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The Good, The OK, and Ugly of Grinding Coffee

Getting the best coffee grind for your morning brew is easy when you know your options. Here is a really fast breakdown of how to get the best coffee grind for your coffee maker.

The Ugly — Using a Blade Grinder

This may be the worst grinding option, but it sure beats the way cowboys used to do it — with the butt of their gun!

Why it’s the worst.

The reason a blade grinder is just about the worst option is because of how it works. The blade grinder has one or two blades that spin very fast — essentially chopping the beans. This “chopping” of the beans creates an uneven grind. Then during brewing your ground will not extract properly. It’s kind of like trying to brew espresso with french press coarse grinds and at the same time mixing that brew with a french press using espresso grind. It’s going to be messy and it won’t taste right.

If you’re a glutton for punishment.

If you’re going to use the blade grinder anyway here’s some tips.
To get the best coffee grind from a Blade grinder make sure to keep the grinder upright on the counter.
A common mistake is made in twisting and turn the grinder to “assist” in the grinding process. This actually makes the chopping of the beans by the grinder worse. Just make sure the grinder is level.

Follow our handy time-limit for grinding by brew method

  • 20 seconds (finest) – Turkish
  • 16 seconds – Fine Espresso
  • 14 seconds – Standard Espresso
  • 12 seconds – Cone Filter Drip
  • 11 seconds (middle grind) – Universal Drip
  • 10 seconds – Flat/Basket Filter Drip
  • 9 seconds – Percolator
  • 8 seconds – Stovetop Percolator
  • 6 seconds (coarsest) – French Press

The OK — Letting the pros do it for you.

A better option is to let the pros grind your coffee for you. Here at Camano Island Coffee Roasters we give all of our Club members the option to have their coffee ground by the experts. Just let us know how you plan to brew your coffee and we will give you the best coffee grind possible.

Why it’s only ok.

As soon as we grind your beans, they start to lose some of the amazing fresh taste. The beans in whole form hold in the oils and flavors better enabling your coffee to last longer. Receiving the beans in whole bean and grinding them correctly yourself will give you the best flavor possible! But if convenience is more important to you, then leaving the mess of grinding to us!


The Best Coffee Grind Option: Grinding with a Burr Grinder.

The very best coffee grind option is to grind your beans yourself with a burr grinder. A burr grinder contains two discs that essentially grind against each other. It’s this motion of crushing and grinding that enables you to receive the most uniform grind possible.

Why it’s the absolute best coffee grind.

Your beans will be fresher, better tasting, and more versatile. Your beans will hold in their flavor for the longest possible time if they are stored whole. You will also get the best flavor extraction with a consistent and accurate coarseness for your grounds. Remember it’s the uneven grinding of a burr grinder that will mess up your flavor. Lastly, when you receive your beans as whole and grind them yourself with a burr grinder then you can choose different brewing methods with the same bag of beans. Want the strong, thick flavor of a french press in the morning? Want a more nuanced, smoother mouthfeel of a pourover in the afternoon? You can do both if you use a Burr grinder.
Below is a list of the standard grind settings by brew method — from finest to coarsest.

  1. Turkish
  2. Fine Espresso
  3. Standard Espresso
  4. Cone Filter Drip
  5. Universal Drip
  6. Flat/Basket Filter Drip
  7. Percolator
  8. Stovetop Percolator
  9. (coarsest) – French Press

You’ll notice that Turkish and then espresso is the most fine grind and the french press is the most coarse. Each brewing method requires a specific coarseness.

Here’s an example of Turkish grind.



And here’s an example of French Press


Now that you’ve seen The Good, The OK, and The Ugly of Coffee Grinding why don’t you tell us what *ahem* how you grind your beans. Comment below!


See more photos of a coffee grinder rifle from the Civil War


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Brew Guide: French Press

The exact origin of the French Press has been subject to much debate. Folklore says it was an elderly frenchman in the 1850s, while the italians claim to have produced the most functional model in the early 1900s. Of course, the fight to take the credit is understandable, as French Press is one of the most-loved brew methods around the world. For this brew, we used a Bodum 32oz. french press.

Brewing with a French Press is easy, and will take you about 12 minutes.


French Press
Wood Stirrer
Gooseneck Kettle


4 tbsp coffee & 16oz water
8 tbsp coffee & 32oz water
32 grams coffee & 473 grams water
64 grams coffee & 946 grams water

French Press


To start, we suggest a ratio of 2 tablespoons of grounds for every 8oz of water. The coffee should be ground on the coarsest setting – a #9 on an industrial grinder. If your grounds are too fine, you will get “muddy” coffee in your press.


French Press


Heat your water until it’s boiling, and then remove from the heat source for 30 seconds before pouring (boiling water will burn your grounds and ruin your drink!) – The best temperature for brewing is between 195-205 degrees.


French Press


Drop the grounds into the french press, and pour enough water over them until they are fully covered.


French Press


Pause and let the coffee bloom for 45seconds.


French Press


Continue to pour the rest of your water into the press. You can now let it brew for 3-5 minutes (personally, we think 4 minutes is the perfect time, but it’s all about your own taste preference).


French Press


Once the time is up, use a small bamboo paddle or chopstick (not metal – you don’t want to crack the glass) to break the crust and give the grounds a quick stir.


French Press


Now you can put on the lid and press! There should be a small amount of resistance, but not much. If it is difficult to push down, your grounds are probably a bit too fine. If it seems way too easy to press, perhaps your grounds are too coarse.




Pour into your favorite mug, and enjoy your marvelous cup of delicious french press.

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7 Tips to Making the Best Coffee – Drip


Do you knock your neighbor’s socks off with your drip coffee? Well, now you can, if you follow How to make the best coffee with these 7 Easy Steps To The Best Drip Coffee.

1.  How to Make The Best Coffee — The Coffee Must Be Fresh.

Coffee has a shelf life of around 6 weeks. The coffee in the grocery store is on average 3 to 12 months old. What that means for you is, if you are drinking store-bought coffee you are enjoying the coffee equivalent of moldy stale bread. To avoid this and to enjoy the vast array of coffee’s flavors — only purchase coffee from a local independent roaster. Your coffee will be hours young not months old. That’s the first step in how to make the best coffee.

2. How to Make The Best Coffee — Your Water Has To Be Filtered.

The water you use is the second most crucial step to having great tasting coffee (just after the coffee itself).  Use filtered water or even bottled water. DO NOT USE — distilled or softened water. That’s the second step in how to make the best coffee.

3. How to Make The Best Coffee — Be Specific About Your Grind.

USE ONLY A BURR GRINDER. If you have a blade grinder, then I’m sorry. You are better off getting the custom treatment you can only get from a local roaster. A good, local roaster can grind your coffee according to your filter needs. If you have a burr grinder then here’s what you do. For “cone” shaped filters (paper or gold cone), grind your coffee at #4 on your grinder. For flat-bottomed filters grind a little coarser with a #6 grind. The grind is imperative to the extraction process and the subsequent flavor. That’s the third step in how to make the best coffee.


4. How to Make The Best Coffee — Use The Right Amount.

Use 2 level tablespoons of ground coffee per 6oz. of water. And that folks is the fourth step in How to make the best cup of coffee


5. How to Make The Best Coffee — Pre-Wet The Grounds.

This is a fun trick many don’t know.  If you have an Insta-hot or can quickly heat up a very small amount of water, sprinkle no more than an ounce of water on your grounds before you start brewing. This begins the extraction process and starts pulling the flavor to the surface of the grounds.  When the brewing starts, it will have a head-start on the extraction. That’s the fifth step in how to make the best coffee

6. How to Make The Best Coffee — If It Ain’t Hot It’s Time To Shop.

Your coffee maker should maintain a constant temperature of around 200?F to ensure optimal extraction.  If your coffee is cool or colder than you remember, it maybe time for a new machine.  BONUS TIP: A drip maker should also take only 5 – 7 minutes to brew. That’s the sixth step in how to make the best coffee.

7. How to Make The Best Coffee — Don’t Wait, Enjoy it Right Away.

Nothing ruins your coffee experience like cold coffee. So, don’t wait, drink it right away. A thermal carafe will keep your coffee warm longer than a glass pot. No matter how warm you keep your coffee make sure to finish it off within 30 to 60 minutes of brewing. BONUS TIP: Re-heating coffee can never revive the optimal just-after-brewing flavor. That’s the seventh step in how to make the best coffee.



Many coffee “experts” will downplay the flavor of a drip brewer for many reasons.  In reality though, a drip coffee maker can make a the best coffee in the world with the right beans, water and grind. Whether you like a light roast coffee, a medium roast coffee, or a dark roasted coffee, you just have to pay attention to the details. Oh, and when you’re done, don’t forget to help your neighbor find their socks.

Source | NCA Brewing Guide (combined with some of our own expertise)


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3 Shocking Facts About Artificially Flavored Coffee

Cup of Coffee

Mmmmm . . . . ! Mocha, caramel, and hazelnut flavored coffees fly off the shelf daily. Unfortunately, many coffee drinkers remain in the dark about artificially flavored coffee. Learn the 3 Shocking Facts About Artificially Flavored Coffee and keep reading to the end to learn the 4 Keys to Mind-Blowing Natural Coffee Flavor.


A Smorgasbord of Chemicals: Cream, Sugar, or Antifreeze?

That’s right, you read that correctly, a smorgasbord. The popular coffee flavoring chemical compound propylene glycol, also exists in antifreeze! Do you love Irish Cream? That’s made with ethyl alcohol, dimethylamine-D1, and formamidine acetate. Does that sound delicious? If you’re a fan of peanut flavor, you’re drinking 2,4-dimethyl-5-acetylthiazole. Yum! There’s got to be a better way to enjoy coffee.

HAZMAT Is The New Black!

Naturally, using strong solvents and chemicals to flavor coffee can have an adverse effect on employees. Hazmat suits — this is the dark side of flavored coffee. Without these suits, workers risk terrible long term health effects such as bronchiolitis obliterans, a type of incurable lung cancer. Now just think you drink these flavored beans. Do you really know what’s going into those beans? When you think of employees working at a coffee company, do you picture them wearing HAZMAT suits? Neither do we. That’s why we never flavor our beans. We don’t have to. Read to the end to find out why.

Bitter Beans, Better Taste?

Speaking of brewing flavored coffee beans, what kind of coffee needs to be flavored anyway? The cheap stuff. The stuff that’s left over. The stuff that you couldn’t drink without strong chemicals tricking your taste buds. Most flavored coffee is cheap robusta beans: the highly acidic, bitter coffee beans most big coffee companies use as filler. These beans are simply the carriers of the chemical flavors. You’re not really drinking coffee.

4 Keys to Mind-Blowing Natural Coffee Flavor

 Coffee Has More Flavor Potential Than Wine

If your coffee is fresh, organic, and free of imperfections it will blow your taste buds away. How? Because if coffee is taken care of, it will release the power of 800 naturally occurring chemical compounds. To give you some perspective, wine has only 200 flavor compounds. Coffee is packed with flavor — you just have to treat it right.

Freshness Is Key

Protect your coffee experience with fresh coffee. Coffee loses its flavor within the first few weeks after roasting. To give you some perspective, grocery store coffee is on average 3 months old due to the logistics of transportation and distribution. Protect your coffee flavor by only buying coffee that’s been roasted fresh within the past few days.

The Soil Must Be Nutrient Rich

A little known fact about coffee is how it gets its flavor. Coffee draws its flavor from the minerals and nutrients stored in the soil. The soil replenishes its nutrients and minerals naturally when a variety of plant life is grown together. That’s one reason why we only roast coffee that is shade-grown. It simply improves the soil quality and therefore the flavor.

Country of Origin Also Plays a Role

The coffee tree is affected by the climate and elevation of the coffee’s country of origin. The higher the elevation the better. The more tropical the climate the better. The combination of soil type, climate, and elevation all combine to give you 800 chemical compounds that make up coffee’s complex flavor.


Adding it all together . . .

When you add together the soil type, the high elevation, and the tropical climate you find there are only a handful of places in the world that can grow truly phenomenal coffee.

It’s Your Lucky Day!

If you love artificially flavored mocha, then you’ll love our organically grown Papua New Guinea with its naturally strong cocoa tones. If hazelnut is your flavor of choice, then our Brazil Dark roast with its strong nutty flavors will knock your socks off.  And right now, when you join Buzzbox you can have either of these coffees for free. Give them a shot and let us know what you think.

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5 Steps to Outsmarting Coffee Snobs

Coffee Snob Header

Sign up for the Buzzbox program now and receive your first lb. of coffee free!


Can’t We Just Enjoy Coffee?

Can a coffee snob really tell the difference between a cup of Ethiopian Harrar and a Papua New Guinea Village Premium Morobe? Wine Snobs can’t. Robert Hodgson, a winemaker from California, conducted an eight year experiment at the California State Fair’s wine competition.

Hodgson had this to say about the results,  “The results are disturbing. Only about 10% of judges are consistent and those judges who were consistent one year were ordinary the next year. Chance has a great deal to do with the awards that wines win.”

The fact is, Coffee tasting like wine tasting is subjective. We all have our own opinions. So in this blog post we’re going to poke a little fun at the “coffee snobs” of the world. Here are the 5 steps to outsmarting even the most seasoned coffee snob. You’re going to blow them away!

Step 1: Breathe.

Take a deep whiff of the cup of coffee before you sip it. Try to pinpoint the aroma. What does it remind you of. Note: if it just smells like coffee say something like, “Hmmm. This one seems to have a nutty-like base, with a hint of walnuts.” Look at the amazement on their faces. And you haven’t even tasted it yet.

Step 2: Take a Sip.

Just like the coffee sniffing, take a quick sip. What flavors can you identify? Note: if it just tastes like coffee say something like, “Oh that’s really interesting. Very interesting. It has a piquant and nippy acidity with a hint of cardamom.”

Step 3: Now Get Slurping!

I know this might sound funny, but just slurp the coffee. This is a real coffee tasting technique! Slurping allows you to spread the coffee evenly across your tongue and palate, enabling you to take in a greater variety of flavors. Now, what flavors can you identify? Note: if it still tastes like coffee then say, “I can really taste the lemon and apricot notes. They’re so delicate. It’s a delight!”

Step 4: Really think about your palate.

With each subsequent taste just ponder the multitude of flavors washing over your palate. It’s like a sea of flavor, rainbows, and unicorns. Note: if it still tastes like coffee just say, “Hmmmm.”

Step 5: Sit Back, Relax, and Watch.

Now is the time to sit back, relax and receive all of the coffee snob accolades you deserve. Watch the other coffee snobs try to match you in coffee snobbery. Look at ‘em try! You’ve really stumped them.

I have a confession.

I’m a wannabe coffee snob. I know, I know. I love to try and determine the flavors, undertones, aromas, body, and finish of espresso, pour-over, and drip. But really, I think it’s fun to just drink coffee. I leave the coffee snobbery to our experienced coffee roasters.

I think it’s fun to be “hoity toity” about coffee. And obviously, I think it’s fun to make fun of coffee snobbery.

Can’t we all just have a little fun?  

For all you Wannabe Coffee Snobs

If you’d like to be a wannabe coffee snob like me, check out these awesome diagrams below!

Use this tongue diagram when you’re slurping your coffee. Try to determine the types of flavors that come to mind.


Use the flavor wheel to attach familiar flavors to these coffee sensations!



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7 Tips To Make The Best Coffee — French Press

7 Tips to make the Best Coffee - French Press


We as Americans have had a tempestuous relationship with the French. Anyone remember “Freedom Fries”? Well, at CICR we like to give credit where credit is due. So, Viva le France! Thank you France for giving us the best coffee extraction method known to man — the French Press. Here are 5 Tips to Make the Best Coffee — French Press.


Yes. How do I make the best coffee?

1. The First Step to Make The Best Coffee for French Press —  The Right Water.

Using tap water will handicap your flavor. You must use filtered or spring water. Nope, distilled water won’t work either — you need minerals to aid in the extraction process. So, only use cold filtered, or spring water. That’s the first step to make the best coffee for french press.


2. The Second Step to Make The Best Coffee For French Press – The Coffee.

Yes, the coffee beans make a difference in your cup of coffee. You need the best coffee in the world. Of course this means you need certified organic, shade-grown and freshly roasted coffee. But how do you grind it? Coarse! The beans must be ground coarse to prevent the sludgy post-brew grounds from ending in your cup. You need 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces. That’s the second step to make the best coffee for french press.


3. The Third Step to Make The Best Coffee for French Press – The Equipment.

You need a good filter. The best filter will keep the coffee grounds in the press — not in your cup. Bodum makes some of the best french presses. Their filters come in three pieces that you can take apart and clean. That’s the third step to make the best coffee for french press.


Bodum filter system

4. The Fourth Step to Make The Best Coffee for French Press – Don’t Boil The Water.

Never pour boiling water on your freshly ground beans. Boiling water will scorch the beans and alter the taste. You need hot water that is just off of the boil. The ideal temperature is between 195° and 205°F. That’s the fourth step to make the best coffee for french press.


5. The Fifth Step to Make The Best Coffee for French Press – Bust the Crust!

Once you have doused all of the grounds in water, wait for the “crust” to form. The “crust” is the grounds that will rise to the top. To aid in the extraction process you must stir the grounds and break up this “crust.” If you have a glass french press, only stir using a wooden stirrer or chop stick. Over time, a metal stirrer or spoon can cause the glass to crack and break due to the high temperature of the water. That’s the fifth step to make the best coffee for french press.


6. The Sixth Step to Make The Best Coffee for French Press – Let It Sit!

 Let your coffee sit for 3 to 5 minutes — depending on how strong you want your brew. Then, finally, press and pour. That’s the sixth step to make the best coffee for french press.


7. The Seventh Step to Make The Best Coffee for French Press –Enjoy.

The dark brew falls, splashing and swirling til it comes to its resting place — in your warm mug. Warm your mug prior to pouring to maintain the heat and flavor of your coffee. Lastly, drink your beautiful french press coffee within 10 minutes of pouring. The flavors of the coffee will change as the temperature cools. This provides you with the widest range of flavors. That’s the seventh step to make the best coffee for french press.

So there you have it — the 7 tips to make the best coffee for french press. The best coffee extraction method — French Press, running the length and breadth of Coffee’s vast variety of flavors.


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Are Gangsters Holding Your Keurig Hostage?



“I don’t want your BuzzBox Coffee — I have a Keurig!”


This is what a friend of mine told me recently. I told her, “Great! But, did you know your Keurig is being held hostage by Gangsters?


“Wait! What are you talking about?”


Here’s what I told her. . .

1. Big Coffee’s Gangster Tactics Are Shackling Your Keurig’s Potential.

The Keurig machine is awesome, because it’s convenient. You just pop in your puck and go. But, consider this: a few of the big coffee companies have paid to have the exclusive rights to produce K-Cups.

Why does this matter to you? Well, for one, it severely limits your choice. Second, these coffee companies roast their coffee in big batches, pre-grind the coffee, and then store it for months in prepackaged K-Cups. These K-Cups can be 3 to 12 months old by the time you pop it into your Keurig. Since coffee goes stale after around 10 weeks — and even sooner after grinding — you’re being robbed of the beautiful flavors of freshly roasted coffee.

2. How Do I Beat These Coffee Gangsters?

How do you beat big coffee’s stale cronyism? Make your own K-Cup. Simply purchase freshly roasted coffee, grind it, and place it in your Keurig using the Solofill reusable filter. “Batta-bing-batta-boom” — you’ve got yourself a quick and easy, fresh and flavorful, K-Cup. The Solofill reusable filter also helps to alleviate the environmental burden on local landfills since prepackaged K-Cups aren’t recyclable.

3. Show me the money!

Why let big coffee companies extort you for K-Cup convenience? A stale, prepackaged K-Cup costs around 70 cents a cup. For around 35 cents a cup you can give yourself the top 1% of fresh, micro-roasted coffee. We’re talking USDA Certified Organic, Shade Grown, and Fairly Traded, and it’s still cheaper than that stale K-Cup.

When you consider that most people go through a pound of coffee every 2 weeks, this works out to saving $602 a year* just by using fresh, better-tasting coffee!

For example, here at Buzzbox Coffee, you can buy coffee that is hours young not months old. Buzzbox Coffee roasts and ships within 48 hours. So it’s the freshest coffee you can buy


Freshly roasted coffee is the most important factor in producing the best tasting-cup of coffee. So combine the convenience of your Keurig machine with the fresh taste of locally roasted coffee with Solofill’s reusable filter.


*Based on an average price of 80 cents per K-Cup versus 33 cents per cup of Buzzbox Coffee and drinking on average 2lbs of coffee per month.



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The Best Way to Store Coffee — Avoid These 5 Easy Polar Bear Mistakes

The Best way to Store Coffee: Avoid these 5 Polar Bear Mistakes

Why do Polar bears brew terrible coffee? Because, like many humans, they continue storing coffee in the freezer. I know. I know. HAAAARDY HAR HAR. But it’s true. Want to learn the best way to store coffee — check out the 5 Steps to NOT Storing Coffee Like a Polar Bear.

5 Steps To NOT Storing Coffee Like a Polar Bear

1. Want the best way to store coffee? Don’t expose the beans to extreme temperatures.

Many coffee lovers mistakenly store their coffee in the freezer, thinking they are preserving the freshness of their beans. Instead, the extreme cold deteriorates the oils that gives coffee its great flavor. So, don’t store them in the freezer or the oven. That’s right, the oven is just for cooking.

2. Want the best way to store coffee? Don’t expose the beans to direct sunlight.

The sun can cause the beans to fade in appearance and taste. So, keep the precious little beans in a cool, dry, and dark place. Just another step to the best way to store coffee beans.

3. Want the best way to store coffee? Don’t store your fresh roasted beans in the fridge!

The fridge will make your fresh roasted coffee stinky! Coffee is a deodorizer. If you leave it in the fridge, your coffee will absorb the flavors in your fridge. Leftover salmon. Last night’s kimchi. The carryout box with the bleu cheese burger — they’re all going to give your coffee a very different taste. But hey, if you need to get that smell out of your refrigerator, just leave a bowl of coffee beans in there. Just don’t brew them!

4.Want the best way to store coffee? Don’t expose the beans to oxygen.

Fresh roasted coffee beans are kind of like a loaf of bread. If you leave them out they’ll go stale. Stale. In fact if you don’t use them within 6 to 8 weeks they start to go stale too. Stale. Stale. Stale. So, oxygen deprivation is extremely important to maintaining the quality of your fresh roasted coffee beans. Stale.

5. Want the best way to store coffee? Don’t store your coffee in its own package.

You can store your beans in their packaging, just make sure to place the packaging in an airtight zip-loc bag and keep in a cool, dry place like a cupboard. Remember, coffee is a bakery item. It’ll go stale if you don’t keep it sealed. So, that’s the best way to store coffee! Just another step to the best way to store coffee beans.