All posts by mlapoint

About mlapoint

Born SFO raised SEA, Lives SLC.

Hario V60 Metal Dripper

Hario V60 Metal Dripper
© Hario Co., Ltd

Now you can take a Hario V60 dripper anywhere, from Mount Kilimanjaro to a luxury hotel on Park Avenue, or even your own back yard. While brewing pour-over coffee is possible when you travel, if you use a class or ceramic Hario V60 dripper, breakage can be an issue. Hario makes a resin V60 Dripper, but it can also crack or break in transit. Enter the metal V60 dripper, durable and lightweight, perfect for packing.

Hario V60 Metal Dripper is easy to take care of

The Hario V60 Metal Dripper is constructed of lightweight stainless steel, available in 3 colors, bronze, silver or black. With a removable silicon base for easy cleaning or packing. You’ll never have to worry about the perfect cup of pour-over coffee when you travel. And with the minimalistic design, the perfect object d’art for the kitchen.

Where to find the Hario V60 Metal Dripper

The Hario V60 Metal Dripper is available at many gourmet and specialty kitchen houseware stores and also available from Amazon, Primo Coffee and other online retailers.

Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee

Stumptown Cold Brew CoffeeCold Brew Coffee? There’s nothing more refreshing than cold brewed coffee over ice for an afternoon pick-me-up.

The Stumptown Cold Brew is remarkably fresh-tasting. You’d expect something like coffee, that needs to be freshly brewed, to taste processed and maybe stale from a bottle. Not so with this cold brew. It tasted like, well, coffee! Happy surprise.

The Process

From the Stumptown site: “Cold brew”, also known as “cold press” or “toddy coffee,” is brewed without heat over a long duration. We craft our well-loved version by steeping freshly roasted coffee in room temperature water for over 12 hours, and using a double filtration process to procure the end result: a complex, smooth and sweet, full-bodied brew with bright juiciness, low acidity and a long chocolate finish.”

Where to find Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Cold Brew is available at all their cafes, online and retailers like Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca as well as others, check their site for more locations.

Learn more at StumptownCoffee.com

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Creative Commons License
Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee table top by Mark LaPoint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at poutovercoffeeworld.com.

Ceramic vs Plastic Coffee Drippers

plastic-vs-ceramic-coffee-drippers_300px

The fight was on. Which would prevail in a ceramic vs plastic coffee dripper tête à tête? But before the battle could commence, the TKO went to plastic! If you’re clumsy at all, a ceramic coffee dripper will not last very long. This beautiful Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper lasted exactly two days. While the steadfast 20+ year-old Melitta dripper survived to fight another day…until the replacement arrives.

The comparison was meant to pit the Melitta plastic coffee dripper
against a similar style ceramic dripper. POCW labs has a resin Hario V60, but the test would not have been accurate as the two drippers are vastly different in extracting method.

So while the ceramic filters available run a range of quality and style, plastic/resin drippers are limited to a couple of choices.

A call-out to Bee House, Bonmac and others.

Make resin versions of your ceramic coffee drippers! Hario has a very nice resin version of its V60 coffee dripper. While Clever Coffee makes a nice resin coffee dripper, it differs in method, by holding and steeping the coffee until the valve is released, it can’t be used for this comparison.

Ceramic vs Plastic Coffee Dripper

So which coffee dripper really won? Had the contest taken place, certainly the ceramic would have prevailed, as ceramic is like class, the glaze used on ceramic is actually glass, and would be 100% inert with the coffee in the pour-over extraction. While the Melitta is the granddaddy of pour-over there are better materials available that could be used in manufacture.

The winner is…

In the ceramic vs coffee dripper contest and despite the glaring flaw of being extremely fragile, ceramic wins! We were able to brew a couple of cups of pour-over coffee. We felt that we were drinking coffee pure and simple. Sorry plastic. Back to the cupboard with you. Well, at least, until your replacement arrives. We at Pour Over Coffee World are waiting for resin versions of their ceramic coffee drippers to do conduct a true head-to-head.

Perfect pour-over coffee is a 3-part process

perfect pour over coffeePerfect pour-over coffee is a 3-part process:

Getting perfect pour-over coffee is a process that is a combination of several elements all working together. This outline is a quick overview of the key ingredients. If you are new to pour-over coffee brewing at home, it’s easy to start simply, and as you get more experience and your palate matures, you can easily add complexity by adding equipment, brewing light-roasted beans, etc. Starting with good beans, a dripper and hot water are all that is required.

This outline is a quick overview of the key ingredients.

  1. Freshly roasted coffee beans (Small batch, freshly roasted, direct trade, beans from an artisan roaster)
  2. Equipment (Coffee dripper, gooseneck kettle, paper filters, timer, scale, temperature gauge, coffee grinder)
  3. Technique (how to brew it)

Freshly roasted coffee beans

Taste starts with the roast. Artisan coffee roasters like Intelligentsia Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Espresso Vivace, Handsome Coffee Roasters, Ritual Coffee Roasters, etc., are the best places for crafted coffee roasting. This is not saying they are the only ones, every city will have it’s own local coffee artisan roasters. Look for one in your area and purchase from them. If there are no local roasters, the aforementioned roasters will ship via their online shopping sites. Do not buy ground beans, only whole beans and only grind as much as needed for brewing at the time. Buy in small quantities, 12-16 oz. at a time. Store whole beans in an air-tight container.

Equipment

  • Start with a good quality coffee dripper, Melitta (available in most grocery stores), Hario, Bee House, Cilio, Chemex, etc, are all good, although they vary in method. Hario and Chemex, with a single large hole, tend to extract faster than Melitta and Bee House coffee drippers that have either one, or a couple of small holes.
  • A gooseneck kettle is useful and makes pouring hot water over the grounds easier to control.
  • A scale with built in timer that measures in grams helps you measure exacts amounts of coffee and water.
  • Thermocouple for measuring water temperature.
  • High quality conical burr coffee grinder. Small blade grinders work, but the uniformity of the grounds is difficult to control.

Technique

Grind of the bean, weight/amount of beans ground, amount of water, water temperature, pour technique all add up to success or failure when it comes to pour-over coffee method.

Article on technique

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Light Roasted Coffee

Light Roast CoffeeSome of the best things in life are aquired tastes. Like Blended Scotch versus Single Malt, Martini versus 7-11 Slurpee. Sometimes the acquisition of the taste is a long slow-arcing sailing-into-the-bleachers homerun, sometimes it’s a short grounder up the center, sometimes a strike-out. Light roasted coffee may be one such thing.

Maybe the older one is, the longer the arc? Light roasted coffee is possibly more palatable to the unseasoned or new coffee drinker. Just like LSD of the 1990’s was more accessible to the masses over the more potent version of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Who knows? Right now light roast is the coffee hipster rage.

Give it some time

Those who like the medium or even dark roasts might struggle with the light roast, which can be more fruity and, if not brewed correctly and consumed promptly, can sometimes be somewhat sour tasting. Some say it tastes grassy, maybe even raw. These tastes are certainly not what most coffee drinkers are used to. Normally coffee tends to be acidic and can be bitter if not roasted by an artisan roaster.

Temperatures and timing are essencial toward achieving optimal flavor in the bean. Light roasts are finished well before the second “crack”.

Coffee Roasting styles:

  • Light – Cinnamon or Half City
  • Medium Light – City Roast
  • Medium – Full City or American
  • Medium Dark – French or Viennese Roast
  • Dark – Italian or Espresso Roast
  • Very Dark – Spanish Roast

Good roasting brings out the best qualities as well as the flaws in a particular bean. Some beans like to be light, medium or dark roasted, it all depends on the quality of the raw bean, other factors like plant type, growing region, farming techniques, bean processing and storage can effect flavor. A good roaster, through test roasting and cupping, can find the roasting profile best suited for that particular batch of beans.

What to expect

Light roast coffee will not taste like what you expect coffee to taste like, there are new flavors that will be encountered. Descriptions like butterscotch, orange blossom, maple syrup, red grape are used to describe flavor notes. Unaccustomed, some drinkers might be put off. When brewing at home consider these factors; First, don’t use an automatic drip brewer. Secondly, pour-over is the preferred technique. Having the correct equipment can make a world of difference, a ceramic or glass cone dripper, a gooseneck style pouring kettle, a digital kitchen scale, some kind of temperature measurement device, and, of course, proper technique will ensure success. Anything short of that will result in poor taste and you may even reject light roast all together. Many coffee houses offer pour-over, if you are curious, that would be a place to start.

Do it right

Either get the proper tools and learn the technique and make it at home, or try some light roast coffee at your favorite coffee house that both offers the pour-over coffee method and light roasted coffee, and you might be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t like the taste you saved yourself lots of money. Of course investing in making pour-over coffee at home will make brewing medium and dark roasts so much better, so it’s not such a wasted investment.

Online merchants that offer Light Roast Coffee beans

Intelligentsia Coffee

Handsome Coffee Roasters

Blue Bottle Coffee

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

Blue Bottle Craft of CoffeeThe Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes
by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman and Tara Duggan
Photography by Clay McLachlan
Illustrations by Michelle Ott
Published by Ten Speed Press

If you haven’t had the chance to visit Blue Bottle Coffee in the Bay Area or NYC, then you may not have heard of their cafes and roasted beans. If you are so lucky to have visited one, you are corrupted and will never be the same. For the rest of us there is The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee.

Putting the craft into pour-over coffee

Great pour-over coffee starts with great beans roasted to perfection. That’s where James Freeman started, roasting beans in his stove. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee starts with James’s story of how he got from professional clarinetist performing in various bay area orchestras to coffee artisan extraordinaire. In a nutshell: vision.

James started small, first roasting small batches that he sold at local farmers markets, and later buying a coffee cart in an out-of-the-way location. But before long, the quality of the coffee started bringing the customers in to the point there were always lines of people patiently waiting. The saying, “build it and they will come,” was certainly true for Blue Bottle Coffee.

Soil, altitude and attitude

While coffee originated in Ethiopia, most is now grown in Brazil. Many of the growers who are producing the best beans for roasting are located in Africa, South America, Hawaii and Asia, and Blue Bottle sources from all these locations. The first chapter of The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee covers coffee growing, bean structure, harvesting, origins, locations, processing and the history of coffee beans. He features a couple of growers and includes some side notes on coffee blends, acidity and other factors that are not well known to the average coffee drinker.

First crack at the crack of dawn

From using a lowly kitchen stove to restored Probat industrial roasting machines, Freeman evolved into a master roaster. The crazy dream to roast coffee in his backyard with an adobe brick roaster powered by his German Shepherd (Who would power with it with a treadmill?), spurred the decision to get it right instead, from which Blue Bottle was born. He takes us through the process of roasting (listen for the crack of the beans), cupping and tweaking for flavor, which is dictated by the beans. The good roaster, like the sculptor, draws the character and flavor out of the raw bean. The chapter also includes step-by-step instructions if you want to roast at home using the same stove technique.

Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
Drink up

The next chapter covers some of Freeman’s preferred preparation techniques, including pour-over, French press, siphon, drip and espresso. (Be ready to fork out some serious money.)

He touches on Japanese coffee brewing tools and techniques. He offers pointers, how-to’s and sage advice. Note to the home brewer: Invest in a high-quality burr grinder.

Eat, drink and be merry

The last section of the book is devoted to the food that is served at the Blue Bottle Cafés. Try the coffee shop’s recipe for making homemade granola and yogurt. Also find recipes for crunchy biscotti, sweet madeleines, chocolate pudding, and savory delights like Braised Boar’s Shoulder and Stuart Brioza’s Tuna Melt Sandwiches. Afterword, toast to it all with Nopa’s Blue Bottle Martini.

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

A classic American success story, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, is conversational but informative. The photography is beautiful, as is the minimalist graphic design. This well-rounded guide complements anyone’s cookbook collection, as well as makes a worthy coffee table book.

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is available at your local bookstore or online.

Handsome Coffee Roasters

Handsome Coffee Roasters - San SebastianQuestion: What’s the ultimate coffee roasting pedigree?

Answer: Handsome Coffee Roasters.

The founders of Handsome Coffee Roasters all hail from different  parts of the country. Three men on separate paths (one holds 3 Barista Championship titles), but each ended up at the same roaster before starting Handsome Coffee.

Where did they land? Intelligentsia Coffee! Why is that important? If you have to ask, then read on. Intelligentsia is arguably the best roaster in the U.S. If you’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy a pour-over cup of freshly brewed Intelligentsia Coffee, then you have not lived!*

The Founders

Tyler Wells, Michael Phillips and Chris Owens are steeped in coffee culture and specialty coffee roasting, preparation and serving. Michael is champion barista; twice U.S., once World. So you know he knows what’s what for taste. Chris, formerly from Counter Culture CoffeeRitual Roasters and Intelligentsia, now runs the roasting business. Tyler was so good at making coffee he was charged with opening the Pasadena operation of Intelligentsia.

The Taste

Quite good. There are two paths of flavor: Comfort or Adventure. Comfort are more traditional beans and roasts. Adventure are for the demanding coffee aficionado. Fresh-roasted Handsome Coffee Roasters beans are available for purchase online. Order some today!

Prices: $19 – $23 for 12 oz. $40 for the Comfort and Adventure set.

*If you live in Chicago or Los Angeles, drop what you’re doing and run out and get some now!

Pour-over coffee is easy!

Don’t be intimidated by the Pour-over coffee method.

You dont need a kitchen scale, $60 pour-over kettle, burr grinder, etc, to achive great pour-over coffee. A lot of how-to’s will suggest you need a complicated and expensive mix of tools and technique. Which is true if you are seeking perfection. It is possible to get great results with just fresh ground coffee, a cone, filter and hot water.

Start with fresh roasted beans

The most important element to great tasting coffee are the beans! Buy smaller amounts of fresh-roasted beans from a local artisan roaster. If there are none in your city, try mail order. There are many great roasters that will ship fresh roasted beans. Google artisan coffee roasters.

Cone and filter

Any cone system will work, from the plastic Militta cone from the local grocery store to a glass Hario v60. No matter what you use you can get great coffee. Filters are more readlily available for the Militta type than the circular Hario type. Go with what works for you.

Cup

Heat your favorite coffee cup with hot water (boiled or tap) let stand for a couple of minutes, rinse the paper filter inside the cone with hot water from the preheated cup.

Hot water

Get a glass 2-cup measuring cup, add 1 1/2 cups of could water, place in a microwave for 3 minutes (or as long as it take to boil). After it reaches boil, remove from the microwave let cool a couple minutes. Take this time to grind the beans. You can also use a stovetop kettle or pot to heat the water, but pour the water into the mesuring cup.

The right amount of ground beans

If you have a burr grinder find the right setting to grind enough coffee, you can fine tune this though a little trial an error. Or if you have the a blade-type coffee grinder, only use as much beans as you’re going to need. In either machine grind the beans to the consistency of sand.

Bloom the grind

Place the grounds into the rinsed filter. Pour a small amount, enough to soak the coffee through, watch as the coffee absorbes the water and swells up. Wait just over a minute.

Slowly pour

Pour the remaining hot water into the cone, make sure the stream is small, start in the center and work out in a spiral pattern until the water is gone.

Drink and enjoy!

Once the water has poured through, add cream sugar or drink black. You should have a great cup.

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Can’t find Hario V60 Coffee Paper Filters? Try online.

V60 Coffee Paper Filters for Pour-over CoffeeDid you run out of Hario V60 Coffee Paper Filters? They can be hard to find in many localities. Most grocery stores will carry pour-over coffee filters, but rarely Hario brand. Almost always Melitta, and generic cone filters for the Melitta-style cone. The Hario has a round cone. The Melitta filters will not fit very well.

Order hard to find coffee paper filters online

Amazon, eBay and other online companies carry Hario Coffee Paper Filters. It’s only a matter of chosing the right service you feel comfortable using.

Take advantage of free shipping

Getting shipping for free makes it worth the effort. Amazon has free shipping for orders $25 or more. Ebay sellers will ususally charge a nominal fee, or ship for free. Many of the retailers that sell on Amazon also sell on eBay, two very safe and trusted online shopping portals.

Many sellers have their own online stores as well as eBay and Amazon stores. I ordered 2 100 count filter packs on Amazon and that were delivered quickly from Prima Coffee.