Meta-guide

June 20, 2011

You may or may not know of a website called BrewMethods.com, which is a compendium of links to guides for filter coffee (non-espresso). It's great. It's arguably the only source (or intermediary) of coffee knowledge that you'll ever need. Of course there are forums and blogs and social media things related to coffee but I personally never found those things very useful when it came to brewing advice.

The problem with the site nowadays is there are possibly *too many* methods. And most are just redundant (note, for example, that the Prima syphon guide is a rip-off (more generously, a reduction) of Barismo's guide. They just change dosage.) There are 13 Chemex techniques. 17 pour-over guides. Before making your first pourover, or in trying to improve your technique, do you really want to sift through all that?

Nerd that I am, I've played with a lot of the methods on the site and my hope with this post is to save you time by directing your attention to the methods that I think are best.

Chemex: Barefoot and Intelligentsia and Verve have the most entertaining videos, but Aaron Blanco's technique is the real star. In shop he uses, if I recall correctly, something like 52g/L but you may find, as I did, that 70g/L is tastier. (Standard dosage assumes a proper extraction at "American" strength...but some people like it stronger.)

Syphon: Barismo has the best guide, although I feel like their stirring pattern + dose is hard to master. Indeed, Simon--the man behind their method--told me that one should expect at least 500 repetitions before you really get good results. Well, that's one way to think of it. The hack is to lower the dose and keep agitation to a minimum so that it's easy to repeat/hard to mess up.

Aeropress: I like the methods from TW and CC, each of which produce coffees of very different strength. TW is close to standard, CC is much punchier.

Eva Solo: neither of the methods listed is ideal to be honest

French Press: Using a medium-coarse grind and letting the coffee sit until it's done (which may take longer than five minutes. "Four minutes," the usual recommendation, isn't inevitable) before scooping out the crust and then pressing is the best way I think. This is a combination of TW and James Hoffmann. 

Pourover: The stars here are Tonx with the v60 (simplified Intelly method: extra aromatic + really easy), Barismo (heavier bodied), and Terroir (classic American drip).

As for stovetop and Turkish, it's been so long since I've played with those methods that I'm afraid I don't have anything to say.

Cheers 


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