Category Archives: Pour Over Coffee

SCG in Portland: Pour Over Equipment

Pour OverPour overs. Probably the hippest way to brew your coffee right now. And as you already know, we are pretty hip! But perfecting the art of pour over takes a little bit of patience, skill and some basic equipment.

We decided to take a trip down to our Portland store to get the scoop about what options for pour over equipment are out there. Because, if you didn’t know already, Portland Oregon is the place for pour over coffee.  Gail met up with Celine and had her give us the low down.

Some of our big take aways from our “working” vacation to Portland:

  1. There are a ton of different tools for making pour over coffee.
  2. When it comes to pour over, it is all about the flow. (Certain cones help you attain the perfect flow by adjusting the amount of holes and their placement. The Kalita Wave is a great cone for those new to pour over)
  3. You should not put your Hario Drip Pot filters in the washing machine, under any circumstances.
  4. A gooseneck kettle, like this Hario, is essential for directing your water to all the right places.

Watch the video below to see all the pour over options and be sure to check out our Portland store, Celine is waiting for you!

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Crew Review: Hario V60 Drip Station

Hario V60 Drip StationPour some sugar on me! Ok, maybe not sugar or on me. But you can pour some water on my freshly ground coffee! And if you want, you can use the Hario V60 Drip Station. What’s that you ask? It’s only the coolest thing sitting on my counter (granted, my 8 year old toaster is not much competition).

The Hario V60 Drip Station is designed to compliment the whole V60 pour over brewing process. The acrylic stand is easy to clean and easy to assemble. The stainless steel grate sits on top of the ABS resin drip tray, ready to catch any rouge coffee. The whole station fits perfectly on the Hario V60 Drip Scale, which makes for a no fuss brewing process. Once everything is set up, you are ready to brew just like they do at your local coffee shop.

Some may say that the stand is not an essential piece of equipment for brewing up a tasty cup of coffee. And yes that may be the case. The V60 Coffee Dripper does fit nicely on top of your standard coffee mug but if you like an organized and clean looking set up, this is for you (much like it is for me!).

Take a look at the video below to see Gail brew up a cup using the Hario V60 Dripper, station and scale! Yeah, she went all out. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel as well, Gail is always reviewing products or answering your questions. We’d love you to be a part of the conversation!

Crew Review: Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle

Bonavita Variable Temperature KettleIf you are at all like us, you may have at one point found yourself lying awake at night in preparation for your morning pour over. Reliving past cups of coffee, looking for moments in your technique that you could improve so that the next one, would be the perfect one. As you might be able to tell, we don’t always get much sleep.

Well, we have good news for you! Bonavita has cured all our sleepless nights. The Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle is the must have for all pour over enthusiasts and insomniacs alike. It has a sleek design, the control that goosenecks are known for and the ability to set your water to any temperature you would like.

Oh, and did we mention it also has a timer built right in? Don’t just take our word for it, but you should listen to Gail. Watch the video below as she walks you through the features of this amazing machine in this brand new Crew Review.

And remember, a solid nights sleep is just a pour over away.

 

Crew Review: Melitta Pour Over Stands

Stainless StandMelitta Pour Over StandsWant to ensure you stay on trend with your coffee making? Why not try pour over coffee? Manual coffee-making methods are becoming increasingly popular, you’ve probably seen them popping up in your favorite cafes and many coffee enthusiasts are using them at home as well. The nice thing about brewing with pour overs is that you have more control over the different variables (the grind, water temperature, length of the pour, etc.) that go into to making a cup of coffee so you can create your ideal cup of coffee. In addition, with a pour over, you can evenly extract your entire basket of coffee, which is big advantage. Oftentimes on drip machines the middle of your coffee will get extracted a lot more than the edges, which can impact the flavor. As result, pour over coffee is typically very smooth and highlights the unique flavor profile of the coffee brewed. Besides providing you with the control you need to create a quality cup of coffee pour overs are also a simple, lo-fi way to create a tasty cup of coffee. All you need is a cup, kettle, pour over and a filter of coffee to start brewing. Of course, if you are brewing on a pour over, it is also nice to have a stand! Devices like Melitta Pour Over Stands put the focus on the coffee brewing process and provide an extra helping hand by holding your pour over in place.

Just as there are a variety of styles and types of pour overs, there are also a couple of different Melitta Pour Over Stands to choose from. However, one of the benefits of these stands is that both types we carry come with a porcelain cone (or even two or three in some cases) as well as filters, so that at least that part of the selection process is taken care of for you. From there, you just have to decide if you would rather go with the Melitta Bamboo Stand, which is a single brewer that will allow you to brew like a “slow bar” professional at home. If you like to drink a lot of coffee, are worried about other coffee drinkers stealing your precious brew or are looking to get a third wave setup in your café, you might want to consider getting the Melitta Stainless Steel Pour Over Bar. These sleek pour over stations allow you to brew either two or three pour overs at once, so you can serve several eager coffee drinkers. Check out Gail and Brendan as they try out these Melitta Pour Over Stands and pick up a few brew tips along the way!

Crew Review: Melitta Pour Over Stands

Java Talk: Water Avenue Chemex Demo

Water Avenue ChemexThe grand opening of our Portland store this past weekend was a great success! We had a great turn out and had a wonderful time meeting all of you. Thank you so much for your support. Besides getting a chance to meet everyone, one of our favorite parts of the weekend was the coffee! We had a couple of our local roasters brewing on our store during the event and we got to try out some coffee from a few of the other local roasters we carry as well.

For instance, while we were visiting with Water Avenue Coffee, one of their baristas, Joshua, was kind enough to demonstrate to us how they brew coffee on a Chemex. This was a real treat for us, since we really like brewing on the Chemex. We’ve found that it creates a really smooth and tasty brew. Not only did we enjoy the coffee, but it is also fun for us to see how different roasters brew since they each have their own unique method. Watch Joshua in action to learn Water Avenue’s approach to making coffee on a Chemex.

How to Brew Single Serve Chemex Coffee Water Avenue Coffee Style:

For this brew, we used Water Avenue Coffee’s El Salvador El Manzano roast, which is a Red Bourbon, pulped natural from El Salvador that was ground just finer than drip coffee.

  • Pre-wet your filter paper, with some of the 192-degree water you heated for your brew.
  • Pour 31g of coffee into filter. Settle the grounds.
  • Bloom coffee for about 25 seconds by pouring in 40g of water (about 10% of the water). Make sure to use a swirling motion, inside out, while pouring. This helps ensure that all grounds are saturated so the water disperses better when you do the continuous pour.
  • Continuously pour 410g (450g total by weight) of water in a tight circular motion over a period of one minute. When you do the pour, pour the water in a steady stream and move in concentric circles. This is important so as to disperse the turbulence of the water and not break up the grounds, which leads to over extraction.
  • During this pour aim to get through all 450 grams of water and finish the pour at about 1 minute and 20 seconds.
  • Let the coffee extract for another minute and half (3 minutes total), give or take about 10 sec, depending of the density of the coffee and the quality of the pour.
  • Tip: At the end of the extraction you should have a wall of coffee around the edge your filter, which means you poured correctly. The turbulence of the water was dispersed during the pour, meaning the water didn’t hit the side of the Chemex and wash all the grounds down, which is what you want to see.  You don’t want to see the bare sides of the Chemex, as that means too much coffee has gone down to the bottom.
  • After your coffee has finished extracting, throw away your filter, pour coffee into a preheated cup, and enjoy.

Java Talk: Water Avenue Chemex Demo

Crew Review: Frieling Coffee-for-One

Frieling Coffee-for-OneIf you’re looking for a pour over brewer that you can take with you on camping trips or other travels this summer, look no further than the Frieling Coffee-for-One. This single cup brewer is small in size and made mostly from plastic, making it lightweight, not easily breakable and very portable. Likewise, since the Coffee-for-One features a 23-carat gold-platted filter, you won’t have to worry about packing (or packing out) paper filters. After all, there’s nothing better than enjoying the great outdoors while reducing your ecological footprint at the same time. The other benefit of having a gold filter is that it enables the brewer to produce a cup of coffee that is similar in flavor to a cup produced on a coffee maker.

Of course, we wanted to see the Frieling Coffee-for-One in action. As such, we conducted a two-part test to see how easy the brewer is to use and what kind of flavor it produced. The Coffee-for-One passed the first part of the test with flying colors. To brew with this pour over, all you have to do is load coffee into the filter, place the water infuser on top and pour in hot water. You don’t even need to worry about getting all of your grounds wet, since the infuser has a shower head-like water distributor that will do the job for you.

When it comes to creating the flavor you desire, you may have to do a bit of experimenting. The instructions suggest using one heaping scoop of coffee when brewing a cup, but we found that this measurement produced a pretty light cup of coffee. Thus, if you are a daily coffee drinker who likes a strong coffee, we recommend using either two or three scoops when crafting your brew. Everyone’s tastes are different though, so it is a good idea to play around with the grind, amount of coffee and volume of water to find out what tastes best to you.

Not sure where to start? Watch Dori and Chris try out a few different grinds on the Frieling Coffee-for-One in the video below. You can even compare tasting notes and see if you get the same results.

Crew Review: Frieling Coffee-for-One

Crew Review: Bonavita Immersion Dripper

Bonavita Immersion DripperIf you have just joined the fabulous world of coffee (welcome!) or are just getting into specialty brew methods, we have just the thing for you. We’re talking about the Bonavita Immersion Dripper, which is kind of like a pour over and a French press combined. What makes this dripper unique is that it has an on/off (or open and closed) switch that opens or closes the valve on the bottom so you can immerse the coffee as long as you want.

To use the Immersion Dripper, turn it off by closing the valve on the bottom of the base, and then prep and load the dripper like you would a pour over. A few things of note are that you don’t have to get your grind perfect, which is why we think the dripper is a good choice for coffee beginners or people who just want no muss and no fuss when making their coffee. Likewise, unlike on a French press, if you go toward the finer side with your grind, the filter will prevent a bunch of sediment from leaking into your brew. We also like the fact that you can set your pour over up anywhere, and don’t have to balance it on a cup while you’re brewing and throwing coffee in it, since with the valve closed nothing will leak out.

Once you have everything set up, you can pre-infuse the coffee, let it bloom for about a minute, and pour the rest of the water in the brewer. Just as you don’t have to picky about your grind, you don’t have to have a specific pour for this dripper either. You don’t even need to have a gooseneck kettle or make sure the water stays in the center like on other pour overs, you can just dump the water in however you desire. Next, you let the coffee steep as you would with a French press. When you reach your preferred steep time, you do not plunge as you would on a French press, but slowly open the valve to release your tasty brew into your cup.

Ultimately, we really like this pour over, since you can play around with your steeping time and easily spilt a couple cups all with little to no mess. Watch as Dori and Chris brew up a cup of or two on the Bonavita Immersion Dripper, we weren’t kidding when we said pour overs are kind of their thing.

Crew Review: Bonavita Immersion Dripper

Crew Review: GSI Outdoors

GSI OutdoorsHappy Monday fellow campers! In case you forgot, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and while we’re excited about the extra time off, we even happier that it is the unofficial kick-off to camping and hiking season. After all, just because you’ll be spending more time outside doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up your caffeine habit. In fact, we think that coffee and camping go to together pretty well. There are a slew of products, such those produced by GSI Outdoors, that allow you to take or make your coffee wherever you go!

GSI Outdoors GrinderWith this lightweight and compact gear that is conductive to backpacking and camping, you will be able to brew up nearly any type of beverage you prefer. For instance, there is the Commuter Java Press, which is like insulated thermos with a French Press inside. However, instead using a rod, the press component of this carafe is plunger with a filter built in, so your brewed coffee ends up inside the middle channel. The other unique feature of this press is that, unlike regular French presses, there is a gasket as part of the filtration system, which will help keep your grounds from leaking in around the edges of the screen. GSI Outdoors has also created a cute little percolator like device they call the Stainless Mini Expresso Maker that brews espresso. It works much like the Bialetti. You put the water in the bottom, the grounds in the filter basket, but instead of brewing the espresso into a top portion, the espresso comes out the spigot and into the matching cup. There is also the Collapsible Java Drip, which is a silicone drip coffee maker that compacts down to the size of a Frisbee-like disk. It’s nice our people enjoy Chemex-style brewing since it allows you to bring it on the road and the lid won’t melt so you can use it as a trivet for anything hot. Finally, there is the Java Mill, a hand grinder that collapses down for storage. Surprisingly, this grinder actually has conical ceramic burrs that you can adjust so you can get the grind fine enough for Turkish coffee or coarse enough for French press.

All of these products are made from recycled materials, so things like your old yogurt containers have now been transformed into something you can use for years to come instead of sitting in a landfill somewhere. Thus, while you are out enjoying the environment, you are also helping save it for future generations. With all this great gear don’t be surprised if people in nearby campsites start wandering over for coffee or if people accuse you of glamping (glorified camping). Watch as Gail and Brendan prepare for an SCG camping trip and test all of these delightful products out.

Crew Review: GSI Outdoors

SCAA 2014: Todd Carmichael

SCAAIn our past of couple posts you may have noticed there’s a lot to love about the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) event. First of all, we have the opportunity to drink as much coffee and tea as possible, and try a variety of new roasts and flavors. Second, we get to visit with some of our favorite vendors and chat with them about new gear and ideas, as well as get to see them demo some of their equipment. And, last, but certainly not least, we get to meet new people in the coffee community and get to learn about their products and story.

As we made our way around the Event floor, we were luckily enough to encounter Todd Carmichael, who is a celebrity in the coffee industry. If you haven’t heard of Todd, he is the CEO and Co-Founder of La Colombe Coffee Roasters and has visited a number of developing countries to source coffee responsibly and sustainably. He is the host of the Travel Channel show, “Dangerous Grounds,” which captures many of his quests, sometimes into dangerous or exotic areas, for great coffee on film.

We are able to chat with Todd a bit about some of his latest projects. His most recent is creating a pour-over manual siphon with temperature profiling abilities, which he developed for the U.S. Brewers Cup competition (the contest celebrates manual coffee brewing). While this little gadget is a mouthful to say, Todd calls the device “The Dragon,” and indeed this siphon appears to be a force to be reckoned with. Todd explained that the advantage of the Dragon is that it provides you with the ability to “profile” coffee like you do when you when roasting, except with immersion brewing. Unlike normal pour over brewers where the temperature starts high and then goes low, the Dragon allows you to change the temperature of the brew at the time you desire. This additional control over when the temperature drops allows you to “dig in on different layers” of complex coffees and get whatever flavor you are looking for, whether it be citrusy, sweet, etc. out of the coffee.

The coffee Todd prepared for us was excellent. It was very perfumy, with hints of sweet, citrus notes; almost like candy. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones impressed by the Dragon, as Todd went on to place second in the Brewer’s Cup. To learn more about the Dragon, check out this video of Todd’s demo.

SCAA 2014: Todd Carmichael

Crew Review: Hario Coffee Dripper V60 and Accessories

Hario Coffee Dripper V60If we could translate the name Hario into the language of coffee, it would mean happiness. Why do we love Hario so much? Because they have developed a variety of pour over gear like the Hario Coffee Dripper V60, Buono Coffee Drip Kettle, V60 Glass Server, V60 Drip Scale as well as grinders and other accessories.

One of our favorite items is the V60 coffee dripper itself, since it comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and materials. You can get the Hario V60 in ceramic, glass or acrylic, and it comes in three sizes that make two, four and even six cups of coffee – so you can share with your friends of course! The scale has some pretty impressive features as well. You can use it as both a scale to weigh your coffee and also as a timer, so you can make sure your pour over brews for just the right amount of time. Of course it’s hard not to love the glass server, which looks somewhere between a cute little beehive and a carafe, will pretty up any tabletop. The server’s airtight lid enables you to keep in the aroma of your coffee and it is handy for making cold brew in your refrigerator. What is even cooler is that you can combine all of these pieces together with the V60 Drip Station to create your own fancy setup, transforming your kitchen into a gourmet coffee bar.

We’ve talked about these products quite a bit over the years, so we thought we’d share our preferred way to brew on these coffee drippers. And who better to demonstrate this than Dori and Chris, who are big fans of pour over brewing. Watch as they brew up some super-smooth, nearly acid-free coffee on the Hario Coffee Dripper V60 and show how to use all the accessories you can pair with it at the same time.

Crew Review: Hario Coffee Dripper V60 and Accessories