Coffee

coffee storage

Coffee beans are alive with flavor. You need to treat them with a bit of a delicate hand since they can get stale easily if improperly stored. Retaining that strong coffee aroma and flavor is essential.

Here are three things, that you might not know can ruin fresh coffee.

1. Air:
When coffee beans or grounds are exposed to the open air, they oxidize and can wither and get stale fast.
2. Sunlight:
Even when storing in airtight containers, you can still leave them exposed to direct sunlight. The sun has a significant negative effect on the beans. That is why it is best to store in an opaque container.
3. Moisture:
Many people store them in the fridge or freezer, which actually isnt the best place. Moisture causes freshly roasted coffee to go bad almost immediately.

Thats why when you spend the money on high-quality coffee beans you need to treat them right. Baby them a little by having the best storage options you can find. At Osaka Coffee, weve developed the absolute best storage containers for your precious beans. Here are the two varieties we have to offer that are going to house your beans to make the best coffee you have become accustomed to in your home.

The Osaka Vacuum Sealed Canister. 16.9oz or 40oz.

coffee storage 2 sizes

This type of canister is not your ordinary container. It comes in two different sizes, the 40oz and the 16.9 oz. So depending on how many coffee beans you like to have on hand will determine the size you need.

The way that this container works is that there is a pump at the top that when you press down on it a few times, completely eliminates the air in the container. That way your beans are airtight and sealed inside the canister. Air, Heat, moisture, and possible sunlight are all safely kept away from your coffee beans.

Once you work the pump and twist to seal the lid, there is an indicator that will let you know that all the air is out of the way of the beans. How amazing is that? Your beans will be kept from the destructive forces out to get them. Okay, that might be a little over the top, but the magic of this container is real. It truly works to keep your beans as fresh as possible, so that each time you grind them for a cup of coffee, or who are we kidding here… a whole pot of joe, youll be drinking the freshest coffee you can make.

One important note: if you are using it for ground coffee, you will need to place them in a bag first. Vacuuming any ground or powdered substance will usually cause it to get stuck in the mechanism, and the seal will not hold.

The Osaka Vacuum Sealed Canister is also easy to clean because its dishwasher safe and durable. So you can just toss it in the dishwasher for cleaning ease. Then it will be ready to be filled again and again with your best coffee beans. Plus, the canister looks sleek and modern on any kitchen countertop in your home. The jar itself is stainless steel with a plastic and silicone top.

The Osaka Self Sealing Air Tight Storage Jar. Black or White.

coffee and sugar storage jar

Another option to store your coffee beans is the Osaka Self Sealing Airtight Storage Jar. It comes in two different color options to go with any kitchen decor in sleek black or bright white. This jar will also keep your beans safe from air, light, and moisture. Not only good for coffee beans, but you can also store other food items such as sugar, flour, or even tea leaves. Having a few on the counter is going to spruce up the look of your kitchen with style.

The way the jar works is that the lid, once you place it on the jar, has “self-sealing technology.” Its so tight that you can even pick up the container by the lid, and it will not dislodge. Then to open the jar, you just press the little knob to the side and presto! The lid comes off easily, so you have access to your beans. It couldnt be any simpler than that.

Another great benefit of the Osaka Jar is that when the carbon dioxide builds up (which, coffee beans naturally do). The lid will pop up slightly to release the gasses and then seal right back.

The jar itself is a smooth ceramic material, and the lid is silicone. The materials of the container wont interfere in any way with the flavors of your coffee beans. It holds up to 13.5 oz of beans and is also dishwasher safe so that you can clean it anytime without a problem. Youll have fresh, perfect beans each time you open your container to make your morning cup of enjoyment.

Check out the entire Osaka Coffee line for better ways to store, brew and enjoy your ultimate cup of coffee. We believe that coffee is a bit of an art form in and of itself, so having the best tools on hand to make that coffee should be a given.

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  • 15 Dec 2015
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Japan and coffee

How Japan became the third largest coffee importer.

Japan is probably more associated with tea drinking then coffee. With traditional chashitsu (茶室, literally “tea rooms”) a major focal point in Japanese culture. However in recent years coffee drinking has been on the rise in Japan, almost nipping at the heels of United States in total cups drunk per capita. Considering that Japan only started importing about 250,000 bags of coffee in 1961, after the post-WWII reconstruction. So to reach 452,672 metric ton in 20111 is a meteoric rise.

A traditional Chashitsu in Nara, Japan
A traditional Chashitsu in Nara, Japan

Coffee drinking in japan started by Dutch settlers in Nagasaki toward the end of the 1700s. They were, however, restricted to a tiny island called Deijima due to Japan’s self-imposed isolation (鎖国 Sakoku). During the Meiji Restoration (明治維新 Meiji Ishin) in 1877, Japan started importing coffee in bulk. The growth was still pretty slow and it hit a major bump during WWII. As mention earlier after reconstruction is when it really started booming.

Dutch Trading post in Dejimia Circa early 1800s
Dutch Trading post in Dejimia Circa early 1800s

Now, with a whole new generation of Japanese growing up with coffee the consumption is at an all-time high. Although the bulk of coffee consumption in Japan comes from canned coffee and vending machines. Like everything else, the Japanese believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well. This caused an enormous increase of specialty coffee shops in Japan. With roasters and Baristas learning and developing new approaches to getting a perfect cup of coffee. When you walk down any urban Japanese street you will find as many coffee shops as say, in the United States. Now for the kicker, according to Euromonitor International Coffee has become more popular in Japan then Tea!

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  • 15 Dec 2015
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a guide to different brewing methods

A guide to different brewing styles Part 1

Whether you drink instant or only high-priced boutique shop coffee. You have seen or heard of a couple of different brewing methods, with its enthusiast’s extolling the one they use. If you are curious what the difference is and which one might be for you then read on.

Machine Drip Coffee:

Let’s get the lowly machine coffee out of the way first, so we can move on to the good stuff. If you are looking to upgrade from instant but do not want to spend any time or effort on brewing, this is the way to go. Most even have programmable functions, so you can have a fresh cup when you wake up, and/or heated plates to keep the carafe warm after the brewing process. However be forewarned what you are gaining in convenience you are heavily sacrificing in substance. Machine made coffees are acidic, often unbalanced and generally vastly inferior in complexity, compared to manually brewed coffees.

French Press or Cafetiere:

Osaka Coffee’s Zenrin-ji, French Press.
Osaka Coffee’s Zenrin-ji, French Press.

This is the easiest alternative to the machine method. Most French presses work the same way, with you placing the grounds in the carafe, adding the hot water and then plunging the filter finish it up. It is easy insofar that you do not have to babysit it the whole time, after adding the water you just wait 3-5 minutes for the coffee to brew and the filter it. It is usually recommended to use a coarse grind for a French press so that the grounds should not get past the filter. The coarser the grind is the longer you need to let it brew in order to get the most flavor out of the coffee. Since most French presses use a metal filter you do get the advantage of letting in the essential oils and flavors that usually get trapped in paper filters. The disadvantages are, that you do get a cloudier coffee then the pour-over method, and it is more acidic in taste.

Pour–Over:

 

Osaka Coffee’s Itsukushima, Pour Over.
Osaka Coffee’s Itsukushima, Pour Over.

The standard method for most coffee snobs. It requires a little babysitting as you cannot just pour in however much water you want. But you are rewarded with a nice good balanced cup of Joe. Depending on what you buy sometimes they come with disposable filters, and sometimes with reusable steel ones. We highly recommend the reusable ones, even though it needs to be cleaned, it does not trap any essential oils and flavors, which come in coffee beans. This vastly improves the flavor and complexity of the finished product. It works by placing the grounds in a cone shaped filter, and then slowly pouring in water as it drips through the filter. To get the perfect balance it should usually take about 3 minutes for each (6oz) cup of coffee. The tricky part is standing there and being vigilant not to pour too much water at once. You can buy these with carafe sets or just stand-alone filters that fit in multiple carafes, or with a cup stand so you can make a single serve.

Cold Brew

Osaka Coffee’s Mount-Fuji Cold brew dripper.
Osaka Coffee’s Mount-Fuji Cold brew dripper.

The cold brew is a long process (takes about an hour for each (6oz) cup of coffee. However, this method has the least acidity of any other method, about 60-70% less than a coffee machine. Just please do not compare it to ice coffee, it is nothing alike. An ice coffee is a regularly brewed coffee that gets chilled after brewing. This is slowly extracted coffee using ice water. Because the process is so slow it is best to use really coarse grinds. You place ice water in the top chamber and there usually is an adjustable dripper so you can control the speed. You set it to about 2 drips every 3 seconds, it usually needs adjustment halfway through. When it is fully “brewed” you will have a smooth almost acid free coffee. For those that usually drink their coffee with cream or milk, we would recommend trying this one black.

Vacuum or Siphon method:

Osaka Coffee’s Skytree Siphon brewer.
Osaka Coffee’s Skytree Siphon brewer.

Ahhh! The ultimate in coffee snobbery, this produces some of the best cups of coffee you will ever taste. The method is a bit complicated but is most definitely worth it. It involves boiling water in the bottom half, which can be made easier by buying a tabletop butane burner. You place the grinds in the top chamber while separate from the rest of the brewer, and when the water is ready you place it on top. The heat will generate a vacuum and the water will siphon to the top where the grounds are waiting for it. Once it is done brewing you remove the heat and let the coffee filter through the chambers. There is a cotton filter in between the two chambers that make sure you don’t get any grounds in the finished product.  Originally invented in Germany circa 1830, it became popular in the early 1900s and almost completely disappeared by the 1950s. Now vacuum coffee systems is making a major resurgence in Asia, and recently in the United States as well.

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Origins of coffee

How an Islamic drink converted to Christianity.

There is a lot of contention and legends where the actual first use of coffee was discovered. From an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi who saw his goats start dancing after eating from the plant. To an exiled Sheikh Omar who after trying to eat the bean, out of starvation, boiled it to soften the hard exterior. But the most popular “Father of Coffee” is the Sufi founder Sheikh al-Shadhili*. He was a very learned young Sheikh and traveled a lot for his studies. When he returned to Yemen he came with the knowledge that not only can the beans be eaten, but can be boiled as a drink that energizes and awakens.

Sufism is one of the earliest dimensions of Islam originating in Yemen. Think of Sufism to Islam like Kabballah is to Judaism, it is a mystical ethos that focuses a lot on meditation. The very first communal practice of coffee drinking was started by the Sufis. By the 15th Century, it was a popular drink for Sufists practicing Dhikr, a rhythmic form of devotion often performed at night. The prayers required a lot of concentration and the drink was used to help that.

Unknown artist’s depiction of Dhikr
Unknown artist’s depiction of Sufis practicing Dhikr

The Sufis called this new drink qahwah, which originally refers to a type of wine, and since alcohol is forbidden in Islam this was the closest substitute. Insomuch that early Islamic leaders even tried banning the drink, saying that its effects were too similar to alcohol. That is where the etymological term Coffee comes from. Once the Yemenites realized that there is serious money to be made off the coffee bean they started exporting it all over the Islamic world. The port city they used to export this stuff was called Mocha. Even today Mocha beans from Yemen are one of the most sought after beans, noted for its distinctive flavor.

800px-Coffee_Plant_Uganda
Coffee berries, inside these, are the beans that are used for coffee.

For the next century, the drink was still associated with the Sufis, as coffee houses opened where the religion spread. The biggest mark in the early 16th century of how far it spread, is in 1554 when a coffee house opened in Istanbul then the capital of the Ottoman Empire. In that era the Ottoman Empire was in the middle of its greatest expansion, this really helped the advancement of this new drink. It was the Persians who later improved the drink by roasting the beans instead of boiling them as the Sufis were doing. Once it was popular in the Middle East, it did not take long to spread to Europe, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Italian merchants in the Middle East bought the aromatic drink to the Christian world starting in Venice. The Christian religious authorities were initially wary of this new Arabic drink that had intoxicating results. Somewhere in early 1600, it was bought before to rule on this new phenomenon. The pope wisely decided to taste it before banning it and reportedly exclaimed “This devil’s drink is so delicious…we should cheat the devil by baptizing it!”

Pope Clement VII
Pope Clement VII
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