The gooseneck kettle is perhaps the most iconic symbol of contemporary manual coffee brewing. Their elegant swan necks, ergonomic handles and tapered spouts make them ideal for precision brewing. Their eye-catching and modern designs make them the perfect representatives for the third wave manual coffee movement. They are stylish and highly functional, a deadly combination in today’s coffee culture.
Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes watching YouTube videos or reading about manual brewing will invariably ask the same question. “Do I need a gooseneck kettle to brew coffee manually?”
A Gooseneck Kettle is a Luxury Item
The short answer is “No.”
Please do not let the fact that your do not have a gooseneck kettle keep you from brewing coffee manually or trying a brewing method that you are curious about. A gooseneck kettle is a specialized tool that helps with consistency and ease in the manual brewing process. It is not essential to manual brewing. It is a luxury item.
You can make a great cup of coffee without a gooseneck kettle.
Besides the actual coffee that you select to brew with, water is the most important element that goes into a cup of coffee. The mineral content and ph level of the water you use, can have drastic effects on the finished product. Using the wrong water can ruin a beautiful coffee and nobody wants to see that happen.
At the most basic level, water chemistry isn’t a huge deal. Conventional coffee wisdom is, if your water tastes good for drinking, it will taste good for coffee. To a certain extent this is truth.
Here are a few basic coffee water brewing principles, if you think you have a water problem, start here.
If you want to cut to the chase and start with water that is made for optimal coffee brewing, pick up a box of Third Wave Water and see how much of a difference the right water can make to a cup of coffee. For the DYIer there is also a recipe for making your own version of Third Wave Water via Tinker Coffee (.75 grams Epsom Salt and .26 grams Baking Soda mixed in a gallon of distilled water).
It’s time to talk about cold brewed coffee. If you didn’t know or haven’t heard, it is pretty wonderful. It is a refreshing drink on a warm day, an easy hack for bypassing your horrid office coffee and actually a great way to get into manual coffee brewing with pretty much no specialized coffee equipment.
While I must admit, I typically prefer a hot brewed cup of coffee. It is a great brewing method and sometimes it just hits the spot. You owe it to yourself to try it if you never have and it never hurts to have a fool-proof cold brew recipe in your back pocket.
What is Cold Brew
Cold brew is an immersion brewing method where cold water is added to ground coffee and steeped for a long period of time, usually between 12 and 24 hours. The result is a cup of coffee that is less acidic, lacking in aromatics and has a slightly different chemical composition than a cup of coffee brewed with hot water.
Cold brew is often incorrectly used interchangeably with the more general term iced coffee. Iced coffee refers to cold brew as well as a few other brewing variants of coffee served over ice*.