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Coffee Education

  • What Type of Grease Do You Use On A Coffee Grinder Collar?

    Posted on April 22, 2016 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We field questions occasionally from folks who disassemble their coffee grinders for maintenance, cleaning, or burr replacement about what type of lubricant to use on the collar threads.  For grinders such as Mazzers, Compak, Macap, Rancilio and a host of others that have a threaded upper burr carrier we recommend a product called Super Lube Multi-Purpose Synthetic Grease that is USDA approved for incidental food contact.  We have seen people using Dow111 for this purpose but do not recommend its used as it is not designed for this application and we have found it becomes sticky over time.

    Super Lube Multi-Purpose Synthetic Grease

    If you do remove your upper burr carrier be very mindful to clean everything thoroughly before reassembly.  We use a combination of stiff bristled plastic brushes, paper towels, and a vacuum to remove any old coffee and grease residue from the threads.  If you fail to clean thoroughly, it is possible to build up enough friction when reassembling to bind the burr carrier.  After cleaning, apply a minimal amount of Super Lube onto the threads and carefully reassemble.  If you notice the collar does not turn with a normal amount of effort, disassemble and check for residue or cross threading. 

    Find Super Lube Here:

    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Coffee Grinder, Super Lube

  • Q&A: How long does roasted coffee stay fresh?

    Posted on March 11, 2015 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    As beans age, you face a scenario similar to the law of diminishing return. Chemically, lots of stuff happens to coffee as it get older. The result in the cup is a drop in acidity, decline of clarity, decline of varietal/origin character, decline of body, thin mouth-feel, decrease of aromatics...and a host of many other negatives.

    How long a roasted coffee is fresh depends on many things, like packaging, density, roast degree, process type, form (pre-ground/whole), relative humidity, exposure to light, temperature exposure...etc. As a rule of thumb, a coffee about 2 weeks off roast is at its peak in quality, give or take. Lighter roasted high elevation coffees (high density) such as our Kenya Nyeri Karatina Peaberry and Guatemala San Rafael Urias tend to age very well. Low grown coffees (low density) such a many Brazilian or Hawaian Kona coffees tend to age very quickly. [Soap Box]: Hawaiian coffees are some of the most expensive coffees to buy in the United States. A fresh Kona is a delightful experience, but most people buy a bag from a grocery store that was roasted 4-5 months before they brew it. Any goodness from these coffees are long gone. Unless you buy a bag from a roaster that is clearly marked with a roasted on date, don't waste your money on Hawaiian coffees. [Off Soap Box]

    When brewing coffee that is old, perhaps a month or two past roast, you might notice that a once fruity and floral Ethiopian Yirgacheffe now tastes rather generic. This didn't just happen all at once. If you brewed this coffee exactly the same each day over the span of 2 months you would notice that it gradually declines in quality, it doesn't one day go from being really good to blah. If you brew this coffee for espresso, for example, as the coffee ages it becomes thinner and decreases in body. To compensate for the age, one can slightly increase the dose (amount of coffee used) or grind a bit finer. Changing one or both of these factors can extend the "life" of this coffee for awhile, but at some point increasing dose or grinding finer can no longer compensate in cup quality. This is what I call the "Law of Diminishing Return" when applied to coffee.

    Interestingly, coffee that is newly roasted needs a couple days of "rest" before brewing before many of the flavors start to really show themselves in the cup. For espresso use, 3 days of rest is the minimum we recommend before brewing, 5-6 days of rest seems to be a sweet spot for most espresso coffees.

    How a coffee ages after it reaches its peak can be a perplexing. Oxygen, light, high humidity, and high temperatures all seem to be enemies of freshness. We package our coffees in high barrier bags with tin-ties. Once open, we recommend folding the top down, expelling as much air as possible, then secure closed with the tin-tie. This will protect the coffee from excess oxygen exposure, light, and changes in humidity.

    If you don't plan on using the coffee for a few days, it is okay to put it in the freezer. To do so successfully, place the tin-tie bag inside a Ziploc freezer bag, expel as much air as possible, then place in your freezer. The important part is to remove the bag several hours before use and allowing the coffee to return to room temperature before opening. If you open when frozen, moisture in the air will condense on the cold beans and get them wet (think a glass of iced tea and the water that forms on the sides of the glass).

    So How long does roasted coffee stay fresh? The simple answer is: It depends. But, a good rule of thumb is a coffee retains most of its "fresh" attributes until about a month after it was roasted.

    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Coffee, Q&A, How Long Is Coffee Fresh, Stale Coffee

  • New Video | Yama Rekrow Butane Burner for Coffee Siphons

    Posted on November 19, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    A quick look at the Rekrow Butane burners available for tabletop coffee siphons like Yama and Hario models.

    This post was posted in Accessory Review, News, Coffee Education, Tutorial and was tagged with Yama, Vac Pot, Yama Coffee Maker, Butane Burner, Rekrow Butane Burner, Butane Coffee Maker

  • US Vs. Them | Marshmallow Roast Analogy

    Posted on August 17, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith


    Well, this pretty much speaks for itself.




    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education, Tutorial and was tagged with How We Roast Our Coffee, Marshmallow Roasting, Don't Burn Your Coffee

  • Free Cupping at Vision's Espresso Thursday

    Posted on July 5, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Free Public Cupping at Vision's Espresso | Venia Coffee Roasters

    Join Venia Coffee Roasters at Vision's Espresso   this Thursday (July 10th, 2014) at 4pm for a free public cupping.  We will be offering our Guatemala Prenda Linda and our Ethiopia Danch Meng and are joined by & !

    Vision's address is:

    2737 First Avenue South
    Seattle, WA 98134, USA

    and their website is:


    We will see you there!

    This post was posted in News, Coffee Roasting, Coffee Education and was tagged with Ethiopia Danch Meng, Free Public Cupping, Coffee Cupping, Join Us, Visions Espresso, Guatemala Prenda Linda

  • Visit Us at the SCAA Event April 24th-27th

    Posted on April 23, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    SCAA 2013 Event Logo


    We are going to be at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Event this weekend at the Washington Convention Center in Seattle.  If you are going to be in attendance we would be honored to meet you.  Below is our schedule and some of the booths you can find our coffees throughout the show.

    Thursday 24th:

    12pm to 5pm - La Marzocco GS/3 bar in the Sky-bridge Cafe

    Friday 25th:

    8am to 12pm - La Marzocco GS/3 bar in the Sky-bridge Cafe

    2:20pm to 3:50pm - La Marzocco Artisan Cafe Linea PB station.

    Saturday 26th:

    11am-12:30pm - La Marzocco Artisan Cafe FB/80 station.

    Saturday 27th:

    11am-12:30pm - Slayer Espresso Booth #9016

    You can also find our coffees being used at the Baratza Grinder Booth #10041 and Espro Coffee Press Booth #4035 during the show.

    We are debuting two new coffees that we are stoked to offer.  Both work phenomenally brewed and as espresso.  The first is our Ethiopia Danch Meng sun dried natural from the great folks at Ninety Plus and Levelup.  A very complex coffee that starts off with raspberry and finishes with a nice sweet cocoa body, with lots going on in between.  Available on our webpage early next week.

    Also we are debuting our Guatemala Huehuetenengo Prenda Linda Micro Lot, a full bodied sweet chocolate & caramel. Balanced with a complex grape-like acidity and hints of mandarin, vanilla and floral notes.

    Both these coffee are a treat as a single origin espresso and as drip coffees.  Both also work really well with a bit of milk.  Might we suggest a Ethiopia Danch Meng you can't just drink one!

    See you at the show!


    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Espresso, Slayer Espresso, SCAA Event, SCAA Seattle, SCAA2014, La Marzocco, Ethiopia Danch Meng, Gueatemala Prenda Linda, Meet Us

  • 20 Second Peak at a Guatemalan Coffee Wet Mill

    Posted on February 20, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Our friends posted this video of their coffee at a wet mill in Guatemala.

    There are several methods for processing coffee, one of our favorites is wet process (aka washed, fully washed).  Shortly after being picked by hand, coffee cherries are taken to the mill where they are first sorted in water tanks, then sent through the pulper, which is what is shown here. The pulper removes the skin and much of the fruit from the coffee bean.  After this, the coffee is then sent to fermentation tanks where they will stay for about 24-48 hours.

    In the video you can see the red coffee cherries going into the mill.  In the last few seconds of the video you can watch the de-pulped coffee beans exiting the mill.  At this point they are whitish/light yellow in color and still covered in a sticky mucilage that is removed in the fermentation tanks.


    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Single Origin, Coffee, Coffee Processing, Washed Coffee, Guatemala, Coffee Mill

  • How to Make Coffee Using a Chemex Coffee Maker

    Posted on February 10, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith


    Ah, the Chemex coffee maker.  As a chemestry nerd myself, I have always held a special place in my heart for my Chemex.  Invented in 1941 by chemist Peter J. Schlumbohm, Ph.D., the Chemex is one of the most capable brewing devices we know of for bringing out the best in our coffees.


    Chemex Inventor Peter  Schlumbohm


    Originally, Doctor Schlumbohm's design was made in two parts, a modified glass filtering funnel and a modified Erlenmeyer flask.  Later, the two were combined and the beautiful wooden handle added and became the Chemex we know today.


    Early Chemex Concept Early Chemex Concept


    Chemex history_christmas_03_large Chemex history_design_01_large


    Many accolades have been bestowed upon the Chemex over the years and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum, the Corning Museum, and the Smithsonian.  As impressive as these honors are, perhaps the most impressive is the resurgence of use among the nations top coffee bars.

    All of this has resulted in a bit of mystique over the Chemex.  Reality is that they are remarkably easy to use.  The filter paper used is thicker than standard drip coffee filters and produces a very clean and clear cup of coffee.  Newer metal "Kone" filters by Able are also available and allow more oils through and produce a cup with more body.

    Buy all your Chemex supplies online here:


    Chemex history_marketing_04_large

    Chemex history_tradeshow_01_large


    Chemex Useful Objects in Wartime history_marketing_07_large

    Chemex history_display_01_large

    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education, Tutorial and was tagged with Video, Chemex, Chemex Coffee Maker, How to use a Chemex Coffee Maker

  • Mazzer Mini E Grinder Mod | Super Jolly Burr Set

    Posted on February 5, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith


    If you have been stung by the coffee bug, chances are you are constantly looking for ways to improve the brewing process to get the most out of every bean.  Just about 20 years ago I was a poor college student and I bought my first air popcorn popper from the local Goodwill and started the adventure of learning how to roast coffee.  It was only a few weeks later that I was trying to modify the air flow to achieve a more even roast.

    Over the years, there are few coffee gadgets that have made their way to my kitchen counter that I have not tinkered with to some extent, some with quite successful results and some not so much (before doserless espresso grinders were popular I cut the plastic doser off my first burr grinder with a dremel tool...that poor little Gaggia...).

    Perhaps one of the most frequent questions I have been asked regarding grinders lately is whether or not the Mazzer Mini Electronic espresso grinder burrs can be replaced with Mazzer Super Jolly burrs (AKA Mazzer Normale).  On paper, it would seem that they would work, same dimensions, same 3-hole screw pattern.  The only difference is the more aggressive burr design.  Having heard of these being successfully installed on Mini-E's, we thought we would give it a go.  We have been very impressed with the results.

    Before swapping out the stock 189D burrs on the Mini-E, we ran several 17g doses of our Uganda Mt. Elgon Natural coffee that was dialed in for an espresso grind.  Grind time was between 20-22 seconds.  After the swap with Super Jolly 33M burrs, the same 17g dose dialed in for espresso took about 13 seconds, a impressive improvement.

    We have had about a week of use on these burrs since filming for the video and we are nothing but impressed.  Grind quality is vastly improved and extraction is routinely more uniform (viewed using La Marzocco Advanced 17g basket in a bottomless portafilter).  Cup quality is also noticeably improved with much more clarity.

    A few points to note before venturing down the path of this mod.  The Mini-E burr set is specifically designed to be less aggressive than the Supper Jolly burr set.  This is likely because the Mini-E has a lighter duty 250W motor while newer Super Jolly's have a larger 350W motor with a bigger duty cycle.  While we haven't noticed or heard any signs that the Mini-E motor is being pushed beyond its capacity, we cannot recommend this Mod for anything beyond light-duty use.  I also feel the need to note, that older Super Jolly grinders have 250W motors and have run for years with heavy and frequent use, but swapping the stock 189D Mini-E burr set with the 33M Super Jolly burr set will void any warranty, so M.A.Y.O.R. (Mod At Your Own Risk).

    This post was posted in Random Thought, News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Mazzer, Mazzer Grinders, Mazzer Mini E Burr Swap, Tutorial, Coffee Grinder Mod

  • Tea & Coffee Consumption of the World

    Posted on January 16, 2014 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Tea & Coffee Consumption of the World Circa 2012 Tea & Coffee Consumption of the World Circa 2012 (Credit:


    We saw this article a few weeks back that took data from 79 countries to build this infographic on coffee and tea consumption by country.  Pew Research picked it up and have a nice synopsis found here and the Economist posted an interactive map of the data found here


    I think it is no surprise that the United States is clearly a coffee drinking nation, as are the nations building the coffee belt of Central and South America.  I would suppose that much of the East Africa would also lean this direction but no data was examined or available for this study.


    It was also no surprise that tea reigned supreme in Asian & Island countries, but what did surprise me a bit was the polarity of coffee and tea preference within countries.  Most countries lean heavily towards one or the other, with only a handful (European mostly) that were more centric in beverage preference.


    While coffee yields worldwide are about twice that of tea (by weight), when it comes to cup equivalents, about 3 cups of tea are drunk worldwide for every cup of coffee.


    While we are talking about it, just now saw this from


    Where the world's biggest coffee drinkers live.  Credit: Where the world's biggest coffee drinkers live. (Credit:


    Biggest coffee drinker title goes to the Netherlands, averaging 2.414 cups a day.  The USA averages 0.931 cups a day, while China and Nigeria only average a few drops of coffee a day.


    I would love to see this study using data on specialty coffee drinkers of the world.  If I had to guess on a per-capita basis, I would theorize that South Korea and the Scandinavian countries would be at the top of the list, with the USA chasing behind.


    This study also seems to lack data on Eastern African countries, which is disappointing as this is the birthplace of coffee and some of the most remarkable coffees are being grown here to this day.


    Coffee Consumption per Capita Coffee Consumption per Capita (Credit:

    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Coffee, Infographic, Coffee & Tea Consumption

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