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How To Achieve the Thick Consistency of Peet's In-Store Drip Coffee? [Moved from San Francisco Bay Area board]

So I've spent some time at the drawing board trying out a number of the above suggestions (thank you!) and here is what I've found. (Bear in mind that the below pertains exclusively to my Chemex, for which I have an irrational attachment).
1) Stirring - absolutely made the biggest difference in terms of extraction. It definitely slows down the process, producing a fuller, richer cup. The grounds, at the end, look different, too. Almost sludge like, a good indicator, I think that the smaller particulates are doing their work. I tried stirring continually thoughout the brewing process, and found that you can get too much of a good thing...two to three stirs per pour of water seems to do the trick - any more frequently than that and you risk a back-up and over-brewing.
2) Grounds size - I experimented with increasingly finer grounds of coffee, but found that you do reach a point at which the grounds become too small to allow a continous flow of water. Ultimately, medium ground coffee, in combination with a few judicious stirs, worked best.
3) Water- the big question mark, in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I was impressed by Peet's ability to maintain the same taste and consistency across any number of stores in any number of different cities, with different water supplies (I've had Peet's in SF, LA, Boston, and NY (JFK, I think?) and I've also had it in a number of different restaurants, as well. The fact that all of the Peet's retail locations manage to produce a very similar viscous cup (while the home or restaurant-brewed Peet's tend to vary) makes me think that there is some water filtration going on. From experience, I've found that water can have an outsized effect on the taste of coffee, so logically, for me, it just makes sense that Peet's consistency is due in part to how they treat their water.

But lacking anything other than a supposition, vis a vis water treatment, I do have to say that the stirring the grounds tip was definitely useful - thanks!

Feb 01, 2008
Una_Spremuta in General Topics

How To Achieve the Thick Consistency of Peet's In-Store Drip Coffee? [Moved from San Francisco Bay Area board]

I've watched them closely, and it's a large paper filter, which rests above an industrial-sized coffee brewer. The water is released via spigot, which is suspended on a metal arm above the grinds. It could be that the spigot releases the water extra slowly, but it's hard to tell from a distance. I think Maria is right that it probably is a question of time, ie how long the water remains in contact with the ground coffee. It's interesting to note, as well, that the filter is oval and flat bottomed, which may contribute to the time of brewing.

Jan 22, 2008
Una_Spremuta in General Topics

Finding an Offal Butcher in Los Angeles??

Thanks, I've never had srapple, but it sounds like it's right up my alley. Mostly, I've been dying to make simple things, like fegato alla veneziana, and sauteed sweatbreads. But at times I've been tempted to throw a mini-Burns night, and try my hand at haggis (unfortunately, the sale of lungs as fit for human consumption food is actually banned, nation-wide, I believe).

I have seen quite a bit of offal at a few Asian or Latin themed supermarkets. But they're still supermarkets, in the high-volume, shrinked-wrapped sense. And, especially with offal, I'd be willing to play more for meat whose provenance I had a better handle on. I"m headed to Grand Central tonight to check it out.

Jan 22, 2008
Una_Spremuta in Los Angeles Area

How To Achieve the Thick Consistency of Peet's In-Store Drip Coffee? [Moved from San Francisco Bay Area board]

Yes, to all of the above. Burr grinder, filtered water, heated to betw. 190 and 200 degrees, and enough coffee grinds.

Cold brewing interests me, since I've never tried it...but what I'm searching for is viscosity - it's just a question of degree. But the difference, I think, is there - there's something Peet's does, in house, to give their coffee a thicker consistency than any other drip coffee I had. The closest analogue, in terms of fullness, would be espresso brewed on a stovetop mocha (a shade less thick than machine brewed espresso)...but Peet's is able to somehow get that thickness without the caffeine density of mocha'd espresso. I don't know if my description is making any sense, but I've been trying for years to somehow approximate Peet's viscosity, with no luck.

Jan 22, 2008
Una_Spremuta in General Topics

Finding an Offal Butcher in Los Angeles??

I'm looking for an old-school type butcher in the LA area (preferably on the East side) who regularly stocks such things as calves liver, tripe, kidneys, etc. I've been to both How's and Howie's (two different entities, both in San Gabriel) and neither had calves liver nor a ready supply of stock bones. I've been to my local "Superior" which, for a large chain, gets a certain amount of props for carrying a wide selection of variety meats, but everything is shrinked wrapped and more of often than not there's a faint whiff of not-so-freshness from their meat counter. I'm looking for a small-time place, one that doesn't tout it's $30/lb aged ribeye, but rather can give me stock bones on ready notice or sweetbreads. I've been told that there's "just not a demand" for these things, but I refuse to believe that. Any advice? (I'm willing to drive long distances, if necessary).

Jan 22, 2008
Una_Spremuta in Los Angeles Area

How To Achieve the Thick Consistency of Peet's In-Store Drip Coffee? [Moved from San Francisco Bay Area board]

I'm hoping a former Peet's barrista would be willing to spill the beans on this one. Because Peet's drip coffee in the store is absolutely different, in terms of consistency - it's thicker, more full bodied, and almost espresso-like.

I've tried a ton of different methods (drip machines, espresso machines, Chemex, French press) but none yield that thick, almost syrupy consistency that you get in a store-bough Peet's. I've also tried grinding the coffee finer, yet that more often than not yields more bitterness than it does body. I've also tried a variety of different waters thinking that that might be the trick. And I've tried all of their variety of beans. Yet, at the end of the day, in the thousands of cups I have brewed, there's still that battle between the minerality of the water and coffee flavor. What I'd like to do is find a way to have the coffee taste fully take center stage, in a more viscous, syrupy way. I'm not looking to make espresso, but for that wonderfully thick middle ground that a good cup of Peet's embodies. Having tried to isolate all of the variables, I can't help but wonder if it's something that they do to the water to give it that heaviness. Any thoughts?

Jan 22, 2008
Una_Spremuta in General Topics