How to Choose Good Coffee

Here are some tips on choosing good coffee.
coffee beans
Tip 1: Detailed Information on Where the Coffee Came From

Look for the name of a region, co-op, or farm. The more information as to where a coffee originates, the greater chance you will be getting a higher quality, more uniform coffee rather than a blend of different coffees from the same general region.

Tip 2: “Roasted On” Date

Coffee should generally be used within a month of the roast date with the peak flavor hitting 7-10 days post-roast.

Look for a plastic seal with a small hole in the center on the coffee bag. This is a one-way air valve that allows the CO2 emitted by the coffee to leave, but keeps out oxygen. Exposure to outside air speeds up the aging process.

Tip 3: Lighter Roast

While some people prefer the taste of a darker roast, lighter roasted coffees better represent the particular flavor profiles of the bean and its place of origin. The darker you roast the coffee, the more you taste the roast itself rather than the unique characteristics of each bean.

Look for lighter roasts only when all other criteria are met; sometimes roasters will use their roast style as their selling point while skimping on bean quality.

Tip 4: Bonus Information

Information on the processing method used for the coffee, the date the coffee was harvested, what varietal of tree the bean comes from, elevation the coffee was grown at, and recommended brewing paramaters for the coffee are all signs that the roaster knows and has taken care of the coffees they are selling you.

In the end, look for a good espresso machine, but read the espresso maker reviews first.

How We Started One Of The Best Rice Restaurants In Town

Going into business is something that had never crossed my mind, but that was soon to change after I got fired. I was a chef in one of the best rice restaurants in town. How the whole thing started is quite interesting; a few weeks a go I was at my usual workstation only to be called by my boss and told that my services were no longer needed. I was dejected; I had over the years depended so much on the job to pay my bills and school my kids. I left for home after being fired, and my wife on hearing the news, she was not surprised; she has seen that coming. However, it was after we had a very lengthy discussion that she advised we also start a similar business in town. I paused for a few seconds and I told her that we were going to do just that. After all, I had all the skills and we had save quite a substantial amount of money.


Three days after, we had gotten a nice location in town and all we needed was the top rice cooker among other necessities. Since we wanted the best and quality rice for our customers, we needed the best rice cookers. As I was arranging other things, my wife was busy going through the best rice cooker reviews. It was after going through a lot of them that she managed to pick the best rice cooker and the next thing we were in the market looking for those exact rice cookers.

It is now 3 months since we put up the restaurant and believe me, what we have been able to achieve within a very short time is simply unimaginable. On any given day, since we sell the best and expertly cooked rice that alone has seen us receive tons and tons of customers. In fact, we are not going to stop there; if things go the way we have planned, we are seeing ourselves taking our top and well cooked rice to other areas.

How To Cook A Turkey

Even for veteran chefs cooking a turkey can seem like a daunting task. Thankfully for those in charge of making their family’s Thanksgiving dinner this 2015 holiday, you have no need to worry! We have an easy 9-step recipe to follow that’s so simple, even beginners in the kitchen will be able to make the perfect holiday bird.


To make this recipe you will need:

- A turkey, of course. (The following recipe, courtesy of Butterball, calls for a fresh or frozen whole turkey.)

- Cooking oil/spray

- Cooking pan

- Water or broth

- Tin foil

- A baster

- Oven-safe thermometer


1. Make sure your turkey is thawed before you begin cooking. Your bird can thaw in cold water or in the refrigerator. For a guide on how long to allow your turkey to thaw, refer to’s guide.

2. Before you begin preparing your bird, pre-heat your regular and convection oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. While you’re waiting for the oven to pre-heat, now is the time to prepare your bird. First, remove any packaging, giblets and gravy packets from the bird. For fresh birds, you will need to pat down its juices. Do not rinse the bird, use paper towels for this process.

4. Next, place the turkey in a 2-inch (2.5-inch is fine) pan breast up. Spray or brush (based on preferences) the bird with vegetable oil for the best results.

Read: Good Cookware Sets for Someone Who Loves to Cook

5. Don’t forget to inset your oven-safe thermometer into the bird before placing it in the oven. This will help you keep track of when your turkey is done cooking to avoid it getting too dry. The best place to put the thermometer is into the bird’s thickest region: one of the thighs.

6. Once your oven lets you know its reached the perfect temperature, it’s time to put your bird in. Different sized turkeys need to cook for different amounts of time. To find out how long you need to cook your holiday bird, refer to our cook time guide listed below.

7. If you’re in charge of cooking the Thanksgiving Day bird, it’s likely you have other dishes to worry about this holiday, but you can’t forget about your turkey while its cooking. In order to keep the bird moist and delicious, it’s best to baste your turkey while its in the oven. Using a baster and two cups of water or broth to complete this process.

8. When your turkey is 75 percent cooked, remove it from the oven, but don’t carve it just yet! Unless you’re a fan of dry turkey, you will want to cover the bird’s breast and legs with tin foil. Once complete, put the turkey back into the oven to finish cooking.

Related: The right knife for the job

9. When your bird is finished cooking – it should be at least 165 degrees – remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for several minutes before carving. Being patient allows the bird’s juices to soak into the meat. If you carve too soon, you may be disappointed with the results. After carving, enjoy!

Oven Cook Times:

The following time table is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service and is meant for unstuffed turkeys:

4 to 6 lb. breast – 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours

6 to 8 lb. breast – 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours

8 to 12 lbs. – 2 3/4 to 3 hours

12 to 14 lbs. – 3 to 3 3/4 hours

14 to 18 lbs. – 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours

18 to 20 lbs. – 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours

20 to 24 lbs. – 4 1/2 to 5 hours

Happy Thanksgiving!


Buying Custom Kitchen Knives

When selecting a set of knives for your kitchen, you can certainly go to any retail store and purchase an inexpensive set of knives made with plastic handles and low-grade steel. But, when you want something of higher quality, specialized design or materials, or you just want something a bit more personalized, custom is the way to go.

Custom knives in general have a reputation for being more expensive than production knives; however, when you start looking at mid- to high-range kitchen knives, you will notice that the prices are largely similar to most custom offerings out there. There are exceptions, of course—you can pay over $3,000 for a custom sushi knife from some makers. But there are many competitive options available for the price-conscious buyer.


When embarking on your custom knife journey, the first thing to consider is what knives you need. If you currently own a block of production knives, you probably have one or two that are used frequently, while the others are rarely if ever used. Those well-used knives in your knife set are the ones you’re going to want to replace with customs—don’t bother buying a custom bread knife if you never slice bread. I found that I am pretty well set with a chef knife and a paring knife.

The other part of the use criteria is what you will use them for. If you cook a lot of fish and seafood, you will want a knife much more adept at slicing than if you cook a lot of poultry and red meat. Knives that excel at slicing tend to be narrower to reduce the amount of metal that has to pass through whatever you are cutting. Good examples are filet and boning knives, plus the Japanese yanagi, which is the most common style of knife used for sushi and sashimi.


Chef knives are generally classified by profile. A blade with a fairly straight edge, curving only slightly from the heel to the tip, is commonly referred to as a French profile. More commonly used is the German profile, which has greater curvature and can therefore be used for rocking motions when cutting. Another common profile is the santoku, with its downturned tip and gradual curve. The way a chef knife is profiled will determine how it is used, what it will excel at, and what it won’t do as well. For instance, a santoku will chop vegetables very well, but, due to the lack of a pointy tip and shallow curvature, it will perform comparatively poorly when deboning a chicken versus a French profile chef knife.

Types of Steel

Once you know what kind of knives you want, you will have to make the ever-important decision of stainless versus carbon steel. “Stainless” refers to steels with high chromium content, making them resistant to corrosion. In fact, “stainless” is a misnomer, as any steel can stain and rust without proper maintenance. Carbon steel, on the other hand, has very little, if any, chromium. It therefore stains very easily and will rapidly rust if neglected.
kitchen knives set
This photo shows a set of kitchen knives I own; they are by Dave Loukides, with the exception of the paring knife to the right, which was made by Bryan Baker. From top to bottom, I have a 9″ slicer with cocobolo, a heavy German style chef with blackwood, a gyuto with cocobolo, a light German style chef with camatillo, and a petty with blackwood. The parer is ATS34 stainless steel with desert ironwood. The Loukides knives are hand-forged from 1084 steel, hold an edge very well and are extremely easy to resharpen.

As you can tell, staining is prominent and will get darker over time with more use (the second from bottom knife was new when this photo was taken, but is nearly black by now). Some people are very intolerant of this, and I have friends who refuse to use any of my knives because they think the patina is a sign of weakness in the steel. However, I can chop through chicken bones and return the edge to tomato-peeling sharpness with only a few passes on a piece of leather. Stainless steel knives, such as the paring knife shown, easily take four to five times as long to resharpen, and can easily chip or flatten out when used heavily.

With all that said, many people do use stainless steel kitchen knives without issues and probably have never even given a thought to what kind of steel they are made from. Get a decent stainless steel if you don’t want your knives to rust or get spotty, and get in the habit of doing routine maintenance on them before or after each use. You often see chefs honing their knives with a steel rod quite often during their shifts, and the reason is because a dull knife is not easy to sharpen, but a knife that isn’t dull yet has no reason to ever be dull in the first place. A steel rod doesn’t technically sharpen a knife—it simply rolls the edge of the knife back to center position. This isn’t possible if your steel is too hard (harder than the steel rod) or too dull for this to work. Steel can be “too hard” if it is heat-treated poorly (almost never the case when you’re dealing with any reputable maker) or if it is an exotic steel with high vanadium or tungsten content. These “super steels” are sort of the knife world’s version of the latest trend, and they are often highly touted for their edge retention and ability to cut insane materials (steel barrels, concrete) with little or no damage. The trade-off is obvious, you can never sharpen this stuff without specialized tools and a lot of time.

After picking between stainless and carbon steel, you can go even further and pick the exact type of steel. Just like knife styles, knife steels vary widely and there is as much opinion as fact surrounding most of it. Types of carbon steels alone include 5160, 52100, 1080, 1084, 1095, etc. Tool steels include O1, A2, D2, and so on. The numbers often denotes the metallurgy of the steel – 1095 indicates that the steel contains .95% carbon, for instance. I personally use 1084 and 1095 carbon steel knives, partly by choice and partly because that is what the makers I liked were offering. If Dave Loukides forged my chef knives from O1 I would have gladly accepted it, as I know he works well with that steel and I trust him to make something that will do what I need it to.

Joe Calton was kind enough to elaborate on his thoughts regarding steel types:

“I only work with three steels. You might say that the steel choice isn’t as important as the relationship that the maker has with the steel choices that he offers. I have seen a lot of makers that will work with any steel that they can get their hands on. I like to work with just the three for now, as I know them really well, as to what they can and can’t do, how thick or thin they need to be for a certain application, and the suppliers that give me the best steel to start with. I only work in high carbon steels, so if someone wants a stainless knife, they should look for a maker that has a good relationship with a stainless steel of their liking. Or when ordering a custom, you could let the maker know what it is that you want the knife to do, and then let them suggest the steel. Picking a maker that has a regular testing schedule {both destructive and regular testing} could help out also. If I wanted a knife in a steel that I don’t work with, this is what I would look for in a maker.”

This is sound advice and will keep you from falling into the trap of overanalyzing every type of steel.


Edge geometry is another factor. The three common geometries are flat ground, convex ground, and hollow (concave) ground. A common grind is a flat grind from the spine to the edge, with a secondary flat grind applied at the edge. Many cleavers have an blade grind that starts close to the edge itself, adding heft and providing a wider bevel for cutting bone and frozen meats. Hollow grinds are more common on blades that are chisel ground, meaning they only have bevels on one side of the blade, leaving the other side perfectly flat. This and other types of asymmetric edge bevels are commonly seen on Japanese style knives. This design emphasizes the slicing function of these knives, which can be highly beneficial if you cook seafood, Japanese cuisine, or simply need a very keen slicer. The asymmetry is often specific for right-hand use, so if you are left-handed you will have to let your knifemaker know, or simply stick with a symmetric grind.


The handle shape on most Western kitchen knives have straight backs and slight curvature in the front. They often consist of slabs of handle material pinned to the sides of the tang, which is commonly exposed but may be hidden as well. Japanese knives often have hidden tangs that fit into a slot in the handle, with the handle being oval or octagonal in shape. The latter is called a wa handle, and this photo of a batch of knives from L.R. Harner illustrates both the wa shape and a variety of woods.

Read more at: A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Custom Kitchen Knives