Pour Over

Tsheya eya!

The first time we ever had Tsheya was at Joule in Downtown Raleigh. Joule is a part of the Ashley Christensen empire, and is currently the most upscale Coffee shop/Bar/Restaurant hybrid in the area.  I think the only other place that serves coffee, alcohol and food all in the same place is Helios. But, more on Joule in an upcoming post. This post is about Tsheya.

Since we were on the go and just wanted a quick(er) fix, we ordered a pour over to-go. All I could taste and smell was the overwhelming aroma of peanuts. Boiled peanuts, to be exact. Ever since then, I haven’t touched Tsheya.

However, I gave it a try this week because the description says bright citrus, stone fruit and only light savory notes, which was nothing like the first time I tasted it. When I brewed it as a pour over for the first time, it was nothing like what we had at Joule. It was super bright with a mouth watering fruity aroma. The tartness was so refreshing and juicy to me, while the slight savory notes gave it a balancing factor.

So what happened at Joule? I have to say it was the paper cups! I think that maybe the paper cup was not rinsed, or it was a bad choice in the selection of paper cups to use. I’m really glad to have experienced this whole series of events because we now have made a mental note to make sure that the paper cups we use to serve our coffee will not carry any weird tastes.

We’ve been back to Joule a few times and we love that place! As mentioned earlier, we’ll have a post about Joule soon!

IMG_0197 copy

IMG_0189 copy

Vietnamese Style Black Eyed Pour Over

It’s finally getting warmer outside now! This past winter was long and brutal for the South. The only acceptable type of polar vortex here is the one happening in our drinks.

So, we’ve finally begun to dedicate some time into developing specialty coffee drinks that we can offer seasonally (or permanently based on popularity) on our truck! So exciting! After filming the video, we roamed through the aisles of Whole Foods picking out various spices, dried flowers, berries and fruits that we can incorporate to enhance and compliment the flavors already present in various coffees.

The whole car smelled amaaaazing. More drinks coming soon!

Thoughts on Pour Over and Ceramic Drippers

Pour over coffee.

A slow brewing method that has gained popularity even in the face of society’s “need for speed”. In a world riddled with the coffee equivalent of fast food joints and pod-fed, automaton, one-touch wonders; pour over has built quite a following in third-wave coffee shops everywhere. The precise measurement of coffee, finding the perfect grind, the temperature of the water, the timing, “riding the bloom”; its all so technical and time consuming.

But is it all worth it? Hell yeah it is.

That collection of tedious tasks makes for one damn good cup of coffee. It unlocks fragrances and flavors you never knew existed in those beans. Citrusy undertones, hints of dark chocolate, that buttery finish.

Try getting that out of a plastic pod.

The equipment you use can be a huge factor in releasing all of those wonderful attributes. Today, we’re discussing ceramic drippers. There’s a lot of them out there. Hario, Bonmac, Bee House…hell, even the coffee chain that shall not be named has one! (I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with Starbucks.) When we first jumped into the world of pour over, we bought The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. We would venture to say that this book is to coffee as Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding is to bodybuilding, but this is open to debate.

The Blue Bottle Coffee Company’s dripper of choice is the Bonmac and the Bee House. They pretty much built their business on pour over, so it would seem logical to follow their lead. We purchased two Bee House units and got to work. Other than two very annoying nubs on the underside of the cone (it was a pain in the ass trying to get them to sit flat on our homemade stand), they functioned flawlessly. We also purchased a Hario V60 to take for a test drive and found that it functioned perfectly as well. They had their subtle differences, and that was reflected in the coffee it brewed.

Hario V60

IMG_0054 copy

The design is elegant, clean, practical and well executed. The V60s wide saucer ledge, coupled with a smaller inner lip allows for easy accommodations for various size cups and dripper stands. The handle and body have a good, firm feel to them, making it feel natural to grab and hold, especially while shaking and tapping the vessel.

The breakthrough in the Hario V60 is its precisely angled design, spiral-ribbed side walls and large exit hole. The spiral ribs extend the entire side walls, which allows the filter to free-float on the dripper. This allows air to escape and the grounds to fully expand. The Hario V60 is always showy with its full, round and dramatic mushroom blooms even with older roasts. So if you’re expecting to wow your guests, whip out the V60!

What makes the Hario V60 a must have in any coffee enthusiasts cupboard is that you can be so experimental with it. Got a dark roast and want a slower pour? Grind finer, lower your temperature and the hole is still big enough to accommodate. Then, take notes. How does it taste? Got a lighter roast? Raise your temperature, grind courser or pour faster. The point is, the Hario V60 opens up the doors for years of experimentation and it won’t let you down.

Well, there is one thing that can let many people down. The Hario V60 requires its own special filter paper and its not cheap!

IMG_0058 copy

IMG_0043 copy

Bee House

IMG_0063 copy

The Bee House has a gorgeous design, with its elegantly sloping integrated handle. The vessel itself features the classic wedge shape and is very similar to the Bonmac and Bonmac Pro. The ridges extend about 3/4 of way up the side walls and there are two exit holes. It is also the only ceramic dripper on the market that has ingenious viewing holes to prevent overspill if you’re not using a scale, making it very user friendly.

So what makes the Bee House different in terms of brewing? Firstly, the wedge shape allows the coffee bed to sit lower and closer to the drip holes. Andy Sprenger, two-time consecutive winner of the US Brewer’s Cup, explains:

I maintain the coffee bed quite low in the brewer (Bee House). I think this helps with heat retention and more consistent contact with water to grounds (minimizes high and dry grounds). (Source: Spruge.com)

We believe this is precisely why the ridges only extend 3/4 of the side wall. Pour over is like the espresso drink form of coffee because it is made uniquely on the spot. The large Bee House is designed to brew about 12-20g of coffee, which is perfect for an individualize cup of coffee. Andy Sprenger maintains that although he’s brewed countless cups using the V60 and Kalita Wave, he still gets the

…most flavorful, pure and evenly extracted brews out of a Bee House. (Source: Seriouseats.com)

IMG_0060 copy

IMG_0046 copy

IMG_0045 copy

So, if you want a consistently good cup of coffee, the Bee House is for you. That is if you can overlook some poorly executed design elements. One being that the small, oval shaped saucer coupled with the larger inner lip makes its less versatile, or even dangerous to use with cups in your cupboard. Its been notorious for committing acts of coffee betrayal by spontaneously toppling over, sending a mass of hot, sticky, coffee lava all over my thighs. If you to decide to build a dripper stand as an alternative to stacking them on top of your cups, you may run into another issue.

Those little nubs you see on the far left and far right of the dripper left us frustrated. Even after sanding out a circular area for the dripper to slide into, we ran into the issue of instability due to those little nubs on the outer edges.

IMG_0062 copy

On a better note, it does fit perfectly over the Hario Range Server and uses easily available wedge shaped filters!

IMG_0074 copy

Other Drippers:

Seriouseats.com gives a really good overview of the major types of ceramic drippers: Hario V60, Bonmac, Bonmac Pro, Bee House and the Kalita.

Our Verdict

What we have found is that no design is truly superior to another. Subtle differences in design create subtle differences in the coffee. Differences that may appeal to some and not to others. Different techniques call for different tools and in the end, its about what works best for you on your journey to find YOUR perfect cup of coffee.

Good Luck!

Sputnik Coffee Blog: Pour Over #2 (Failed)

Its Thursday! Almost there guys! The weekend is approaching but unfortunately for people in Raleigh, I believe theres also a little winter storm approaching tomorrow? We are all so sick of it.

So just like there’s good news and bad news mentioned above, there’s also good news and bad news concerning this pour over run. The bloom was good. I dialed my grind back a notch to 30 instead of 31/32 and got a bigger bloom. However, either the dripper or dripper stand was tilted, causing the coffee to run down the side of the dripper and the all the way to the dripper stand. What a mess!

(more…)

Pour Over #1

Here’s my Thursday video! (New posts every Tue and Thur).

I used Counter Culture Rustico and set a grind at about 31/32 on my Gino Rossi RR45. Overall it was a good run. I was a little nervous since this is my first pour over video. My pre-infusion was sloppy and I could have gone about 30 secs more because my beans are about a week old. The goal of the pre-infusion is to get all the coffee evenly wet and to not let the water/coffee mix to flow out and over onto the edge of the filter. This will let the beans achieve its maximum potential.

Please leave comments and questions below! How could I have improved? Can’t wait to hear from everybody!

Music: Dive by Tycho

Camera: Canon 5D MII with Sigma 20mm 1.8
Canon T1i with 50mm 1.4

My Equipment – Pourover

I love espresso drinks, particularly the cortado. To me, it has the perfect ratio of milk and espresso. However, I must say that I’m a little biased in that I could take a straight pour-over, or hand pour, over an espresso drink 51% of the time. I guess I just appreciate the foundation, which consist of the the beans itself. A hand pour allows me to taste the beans and the roast in a smooth way that doesn’t pack such a heavy punch like a straight shot. A hand poured coffee allows me to savor my cup of coffee and making it becomes a really soothing, methodical and perhaps even a spiritual ritual.

1. Hario Buono V60 1.2L Gooseneck Kettle – I love the design. The ridges allow me to measure my water and the handle feels really good in my hand, way better than the Bonavita in my opinion. Boils fast, the holes on the lid allow steam to escape which serves as an indicator that my water is ready. I also really appreciate that the lid is a perfect fit for the kettle, not too tight and not loose enough to pop off while pouring.blog 2 6 copyblog 2 4 copy

2. Bee House Large Ceramic Dripper – I have mixed feelings about this product. I think the design is really aesthetically pleasing and I love the elegant handle, but I don’t know if those make up for other practical design flaws. First of all, its really small for a large size. The large takes a #2 filter. A #4 filter will also work because the bottom of the filter is the same size. Its just taller. Secondly and most importantly, the little notch at the bottom (shown in the photo below) is really annoying. Its designed to prevent the dripper from sliding off of a cup, but it really limits the size of cup that can be used with it. When used with a dripper stand, the notch also serves as a problem in that it allows the dripper to rock back and forth. I will be buying a Bonmac Pro next week, and planning on buying the Hario V60. I want to try them all!

blog 2 5 copy

My first pour, using shitty Gevalia Coffee

blog 2 2 copy

The aftermath

blog 2 1 copy

I purchased everything from Amazon.com and got the cheapest prices compare to physical retail stores and free shipping was awesome. I love Amazon.com!