Beanwatch: Zeke’s Coffee

It’s a complex world out there of bean-based beverages, and Goonhammer is here to help. We’re branching out into beans and the resultant bean water this week.

GREGNOTE: I know, we already kind of did a Coffee Meatwatch, but this time around we have an actual expert instead of some kind of coffee idiot writing it, so he’s probably going to be more useful. Also if he says anything nice about me in this piece, it’s a lie. Take it away, Dylan.

A month ago I helped out Gregbot by finding cat food that was sold out nationally and then mailing it to him. Gotta keep his furry buds healthy. A few weeks later, a package arrived, with my name on it, with a company line of “Goonhammer LLC”. I asked myself, “am I Goonhammer now?” I opened it to find two bags of Zeke’s Coffee out of Baltimore, MD, and realized that Gregbot had sent me some thank you coffee. Well, when Gregbot sends you coffee, you write words about said coffee. 

About Zeke’s Coffee. They’ve been around since 2005, roasting their coffee in 30 pound batches on something called a fluid bed roaster. Despite the name, there’s no liquid involved in the process, but the beans are suspended by super hot air and roasted mid-air. Convection vs conduction heat. Neat.

Before I get into what the beans taste like, let’s go over the gear I’m using to brew and my method.

To keep things equal, I’m using my French press for both. It’s a pretty basic Bodum french press that my dear friend, and sometimes contributor Lucyth got me. I have a Birratza Encore grinder, which I highly recommend for French press or pour over. It’s inexpensive and has a great range of grind size. My wife (Borat) is the real coffee snob in the house, but she upgraded me with a new funnel and cup for the top, that feeds nicer than the funnel that comes with it. Highly recommended.

My kettle is a Fellow Stagg pour over. It may seem extravagant, but it’s joy to use, temperature control is great and super easy to adjust. Press the button to turn it on, dial in the temp and it’ll keep it hot for an hour. My scale weighs in grams and millimeters and also has a timer function, which I use to time my brews.

My brewing method is based off the James Hoffman French press brewing method, with some adjustments to suit my palette and each specific coffee.

  1. Heat water, I brew my coffee at 195º. Weigh coffee, I use 25 grams and then grind it. I use a fairly medium grind as opposed to the more common thinking of as coarse as possible.*
  2. Pour water over coffee grounds. For 25g of beans I use 350ml of water.
  3. Brew for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the grounds a bit, breaking through the crust that forms.
  5. Scrape off foam and floating coffee bits out of the French press.
  6. Brew another 5 minutes.
  7. Plunge the filter only until the top of the liquid.
  8. Pour and enjoy!

All-in-all, it takes about 15 minutes for a cup of coffee.

Tasting notes. 

Hippie Blend. A blend of Sumatra, Peru and Papua New Guinea beans, it has that feel of a classic diner coffee, except good. It’s fancy brown water. They say it’s one of their lightest roasts, but it tastes darker then I’d expect and the grinds act like a darker roast, floating longer in the press than other light roasts I’ve brewed. It’s a little aggressive to start, with burnt notes but it finishes on chocolate covered espresso bean, dutch process cocoa and touches of caramel. I also notice that the finish gets sweeter as it cools.

Birdsong. Another blend, this time a mix of Central and South America beans. I didn’t adjust any settings from how I brewed up the Hippie blend, so wasn’t expecting much form my first brew. First sip, DAMN, this is a solid cup of coffee… SUPER smooth and pleasant. Leather on the nose, dark chocolate throughout and cocoa on the finish. Last sip; dark chocolate covered almonds. I will be brewing this for the rest of the week.

A note on both of these. Neither bag has a roast date or a use-by date. I have no idea how old these beans are. If they were fresh at the time of shipping, these are less than a month old, which is perfect.

*Your grind will change based on your beans, roast and the age of the beans. I found this great little chart to dial in your brews and refer to if often when trying different coffees:

Chart courtesy of HomeGrounds.

**The coffee used for this “review” was a gift from Gregbot and not provided by or sponsored by Zeke’s coffee.

That’s it for this installment. If you have questions or comments, if you’re a coffee roaster yourself, or you have a favorite local roaster, reach out to us at and we’d love to try it.