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The Easy Way to Brew Coffee☕

A passion (or “thirst”) for new experiences is great, but you should, in addition, have solid knowledge. This advice can apply to almost any situation, and surely it’s something worth taking to heart amidst the coffee-making process. Find that healthy balance.   

In doing so, you’ll have enough information to know what you’re capable of creating, and you won’t find yourself in a lackluster cul-de-sac. Spending time now to understand brewing will save you time in the end.

Continue reading The Easy Way to Brew Coffee☕
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Timemore

Gooseneck Pour-Over Electric Kettles – Which One Is The Best Option for Home Baristas?

About

During the last couple of months, I had the opportunity test 3 different electric kettles.

Approximately 5 months ago, I bought a Timemore kettle.  It was a very good kettle, but unfortunately, after 3 months, it stopped working. I brought it back to have it fixed. They changed the base of the kettle, but it still did not fix the problem.

While I was waiting to get the Timemore kettle back, a Bonavita kettle was my replacement.

After 2 months, I had been told that the Timemore kettle could not be fixed. Instead of getting another Timemore kettle, I decided to get a Fellow EKG.

Timemore

Compared to the Bonavita and the Fellow EKG kettles, the Timemore kettle was the easiest to use.

Generally, it was very easy to set up the temperature and the water heats very fast.

The kettle is light and not too big. I took it with me on my holidays and I could pack it easily.

What I didn’t like about this kettle was that its handle seemed to loosen after using it for some time. As a result the water flow was a little bit less stable.

When I used the kettle outside, the temperature display screen was very difficult to see in the sunlight. I used a white Timemore kettle, which has a temperature display with a white background colour. The black Timemore kettle version might not have this disadvantage.

When my fingers were not completely dry, it was harder to set up the temperature. Sometimes, I had to slide the touch dialer a couple of times to get the parameters that I needed.

Bonvita

My first impression of the Bonvita kettle was that – compared to the Timemore kettle, the material may be lower in quality. The design looks more old-fashioned.

However, this kettle was not bad at all, taking into account the price I paid.

Compared to the other 2 kettles, the steeping function takes a longer time.

Holding the kettle was fine, but it was more difficult to control the water flow. It took me some time to get used to it. Once I was used to it, I noticed that managing the water flow is much easier with the other 2 kettles.

The weight of the Bonvita kettle is light, but due to its wider size it was harder for me to pack it for my holiday trips.

Fellow EKG

This kettle is approx. ¼ bigger than the other two kettles. It is also heavier than the others.

If you plan to take an electric kettle along on your holiday trips, I recommend to buy another lighter kettle which will be easier to pack and carry. I advise to buy a kettle from the same brand because once you are holding a FELLOW kettle in your hands, it will be difficult to use another design.

The heating speed of the FELLOW EKG, in my opinion, is slower than the Timemore, but faster than the Bonavita kettle.

Out of all 3 kettles, holding and controlling the water flow, I liked the most when I was using the FELLOW EKG.

All 3 kettles allow you to maintain your desired temperature for 1 hour. However, I like that the FELLOW EKG has additional timer-functions. For one thing, we just have to press the button and the timing starts. For another thing, once we lift up the kettle, a timer will start to time your extraction.

Last but not least, one more thing that I liked a lot was that the FELLOW EKG’s temperature display screen was very easy to see in the sunlight as well.

Fellow EKG
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Blue cup

FILTER VS. ESPRESSO

Filter coffee
Filter coffee

VS

Espresso
Espressos

Price

What is the big benefit of filter made coffee? The price of the equipment.

 If you want to prepare good Espresso drinks, you should invest money in the following equipment:

  • Espresso machine
  • Electric Coffee grinder
  • Tamper
  • Good filter pot
  • Nano filter basket
  • Softener

For the filter method you need the following brewing equipment:

  • Dripper
  • Paper filters
  • Kettle
  • Scale
  • Manual grinder
  • Thermometer 

Compared to the filter method, the final price of Espresso equipment can be up to 10x higher. Filter coffee equipment won’t take up a ton of space. It’s small and easily stored.

You can take it along on your travels without a problem.  

Time

A good benefit of Espresso preparation is that it takes less time to prepare than filter coffee. Time is money. If you consider to prepare coffee in a café, Espresso coffee drinks will make better profit than the filter preparation. 

But if you want to prepare coffee at home and if you are not a fan coffee cocktails, like cappuccino, latte.., the filter brewing method will bring you far more joy for much less money. 

Coffee flavours

Taste

Another benefit of filter made coffee drinks is that their aftertaste sensations can last for a long time, if done correctly. 

A coffee’s body (texture) and mouthfeel are mainly created by essential oils, but also sugars and plant fibers. 

An Espresso machine enables us to extract a great amount of essential oils. However, compared to filter made coffee drinks, the final drink has less flavour compounds over all. The Espresso machine gets out more oils because of the stronger pressure and heat. Since the contact between water and coffee ground is longer for the filter method, we can extract out more flavour compounds. Water always extracts the different flavour compounds in this order: fats and acids, then sugars, and finally the plant fibers. Because of the longer brewing time, the filter method enables us to extract more sugars as well. 

Ground coffee
Bayawe coffee dripper

Amount of grinded coffee

The current trend for Espresso drinks is between 18 and 20g of coffee grinds while using a coffee:water ratio of 1:2.  It’s called a Double Ristretto and it is also used as the basis for other coffee drinks. 

For filter coffee drinks, we can also use 18g of coffee grinds. However, in doing so the standard coffee:water ratio is 1:16. This means the same amount of coffee grinds will provide much more coffee. 

Water

When we work with an Espresso machine, we should use distilled water to lengthen the life of the machine. Distilled water has almost no mineral content and compared to natural water, more pricy. The lower the mineral content of the water is, the more available space for flavour compounds the water has. If water with a low mineral content is used for coffee preparation, the final drink is often over-extracted and bitter.  Water with a higher mineral content, on the other hand, has less available space for flavour contents. The final cup tends to be under-extracted. 

With the filter coffee method we usually use regular water which contains minerals. The flavour compounds of the coffee grind will complete the minerals of the water. 

Preparation

With a high-quality Espresso machine we can set up the pressure of the water coming out of the pump. We can set up the temperature as well. The set up can only be done before the brewing process starts.  Usually it takes a couple of (lost) coffee shots before the changes are implemented. 

With the filter method, we can change the pressure and water temperature also during the brewing process. 

Black coffee
Use your senses maximum

Result

In my point of view, filter made coffee drinks have a higher quality than Espresso drinks. Filter coffee drinks have more complex flavours and a longer aftertaste. 

The main benefits of Espresso drinks is the fast preparation time, but also the fact that we can use them as a base for other coffee drinks. 

Espresso drinks can be compared to cognac:  It’s a small amount of liquid made with pressure. The aromas and flavours are intense and the aftertaste is long. We drink Espresso shots faster than cups of filter coffee. We enjoy the aftertaste of the Espresso more than the taste and body.  

Filter coffees can be compared with wine. We usually fully enjoy the flavours in our mouth. We relax and meditate. The aftertaste of filter coffee can be also long, but not as intensive as the Espresso made after tastes.

I like to say that during the morning I sit and relax with a mug of coffee and during the evening I enjoy a glass of wine. 

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Coffee makers

WHAT KIND OF COFFEE PREPARATION IS THE BEST FOR HOME BARISTAS?

There are two main coffee preparation methods: Espresso and Filter made coffee. Other methods of coffee preparation are pod options, capsules, instant made or Turkish coffee.

In my opinion, filter made coffee brings the best final results. Easy preparation methods such as instant coffee and capsules can offer interesting flavour experiences, but in my opinion they are more flat. They are missing depth, don’t have a good aftertaste and most of the time the flavours and aroma are similar. It’s like drinking fruit juice, made from syrup. 

Turkish coffee, Photo by Ahmed Aqtai from Pexels

Turkish coffee

The coffee can have nice and intensive flavour results and a rich body. However, drinking it regularly on a long term basis, might have a bad effect on your health. 

Moka pot
in Mix kaffee, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Moka pot

The Moka pot brew method can yield interesting results if done right. In my point of view, this method is a good low-cost and easy compromise between the filter and Espresso preparation options. I especially love the sensual aroma experiences of the Moka pot. What I don’t like is the fact that steam pressurized boiling water is forced through the ground coffee, which almost always creates one main flavour: bitterness. 

Sipohon (vacuum) coffee brewer, Photo by Omar Rodriguez from Pexels

Siphon brewer

Another well-known way to prepare coffee is the fancy looking vacuum method (siphon brewer). The iconic Moka pot coffee maker functions on the same principle, but with the siphon brewer coffee-lovers can also enjoy the excellent visibility of the coffee brewing process. 

I wouldn’t buy the siphon brewer to prepare my coffee drinks at home. Due to the materials and design, vacuum coffee makers tend to be more expensive than other types of coffee makers.  Moreover, compared to other brewing methods, the process with a siphon coffee maker is also more complex. 

In the coming blog, I will be more in the details describe the positives and the negatives, between “Filter coffee” and “Espresso coffee”.

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Drop of flavours

BEFORE ALL ELSE: AFTERTASTE

What is “Aftertaste”?

After swallowing a mouthful of coffee, every one of its elements mingle together, forming what’s known as the aftertaste. Needless to say, the aftertaste is very important. In many cases, it’s what makes a particular blend so unique. Post-imbibement, sip complete, we’re set to ask the magic question. “What does this remind me of?”

And other questions always follow. “Just what notes are present here?” Acidic? Sour? Bitter? Sweet? Umami, perhaps? Or even salty. Often, it’s surprising.

The next consideration must concern the dominant flavour present. Is its balance true and does the aftertaste, too, change? 

The final questions relate to texture. How is the mouthfeel aftertaste? For how long does it last precisely?

Black coffee

So many things to ponder:

Acidity can be crisp and bright, or mellow and clean.

The sweetness can be pleasant . . . or overpowering.

Excessive bitterness will prove discomforting. It can create a slight scratchy feeling as you swallow. Subtlety is the key.

Coffee brewing

Can you adjust the aftertaste?

During brewing, you can adjust almost everything! That said, the aftertaste is particularly tricky. Often times, this is a matter of the roasting technique, but water and coffee bean quality are other factors.

The longest aftertastes are those of espresso drinks and those made with mocha pots. To improve the aftertaste of filter coffee, you can slightly over-extract the coffee, or use a lower ratio. But the best way, as I’ve discovered from my experiences, is to simply use higher temperatures for the coffee brewing. If you spring for this approach, however, be sure to grind your coffee beans less. Otherwise, the coffee can turn out poorly.

One way to achieve a very long, pleasant aftertaste is via the “Slow Drip” method. This involves brewing coffee for a longer period, but without adding much water. For this method, you need a lot passion and a little extra time. This can take ten minutes or more, depending on your coffee beans. The final product is syrupier and creamier, leaving a longer aftertaste on your palate and in your throat.

Cup of coffee and glass of water
Cup of coffee and glass of water

Other things to try . . .

Before enjoying coffee, you can drink or wash your mouth with softer water.

Coffee’s aftertaste can be enhanced by pairing the beverage with particular foods. For medium-dark beans, I recommend cheese . . . but that’s just one example.

Soul aftertaste = memory

If the coffee was good, it might create a memorable aftertaste that will not only leave some hints in the mouth, but also on your soul. You will remember it for a long time and it might motivate you to find a similar experience again.

In my soul I have a couple very nice aftertastes, which I remember until now. They motivate me to continue to discover new magical coffee drinks. Some of my coffee memories were created during the time when I started to be passionate about coffee.

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French Press

FRENCH PRESS COFFEE BREWING

French Press coffee brewing is one of the easiest preparation methods. Many people all around the world use this unique brewing device not only to prepare delightful coffee, but also tea.

However, compared to other filter preparation methods, the French Press brews coffee that could a less healthy option for some people. The reason for it is that its metal filter doesn’t filter out the cafestol. Cafestol is a substance that may cause the rise of the body’s LDL, bad cholesterol.

French Press
french Press

I recommend

to consider filtering the final French Press coffee drink one more time with a paper filter. Moreover, lighter roasted coffee beans tend to be healthier than darker roasts.

The French Press preparation

is a fully immersion brewing method. The final taste of the coffee is heavy, dense and the flavours are more complex. The flavours are balanced and don’t change much each time you take a sip. French Press coffee drinks usually don’t offer many flavour surprises. But, for the morning coffee, when you are still more sleepy, it might be the perfect option.

My way of making the French Press

French Press
Photo by Pratik Gupta from Pexels

An important decision to make it is amount coffee to be used.
How many tea spoons or grams of coffee you will use, will depend on the size of your French Press.
Usually I use the ratio 1:14 (coffee:water). For the 1:14 ratio I will use 14 grams of medium coarse grinded coffee and 200 grams of 90 ℃ hot water.
Steps:

  1. Pre-heat the French Press.
  2. Pour 30 grams of water into the French Press and add the coffee grinds
  3. Mix the coffee grinds with the water by swirling the French Press, just make a few circles
  4. Wait for 15 seconds – and smell the bloom
  5. Pour the rest of the water (up to 200 grams) into the French Press
  6. Wait for 3 more minutes (Wait even 1 minute longer, if you are using coffee beans grown at a lower altitude.)
  7. Press and pour all the amount into a mug.
  8. Gently swirl the coffee around in tiny circles in the mug and wait for three minutes.

Some people do the mistake of leaving the final coffee drink in the French Press, using it as a server, instead of using another mug or container. If the coffee stays with the grinds in the French Press, the extraction process will continue. As a result, the last sips of the coffee will be rather bitter and sour.

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IMG 20180416 092057

ESPRESSO TIME

Espresso

I noticed that many coffee-shops in Europe – including some famous ones – offer shots of ‘Espresso’ that are in fact ‘Ristretto’ shots. A Ristretto shot has approximately half of the size of an Espresso shot. These coffee-shops should correct their menu to avoid misunderstandings between the baristas and their customers. After all, who wants disappointed customers?

Continue reading ESPRESSO TIME

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Kalita wave dripper

FILTERING OUT POOR FILTER CHOICES

Use Cone (Hario V60) or Flat-Bottom Dripper (Kalita, Melitta, Brewista)!

Often times, it’s a difficult decision choosing the right filters for your dripper. Many people give the matter very little thought . . . but this can be a mistake. If you’d like to make an informed decision, read on, as I’ll share my top picks.

The Hario V60’s cone shape and singular, large hole make it easily recognizable. Its conical design results in a consistent stream of water running towards the hole, carrying coffee grinds, like sediment down a miniature waterfall. In my opinion, it’s easy to use, and the final taste is clear and bright.

Hario V60  dripper
Coffee brewing – Cone shape dripper

The main disadvantage is its dripper being quite thick, which can affect the bloom. Furthermore, if you don’t pour in the water correctly, you run the risk of washing away finer parts of grind and blocking the mechanism. By adjusting the water temperature and grinding level, these obstacles can be nonetheless surmounted.

The flat-bottom dripper is a common alternative that allows coffee to drip into the cup. These drippers can have one big or three small holes, and their shape isn’t as sharp as cone models. The bed is thinner but holds the same amount of coffee as their counterpart, which is handy at the bloom stage. Hot water will not remain in contact with the coffee grinds for as long as cona shape drippers either.

The bottom flat also named Kalita wave filter

Control over flavour is achieved by the speed at which one pours water, the temperature of that water, and the consistency of the grind. At the base of flat-bottom drippers, the coffee can stay in contact with water for a longer duration, which helps to release more sugar from the coffee grinds. In my experience, the resultant coffee is more complex. Moreover, you can use fine or coarse grinds to suit your needs.

In conclusion . . .

If you want to make fast but nice-tasting coffee with stronger sharpeners and a clear taste, go for cone-shaped drippers.

If you like experimenting with coffee—creating a novel cocktail of flavours—go for flat-bottom drippers. The final cup tends to be more complex, better balanced, and sweeter.

As for me? I created my own way. I designed an earthen dripper in the pottery studio. It uses flat-bottom filters, but the dripper doesn’t have a sharp shape and features a single hole at center. The best of both worlds as they say!  

Hario V60
Drops of coffee from Hario dripper, pour-over – Cone shape
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DSCF9956

DOES DAYLY LIGHT AFFECT FRESHINESS OF COFFEE BEANS?

Coffee beans and light.

Light changes everything…

The stored coffee beans affect :

  1. Air
  2. Moisture
  3. Heat
  4. Light

Continue reading DOES DAYLY LIGHT AFFECT FRESHINESS OF COFFEE BEANS?

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Hario V60

HARIO – AN INSPIRING JAPANESE COMPANY

HARIO – History and Philosophy

The message of the Kaizen strategy is that not a day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere in the company. -Masaaki Imai, a Japanese organizational theorist and management consultant

Continue reading HARIO – AN INSPIRING JAPANESE COMPANY

HARIO – History and Philosophy

The message of the Kaizen strategy is that not a day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere in the company. -Masaaki Imai, a Japanese organizational theorist and management consultant

Continue reading HARIO – AN INSPIRING JAPANESE COMPANY

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