Pour 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:
There are a ton of different tools for making pour over coffee.
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)
You should not put your Hario Drip Pot filters in the washing machine, under any circumstances.
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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As promised, our taste test of the 5 cold brew systems! In case you missed it you can check out the comparison video here.
For this blind taste test we brewed each of the cold brew systems following the manufacture’s instructions. We had three loyal Seattle Coffee Gear employees to taste the concentrate undiluted in order to keep a level playing field. You may even recognize some faces! (Actually I’d be surprised if you don’t!)
Watch the video above to see which cold brew system was preferred by the team! Hint: It may surprise you!
And do you know what that means? Cold Brew! Nothing beats the summer heat like an ice cold glass of cold brew coffee. Yes, you can drink cold brew year round, but summer really just shows it off the best.
And because summer is right around the corner we thought it would be helpful to compare the cold brew systems we have. Yes systems! We have 4 different at the moment, with a 5th on the way. With so many choices it might be hard to choose just one.
In this comparison we took a closer look at the Toddy. The Toddy is the OG of cold brew. We feel like this is best if you are going to be making a large batch of cold brew and drink it throughout the week (or day if you are like that!). We also took a look at the Sowden and Hario cold brew pots. On the smaller side, these are best for the occasional cold brew drinker (or those with limited counter space). Also in our comparison was the Primila Cold Brew Glass Carafe. This one has an on the go feel.
We also took a look at the newest cold brew system we will be carrying from OXO. Much like the Toddy, the OXO is going to make you a big batch of the cold stuff.
Watch the video below to see each of these next to each other. And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you won’t miss the taste test comparison which we will be posting later this week!
Pour 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!
We love new things! This time it’s a new product from Hario. Building on the classic french press, Hario has really created something special. The Hario Olive Wood Double Walled Coffee Press is a new favorite of ours. While the 14oz won’t supply enough liquid gold for a crowd, it will easily satisfy a few.
One of our favorite things about this new product is the style. It’s contemporary design is complete with a removable (for easy cleaning) olive wood handle and leather strap. We know looks aren’t everything, but it truly looks great out on the counter. The design also includes (as the name suggests) a double wall which helps keep the heat where it belongs, in your brew! Another awesome feature worth mentioning is the mesh filter at the end of the plunger. It’s finer than you would typically find on a french press, which means less coffee silt in your cup. Yes please!
We asked Gail to give us a full Crew Review of the Hario Olive Wood Coffee Press. Watch the video below to see her brew a pot and give you the full scoop!
As we mentioned a few weeks ago, to us, Hario means happiness (the true meaning of the word is “king of glass”). And nothing makes us happier than fun new coffee gear to play with! Thus, we made sure to make our way over to the Hario booth while we at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) expo. As we expected, Hario had a ton of great new products on display. We’re big fans of science and are always interested in creating experiments of our own, so our two favorite products that are new to the United States market are the Hario Beam Heater and the Hario Next Siphon.
Luckily, we had Kris Fulton from Lamil Coffee (a California based coffee house) to explain the beam heater to us. One of the main advantages is that the heat it emits comes from a really high-powered halogen lamp, which comes with a dimmer switch that allows you to have more control over the heat coming off the lamp as well as the direct heat on the coffee. To show us how the beam heater works Kris demoed it with the Next Siphon, enabling us to learn more about the siphon as well. Siphon brewing as become pretty popular in the past couple years, since not only does it produce a great cup, but it is also neat to watch and is sure to impress your guests. So we put our “scientist hats” on and watched Kris brew us on a cup of coffee. Although the process does look like a science experiment, we were happy to find that this brewing method is not as complicated for the barista as it sounds.
Basically, using a siphon brewer is all about pressure. Once the water in the bottom chamber of the siphon gets to the right temperature, you use the rubber seal at bottom of the top chamber to create a vacuum that draws the water from the bottom chamber to the top chamber. When all the water is in the top chamber, you introduce the coffee to the hot water. The next step is to give the coffee a stir to fully incorporate it and then let it sit for a certain amount of time. After the coffee sits for the desired length of time, you turn off (or remove) your heat source and break the seal you created earlier. This causes the vacuum between the two chambers to suck the coffee down into the bottom chamber. As the coffee is being sucked down, the ground coffee is going to be filtered out by the metal filter. Thus, at the bottom of the carafe you will have fresh brewed coffee and at the top of the carafe you will have ground coffee. The resulting coffee, according to Kris “has the full-body richness you get from a full-immersion brewer like a French press combined with the clarity you get from a percolator like V60 or a pour over.” In other words, it is delicious! To learn more about both of these products, and to see them in action, watch as Kris shows them off in this video.
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
Through the magic of the Internet, we heard that people have been using their espresso machines to brew black tea. This sounded like an interesting concept to us, and we were curious to see if it would work. People have been known to brew rooibos (also called red espresso) this way, and have even started whole cafes based on this idea. So why wouldn’t it work with black tea? We decided to put this theory to the test and use the Capresso EC PRO Espresso & Cappuccino Machine to brew Ceylon O.P. by Danmann Freres Teas.
To make the tea, we filled the machine’s pressurized portafilter up to the first line inside with the loose leaf black tea. Then we loaded the portafilter into the machine, and started the extraction. We let the extraction go long, about 30-40 seconds, until the cup was mostly filled and the brew started to become clearer. The tea that was produced had a good aroma and was medium orange-brown in color. However, when we sampled the tea, the flavor was not bad, but definitely weaker than normal.
Not ones to be easily defeated, we were curious what would happen if we ground up the tea leaves before dosing them into the portafilter. To grind the tea, we grabbed the Hario Skeleton (Skerton) Coffee Mill, and set it to a coarser grind setting since we were using a pressurized portafilter. After grinding a couple of teaspoons full of tea we noticed that many of the tea leaves were passing through the grinder whole, so we readjusted our grind to be much finer. We were a little concerned that the tea was now too fine and would choke the portafilter, but we decided to go ahead and try it anyway.
Once again we loaded the portafilter into the Capresso EC PRO and started the extraction. We immediately noticed the tea was coming out much darker in color this time around. Suddenly we began to notice a different color coming out of the portafilter – there was a crema on top of the tea! While having a crema is not unusual for rooibos brewed on espresso machines, we were surprised we’d get the same effect with black tea. After about 30-40 seconds, we stopped the extraction. The color of the tea was much darker in comparison to the first cup we made, and topped with a thick, foamy crema. This time around the tea tasted exactly like it should, as if it had been steeping for three to five minutes.
We were (pleasantly) surprised to find you can brew a decent up of tea using a semi-automatic espresso machine and a pressurized portafilter. If you are going to try this experiment yourself we highly recommend grinding your loose leaf tea into smaller particles, since that gave us the best results. We only tried this experiment with black tea, so we aren’t sure if this technique will work to brew other types of tea, such as rooibos or herbal infusions. We also haven’t tried brewing the tea with a different machine or tested to see if brewing tea on an espresso machine is faster than brewing with a kettle. If you try this experiment with different variables, let us know in the comments. I sense more tea experiments in our feature!
One of the things we appreciate the most in this world is a little mad science. Experimenting and having fun with coffee is the cornerstone of why we do what we do, so we’re always game to try out new ways of doing things. When we took on the Hario Cold Water Dripper last year, we had admittedly less-than-stellar results. So while we dug that it was a slow-food approach to making smooth cold brew coffee, it wasn’t high on our list of favorite gear.
Cut to last month when one of our techs, Bryan, decided to experiment with this dripper, then reported to us his findings. What’s the best way for a mad scientist to validate a theory? Perform the proof experiment, successfully, at least one more time! So in came Bunny and the rest is now history.
The cool thing about the Hario Cold Water Dripper is that there is an element of showmanship involved, but it is also relatively hands-off and produces truly delicious coffee. The key is getting the right combination of coffee dosage, water volume, grind particle size and droplet frequency, but equally important is the kind of coffee you’re using and the water you’re brewing with. We find that coffees that come out as a rich, chocolatey espresso tend to taste like actual chocolate milk as a cold brew, while others that have more bright, fruity notes produce an often berry-forward cold coffee. But every coffee you love should be at least experimented with as a cold brew to see how it measures up, so definitely have fun with it!
Watch as Bunny sets up her experiment, then we check back over several hours throughout the day as the Hario Cold Water Dripper slowly produces a delectable batch o’ joe.
When we first encountered the Hario V60 pour overs a few years ago, we were simultaneously entranced and intimidated by the artful precision with which the brewer crafted one of the smoothest cups of coffee we’d ever tasted. With some time, patience, experimentation and a lot of practice, however, we developed our own approach to our V60 prep … in fact, we love it so dearly now, we felt it was time to put it up on a pedestal.
Luckily for us, Hario USA released some new tools — including a modern acrylic stand — that gave us the opportunity to increase both the precision and the art of our pour. Watch Bunny and Teri show off the new Drip Station, Drip Scale and Glass Server from Hario. Pick up each of these separately or combine them together for a beautiful and sophisticated pour over setup.