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New Coffee Stuff

June 26, 2011

Brewing coffee doesn't have to be especially fancy. A certain kind of minimalist might delight in mixing coffee and water and putting it on a stove, maybe--when the desire for luxury strikes-deciding to filter that concoction with something near at hand. A sock, perhaps, or an old piece of muslin. For me, making coffee isn't just about the end result; it's also about the process, and I like to do it with a little bit of style. I've got the fancy-pants kettle, the suspicious scale (serious addictions must be weighed out), even a burlap coffee bag in the background. 

So it's with jittery hands that I applaud the release of a couple nifty pourover tools.

The first, is the Kalita Wave, which I blogged about some time ago. Now a smaller version is available (for now, just via Wrecking Ball), and it excels at making small amounts of coffee, which is a hard thing to do competently with any manual drip device. While I was first neutral about it, I now love it, deciding to jettison my Hario equipment in fact. The deal with this drippers is the flat brew cake. You may have heard the phrase "high and dry grinds" before. It was popularized by a book by Scott Rao that I was initially skeptical of. The idea is that when you're brewing, all the grounds should be equally involved in the brew, insofar as possible. Common sense, but my experience told me different. The Kalita, though, is making Rao look very right. It's absurdly easy to keep all the grounds equally wet and the resulting coffee is beautifully extracted with minimal effort. Other things are at work (higher brew temp. for one) but this is possibly the main one. If you want to explore pourover, I think you can happily begin and end here.

The second new thing is the second-generation Coava Kone. I had the first generation and thought that it stunk; where was the quality that I experienced first-hand at Coava's shop? I ebayed it after a few dozen brews.  They've admitted their mistake by updating the device. The first version had rather large holes, which worked fine when paired with the behemoth top-grade Mazzers they had in shop...with a home grinder, you just get a lot of soot in the final cup. This newer version apparently has smaller and more precise holes; word is they're much easier to work with. I'll try this out eventually but for now, cloth is my choice when I want to emphasize a coffee's body.

By cloth I mean the Hario Woodneck, which is a lovely object but, when you get down to it, a fancy way to brew through a sock. Nothing new under the sun, except for that Kalita thing. It's the truth. Until the next thing comes out.





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