Brewing Coffee Manually

Better coffee. One cup at a time.

Month: November 2014

Butter in Coffee- The Tasting Results Are in!

It is Thanksgiving week and I thought I would take a break from some general coffee topics and do something that is fun, trending, and well… possibly unhealthy. Butter is something that is a Thanksgiving staple at most feasts and, with the recent trend of people adding it to their coffee, I thought it was time to give it a taste test.

Background information

A major cause of the recent popularity of butter in coffee is the founder of the website Bulletproof Executive, David Asprey. While traveling in Tibet, David was invigorated by a cup of tea with yak butter in it. From that experience, he came up with a recipe for Bulletproof coffee which contains, among other things, 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter.

Butter in coffee is supposably giving people a quick and easy breakfast alternative that provides six hours of energy. It does not sound like a good idea to consistently consume 2 extra tablespoons of butter for breakfast every morning and I personally will not be doing this. There is a good article on Authority Nutrition that discusses some reasons why putting butter in your coffee may be a bad idea.

But what does it taste like? I am a believer in the old adage that everything tastes better with butter. How could coffee be the exception? I drink my coffee black, but the prospect of putting butter in a cup of coffee was too intriguing to pass up.

Continue reading

Choosing a Coffee Grinder

Grinding your own coffee at home can dramatically increase your brewed coffee quality. Coffee loses it’s freshness much faster in ground form over whole bean form. If you are looking to increase your cup quality and you are not grinding your own coffee, buying the right coffee grinder will give you some serious bang for your buck.

There are two basic types of coffee grinders you can purchase. The first is a standard blade type grinder (think Magic Bullet). The second type is what is known as a burr grinder. These two types of grinders have totally different ways of grinding coffee and thus have different results.

The importance of particle size and consistency

Before I break down the two types of grinders and make a few recommendations, I would like to talk about particle size and consistency . Particle size as It relates to coffee is how coarse or fine you grind your coffee. Based on your brewing method, you may want a larger particle size (for an immersion brewing technique like French Press brewing) or smaller particle size (Like for espresso).

One of the most important elements with particle size is consistency. You want to have all the particles to be roughly the same size. You do not want some really big chunks and some fine powdery chunks in your grind.

If you have an inconsistent grind, you will have an inconsistent cup of coffee. You will not get all the flavors you want out of the big chunks of coffee and the powdery coffee dust will be over extracted and result in flavors you do no want in your cup. Particle size and consistency is important for cup quality.

Continue reading

Getting Started- Drip Brewing 101

A genuine handmade cup of coffee

One of the most widely known and popular methods of manual brewing is the drip brewer, also known as a pour over. This method is comparable in concept to what a standard coffee maker does with some very important exceptions.

An important difference between an automatic drip coffee maker and a manual drip brewer is the water temperature. Most automatic coffee makers simply do not get the water hot enough to extract all the flavors you want out of your coffee. You want water that is just off the boil, around 200-205 degrees. This is pretty widely accepted as the ideal water temperature range.

You don’t need a lot of fancy, expensive equipment to start down the road of manual coffee brewing. The most basic drip brewer that I recommend is the Melitta drip brewer. You can purchase it online for around 5 dollars. I have seen them at most grocery stores as well. While this is not the most elegant and aesthetically pleasing drip brewer, it will get you good results. It is also light weight and not easily broken.

Don’t let the simplicity of the drip brewer fool you. It is not something that is easily mastered. There are lengthy YouTube videos, heated forum debates, and even a manual brewing championship. Don’t get too caught up in all the technical details either. You are just brewing a cup of coffee.

Continue reading