNo

To purchase:  Bonavita Variable Electric Kettle or Hario Electric Buono.

Weird season for incoming coffee

Typically new crop coffees arrive over many months and it is not uncommon to see the Central American coffees arriving together, or,  East African coffees during a separate time period.  But this year there a ton of them that are clustered together and from different world growing regions.  In other words, a lot of coffees are showing up about the same time.  We have just listed the long awaited Amaro Gayo Natural from Ethiopia and know of other naturals arriving in the US from the same region.  A half dozen choice, boutique lots of coffee that we sourced from Costa Rica have now arrived and several have already made their way onto our list;  the others, including a yellow honey and two high altitude (and awesome) fully washed ones will be posted soon.

From Panama we will shortly list two more coffees including  Elida Estate Reserve fully washed, and, their terrific natural.  Both are in short supply.  We just listed Carmen Estate from their highest altitude parcels, grown by another longtime friend.  In addition, several lots of Panama’s famous Hacienda Esmeralda are due to arrive.  Some of these may be offered off-list due their very limited availability but the Esmeralda Select, geishas that did not make their way into the private auction, represent a real value for this expensive coffee.

Also expected at our warehouse next week are two auction lots purchased directly from top sources in Kenya.  We will have at least one and possibly two auction lots arriving soon that we purchased in the El Injerto auction.  A favorite from El Salvador will arrive soon too.

We are not sure why the timetable is so skewed this year, be it weather or the coordination of shipping, but a cornucopia of great coffees is coming through the door.  Keep an eye on our New Arrivals section for the latest, as each is listed on our site.