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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We met you at the Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship Open in Seattle last month. What’s it like competing?
Full disclosure: I only started competing this year. My first throwdown was last July. Competing is honestly kind of weird. It’s not really a replication of how latte art works in the cafe environment, but it’s so much fun. I love the chance to jam with other coffee people, talk (really enthusiastically) about great coffees and latte art techniques and espressos. Eighty percent of why I love competing is to hang out with coffee folks. The other twenty percent is, well, who wouldn’t love a giant rock-paper-scissors tournament but with milk and espresso?
What was the first coffee drink you remember tasting?
The only coffee in my house as a kid was swill (sorry dad,) so I didn’t really try coffee when I was young. I remember drinking sugary/milky drinks from Dutch Bros drive-throughs with my sister, but I didn’t really start drinking coffee in earnest until I started working with it in 2010.
What do you drink now at home?
When I’m just brewing for myself, I usually use a Kalita Wave with whichever delectable coffee I happen to have at the time (I’m particularly fond of juicy or citrusy coffees). If I’m sharing with my roommate or friends, the Chemex is my standby. I also have an AeroPress and a French press on hand in case the mood should strike me.
What do you drink at work, if different?
Everything! I love espresso. You can’t get more beautiful than the purity of a well extracted shot. But I also drink cappucinos, Americanos, pour overs, drip, you get the idea. Whatever fits my mood!
What’s cool about the Portland coffee scene?
In brief, the people. Portland has such a huge diversity of people in the coffee scene, from guys who’ve been slinging shots at Stumptown for a decade, to folks who’ve transplanted here from cities without good coffee for the sake of the coffee, to people who’ve been building relationships with coffee farmers, and everyone in between. Most people are really fun to hang out with, and obsessed with quality. I’m honored to be a part of such a brilliant community, honestly.
What are your thoughts on quality versus customer service skills?
As a friendly barista in Portland, a town (apparently) famed for bad customer service, I have encountered two very distinct attitudes: One, people assume that if someone is friendly, they don’t know how to make fantastic coffee; and two, people will avoid somewhere they perceive as snobby, willingly sacrificing quality for friendlier service. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for baristas to be friendly and skilled! Even the most delicious espresso in the world isn’t any fun if the barista isn’t willing to talk to you about it, and even the friendliest cafe experience in the world is no fun unless the espresso is delicious. And really, I consider my customer service skills to be equally as valuable as my coffee skills. Knowing how to read people and give them exactly the level of service they need and expect is hard, and just as much of an art as extracting delicious espresso.
Do you ever judge people by the drink they order?
I try really hard not to, but when someone orders a decaf at 9am…
If you could teach people one thing about coffee (or latte art), what would it be?
It’s worth it to invest some money in your coffee experiences — both beans and gear! But don’t necessarily assume that more expensive always equals better. Talk to your baristas, and your roaster if possible. Find out what’s delicious, and get a good home brewing set up! It’s worth every single penny.
The Fresh Pot in Portland, Oregon has three locations and if you’re lucky you will run into Bethany at one of them. She’s been pulling shots with them for a year and a half. Bethany can also be found competing in organized latte art competitions around the Northwest.
You know that we play with a lot of different types of coffee equipment here at SCG and the crew definitely has their faves! We asked for volunteers to share which gear they dig in different product categories. Watch as Brendan, Kaylie, Shiami, Sam, Gail, Bunny, Dori, Teri and Miranda talk to us about their favorite kettles, pour overs, immersion / press pots and drip coffee brewers.
One of the benefits of choosing a single origin bean is consistency. Especially when pulling shots of espresso where you’re utilizing a relatively small amount of coffee grounds in your brew, a single origin ensures you’re getting the same grinds every time. With a blend, on the other hand, you have the potential for a unknown ratio to end up in your portafilter, and that can cause a little bit of havoc if you have a deep commitment to consistency.
One of the drawbacks, however, is that single origins can be difficult to source. While a blend is devised with a target flavor profile in mind and the sourcing and selection of beans will change every year depending on the coffee crop, a single origin is, well, a single coffee bean. If you fall in love with one from a specific estate or farm and they experience issues the following year, you’re kind of out of luck. But maybe that’s also something you can love about them — the potential for their rarity.
In this video, we play around with a few different preparations of a single origin from Velton’s Coffee, the Brazil Condado Estate. We featured this guy because it is a great espresso single origin and also produces a delicious cup via pour over, AeroPress and drip. Watch the ladies prep it up and give their thoughts on the coffee’s flavor profile.
It’s a big bad mama jamma of a Kalita-related blog entry!
So, we went a little Kalita wild last week — trying this popular pour over out for the first time, then comparing the different filter material types and how it measures up against other popular pour over preparations.
In this first video, Gail takes on a Kalita Wave #155 for the first time:
Next, she brews up three batches of Velton’s Twilight Blend in the glass, stainless steel and ceramic versions of the #185:
Finally, she takes on a comparison between the Kalita Wave #155, Hario V60 02 and 6-cup Chemex to see how they compare, taste-wise:
We’ll definitely be bringing these new pour overs in. We loved how easy they were to use and they produced a really great cup. If you’re a pour over fan (or want to be), the Kalitas are definitely a must-have.