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Coffee Bar - French Press, Pour Over or Perk?


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Cold brew is a super interesting story. Basically it's super low acidity due to the "low and slow" aspects of letting the coffee steep instead of brewing more forcefully with water. The flavor profiles of cold brew are so different than hot. I would agree totally that cold brew is a different beast than hot coffee turned into iced.

 

As for my Frenchie, yes he's adorable! Name is Theodore but goes by Ted. He's a little over 6 months old. Best dog I could ever ask for. 😊

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I have a little coffee bar at home.  

Playing with my new hand powered espresso maker, experimenting with different coffees. In other news, I'm three shots in already and after several more trial runs, won't be sleeping until April.

Here's my typical morning coffee setup at my office: At home, we've got a Breville Barista Express espresso machine. I make a latte for my wife most mornings.

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4 min. sounds about right. Is that what you are drinking now? To tell the truth, I've been doing this lately, instead of French Press:20170613_081453.jpeg

 

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How long do you steep in the French Press? I do 4 minutes. Gets the acidity down.

 

 

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Do a 30 second bloom (double the weight of the coffee. So if you're using 30g of coffee use 60g of water) and then pour the remaining amount of water (up to 500g if it's 30g of coffee. Ideally you want a 16.67 ration of water/coffee) into the french press by around the minute mark. Stir the coffee and then place the plunger on top of the brew and push the plunger down to where it just barely is submerged into the top of the coffee. Let everything brew for a total of 4 minutes and then slowly plunge the coffee. You want to have roughly a 30 second plunge. This will take the total brew time to 4:30 seconds. Make sure you use a relatively coarse grind for this. If it's too fine it will be bitter and if it's too coarse it will be sour tasting. French press should have a nice full body (almost syrupy) and very low acidity/bitterness. You want to use water that is between 205-210 in temperature (I prefer 208). Mess around with different coffees. Single Origins, blends, different roasters, these all make a difference. A can't miss company is Counter Culture. Apollo is fantastic and a blend is nice and simple to start with. One of their signature single origins to try is their Finca El Puente. If you're feeling adventurous give it a whirl!

 

What an interesting world...

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It's seriously just such an enjoyable experience. Making something completely by hand where I can control every variable of the equation and judge my outcome with every cup. I enjoy regular coffee (have a french press, Aeropress, Kalita Wave, Chemex, Hario V60, Lido 2 hand grinder and Bonavita variable temperature electric gooseneck kettle) as well as espresso (have a Rocket Appartamento and Rocket Fausto grinder). I use a  Acaia Lunar scale to brew all of it.

 

I also recommend a very eye opening at home experience. One aspect of this that you will not believe until you experience it is simply how much difference each of those brewers I listed above change the coffee. A french press is good, but it's not the best way to make this stuff. It could be for you, but there could be another preference that's better. French Presses do some things very well and other very poorly. To highlight the differences you need a few things.

 

 

... I am not a morning person and am crazy stupid for at least an hour before the brain fog starts to lift. Having coffee certainly helps. So for me, a French Press and Intelligentsia is my routine. The Mrs works in a building that has Intelligentsia on the ground floor so fresh beans are always available. I tried a "bloom and pour over" and hated it. Mostly the bloom and slow pour process when I am mentally challenged. So here is my question:

 

... Is there a method as easy as a French Press using another technique I should try?  

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Holy science major! That is one heck of a set of instructions. Thanks Shawn

 

 

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I wasn't joking when I said this was a first/second love of mine! I've given (and am still giving) heavy thought to opening my own shop. Just love the stuff. Give that a try and please let me know what you think!

 

... I am not a morning person and am crazy stupid for at least an hour before the brain fog starts to lift. Having coffee certainly helps. So for me, a French Press and Intelligentsia is my routine. The Mrs works in a building that has Intelligentsia on the ground floor so fresh beans are always available. I tried a "bloom and pour over" and hated it. Mostly the bloom and slow pour process when I am mentally challenged. So here is my question:

 

... Is there a method as easy as a French Press using another technique I should try?  

 

Well, you are off to a great start with Intelligentsia. They make some fantastic coffee and definitely rival Counter Culture for quality. Here's my counter question for you, first which pourover method did you try? There are plenty of options and they are much more finicky than a french press will ever be. So let's start there. And also, what specific aspect of making the pour over turned you off? Was it the time and focus it required on the pour technique versus being able to just load the french press with grounds/coffee and let it sit? Like, what was the major sticking point?

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:titelist-small: TS3 8.75 with HZRDOUS Yellow and Black MicroPerf Best Grips.

:callaway-small: XR 16 3W & 5W with HZRDOUS Red shafts and Black MicroPerf Best Grips.

:srixon-small: U65 4i with Fujikura MCI shaft and Black MicroPerf Best Grips.

:titelist-small: AP3 5-PW with Accra Tour 110i shafts and Black MicroPerf Best Grips.

:titelist-small: SM7 50F, 54S and 60M grinds with Dynamic Gold 120 Tour Issue S400 and Black MicroPerf Best Grips.

:bettinardi-1: Queen B #6 with 34" Stability Shaft and P2 Aware Tour Grip.

:titelist-small: Pro-V1 Golf Ball.

Jones Utility Golf Bag.

Dormie Custom Headcovers.
Bushnell Pro X2 Laser Rangefinder.

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I wasn't joking when I said this was a first/second love of mine! I've given (and am still giving) heavy thought to opening my own shop. Just love the stuff. Give that a try and please let me know what you think!

 

 

Well, you are off to a great start with Intelligentsia. They make some fantastic coffee and definitely rival Counter Culture for quality. Here's my counter question for you, first which pourover method did you try? There are plenty of options and they are much more finicky than a french press will ever be. So let's start there. And also, what specific aspect of making the pour over turned you off? Was it the time and focus it required on the pour technique versus being able to just load the french press with grounds/coffee and let it sit? Like, what was the major sticking point?

Will do. And open a shop! I'll stop by at least once.

 

 

- Alan

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Whadduya got there?

 

 

- Alan

A latte. One shot of espresso, half a cup of steamed whole milk. Delicious!

 

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Well, you are off to a great start with Intelligentsia. They make some fantastic coffee and definitely rival Counter Culture for quality. Here's my counter question for you, first which pourover method did you try? There are plenty of options and they are much more finicky than a french press will ever be. So let's start there. And also, what specific aspect of making the pour over turned you off? Was it the time and focus it required on the pour technique versus being able to just load the french press with grounds/coffee and let it sit? Like, what was the major sticking point?

 

 

... I bought a Harlo pour over that sits on top of my cup. Specifically? Everything you asked. :unsure: Don't like the time and focus of getting the filter wet and the the delicate blooming. Then the slow pour.

 

... I load the grinder before I go to bed and then when I wake up it is like a zombie: Grind, add to press, pour to a line, wait 4 minutes. Wonderful coffee. Even that was more of a chore than I like and we bought a Keurig and stainless pods I loaded with Intelligentsia. I don't have to tell you what a mistake that was and it only took a few days to go back to my press. 

 

... Second question, I love a light, bright coffee. Intelligentsia has quite a few I really love. As you know, many light coffee's from other sources can lack body and flavor. Any recommendations from Counter Culture? 

 

 

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Do a 30 second bloom (double the weight of the coffee. So if you're using 30g of coffee use 60g of water) and then pour the remaining amount of water (up to 500g if it's 30g of coffee. Ideally you want a 16.67 ration of water/coffee) into the french press by around the minute mark. Stir the coffee and then place the plunger on top of the brew and push the plunger down to where it just barely is submerged into the top of the coffee. Let everything brew for a total of 4 minutes and then slowly plunge the coffee. You want to have roughly a 30 second plunge. This will take the total brew time to 4:30 seconds. Make sure you use a relatively coarse grind for this. If it's too fine it will be bitter and if it's too coarse it will be sour tasting. French press should have a nice full body (almost syrupy) and very low acidity/bitterness. You want to use water that is between 205-210 in temperature (I prefer 208). Mess around with different coffees. Single Origins, blends, different roasters, these all make a difference. A can't miss company is Counter Culture. Apollo is fantastic and a blend is nice and simple to start with. One of their signature single origins to try is their Finca El Puente. If you're feeling adventurous give it a whirl!

 

What an interesting world...

16.67:1?!

 

Bah gawd man!!! Do you prefer French water!!! French press ratio should be around 12:1 typical serving is 30g ground beans with 350g water, bloom at 2:1!!!

(FYI just teasing here!!! But I do prefer my FP at 12:1!)

 

 

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... I bought a Harlo pour over that sits on top of my cup. Specifically? Everything you asked. :unsure: Don't like the time and focus of getting the filter wet and the the delicate blooming. Then the slow pour.

 

... I load the grinder before I go to bed and then when I wake up it is like a zombie: Grind, add to press, pour to a line, wait 4 minutes. Wonderful coffee. Even that was more of a chore than I like and we bought a Keurig and stainless pods I loaded with Intelligentsia. I don't have to tell you what a mistake that was and it only took a few days to go back to my press. 

 

... Second question, I love a light, bright coffee. Intelligentsia has quite a few I really love. As you know, many light coffee's from other sources can lack body and flavor. Any recommendations from Counter Culture? 

 

 

 

Counter Culture has a bunch of great single origin coffees and I'm sure if you were able to do a cupping session you would find something great but... Look for a good local roaster! (you already have Intelligentisia, there are probably a dozen more just as good!) Counter Culture is out of North Carolina. Unless you're ordering directly from them, you're probably going to get beans that were roasted at least one or two weeks ago if not a month ago. They are good but every big city has tons of great, third wave roasters that do just as good a job and will be roasted the day you buy them, giving you a much better coffee experience. Also, you're supporting your local coffee scene! Kinda like buying clubs from your local green grass shop instead of Dick's. If you do want something different, I really like Four Barrell out of SF and La Mill in LA makes the smoothest cuppa you've ever had.

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My wife told me people who drink their black coffee "have fun drinking your burnt bean juice, I'll add a little cream because I like myself"

 

 

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I've been told I'm a sociopath for drinking coffee black!

 

 

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I ran out of of "good stuff" and just ran some rancid folgers through the press. 🤢

 

 

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Haha! Was that good or what?!

 

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... I bought a Harlo pour over that sits on top of my cup. Specifically? Everything you asked. :unsure: Don't like the time and focus of getting the filter wet and the the delicate blooming. Then the slow pour.

 

... I load the grinder before I go to bed and then when I wake up it is like a zombie: Grind, add to press, pour to a line, wait 4 minutes. Wonderful coffee. Even that was more of a chore than I like and we bought a Keurig and stainless pods I loaded with Intelligentsia. I don't have to tell you what a mistake that was and it only took a few days to go back to my press. 

 

... Second question, I love a light, bright coffee. Intelligentsia has quite a few I really love. As you know, many light coffee's from other sources can lack body and flavor. Any recommendations from Counter Culture? 

 

 

 

That's a great question! The only other option I can think of besides a press would possibly be an Aeropress. It's a similar type of brew (still immersion brewing instead of drip) but creates a much cleaner and brighter cup than the press will. Also has less body. Aeropress also has the quickest total brew time out of most of these with only taking generally a few minutes from start to finish. They are inexpensive, last forever and have by far the easiest cleanup of all coffee brewing methods (there is a little puck created that you just pop out and wipe the plunger off).

 

As for recommendations and your flavor preferences, there are a few comments I would make.

 

First off, it blows my mind that you are able to get a light/bright coffee out of your french press. That method is honestly meant for the exact opposite type of extraction to that. Generally speaking one would use a darker roast (although all roasts work here, roasts are a whole different topic. Simple rule of thumb, don't worry about a roast. Any roast any method) and would brew a more earthly, bold, full and heavy bodied drink. 

 

BY FAR the best brewing method for you if you prefer a light (almost tea like) cup of coffee that is very sweet and flavorful, but lacks body is going to be to use a Chemex. They are absolutely stunning to look at, are very simple to use (still similar to a pour over in a lot of ways, but require a little less maintenance overall. Keep it simple with this guy. Also just FYI this is my personal favorite brewing method) and are the total inverse of a french press.

 

Their Finca El Puente and Idido single origins are some of the best single origins you will ever taste and would fit your preferences perfectly. For a blend, try their Fast Forward blend or Forty Six. I am drinking Fast Forward right now and it fits your preferences perfectly.

 

Seriously man, this is a slippery slope but one worth travelling down. The other brewing methods can totally transform your world of coffee.

 

16.67:1?!

 

Bah gawd man!!! Do you prefer French water!!! French press ratio should be around 12:1 typical serving is 30g ground beans with 350g water, bloom at 2:1!!!

(FYI just teasing here!!! But I do prefer my FP at 12:1!)

 

 

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We all have our own preferences, with that being said, that is some damn strong coffee! I don't think I've ever read a published recipe from someone with a stronger ratio than 15:1. But, to each their own and I'm happy you've found a combo you like! 

 

Counter Culture has a bunch of great single origin coffees and I'm sure if you were able to do a cupping session you would find something great but... Look for a good local roaster! (you already have Intelligentisia, there are probably a dozen more just as good!) Counter Culture is out of North Carolina. Unless you're ordering directly from them, you're probably going to get beans that were roasted at least one or two weeks ago if not a month ago. They are good but every big city has tons of great, third wave roasters that do just as good a job and will be roasted the day you buy them, giving you a much better coffee experience. Also, you're supporting your local coffee scene! Kinda like buying clubs from your local green grass shop instead of Dick's. If you do want something different, I really like Four Barrell out of SF and La Mill in LA makes the smoothest cuppa you've ever had.

 

I will second the local roaster! I do want to shed light on something that you didn't allude to in your post though. Coffee needs time to degas after roasting. The general consensus is 3-5 days. Counter Culture has a very strong subscription program and part of that is nailing the roast/degas timing. They label each of their bags with a roast date and roast on the date of shipment with everything preplanned so that when you receive the shipment the coffee has adequately degassed, but hasn't been around long enough to start going stale. My shipments are always received a maximum of three days off roast.

 

That doesn't mean shopping local/supporting the local guy isn't a great idea! However, there are a TON of roasters who ship their product and I personally feel that limiting myself to what is available locally hinders my coffee loving experiece. There are great roasters such as Madcap, Olympia and Heart that are based in a totally different part of the country than me that I would never experience without shipping. They all have solutions to prevent the coffee going stale and to maximize freshness while also making sure they are properly degassed.

 

I ran out of of "good stuff" and just ran some rancid folgers through the press. 🤢

 

 

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You have to do what you have to do my man! Just keep in mind a big part of the problem with the Folgers has to be the grind. If it was preground it is WAY too fine for french press. Don't hold it all against the coffee! Haha. Although I will admit that Folgers as a rule doesn't hold a candle to third wave coffee.

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:titelist-small: SM7 50F, 54S and 60M grinds with Dynamic Gold 120 Tour Issue S400 and Black MicroPerf Best Grips.

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"BY FAR the best brewing method for you if you prefer a light (almost tea like) cup of coffee that is very sweet and flavorful, but lacks body is going to be to use a Chemex."

​... I like a light roast but some body and a nice strong flavor, not a light cup like tea. One of the reasons I love Intelligentsia as their light roasts still have a lot of body and flavor and produce a strong cup of coffee. Maybe that is one of the reasons the FP works for me as light roasts in the Keurig were basically flavored water. Thanks for your help. 

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We all have our own preferences, with that being said, that is some damn strong coffee! I don't think I've ever read a published recipe from someone with a stronger ratio than 15:1.

Blue bottle's official recipe calls for 12:1

 

 

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