Coffee Class Contest: Keep Naming That Recipe

UPDATE: The contest is over—congrats to Jon Low, whose amazing name Dark Matter won us over completely. He’ll get a free class and unending glory. But do watch this video to hear some of the many brilliant ideas our community came up with. You guys are seriously brilliant.

Recently, the ChefSteps kitchen concocted a chocolate-like substance made out of coffee—part of our upcoming Coffee class—and oh man, is it tasty.

But when it came time to naming this caffeinated treat, we turned to you.

The contest entries have come pouring in. And there are some serious standouts, we must say. We were so impressed, we stopped shooting another forthcoming class (stay tuned for word on that one) to share a random sample of the thousands of submissions we’ve received so far. Think you’ve got something better than Soylent Brown, Beanoise, or Black Tar Heroin? Submit your idea before midnight on February 4. The winner gets the class—full of cool techniques, unique recipes, and fun brew science—for FREE.

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Coffee Class Contest: Name That Recipe

What’s that stuff in the video?

It’s our new recipe for “chocolate” that’s made with coffee beans instead of cacao beans. It’s chocolate, without the chocolate. It looks like chocolate, it acts like chocolate, but it ain’t chocolate. At least, not technically.

Pure chocolate is made by combining ground cacao beans, cocoa butter, and liquid soy lecithin to form a smooth, creamy liquid. That liquid is then made into your favorite sweet treats—cast into individual chocolates; drizzled over granola bars; combined with milk powder to make milk chocolate—you get the idea. With this recipe, we simply replace the cacao beans with roasted coffee beans, and then follow the exact same procedure. The result is a robustly flavored, velvety coffee paste that behaves just like chocolate. What to do with it, you ask? Pretty much anything you’d do with regular chocolate.

With this luscious new recipe—part of our coming-soon Coffee class—we managed to use one of our favorite things (coffee) to pay homage to one of our other favorite things (chocolate), with delicious results. But giving it a good name proved trickier.

So it’s up to you, clever ChefSteps community. What should we call this caffeine-packed confection?

How do I suggest a name?

Submit your proposed recipe name by midnight on Wednesday, Feb 4 by including it in the comments below. Share as many monikers as you like, but be sure to include your email address when you submit, because the winner (chosen by the ChefSteps staff) gets the new Coffee class FOR FREE.

What do I win?

Yours for the taking: awesome advice from two of the world’s foremost coffee nerds—delivered via fun, fascinating videos along with step-by-step tips and techniques—along with four recipes, including the unnamed delicacy above. Learn to make the most of French Press, Chemex, and Aeropress brewers, dive into easy-to-understand coffee science, and connect with other java lovers along the way. This class is comprehensive, interactive, and totally results-based—you’ll have a great time learning to up your coffee game, and wind up with perfect home brew.

The winner will be announced—and thoroughly celebrated—within the class, scheduled for release in early February.

So get those creative juices percolating, coffee lovers. We can’t wait to see you win the name game.

Midnight Snack Video: Making Coffee with James Hoffmann – French Press Technique

From James Hoffmann of Square Mile Coffee Roasters in London: The French Press is by far the best coffee brewer you can buy when it comes to the ratio of price and coffee quality. The press works well with just about any style of coffee. The one problem is the sludge, but thanks to a technique shared online from the wise Scandinavians, you can now make a better press at home!

Credit and thanks to James Hoffmann, Square Coffee Mile Roasters, and everyone else involved in the making of this video.

We hope you’ve enjoyed watching the Midnight Snack Video. Share it with friends and visit ChefSteps to enroll in our online classes, prepare a recipe from our recipe gallery, and share your experience with our friendly culinary community.

How to Make Perfect French Press Coffee

At our Town Hall Seattle lecture, we went through the steps on how to make the perfect cup of French press coffee at home. For those of you who couldn’t attend or for those of you who were there, but want to go over the steps again, here they are:

1. Use coarse, freshly ground coffee. We are enjoying Herkimer coffee at the moment.

2. Measure your ingredients. I like 70 g of coffee to 1000 g of water. Most French press pots don’t hold quite this much, for example, I can usually only get 700 g of water in mine, so I’ll use 49 g of coffee to 700 g of water.

3. Add the coffee to your French press pot, pour over just boiled water—if you want to get really nerdy, you can obsess about the temperature of the water. Make sure you saturate all of the grounds evenly.

4. Give the coffee a stir and then wait for 4 minutes.

5. The secret step—that I learned from Tim Wendelboe — is to skim the raft of finer floating grounds off the top before plunging the press after 4 minutes of steeping time.

6. Enjoy within 15 minutes. Nothing is worse, in my opinion, than stale coffee.

Note: If your coffee is a bit sour, you will want to grind it finer and if it’s a bit bitter you want to grind it more coarsely. Keep the steeping time and the brewing ratio constant.

ChefSteps is Chris Young, Grant Crilly and Ryan Matthew Smith.
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Visiting the La Marzocco USA Headquarters

A couple of months ago, the ChefSteps team had the pleasure of receiving a few lessons on espresso, pour over, grinders, espresso history, and all other things coffee during a visit with Scott Gugglielmino at the La Marzocco USA headquarters.

While hanging out with Scott, you kind of get the impression that he obsesses about great coffee even while sleeping. The ChefSteps team is known for being coffee obsessed, but Scott takes it to an entirely new level. Lucky for us, he also has zero inhibition about sharing his expansive wealth of knowledge.

After nerding out on coffee knowledge for a few hours, ChefSteps was able to see the factory. The building front is very unassuming; then you walk through one door and……BAM, you’re in espresso machine heaven. Racks completely filled with espresso machines floor to ceiling cover the walls. They even have racks filled top to bottom with historic espresso machines that illustrate important changes in technology.

A third of the shop is a dedicated work area. This is where the machines are assembled, tweaked, repaired, and customized. Lucky for us a La Marzocco Strada was disassembled, giving us an inside look at their signature machine

We capped the day with a lesson from another local master of espresso; Andrew Milstead of Milstead & Co. Andrew gave us some tips ranging from dialing in our grind size to getting ideally textured milk foam.

Thanks for the great coffee and more importantly; dropping some knowledge!