Once again, the topic of making exceptional coffee at home is on our minds. It's not because we don't love seeing you every day and preparing your drink of choice just how you like it. Rather, knowing how and having the tools to make coffee in your own kitchen is a cool - dare we say sophisticated - skill to add to your culinary playbook. We think everyone should give it a shot. Nothing elevates a quiet solo breakfast or a dessert shared with friends around your own table than really, really well-brewed coffee. The food-obsessed folks over at The Splendid Table ran down some keys to DIY-coffee in a recent blog post, which we were so pleased to realize was actually excerpted from God in A Cup, one of our favorite coffee-centric books. The very first point the article makes is to forego electric coffee makers for a manual pour over style. As huge proponents of the Chemex pour over system, we couldn't agree more. That got us thinking about what we consider the essentials for great brewing at home - here are our thoughts:
- The Beans
You've gotta start with kick ass coffee beans to make kick ass coffee. Obvious as this sounds, it just cannot be overstated. All three HubBubs retail a varied selection of beans from Stumptown and ReAnimator Coffee, many of which are on our daily pour over menus if you want to give them a shot before investing in a whole bag. Good water is important, too: use filtered water whenever possible.
There is a debate going in the comments section of the Splendid Table post about whether or not you really need a $100+ burr grinder as the author suggests. We don't dispute that evenly ground coffee yields the most consistent, well-extracted brew, and this can be hard to achieve with a blade grinder. However, if all you've got is a blade grinder or no grinder at all, do not fear. We can grind your bag of beans for you!
- The Chemex
We've sung our praises about Chemex to you guys before, and we're not afraid to say it again: it is a beautiful, functional, pretty much perfectly designed tool. Aside from looking stunning on a shelf, the Chemex allows you to control each step of the brew, creating the potential for truly elegant extraction of flavor. Use an unbleached paper filter, which we recommend rinsing with water (dump the water after) before brewing. This washes away any lingering paper taste. Chemexes, as well as filters, are sold in the HubBub shops.
- The Scale
This might seem like one of those fussy things, like, Weigh the coffee, seriously? But trust us; it's a crucial step to the process. You do not have to break the bank to get a little digital kitchen scale. Sure, there are drop-dead gorgeous, insanely precise coffee scales out there, but for most folks, a $20 scale will work just as well. It's helpful for baking, too! Yes, making coffee is somewhere between a science and an art, but without a scale, you're really just guessing. Even if you do nail the perfect cup eyeballing all your measurements, it will be such a bummer when you don't have the data on hand to recreate it.
- For a single serving, we recommend weighing out 26 grams of coffee beans/grinds. If you're grinding at home, shoot for grinds about the same size as kosher salt. Once the ground coffee is added to the filter-lined Chemex, place the whole thing on your scale and zero it out.
- Bring a kettle of filtered water to a boil, and then kill the heat and let it settle down 10 seconds or so.
- Set a timer (your phone works great) for 2 minutes. Start the clock and slowly pour the water until it reaches 100 grams, being sure to wet the grounds as evenly as you can.
- At the 1:10 mark, make the second pour. Start at the center and work your way out. Over the course of the next 20-25 seconds, the weight should reach 250 grams.
- When the timer goes off, pour once more with a heavier hand until the total weight reaches 375g. Once all the water has drained through, pull the filter out and then...it's coffee time!
You know who likes to nerd out about this Chemex stuff? We do. So if you ever have questions about making coffee at home, want recommendations for beans, or anything else, just ask one of our baristas. We're more than happy to get into the nitty gritty with you!