Ready to pour vs plunge?

A loyal customer asked, “I’ve wanted to try one of the other methods besides my French press, to see if I can get a truer flavor, but have never really done the research on what to get. Do you have a good list of what to get for whatever other methods you like to use? (I’m more of a buyer than a shopper… Lol!)”

My edited answer is here. I’m answering simply from my limited experience, with my personal quirks of what I’m willing to consider, go through, etc. I’m reluctant to buy big, expensive machines that need maintenance and maybe repairs. I’m not an Amazon affiliate, I don’t receive free coffee paraphernalia to try/review, etc. So I’m not financially motivated to share what we use. I’m motivated to sell our coffee and to have you extract as much flavor and enjoyment out of it. I think there are some techniques you can do, often without buying anything (e.g., wet your paper filter first, let the coffee bloom), and affordable items that can up your game, depending on where you are with your game.

I’m a big fan of the pour over.  The reason I prefer it over a French press is that the paper filter gets the last sediment out.  I prefer a paper filter over the reusable metal or nylon filters. Pouring the French press coffee through a filter could take care of the last sediment problem though.  If you’re served coffee in the press, like at a restaurant, often you might leave some coffee sitting with the grounds, which results in a different end taste.

So … for a pour over, minimally, you need a dripper and filters.  I like the Hario V60 ceramic dripper & their filters.  I’m not a fan of plastic, in general.  Ceramic holds the heat.  We have size 02, which makes a nice 12-oz cup.

The rest is all extra to improve your game.  A grinder, which is its own subject.  This former post describes the little manual grinder we have.

It’s nice, but not necessary, to have a gooseneck kettle.  Once you’ve had one, though, you get spoiled and want that easy pour-volume control.  When I use a regular kettle, e.g., if we’re staying at a vacation rental, I end up dumping water in the dripper and I just can’t control the pour.   So if I can find a Pyrex measuring cup, I’ll pour the hot water into that, then make the pour over.  

We first got a Hario beehive gooseneck stovetop kettle.  After a good year or so, however, it started to rust inside.  That’s when I learned online that the stainless steel differs when you buy a Japanese-made vs. Chinese-made kettle.  When buying online, I couldn’t determine where it was made.

I also wanted to be able to offer some tastings elsewhere where there might be an outlet but no range/hot plate for a stovetop kettle, so I decided to look for an electric kettle. And many had the feature where you can specify the temperature and have it hold that temperature, which is more convenient than letting water boil and waiting a bit.  We have the OXO electric kettle now and are very happy with that.  

Because we are such pour over fans, when we’re making coffee for a group of people, our regular drip coffee machine wasn’t performing well enough for us.  So we went to the larger version of the manual pour over, the Chemex.  Warning: the coffee to water ratio and grind size for a pour over for an individual don’t just linearly scale up with the Chemex.

I say, start small, experiment, learn what you care about, and then expand from there if you feel like it. 

And, if you like your French press better than a pour over, that’s what you like, and that is just fine. We loaned our pour over equipment to French-press-fan friends, and I think they determined they still like the press better. Maybe you can even improve your French press techniques.

Weeds In the Field and In My Brain

We’ve still been getting almost daily rain, usually in the late afternoon or night. Sometimes it comes down pretty hard, but the land takes it in. No mud or puddles in the morning. We swear the weeds seem to grow inches with each rain, though. That’s mostly what’s going on on the farm now … weeding, while we wait for more berries to turn red.

I didn’t get the good photo of hubby, who looked like a porcupine yesterday, with needle seeds sticking out everywhere. He said the weeding wasn’t as bad as trying to get the needles out. He spent an hour just with his t-shirt and didn’t even finish. Other clothing items would be groomed out another day.

On a completely other note, here are two articles essentially sharing the same news about research into acidity and antioxidants in cold brew versus hot coffee. A friend recently shared that one, and I filed it away to share with you all, and rediscovered the same news I had filed away half a year ago. I thought the news sounded familiar. Ha ha.

Cupping to Improve Your Palate

With COVID-19 and being more home bound, almost everyone’s routines have been profoundly shaken up. I keep hearing of friends picking up new hobbies and activities. One friend has gotten into daily latte art — I posted one of his nice hearts on our Instagram account the other day.

Do you have any interest in trying to cup coffee? According to Ted Lingle, “Coffee cupping is a method used to systematically evaluate the aroma and taste quality characteristics of a sample of coffee beans.” 

I’ve written about cupping a couple of times. We’ve taken a class. Months later we had our coffee professionally cupped, and then tried to cup at home with the leftover beans.

A while back I read “A Beginner’s Guide to Cupping Coffee,” which you might enjoy.

Or maybe this article is a little more approachable, “Coffee Tasting Exercises That Will Improve Your Palate.” The first step seems easy enough: drink coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Step 2 seems pleasant enough: Add fruit and candies to your diet. But what the article asks of you has a steep incline. By step 6, you’re being asked to add malic, tartaric, phosphoric, and lactic acid to different cups!

I’ll share again the coffee descriptors of Bea’s Knees Farm coffee from the two professionals:

Professional #1: (+) Dark Chocolate, Toasted spices, Bittersweet Chocolate, Hint red fruit, Compote, Nutty, Malic Acid

Professional #2: (+) Nutty, Chocolate, Hint red fruit, Dark Chocolate, Sweet cream, Toasted almond, Brown Sugar

What do you taste in our coffee?

Adventures with Coffee

Short post today. Just sharing some articles you may find interesting. One is about How to Become More Adventurous With The Coffee You Drink. It segues nicely with an article about Why You Should Be Adding Salt to Your Coffee. There are some interesting things to try. I was going to wait to share the article until I tried some things and could report my own experiences, but I seem to be procrastinating. You go for it. And report back.

Adventures, for some reason, made me think of yak butter. And then I did a little detour in the internet rathole of the old butter coffee trend. This guy describes his experimentation with Bulletproof coffee, in this older article. It was an amusing skim. I’ll probably try salt before butter.

Alternative Milks

Do you drink coffee with milk? Cow milk or an alternative milk?

I didn’t start drinking coffee until college. I could drink three cups in the evening and still fall asleep over my books. But when I woke up from the evening nap … zing!! I was wired. I could get some concentrated studying in. I always drank my coffee with half & half, or at least milk, and milk tasted so meager in comparison. I only used sugar very early on and taught my tastebuds to go without; milk actually has a sweetening effect.

It wasn’t until learning more about coffee and trying to pay more attention to the actual coffee’s taste that I gave up adding milk. I still sometimes add half & half if I get a cup of, e.g., Starbucks coffee. I’m not recommending you learn to drink coffee without milk. When we do coffee tastings, we do ask that you try and really taste a sip without milk, but then drink it however you enjoy and usually drink it.

I’ve discovered that oat milk with cold coffee and ice can really hit the spot. I just think of cold coffee as a different beverage than hot coffee. I’m not a morning cold coffee drinker though. So, for me, a cold coffee or a coffee cocktail would be an afternoon or later treat.

I’ve found these articles interesting for covering alternative milks. I often try alternative milks, usually for cereal more than coffee, just out of curiosity and for variety. One article is about oat milk — the recent trendy darling of the alternative milks. I think oat milk has a nice neutral flavor and texture, but nutrition-wise, I miss the protein that’s in cow and soy milk. The other two older articles are geared towards baristas, but with sheltering, many of us are now home baristas, right?