Straight forward, simple, and successful.
Enthusiasm and demand for premium coffee fostered a new generation of specialty importers and motivated farmers who deserve serious credit for the thriving coffee scene we're all enjoying. Only a decade ago it was difficult for an independent roaster our size to have access to a wide variety of fr
Contraband roast profiles usually keep close to the midpoint of light and dark. But we do not roast simply to achieve a certain bean color. We use our restored Probat to finesse the temperature/time curve based on flavor and texture. Our goal is to taste the best and most balanced profile from the
It's said that coffee has over 700 different flavor compounds. The similarities and differences between different origin countries, even different farms within the same region, vary widely. There's at least a few flavor profiles on our menu for everyone. The best way to train one's palette for co
This is our favorite part. All the effort, from every link in the supply chain, ground into a fine powder, captured in liquid form, shared with our friends. If it weren’t for our small but growing base of discerning customers who appreciate a fine cup of coffee, we wouldn’t be able to explore this
Date: February 14, 2014
Time: 5:00 PM
Ticket Price: $24
We will be demonstrating the Blossom this week. Handmade in San Francisco by a former Apple product designer and NASA engineers, with input from industry professionals from around the globe, we’re excited to have the latest in precision brewing in our coffee bar. The efficiently genius features allow for precise control over the most important extraction variables. The process takes place in a temperature stable brew chamber optimized for even dissolution of the coffee solids and oils into the water.
We test and taste to find a flavor profile that brings out the best in each of our single origin selections on the menu. The result is a coffee noticeably cleaner and more nuanced, with over all less astringency, less bitterness, and more sweetness than any other method we’ve tried. Just clarity and flavor.
The key to finding the most successful extractions is consistently controlling variables during the brew process. We’ve found a few tools indispensable in this pursuit.
A good burr grinder. Blade grinders are common and cheap, but they chop beans into randomly sized grinds causing extraction to be uneven and unrepeatable. Even the worst burr grinder is better than the best blade grinder.
A scale. Volumetric measuring works great for liquids but not for coffee beans. One volumetric ounce of giant, soft Indonesian beans will always have a different physical weight than one volumetric ounce of tiny, dense African peaberries. Beyond this, weighing brew water in manual pour over methods is helpful for the most precise and repeatable results.
The kettle is the most over-looked piece of equipment. A kettle has the responsibility of both pour control and water temperature, which are two major variables. Coffee extraction done at less than adequate temperatures results in sour flavors while high temperatures promote bitterness. Many people assume that water hot enough to scorch our skin is hot enough to brew a cup of coffee. The truth is that 185 degree water and 195 degree water, both fairly equally painful to spill on yourself, will give your coffee dramatically different tastes. Considering that nearly all methods of brewing lose heat during the immersion phase of the process, it’s important to start with a temperature between 197 and 202 degrees. Boiling point is 212 degrees at sea level, so pouring water from an electric kettle about 30 seconds after the heat is turned off is usually a good starting point. The gooseneck is important for flow control during the pour. We’re normally pouring for even saturation and only slight and purposeful agitation in the ground bed. Sloppy pouring causes uneven extraction. The very best solution we’ve found for controlling these variables is a gooseneck kettle with digital temperature control. We use them in the coffee bar and in our homes, finding them to be an essential tool for manual pour over methods.
Flavor Profile: Limited Range but Sweet and Full Bodied
Items Needed: French Press, Kettle, Scale, Grinder
Grind: Coarse: larger than pour over grounds, so there is a bit of resistance when plunging the ground bed down, but it should not be difficult
Start with 28g (1oz.) of grounds per 16oz. of brew water - Adjust ratios to your liking
Pour approximately 3oz. of 200 degree water into the carafe and swirl to saturate grounds completely
Wait 30 seconds for grounds to bloom
Pour in remaining 200 degree water
Stir gently once
Allow to steep for 3.5 to 4 minutes
Plunge grounds to bottom and decant to avoid over extraction
TIP: Wrap a towel around the carafe for added temperature stability.
Beans: We like lighter and brighter profiles for French Press. Try our Rwanda, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, or Kenya AA
Flavor Profile: Clean and Defined
Items Needed: Dripper, Filter, Kettle, Scale, Grinder
Grind: Medium Fine - Courser than espresso, finer than the “automic drip” setting on grocery store grinders
Start with 27g (1oz.) of grounds for 12oz. of drip coffee
Put the dripper, filter, cup, and grounds onto scale and zero/tare the scale
Pour in 75g of 200 degree water, saturating the grounds evenly, let rest for 20-30 seconds
Pour in 150g of 200 degree water, evenly and slowly
Allow most or all of water to drip through
Allow to drain completely and enjoy!
TIP: We use Kalita Wave drippers because they have the flattest bottom and least cone-like shape of all manual drippers. The white Kalita filters have the least detectable paper taste of all manual drip filters we’ve tried. Cone-shaped drippers, like the Hario V60, Chemex, and classic Melitta-style dripper that are all very popular, will easily over extract at the tip and under extract on the top and sides. These drippers can still achieve a good cup of coffee, they're just less forgiving than a Kalita dripper. An Aeropress is an alternative method for obtaining a flat ground bed, but is a more involved process than just pouring water over grounds.
Beans: Most beans respond well to properly executed drip methods, but our New Guineas, Guatemalans, Yemens, and Colombians tend to be more forgiving in less than desirable brew conditions.
Pulling quality espresso shots at home can be challenging. Controlled and repeatable variables are absolutely critical. Consider grind quality and size consistency, dosing, packing, temperature, water dispersion, and pressure. Remember that home equipment must be cleaned and maintained well and regularly to perform at peak levels. Home equipment quality varies so wildly that it would be delusional of us to offer precise instructions, but we can offer some tips. If you are interested, we periodically offer group classes for espresso at the coffee bar, and we can even arrange for one-on-one training using your own equipment. You can email us about training or check our blog for upcoming events.
TIP: You get what you pay for in home espresso equipment. Your grinder is just as important as your espresso machine. We like the Baratza Vario and Forte grinders for home espresso.
You will need a commercial duty tamper that fits EXACTLY into your filter basket.
A bottomless, non rounded portafilter maximizes flavor and visibly shows you how well or poor the shot is pulling.
Forums like CoffeeGeek.com and Home-Barista.com have countless threads on equipment reviews and techniques. WholeLatteLove.com and EspressoParts.com are reliable sources for espresso machines.
As with most crafts, the more time you put in on research, and the more you practice, the better your results will be. Don’t get frustrated and give up, but don’t settle for less than excellent results. Keep pushing yourself for better and better shots.
Beans: Try our Illicit Espresso blend or Black Market blend if you plan on making milk drinks, or any of our single origins if you want to experiment with the intense flavors of straight espresso shots
Classic, stylish, and enduring, the Chemex brewer will always have a loyal following. We like to use it with the Kone filter, with a nod to Coava Coffee of Portland for conceiving this trend. Because the Kone is a perforated stainless steel filter with no paper, the flavor profile is similar to a french press. We find the extraction to be more even than using the traditional Chemex paper filter, and the obvious benefit of no paper taste. If you’re a fan of the Chemex paper filter, we recommend trying a Kalita pour over system to achieve greater clarity of flavor and less paper taste.
Flavor Profile: Heavy Body, Limited but Pronounced Flavors, and Sweet
Items Needed: Chemex, KONE, Kettle, Scale, Grinder
Grind: Similar to what we use for the Kalita pour over drippers. The finer the grind, the stronger, muddier, and likely more bitter the result will be. You’ll be able to find a nice balance very easily using a burr grinder set to about 75% fine and adjusting to your tastes
Start with 50g of grounds
Pour the grounds into the Kone first, shake to level, then place into the Chemex
Poke a .5 inch hole into the middle of ground bed about the diameter of a finger
Put the chemex, KONE, and grounds onto scale and zero/tare the scale
Pour in 100g of 200 degree water very slowly directly into the hole. Your grind should be fine enough, and the pour slow enough, that the majority of the water is retained in the grounds and they are soaked thoroughly and evenly.
Slowly Pour 200 degree water into the middle of the ground bed until the scale reaches 450g. Allow most or all of water to drip through
Aim for the highest lump that formed in the ground bed, and slowly pour water into the grounds making a point to saturate every thing in a slow circle, then coming back to the middle to finish the pour.
Pour until the scale reaches 800-825g and allow to drain completely. Serves 2.
TIP: A higher dose of beans in a coarser grind will produce sweeter results, but only to a point where it starts to become watery and astringent. You can economize on beans by grinding finer and dosing lower, but it’s easy to get bitter fast.
Beans: All of our beans will taste great in this method, but it’s especially nice for lighter roasts. The Yirgacheffe, Kenya AA, or Rwandan all shine in paperless filter methods.
Most coffee extraction is done with hot water, which actually destroys some of the flavor compounds in the oils. Extraction done with cool water can yield a complex, rich, and sweet brew. A Toddy system is great for home use, but not even necessary. Following are instructions for the cheapest, simplest method using tools you likely already own.
Flavor Profile: Sweet, Complex, and Rich
Items Needed: 16oz glass vessel or French Press, Grinder, Scale
Grind: Medium - Courser than a pour over, finer than a French Press
Start with 56g (2oz.) of grounds per 16oz. of water
Pour grounds into the bottom of the glass
Add 16oz of water and stir to saturate the grounds
Leave the glass at room temp out of direct sunlight for 12 to 16 hours
Put a paper filter into a dripper or filter basket, or even a colander (strainer), and RINSE.
After rinsing, pour your glass of coffee and grounds through the filter (into another glass or vessel of course!)
TIP: If you have a French Press, you can use that for your 12 to 16 hour steep, then press the grounds down before pouring through a paper filter, which speeds up the filtering process.
Beans: Any our beans will do just fine! We especially love the Colombian and Black Market for cold process.