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Drink Wed Sep 05 2012

Pouring Joe Like a Pro

pour over.jpgIt wasn't too long ago when coffee junkies made the switch from brewing coffee to pouring it.

Converts criticized cafes that relied on selling drip coffee. It was all about the precious ritual of the pour over method, which involves pouring hot water through a swan-necked kettle over coffee grounds cradled in a Clever Dripper, or something that looks like a large beaker.

But is there a notable difference, really?

Oh yeah.

No two coffees are the same, nor should they be made the same way. Pouring coffee brings out more of the delicate notes in a brighter, fruitier coffee (think Ethiopian) that, unlike a chocolatey-caramel flavored cousin, would get lost in a French press. The result is a cleaner, well-rounded cup. This is what I learned while sipping my way through a "caffeinated adventure" with Caffentures Blue Line Coffee Crawl, organized by Jenn Chen. The tour explains the science behind the bean by giving enthusiasts access to seasoned baristas at three stellar cafes. Participants get to critique samples made by the baristas, who discuss subtle differences between washed and unwashed coffees, the length of your pours, and the different tools you can use to make a damn good cup of coffee.

Here are some great tips I gleaned from the pros:

  • Run hot water heated to 210℉ through the filter to get rid of any paper taste, and it also warms up coffee vessel. You want to make sure the coffee stays warm, preserving its flavor. It's not going to taste good if it drops between 40 to 70 degrees.

  • You can make iced coffee using the pour-over method. Simply follow a recipe one-third ice at the bottom of your carafe and pouring two-thirds of the hot water through your V60, Bonmac or whatever cone you're using. Bonus: The ice preserves the coffee's volatile aromatics.

  • Stick to using pouring your water softly and slowly, saturating all of the grounds so carbon dioxide is released from the coffee. The "bloom" effect is when the gas busts out of the grounds and starts to bubble. A standard bloom should last 75 seconds. A lighter roast needs less bloom time than a darker roast. If the bloom time is too short, it will taste watery; and if it has a longer contact time with the coffee grounds, it's going to taste burnt.

 

Cheryl / September 5, 2012 3:29 PM

Oh my god. Could you be any more pretentious? I don't think so.

flange / September 5, 2012 3:34 PM

agreed, cheryl. back in the good old days when metropolis sold an ethiopian sidamo, i bought it and wondered why i wasn't impressed with it. so i tinkered with the settings on my keurig, lowered the brew temp a bit, and used a smaller amount of grounds. score! everyone should just use a keurig.

Ace / September 6, 2012 10:59 AM

@Flange I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. K-cups are terrible. And how is pour-over any more pretentious and finnicky than fiddling with a machine's settings?

JW / September 6, 2012 1:00 PM

Can someone explain how pour-over coffee is any different from an electric drip brewer? Both of them start with hot water and let gravity pull the water through the beans. Just wondering if I'm missing out on something here.

Ania K / September 7, 2012 10:21 AM

I think this is an awesome article and this is for true coffee lovers. Like everything else from fine wine, to food, coffee does come in different forms, flavors and does have history to it as well. This is a great article and I really dislike how close minded people can be to such articles. Why be so negative?
thank you for this! I will try it at home

Jenn Chen / September 8, 2012 12:41 PM

@JW Pour over coffee takes already-heated water, pours it directly over the grounds into a glass or ceramic mug. You have control over speed, time, distribution, and temperature.

Automatic drip brewers like your standard office coffee pot makers have the same motions, but there are less variables you can control here. Plus, office machines usually aren't cleaned often so you get a nice coffee residue from previous batches.

A good experiment to try is to order an automatic brew and a pourover coffee from a reputable shop. You can often taste some metallic flavors in the automatic brew.

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Business Thu Oct 23 2014

Local Restaurateurs on Making it in Chicago

By Brandy Gonsoulin

Packing House, the former Market, recently closed to the public after reconcepting only six months ago. SmallBar Division, the 10-year old veteran of Division Street announced its impending closure this week. They are among the newest casualties to join...
Read this feature »

 

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