The Coffee Snob cold drip coffee maker is yet another alternative to traditional drip or percolator coffee brewing. The beautiful device, which looks like belongs in a 19th century laboratory not a 21st century kitchen, slowly drips ice water through coffee grounds to make a concentrate similar to that made by the Toddy cold brew system. The coffee concentrate is then mixed down to your preferred strength and heated or served over ice.

Coffee Snob cold drip coffee makerThe theory as with other cold brew systems is to reduce undesirable oil and acidity extracted in the brewing process by using cold water. The end product, for better or worse, typically contains somewhat less caffeine as well. These are real benefits to people with a sensitivity to acid or who need to reduce their caffeine intake, but it is important to remember that there is still some caffeine present.

The coffee concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator and used to make a single cup at a time. This is the biggest advantage to this type of maker, especially to those who may be brewing a pot of coffee but may only drink one or two cups of it.

The process is different from other cold brew systems I have used. Instead of soaking the ground bean in water, water slowly (one drop per second) drips through the cup of grounds. A reusable cloth filter at the bottom of the grounds allows the coffee concentrate to drip down the amusingly twisted outlet tube and into the carafe.

The drip process is controlled by an easily adjusted valve at the bottom of the water reservoir. The use of ice, and a small amount of watter insures a slow brew using cold water throughout.

The brewing setup is easy but the brew will take many hours to complete (8 or more hours.) This is acceptable since the system makes a fair amount of concentrate in one brewing, but if you’re out of concentrate you can forget about that quick fix.

The only problem with brewing is where the coffee drips from the filter outlet to the carafe. Due to the height and open carafe there were coffee drops on the counter for two feet in every direction.

Cleanup (of both my counter and the Coffee Snob) was easy and the reusable filter is a big plus.

The results

The coffee concentrate is mixed with water to achieve your preferred strength. The ratio in the instructions (which I have lost since getting the unit) will result in a fairly weak coffee. I found a stronger mix of 1 to 2 parts water to 1 part concentrate to make a satisfying, somewhat strong American style coffee.

The resulting coffee is very good with considerably less acidity and with no bitterness at all. While some of the flavor and body of the coffee is still lost, the Coffee Snob creates a concentrate superior to the Toddy cold brew method.

The concentrate will also find uses in recipes and lattes and cappuccinos are easily made using the concentrate. Lattes and cappuccinos are different from the coffee shop fare as they lack the bitterness of a true espresso.

The Coffee Snob does require a fairly large amount of ground coffee for a modest amount of concentrate. This is typical to cold brew systems as less flavor is extracted with the cold system.

Conclusions

The Coffee Snob produces a very tasty cup of coffee with low acidity and little to no bitterness. While the brewing process takes some time, the resulting concentrate is convenient and ready to use.

The coffee is not as full-flavored as a traditional drip coffee and the cold brew system is less efficient in number of brewed cups per pound of coffee. These two factors keep the Coffee Snob from becoming my everyday brewer, but these are a small sacrifice for those with a sensitivity to acid.

Overall I would recommend the Coffee Snob to those who are sensitive to the acidity in coffee or those that are curious about cold-brew methods. The maker also offers the benefit of being a beautiful addition to any kitchen.

Green Mountain Coffee RoasterGreen Mountain Coffee Roaster is a New England icon. Their coffee is served in everything from restaurant to gas station here in New England. Founded in 1981, today Green Mountain is the nation’s largest seller of double-certified Fair Trade organic coffee. Recently I had the opportunity to try two of Green Mountain’s Fair Trade Organic offerings.

Green Mountain’s Organic Sumatran Reserve is an appealing coffee with an earthy richness you could expect of an organic coffee from the beverage’s birthplace. This is a pleasant, medium bodied coffee which, while it doesn’t disappoint in the cup somehow left me wanting more. A decent floral nose is the highlight of this coffee and, though the flavor is somewhat earthy the aftertaste is clean and smooth.

The roaster’s PBS Blend is a Mexican coffee with an interesting story (see their site for details.) I found this coffee rather disappointing. While the coffee was smooth with very little acid and no bitterness it also lacked any defining flavor. A hint of caramel was all I could discern from what was otherwise a surprisingly ordinary cup of coffee.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has a large catalog of coffees. Through the gourmet coffee revolution they have become ubiquitous in New England and, while I was not impressed with the PBS Blend, the Organic Sumatran Reserve is a good coffee for those shopping for a Fair Trade organic coffee.

Unfortunately Green Mountain has adopted the all too common industry trend of cutting back their bag size. Currently their coffees are offered in 10oz bags, both of these being between $7 and $8 per bag on their website. This equates to around $12/lb which, while not unreasonable, is a premium price for coffee. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the coffee being Fair Trade, the end result of which is the farmer seeing more of this money.

Conclusions: Despite the premium price, those looking for a good organic coffee should enjoy the Organic Sumatran Reserve but a lack of richness or any defining flavor left me disappointed with the PBS blend.

dining, food, coffee

Blanchard's CoffeeBlanchard’s Coffee Co. is a small, relatively young, family owned coffee roaster in Richmond, VA. Started less than two years ago they are already well on their way selling their coffee both mail-order and in area supermarkets.

But the proof is in the cup. I recently got the chance to try several of Blanchard’s coffees. Here’s what I thought.

Blanchard’s Tanzanian Peaberry is an outstanding coffee. Well balanced with a good body, this is my type of coffee! It is rich without any taste of smoke or burn.

Ethiopian Yergacheff was also excellent with a medium-light body. I would recommend this as Blanchard’s best all-around coffee of the ones I tasted. Low acid and hints of florals make for a superb cup.

Brazilian Daterra Sunrise nicely rounds out the roaster’s offerings as a light bodied, very smooth coffee. Many light bodied coffees lack complexity and flavor but this one is a notable exception. With practically no acid the coffee has a very clean finish that will leave you wanting more.

Blanchard does a monthly decaf coffee and the one I got to try was a Columbian Decaf. It is a good representation of Columbian coffee with a medium body and good flavor. While not overly complex this decaf doesn’t sacrifice flavor and I would recommend it to those relegated to decaf.

Unfortunately Blanchard’s House Blend didn’t match the quality of their other coffees. The bean was very dark and oily suggesting it was over roasted and though it was not ovely bitter in the cup it had a smoky, burnt flavor. There was no real depth to the flavor of the house blend and I really thought it was not very good.

Blanchard’s Coffee Co. is turning out some fantastic coffee. Roasting small quantities they roast their coffee within days of shipping and their attention to quality shows through in their product.

With the single exception of their House Blend, this coffee is outstanding, and how can you beat a roaster who says on their about page: “If you are in Richmond, come share a cup of coffee with us and watch us roast!” I love these small roasters.

coffee, food, dining

With Christmas shopping season in full swing I figured I’d throw out a few suggestions for other people’s holiday shopping while successfully procrastinating doing my own. So here they are, in no particular order, your Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanza, Decemberween, New Year or Yak Shaving Day shopping suggestions from Life After Coffee:

USB Missile Launcher

  • USB Missile Launcher – While this list is in no particular order, this little piece of office ballistics is my top pick. Check out my review of it and don’t miss the other cool stuff at KlearGear.com
  • Pink Flamingos – Now possibly endangered this may be the last year you can get these little plastic beauties. I know there are a couple under my tree (actually in it right now.)
  • An Electric Chicken Cup – This rare gem may have to be a do-it-yourself, but I bet no one on your list has one!
  • And now the coffee related gifts:
    AnimalCoffee Luwak

  • Kopi Luwak Coffee Gift Boxes – Fantastic coffee and a great gift box. Probably the most unique coffee related gift available.
  • AeroPress Coffee Maker – A great coffee and espresso maker. Perfect for small batches and single cups. Check out my review.
  • Easy Linux Commands – Okay, so this is a shameless plug for my book, but since it just came out it’s unlikely anyone on your list already has it.

Most of all, have a fun, happy and safe holiday season!

christmas, holiday, shopping

CoffeeReview.comStan left an excellent comment on my review of the Toddy cold brew system and mentioned the site CoffeeReview.com.

They’ve got reviews of hundreds of different coffees and some great reference on coffee. Check it out.

Thanks Stan for a great comment!

coffee, review, food, cooking

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