counter culture

Updated D.I.Y. Slow Drip Cold Brewing Station

On the journey to perfecting coffee, you set a general direction for where you want to go, but at the same time, each new step opens the door to countless other paths. It’s really easy to get lost and overwhelmed at first, but at the same time, it brings excitement. There’s no such thing as perfect coffee, but that’s the fun part. Perfecting coffee is something you can devote your whole life to and will still be able to learn something new everyday. Here is our more updated version of the D.I.Y. Slow Drip Cold Brewing Station. We used the pour over stand Jimmy beautifully built and stained for me to told up a blender jar, which just so happens to hold a Deer Park water bottle perfectly. This additionally height allows the water droplets to disperse wider throughout the coffee bed, leading to a more evenly extracted cold brew. IMG_1224 copy

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At this point, we’ve brewed about 5 more times, tinkering with different variables. Your variables are going to be: -water temperature and amount of water -drip rate, which determines your brew time -coffee grind and coffee dosing -pre-infusing or not pre-infusing, as well as the temperature of pre-infusion and length With all those variables, it makes for a hell of a science experiment!

Troubleshooting:

My coffee tastes just like “coffee”: Cold brewing allows for some flavor nuances to express (which happens less often), and some favor nuances to be latent, such as acidity and sweetness. It just all depends on the type of coffee. We’ve found that pre-infusing or even pre-brewing with hot water can help bring out subtle flavors.

My coffee is under-extracted: Play around with your grind size and make sure your coffee is even and level to prevent water from channeling. Also, we prefer hotter water to bring out the flavors of lighter roasts, so perhaps a cold brewing method is more suitable for darker roasts. However, as Counter Culture says, ANY COFFEE AND BREW.

My drip rate is too fast or too slow: Experiment with different size needles. In our next version of the D.I.Y. Slow Drip Cold Brewing Station, we will address this issue by adding a 2-way drip valve. Please leave us some questions and comments below! We’ve love to hear from you!

Aeropress: Inverted Method + Almond Latte

Leave any comments, suggestions and/or questions below!

Coffee filter was pre-rinsed. I didn’t include exact measurements because I think everyone should have fun experimenting and coming up with their own unique recipe for each roast and style of coffee.

Counter Culture Coffee: Beginner Espresso Class

Last Thursday, we had the awesome opportunity to attend a Counter Culture Coffee Beginner Espresso Course.

Why it was so cool:

1. We met people from all different backgrounds, whether they own a shop, work as a barista or are just home brewers/enthusiast.

We had a 10 student class; three girls from a coffee shop in South Carolina, two guys from one in VA, an owner of Not Just Coffee in Charlotte plus her daughter and a home enthusiast. We had a really good mix of people who where ready to learn, engage and just soak in the whole experience.

Its so refreshing and encouraging to be amongst peers who share a similar level of love, enthusiasm, passion and expect nothing else than going above and beyond when it comes to coffee. In traditional Japanese Culture, it is very honorable to select a profession/trade and stick with it your whole life. Even an occupation that involves standing all day cutting perfectly sized noodles is respected because that person has devoted their whole life to perfecting something that benefits their community and in turn, their nation. I remember watching the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi where Jiro has perfected sushi so much that even when charging his customers $300 for a single dinner service, he still has a waiting list of at least one year.

I know we have friends and family members, or even just people on our Facebook or Instagram that probably think we take coffee way to seriously. That we might even seem a little pretentious, which we wouldn’t blame them at all. Its the reason why I started this blog, to educate, inform and even entertain(or try to at least)  It was awesome to spend some time with like-minded peers, share knowledge and encouragement as well as network. I hope to visit Miracle and Destiny at Not Just Coffee in Charlotte soon!

2. The instructors are amazing, down to earth, knowledgeable and just are great representatives of such a great company.

Of course there is no way to perfect coffee. It is a constant journey and along that that journey, we are able to elevate coffee little by little. Fo this beginner course, the instructors at Counter Culture emphasize this point and try to give their students and tools and foundation to get further along in that journey without dictating it.

We had classmates who weren’t accustomed to drinking espresso shots, but our instructor made sure to emphasize that it was perfectly ok! Which is really cool because it can be intimidating being around people who are soo good with coffee and have been working on it a lot longer than you have. But it was all cool! We all felt like we belonged!

3. It was really hands on and we got the opportunity to use both the La Marzocco Linea and Strada.

Yes, it was really hands on. More hands on than no hands on. To be honest, it almost felt like I was driving a beautiful, top of the line luxury car or maybe a classic car without knowing how to work a manual transmission at first. I felt like I was insulting the Strada with my lack of skill. Jimmy did a really good job though! He was a natural! The years of working at Starbucks did prove helpful, and I’m glad that he finally got praised for this sexy looking milk, instead of being scolded by his manager, who obviously didn’t know what the f*$k she was talking about =P.

However, get ready to pour really delicious, sexy milk down the drain. Its just an unfortunate by-product of the learning experience. We really appreciate the cows for all their hard work!

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Tips if you decide on attending a class:

Speak up! Ask lots of questions. It helps to engage with the instructors and get the most out of the experience.

Network! Talk, get to know everyone in your class. You never know where it might lead.

Final thoughts

The class was totally worth it. It allowed us to figure out what machine we want for the mobile cafe. We learned from people who have us in their best interest. Its in CC’s best interest for us to make the best coffee out of their beans and they are ready to educate their customers!