It is amazing what some people do for their morning coffee. ☕
New Outlets Lead to Better Sounding and Tasting Coffee
Coffee aficionados always grind their coffee before brewing. You should start the grinder first, and then pour the beans in. This ensures the motor is up to speed before it starts, ensuring an even grind and reducing stress on the motor.
Most mornings I’m pretty desperate to taste the first sips of coffee in order to function at all during the day, so I usually start the coffee brewer before the grinder has finished, so that there’s almost no delay between the last grind and the first hot water hitting the top of the pile.
One oddity I had noticed when I first moved in was that turning the coffee pot on slowed down the grinder. The reason seems straightforward. The pot draws ~ 1475 watts, or around 13 Amps. Far more than my entire stereo rack combined, which only gets close to this when I turn the amp on, and otherwise plays around 3 Amps, including the TV!
Anyway, turn on the coffee pot, and the coffee grinder slowed down. Makes sense. The high current draw was causing the voltage to sag (drop) under load. It did however concern me a little so I decided to upgrade all the kitchen outlets. Mind you, this 17 year old house had suffered some use and abuse from prior tenants which made me want to replace switches and outlets anyway. Charred contacts and plastic bits stuck in corroding outlets demanded rehabilitation.
The kitchen outlets were on a 20A circuit, but daisy chained and back-stabbed. Replacing them all with Eaton commercial/residential outlets (including GFCI where required) has in fact had a meaningful improvement in my coffee experience. Now when I turn on the pot the grinder doesn’t slow nearly as much as it used to. Not sure if I can taste the difference, but I can sure hear it and it makes me sleep more comfortably knowing that there’s less heat and loss in the circuit.
Of course, I’ve done the same in the home theater / stereo room as well. Can’t say I’ve measured a difference, but knowing that the poor connections and old outlets are gone makes me happy.
I’m not ready to recommend boutique outlets to anyone, or boutique wiring methods. I am however saying that getting well made (at least Residential/Commercial), modern outlets that are not back-stabbed for an old home is probably more than worth it.
My next step is making sure my microwave and coffee pot are on the same circuit so there's no voltage mismatch.... 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Score one for erik_squires. It's the little things that sometimes give us the greatest pleasure. Basic things like stable power in our homes will enhance the performance and longevity of equipment from refrigerators to speakers. Underdesigned electrical circuits in homes is too common place. I grew up in an old farm house and in 1972 my mom got her first microwave oven. This house predated electrification. The wiring wasn't the best and had to be upgraded but if the washing machine was running and my mom used the microwave, the transformer on the pole down the road would blow a fuse. After losing power so many times the power company moved the transformer closer to the house. Problem solved. Those were the days...
Well done, Eric. I, however, have gotten lazier and after years of grinding my own beans, I have the brewer do it for me in a two pound bag. I've found that at my rate of one cup of coffee a day, it doesn't matter if I grind to beans to preserve freshness or not as it loses its freshness and potency at about the same rate (a week at most).
After one week, the pre ground coffee tastes the same as if I grind it fresh, once a day. I think what works in my favor is that the beans (or grinds) are roasted the day before I pick them and not sitting on a store shelf waiting to be taken home. Talk about being spoiled.
All the best,
Put the grinder and all motors on the dirty leg of the panel. Good Java in my house is mission critical and deserves hospital grade outlet at minimum……
Nuclear attack survivable…would be better….
@sbank may have more advice…..
"My next step is making sure my microwave and coffee pot are on the same circuit so there's no voltage mismatch"
Microwaves require a dedicated 20A circuit. Apparently, the requirements of a microwave are similar to those of any other heavy-duty appliance such as a refrigerator. You should also include AFCI protection.
I have a small kitchen so I found a built in coffee maker made by Brew Express. It is hard wired, no outlet and has a direct feed from my breaker panel. It also has a 1/4" water line feeding it which is connected into my home R.O. filtration system.
The only gripe I have is using a thermal carafe instead of a hot plate to keep coffee warm. The water hits the beans pretty hot, but if you're only making a half-pot, the mass of the carafe can reduce the temperature of the coffee to where it is only warm, not hot.
@tomic601 There are workarounds to the "start the grinder before pouring in beans" process. First, my Baratza grinder's hopper is UV-protected and conveniently roomy enough to hold ~ a weeks worth of beans. The motor start up is easily tackled by rewiring the grinder to use a motor from a Technics SP10. Instantly up to speed!
Their's a thread on ASR where someone measured the air pressure exerted on the beans during the pour from bag to grinder hopper. Wear on the beans was proven to vary, dependent on relative humidity, proving that coffee will taste better on drier days(No they didn't taste the coffee). By planning my hopper filling schedule using the 10 day forecast(European model, of course!), I minimize bean wear variability much like a servo speed controller.
Interesting post. I did a little experimenting on my own regarding "audiophile grade" high quality power delivery to, let's say -- "non-audio devices". The mad scientist project produced interesting and measurable results. I presented the concept of opening new markets for industrial applications for "high quality power products" to an audio manufacturers. "We'll get back to you on that ..."
Thinking "inside the box" can be amusing. Even if it only bolsters your self gradification.
Just yesterday morning my Barista downtown was telling me that when she was in Guatemala the ladies would grind the coffee beans by hand. They crush the beans with rollers and depending on the purpose of the beans the fineness of the grind would vary.
Imagine having the money for a nice stereo and ladies come grind your coffee beans by hand for you every morning. Reminds me growing up on the farm we shucked our own corn. Never realized farm life was so esoteric.
@tonywinga Never had roller ground coffee, I'd probably suck at it if I tried, but Guatemalan is among my favorite coffees. I tend to like South American coffees a great deal, and real Kona, and Java.
The “ kawfeew tawk” is so funny!
I have wondered for a while that similar to a good sound system, would better AC power delivery ( plugs, cords, conditioning etc) improve the picture quality of a good TV like my LG OLED? I would think it would have to but unfortunately TV’s are hard wired w/ regular power cords. I wonder if our eyes are as remarkably sensitive as our ears? Obviously dependent on what condition both senses are in. Anyone have any direct experience w/ this?
since my wife recently lead me down the dark roasted Road of coffee drinking, we bought & love our very nice Rancillio Espresso machine & grinder & enjoy freshly ground, rich creamy Americanos every morning. By pure luck, the espresso machine is on a dedicated circuit……
@jonwolfpell I am sorry, but Americanos is not a good treatment of the mighty espresso. You are watering up what's good in it.
@jonwolfpell I think what many don't understand is a regulated power supply vs. unregulated.
My grinder is unregulated. That is, performance is affected by incoming, instantaneous voltages.
Modern TV's use a constellation of power supplies to heavily regulate the voltage reaching each of the separate blocks. There's a computer, video upscaling, input / outputs and even the screen can have mulitple power sources, such as for the backlight as well as the pixels (depending).
While I've seen TV's perform badly in really terrible environments, like hotels, in a home with reasonably good power I think I would not obsess. Good wiring + good outlet is enough.
Actually this is incredibly rare for the power amplifier itself. Exceptions I can think of in linear amps include the Krell FPB line and Sander’s Magtech.
Amplifiers with switch-mode power supplies (SMPS) however should qualify as regulated.
The main drawback to regulated linear supplies is heat and power loss. With a DAC or preamp there is very little power consumed, so regulators can be small and heat losses small. The voltages are also low, typically around +- 12 to 15 VDC.
Krell's FBP essentially builds an amplifier around the power supply rails, multiplying the amplifier circuitry significantly.
Sander's Magtech is a relatively elegant, middle of the road solution which incorporates a transformer with multiple output taps and switches at 0 volts, essentially a lossless, very effective regulator that will perform pretty well regardless of your house voltage.
Since someone brought it up…
When I bought my AQ Niagara 5000 for the stereo, I moved my Furman Elite 15 Power Conditioner to my HT System (trickle down). The picture on my TV improved quite noticeably. It is sharper and has brighter colors. For real. I didn’t except to really see an improvement. I’ve tried to convince friends and family that they need a Furman on their televisions but, you know plugging a $1000 TV into I an $800 power conditioner makes no sense to them. I just got a Sony QD-OLED TV. After running an Ethernet cable from my LHY SW-8 Ethernet Switch to my Apple TV box the picture is so sharp my eyes bleed.
Well that's a surprise, but I am using a very similar Furman model, and so perhaps I don't even know how good I've had it!
That brought to mind the old story of cigars being rolled on the thighs of Cuban women. That came from this:
Gotta love origin stories.
All the best,
"....pour the beans in on a running grinder..."
...and I’d have to duck bean scrapnel....not a way to start the day, nooo...
That’s why the grinder has a lock-out, just like the m-wave to keep from baking my defib/pacer....and hand, face, and other attached organic elements...
Perhaps jaded ’n faded, but I’ve given up the pursuit of boutique coffees, ever since a dear departed friend and self ran through that decades ago. J Blue Mountain was disappointing despite the hype.....
For those snickering....when Starclucks brought out their Via instant, I happened upon a ’blind taste test’, offering the 2 variants of French Roast.
"That’s the instant..." *pointing at the errant paper cup...
"You’re right! How did you know?"
"Less ’body’ to it...relating the choices to wine, and ’mouth feel’...." *S*
Didn’t get any bonus for doing it without a pause in responding, tho’
On the other hand, having drank FR long enough to carry a thermos of it with a biohazard label on it might have made it easy...;)
....curl your toes up to your ankles....you’ve been ’woke’....*LOL*
Hmm, surprised miguelito hasn't chimed in here. When Steve Guttenberg Audiophiliac, toured Miguels' system I, and others, noticed the high end espresso machine in the background. One person ask what his preferred beans were; Black Cat Classic Espresso...I've been using them ever since...THANKS Miguel!
speaking of survival, my backup coffee system, for hurricanes, when power is often lost, is a propane camp stove and hand grinder with a Hario cone and filters. It would serve during a nuclear meltdown too, longer than I would.
@old_ears I want to recommend one that always gets great reviews when I give it away to espresso drinkers: Owl’s Howl from Siteglass Coffee in San Francisco.
@lloydc - I use Baratza for several reasons.
Besides being an excellent grinder they are also supremely serviceable. Not only do they sell parts cheaply, they encourage DIY repairs with the information on their website, and when they upgraded the design they offered an inexpensive upgrade kit to prior owners.
When the flip switch broke on me it was like $5 for a new one. Absolutely outstanding.
@manogolf No, it comes already roasted, so if you are making espresso you are fine.
However for any pour over you should rinse your bleached filters first. :)
Here's a Coffee-and-Beethoven story for you. He was, of course, a notoriously irascible grump. As evidence of this, I read in a biography once that he demanded of his landlady that the coffee she made him be brewed with 60 beans. This did seem like a lot, so one day I spilled the contents of a standard coffee bean measure and counted the result. Exactly 60! This surely varies with the size of bean, but nevertheless. Beethoven was only demanding that his coffee be properly made.