Coffee Corrections

A few months back, I wrote an article on how to brew like a champion, a guide to Hacking the Coffee Pot. I get grief on that title. Everyone is hacking stuff these days. Hacking your daily walk. Hacking cutting the grass. Hacking holiday shopping. You get the idea. While writing hacking the coffee pot, I did make a few mistakes/errors. Well, its’ time to set the record straight. I’ve always wanted to write that. I still have fond memories of the movie The Legend of Billie Jean (I won’t watch it again because it’s probably not that great of a movie). And I thought it would be good to share reader suggestions, a few more coffee gadgets, and other learning tidbits. In no particular order, here we go:

(1) Well, you wet the filter. Before, I skipped this step. But after talking to multiple coffee shops (Thank you, Intelligentsia located in downtown Chi-Town), this is a requirement to rid the world of grainy residue. Your coffee will taste better. And you’ll be able to conquer the world. No guarantees here but one can dream.

(2) Try to use hot water with the filter rinse. It’s good to heat the Chemex up a bit, or any glass-based coffee contraption.

(3) For the Chemex, I argued for a water ratio of 68g to start and a slow pour to 680g, which does produce two 12 ounce cups of coffee, give or take. An easier method is to let the coffee grounds bloom after pouring 100g of water. After 30 seconds, slowly pour 300g more water. Then, repeat for a total of 700g of water. It’s simple. And doesn’t tire your arm out going for that one long, elegant continuous pour… I think I’d rather do 100 push-ups instead.

(4) Give the Kalita Wave a try. I was always a fan of the V60 (the Chemex too), but I do believe this makes a better cup of coffee. Yes, the ratios are different. Using 18g of coffee, I start with 36g of water. Wait 30 seconds. And then increase incrementally until you have a total of 300g of water. It just works. Note, these are the directions for the smaller Kalita Wave. The larger uses different ratios.

(5) I used to use a regular kitchen scale. Then, I graduated to a Hario scale. This was a challenge as I went through a few of these, not all scales are created equal. It’s a great scale but sadly wasn’t waterproof. Now, I’ve been playing around with the Acaia scale. This company was a Kickstarter project, and the scale is solid, completely waterproof, and leverages the iPhone to measure your pour. It’s a cool application. I’ve used the scale more than a few times. The app? Maybe, twice. It could be that it’s linked to my wife’s phone. Or, it’s too hard to turn on the app and adjust the settings. Then again, I could be lazy. Perhaps, the novelty does eventually wear off.

(6) There is a right, left, forward, and backward to the Chemex filter. I’m a little tea pot short and stout, this is my handle, this is my spout (the double side goes here).

(7) And there are some great roasters out there. My current all-time favorite (yes, it changes from time to time) is Bird Rock Roasters. The Yemen is a great cup of coffee, unrivaled in almost every way. Bird Rock has won multiple awards, including Best Roaster in the Universe.

(8) Ritual roasts a good bean too.

(9) And if you haven’t checked out the previous post, please take the time to do so. There are a number of great roasters out there.

Other Notes:

I still haven’t gone back and watched the Legend of Billie Jean. I did watch the Goonies with my kid recently, and, sadly, it isn’t as good as I remembered it. And kids cursed more in the 80s. For your parenting tip of the day, PG in the 80s isn’t the same as PG today. The movie rating gods don’t go back and review past sins.