“He who would travel happily must travel light.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French poet and aviator

So, you’re going on a trip? Regardless of if the trip is an early morning drive or late-night arrival, no adventure is complete without your favorite coffee. For this reason, we wanted to provide some tips for packing light while keeping the full flavor of life.

PACKING YOUR BREWING KIT

With so many brewing devices on the market. If your travels have you staying in a hotel or Airbnb, you will have different needs than if you are camping.

First, ask yourself some questions:

  • Will you have access to electrical outlets for a small water kettle heater? Will you be able to heat up water at a campsite?
  • Do you plan on taking a small grinder or pre-ground coffee on your trip?
  • Do you prefer an espresso-like shot of coffee or do you need to brew for multiple cups?
  • Do you prefer brewing with or without a paper filter?

You will want to assure your equipment arrives at your destination in one piece. If you are flying, you’ll need something a bit sturdier than if you are driving to your destination.

TRAVEL LIGHT

Now is not the time to get bogged down by heavy and fragile equipment.

Manual brewers, like the AeroPress are small and packable which make them a backpacker’s favorite.  If you use a French press, you do not have to worry about bringing paper filters and you can brew enough coffee to share.

Give some thought on if you want to take a coffee grinder with you or if you prefer the convenience of pre ground coffee.

DURABILITY

Err on the side of caution. Select coffee gear that will stand up to the rigors of life on the road. Stainless steel can get dinged, but you should still be able to brew your coffee just fine.

TRAVEL FRIENDLY GEAR INCLUDE:

The AeroPress

  • Small, compact, and easy to stash in a day pack or luggage
  • It’s easy to clean and you have the flexibility of brewing a single espresso-like shot or add hot water to craft an Americano-style coffee.

Stainless Steel French Press

  • The Planetary Design French press allows you to brew your coffee and drink out of the French press because of their bru-stop. This press features a plate that separates the coffee from the coffee grounds.
  • The double wall stainless steel is durable and will keep your coffee hot. There is even a model that you brew your coffee and can drink from the press, too!

Hario Skerton Plus

  • This grinder is perfect for small luggage and does not require electricity. This is a great option for those who want to continue grinding their coffee beans before brewing.
  • The grinder base doubles as a storage container for ground coffee.

Electric kettle

  • Available in a variety of sizes and materials. A great option for those who do not have access to a stove or campfire.

HAVE FUN!

Now that you have your coffee kit assembled, it is time to test it out on your first trip.

Remember, adventure is the flavor of life. As your trip needs evolve, we are here to help enhance the flavor of your adventure!

Tips for getting the most out of your coffee.

You have taken the time to select your coffee and now you have brought them home. Now how do you store your coffee?

Here are some helpful tips for storing your coffee so that you get the most out of it.

The original packaging does a pretty good job keeping your coffee beans fresh.
When you purchase coffee from Red Cedar Coffee Co. you will notice a one-way valve on the front of your bag. This valve releases gas from the coffee beans while keeping oxygen out of the bag.

The foil bag protects the coffee beans from moisture and light. It is always best to open one bag of coffee at a time.

Grind your coffee right before you brew.
To maximize the lifetime and flavors of your coffee you will want to grind your coffee right before brewing it. Coffee grinding releases gases and aromas which are important when you brew coffee.

Keep your coffee at room temperature.
Coffee beans can be sensitive to temperature, moisture, and air.

Store your coffee away from spices as coffee can quickly absorb odors. If placed in a cabinet, be sure it is away from the oven.

We suggest keeping your coffee beans at room temperature out of direct sunlight.

While there are various opinions around this topic, we feel that freezing coffee does not help your coffee in the long term. Freezer burn, the potential for packaging to develop micro cracks, condensation and then forgetting it is in the freezer, it is best to keep your coffee at room temperature.

Airtight containers are coffee’s best friend.
The best way to keep your coffee fresh is to remove the air from your storage container. We are fans of the AirScape. The AirScape container has an inner lid with air-valve that forces air out and locks freshness in. The AirScape works great for both whole bean and ground coffee which makes us love it even more.

Coffee is grown in over 50 countries, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. This area is known as the “Bean Belt” or “Coffee Belt.” It is estimated that there approximately 25 million coffee producers worldwide.

WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?

Fair Trade is a movement that began in the 1970s as Max Havelaar in the Netherlands. The goal of the fair trade movement is to protect and impower producers. In 1988, Mexico became the first coffee origin to sell as fair trade.

Fair trade coffees are typically grown by members of a cooperative. The members are guaranteed a minimum price to protect them from the volatility of the coffee market.

Producers must meet social, economic, and environmental standards in order to maintain their fair trade certification.

THE IMPACT OF FAIR TRADE

Fair trade’s goal is to help provide a more sustainable livelihood for producers and to expand business partnerships.

Fair Trade USA reports that since 1998, sales of Fair Trade Certified coffee has generated over $600 million on financial benefits to coffee producers.

Once the coffee is sold, most of the proceeds go directly to the coffee producers. A small portion, however, will be used for the Community Development Funds.

The Community Development Funds provide the cooperative an opportunity to financially back quality and equipment improvements (i.e., depulpers, solar dryers, farm renovations) or social projects (such as education, clean water projects and health care).

RED CEDAR COFFEE CO AND FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED

Red Cedar Coffee Co. has been roasting Fair Trade Certified organic coffees since 2008. While not all fair trade coffees are certified organic, we have chosen to roast Fair Trade coffees which also carry the organic certification.

Our Fair Trade Certified organic coffees carry the Fair Trade Certified seal on the front label.

Did you know coffee begins to start losing some of its flavor and aromatics as soon as it is ground? Grinding your coffee beans fresh is one of the best ways to brew a more flavorful cup of coffee.

If you like to have the flexibility of grinding for different brewing devices or wish to get the most flavor out of your coffee, you may want to consider grinding your coffee before brewing.

BLADE VS. BURR GRINDERS

When it comes to choosing a coffee grinder you have two options.

Blade grinders are ones that have a whirly-style blade (like spice grinders) that spins to grind the coffee bean. These grinders can heat the coffee as they operate due to friction. Many blade grinders have a button that must be held down to grind; depending on who is grinding the coffee, it is harder to achieve a consistent grind on a blade grinder.

Burr grinders have two revolving abrasive surfaces (“burrs”). Burr grinders slice through coffee beans more consistently which is best for brewing flavorful coffee. Look for a burr grinder with numbered settings. This will help grind your coffee consistently.

ELECTRIC OR HAND GRINDER

Electric coffee grinders are plugged into an electrical outlet. These grinders take up more kitchen counter space, and most models provide the option to keep some coffee beans in the hopper. Some grinders have timers so you can replicate your grind time.

If you have the need to travel with your coffee grinder, or do not have the kitchen space, you may want to consider a hand grinder. These grinders are manual which means you are the grinder’s motor. Some brands, like Hario, have burr hand grinders.

WHY WE PREFER BURR GRINDERS

Burr grinders help you brew coffee-shop quality coffee at your home or office. They grind the coffee consistently which takes out any guesswork. These grinders are sturdy, and most will serve you for years to come. That is why we recommend burr grinders.

MAINTAINING YOUR GRINDER

Oils accumulate over time and using the Full Circle grinder cleaning tablet can help you get the most life out of your coffee grinder. If you are grinding dark roast coffees or flavored coffees, you will want to clean your grinder on a more frequent basis.

The grinder tablets have been formulated specifically to remove the coffee oils and residue on the grinder’s burrs and can also prevent jamming of the grinder.

Here is a short article that explains how jams occur and how a little cleaning can prevent them.

The Full Circle grinder tablets we carry in the Tasting Room are food-grade safe and are the same quality of cleaner we use for our grinders.

At Red Cedar Coffee Co. we consider the digital scale as the secret weapon in coffee brewing. Put away the tablespoons and little scoops, and instead use a scale.

Not only does a digital scale take the guesswork out when using a pour over brewer, it helps prevent issues of using too much coffee when using a drip coffee maker.

Weighing ingredients = consistency

Brewing using a digital scale helps to brew coffee for consistency and accuracy. Coffee roasts have different mass which makes measuring by scoop or tablespoon tricky. The digital scale avoids this problem.

Oftentimes a pour over brewing recipe will show a brewing ratio such as 1:16 (one-ounce ground coffee to 16 ounces water). The range for coffee brewing is 1:14 to 1:18. The less water used will brew a stronger cup of coffee, the more water used will brew a lighter cup.

When you find your preferred brewing ratio by using a digital scale you will be able to brew with consistency.

How to use a digital scale for pour overs and emersion methods

For pour over and emersion (French press, cold brew) brewing methods you will want to follow these steps:

  • Place the pour over brewer or French press onto the digital scale
  • Tare (or zero out) the pour over or French press
  • Add the desired coffee grounds into the pour over or French press
  • Tare (or zero out) the coffee grounds
  • Add the desired hot water into pour over or French press

Using the digital scale means you have more control in the amount of water you use. This can be helpful when using a 40 oz. Chemex to brew only 16 oz.

How to use a digital scale for drip coffee brewers

For a drip coffee maker, you can still use your digital scale:

  • Place your flat bottom coffee filter onto the digital scale
  • Tare (or zero out) the coffee filter
  • Add the desired coffee grounds onto the coffee filter

Grams vs. ounces

There are countless digital scales models on the market. Some digital scales, like the Hario brand, measure in grams. Other digital scales allow you to switch from grams to ounces.

Scales that measure in grams will give you a more precise weight when it comes to measuring the weight of water. This is particularly helpful for the Chemex.

Select a digital scale model with the unit of measurement that is easiest for you.

Happy brewing!

In our retail store we are often asked about acidity in coffee. While there’s not a one size fits all approach to answering this question, we have outlined a few points to consider.

The term “acidity” is used a few different ways in the coffee industry.

  1. Acidity can be used to describe the bright and tangy sensation that differentiates higher-grown coffee apart from lower-grade coffee. Tasting notes may describe acidic coffee as sour, citrus, tangy.
  2. Acidity can be used to describe the unpleasant stomach irritant that some coffee drinkers may experience. Sometimes it is due to the reaction the body has to caffeine.
  3. Acidity can be measured on the pH scale, which uses 7.0 as an indicator of neutrality. Numbers over 7 are lower-acid and numbers under 7 are more acidic. Black coffee is considered low on the pH scale around 5.  By comparison, lemon juice has a pH around 2, water is around a pH 7, and baking soda is around pH 9.

There are a few ways to limit the amount of acidity in your coffee.

  1. Choosing coffees that are roasted as medium to dark roasts can reduce acidity in the coffee. However, the darker the roast the more it masks what makes the coffee unique (the origin or “terroir”) and the roast style becomes more noticeable. For darker roasts you may see tasting notes that describe the coffee as bittersweet and dark chocolate.
  2. Try coffee origins (regions) where the coffee tends to have less acidity such as Sumatra, Peru, Colombia or Mexico.
  3. Cold brew your coffee. There’s a reaction that happens when hot water hits the coffee grounds. But using cool or room temperature water and slowing down the brewing process (you need 12-24 hours to brew your coffee) you can reduce the amount of acidity in your coffee. By using the Toddy Cold Brew System that we have in our Tasting Room, you can brew a coffee concentrate that you can keep in your refrigerator. You can add milk, milk alternatives and water to the concentrate to make a ready to drink beverage. If you prefer hot coffee, add hot water to the concentrate and you can continue to enjoy a cup of hot coffee.
  4. Brew using a Chemex Coffee Maker. The paper filters are approximately 20-30% thicker than most paper filters. Chemex Coffee Filters are double-bonded and filter out acidity, bitterness, fats and sediments.

COFFEE RECOMMENDATIONS

A few coffees to consider that have lower-acidity:

  • Sumatran Mandheling (medium roast)
  • Fair Trade Certified Organic Mexican (medium roast)
  • Fair Trade Certified Organic Peru (medium roast)
  • Full Moon (dark roast)
  • Fair Trade Certified Organic Sumatran Italian Roast (dark roast)

BREWING EQUIPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Toddy Coffee Maker*
  • Chemex Coffee Maker*

*both models sold in retail store

The AeroPress may be a small coffee maker but it’s is one of the most flexible coffee makers on the market. Depending on the recipe, you can brew anything from a single cup of coffee to concentrated espresso-like coffee.

The entire brewing process for the AeroPress takes about 30 seconds. After pouring coffee and hot water into the AeroPress chamber, set the chamber on top of your coffee cup and press. The coffee will be pressed through a paper filter and into your coffee mug.

Once you’re done brewing your coffee, just tap off the grounds and give the AeroPress a quick rinse and let dry.

Why we like the AeroPress:

  • Durable, easy to clean and portable.
  • Constructed with BPA-Free plastic.
  • The AeroPress comes with a paddle for stirring, 350 microfilters and plastic filter holder, funnel and coffee scoop.
  • It’s ideal for travel, the office for in the kitchen.

What you will need:

  • Freshly roasted coffee from Red Cedar Coffee Co.
  • Grinder
  • AeroPress and filter
  • Water Kettle

Pro-tip:

If you enjoy tweaking your coffee brewing recipes check out the recipes on the World Aeropress Championship website.

The AeroPress kit and replacement coffee filters are available at Red Cedar Coffee Co.’s retail store in Berea.

The Hario v60 is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee 1-3 cups of coffee at a time.

Small and portable the Hario v60 has become a favorite brewing method for the office and for those that brew their coffee on the road.

The small ridges of the v60 help the filter from sticking to the walls of the dripper.

The Hario v60 is great for bright coffees where you can pick up floral and fruity notes.

 

Why we like the Hario coffee brewer:

The Hario v60 is one of the easiest and most approachable brew methods. It takes up minimal space and the cleanup is easy since you are brewing directly into the cup.

The Hario v60 brews coffee is a shorter time, approximately 3 minutes per cup.

 

What you will need:

  • Freshly roasted coffee from Red Cedar Coffee Co.
  • Grinder
  • Hario v60 dripper
  • #2 Hario filters
  • Water Kettle

 

Pro tip:

Use a digital scale to repeat your favorite coffee recipe.

A good starting point for your coffee to water ratio is 1:16. Use 1 ounce of coffee to 16 ounces of water. Tweak the ratio to your liking.

 

In the retail store:

We offer the Hario v60 in ceramic and plastic along with Hario v60 #2 filters.

The French press brews a full-bodied cup of coffee. If you’re looking to pick up more of the characteristics that make your coffee unique, this is your brew method!

The French press is an immersion brewing method, meaning that the coffee grounds are steeped in hot water before being pressed to the bottom by a metal filter.

You will want to use a coarse grind for brewing your French press coffee. Pour the amount of coffee you’d like into the press then add hot water. Place the lid on top of the French press with the metal filter up. Wait 4-6 minutes and press the metal filter down. Pour and enjoy!

Why we like the French Press

It’s a great brewing method to relax and enjoy your coffee.

What you will need

  • Freshly roasted coffee from Red Cedar Coffee Co.
  • Grinder
  • French Press
  • Water Kettle
  • Digital Scale (to help replicate your favorite recipe)

Pro-tip

We find that steeping your coffee for 4-6 minutes is the sweet spot.

Pictured above

Our retail store carries double-walled stainless-steel French presses. The French presses have new technologies that create a barrier between the coffee and coffee grounds meaning you won’t have to worry about bitter coffee. Also pictured is a handmade stoneware mug.

“What is that?” is a question we often hear in our retail store. For many reasons it is one of our favorite ways to brew coffee.

This brew method is a piece of art that is represented in numerous art museums including the Corning Museum of Glass and Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York.

What is the Chemex?
Invented by chemist Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in 1941, the Chemex combines the beauty of an hour glass with the function of a coffee maker. What makes this piece of art even more impressive is that it brews consistently smooth coffee.

Why do we like the Chemex?
The double bonded Chemex paper filter removes a molecule in coffee oils which creates a clean cup of coffee free from bitterness.

The Chemex does especially well in with washed coffees like our Guatemala Antigua and Costa Rica La Lia Finca Dragon.

We carry the 8-cup (40 ounce) Chemex and coffee filters in our retail store in Berea, Ohio.

Brewing Tip: Use a digital scale when using a Chemex for accuracy.