The baby of PourOver makers has a good style

Cafe Stal coffee maker

The Cafe Stal is a lovely little coffee maker and really good value too. It has almost 600ml capacity in the brewing and serving vessel which also features a stainless steel removable pourover filter. The heat resistant glassware is really simple and a delightful compact size. It has an acrylic neck for helping with your serving.

You simply add your ground coffee to the mesh filter which sits in the top section of the pourover vessel. Slowly wet the coffee grounds and let the coffee ‘bloom’ for 30s to 45s, then pour hot water very slowly in spiral or zig-zag motions over the ground coffee for a couple of minutes or so.

The coffee grounds will release their flavour as both aroma while your making the coffee and as the coffee itself which collects in the lower part of the vessel.

Once you’re done, remove the steel mesh, and sit down with a friend to enjoy your coffee – or on your own for a double dose of caffeine! You can later discard the grounds for compost, rinse the steel mesh and the vessel well and it’s ready for use again.

As an introduction to PourOver coffee making this device would serve really well – as it already has a steel mesh filter and is like a tiny version of a Chemex which feels like the granddaddy of pourover makers!

See more about the Café Stal from Rayware here.

Cafe Stal from Rayware
Cafe Stal showing mesh filter and glass chamber

The AeroPress :: One of our favourites for great coffee!!

AeroPress Series 5

One of our favourite products is the AeroPress that helped start our journey into handbrew coffee equipment and techniques.

It’s a straightforward easy to use product that creates great tasting coffee.

The AeroPress is possibly the simplest, most consistent, easy, and cost-effective way to make espresso-based drinks at home… without crazily expensive equipment!

The AeroPress is an amazing coffee maker – if you’re used to instant coffee the AeroPress will be an eye opener, as it barely takes more time than making instant coffee, yet tastes many, many, many times better!

The AeroPress is essentially two plastic tubes that fit together – one that you put the coffee and water into, and one that you use to push the water under pressure through the coffee. So the AeroPress creates the ability to get close to an espresso coffee with a simple, easy to use, portable, coffee-maker which is almost self-cleaning too.

(Of course espresso is used as the base for most coffee-shop coffees – so the AeroPress can also be a gateway to americanos – by adding more hot water, lattes or cappuccinos -by adding frothed milk (see our Cappuccino Kit including an AeroPress and a milk frother), and more…. )

The AeroPress is a great coffee maker and can fit with a very outdoors based life, as it’s so portable. It can be used on holiday, at the beach, on picnics, at work, as well as in the kitchen or at home.

There are increasingly opportunities to have your coffee shop coffee made with an AeroPress too. Many baristas do take this product really seriously – and World AeroPress Championships take place every year!

If you’d like to find out more about how the AeroPress was invented (by the guy who created the Frisbee!) then see here

The journey gets more serious? ….starting to discover pour-over coffee!

Hario Buono, and V60 Ceramic Dripper from Artistry Coffee

So for many of us coffee is a part of our life whether we think about it or not!

The question do you want a coffee has probably already been said to you or by you today, even if only in your mind to yourself!

However, to start to pay more attention to what your cup of coffee contains can be the beginnings of a journey that gradually increases in intensity.

There was a point when – rather than using drip-filter by accident (i.e. without realising) or french press because it sat there (thinking it was just a cafetiere: which of course it is!) – the idea of hand-brewing coffee became more than a means to an end, it became an enjoyment in itself!

This started with a V60 Ceramic pour-over: a cup-like thing with a conical shape and a hole in the bottom. You place a filter paper within it then add ground coffee and pour hot water over the coffee which then drips through to a mug sitting below.

This is a slow coffee making process to savour: not perhaps the best method to use if you’re in a rush!

But this is where a real enjoyment in coffee making started for me and my wife. The process of thinking about the coffee and what it was doing as you were making it became interesting, and the time taken in the pour-over coffee making started to be a relaxing routine.

Starting with the same ground coffee we were using from the supermarket, we enjoyed “blooming” the coffee by pouring a small amount of hot water for about 15 seconds to let the Coffee grounds swell; then pouring hot water gradually over the coffee for another 2 to 3 minutes whilst seeing gasses from the coffee bubble up a little.

Hario V60 Pour-Over Coffee Maker available from Artistry Coffee
A V60 Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Pour-Over Coffee Making Equipment available from Artistry Coffee
Making Pour-Over Coffee

The aroma from the coffee when making it, as the coffee interacts with the hot water and then drips though, adds to the pleasure – and this is heightened because of the slow process of the pour-over coffee making. We found that the coffee was much more pleasurable as black coffee than we had ever experienced before: which then took us to a new place in coffee appreciation.

Discovering pour-over coffee making was a great find, and we recommend it to all – when you have time to savour the process!

Water Temperature Experiments for Coffee (6): …

Recording Temperature of Poured Water

This series of posts started from a fairly simple question in my head – what is the rate of cooling of water from boiling – to have some sense of what temperature coffee making is conducted at when there are no thermometers to hand! It has turned into a rather more complex investigation than first thought – but has been at least a little fun along the way. Here, were close to the end of my write-ups!

We’ve already covered that when transferring water after boiling from an electric kettle into another vessel such as a Buono kettle (in order to achieve greater accuracy for pour over coffee making) there seems to be about a 3 or 4 degree Celcius loss of temperature straight away.

So this post is about the expectation that as the water is then poured from the Buono onto the coffee grounds themselves there is likely to be another (notable?)drop in temperature.

That was the expectation and indeed has been exactly what I observed in my experiments.

In order to attempt to measure this effect, I rigged up a set-up (imperfect, but trying to get close to something realistic) where I could pour water from the Buono spout directly onto the bulb of the thermometer. That’s the closest I’ve been able to construct to something reasonably meaningful.

I conducted most of my previous efforts over a 10 minute observation window – however the idea of pouring water from a Buono kettle for 10 minutes was never going to be achievable – I did try and control it well, and managed around 5 minutes each time, which I think was a good achievement (also meant my rate of pour should have been similar on each attempt).

Chart of Observed Temperatures (time from Boiling Point)
Top Line (darker) : Observed Temperatures in Electric Kettle
Next Line (mid-tone): After being poured into Buono Kettle
Bottom Line (lightest): Temperatures of the Pour

The temperature within 30 seconds had dropped to 90 degrees Celcius, but took till almost 6 minutes to drop the next 5 degrees – by which point it was almost equal to the observations of the temperatures achieved in the Buono kettle itself(with no pouring).

That line on the chart that resulted did puzzle me at first – although the greater initial drop in temperature made sense, the slower rate of decline in the following minutes than observed in the kettles did seem odd ( I haven’t worked all the way through this yet, but I think one of Newton’s Laws does help – I need to look into that a bit more, and will try and write something in a few days).
What also seemed odd is that the water poured from the Bouno (having been poured in the Bouno from the electric kettle) was at a lower temperature in the earlier moments of observations than the water in the open-top vessels.

Observed Temperatures from Boiling Point
Top Line (darker): Temperatures in Electric Kettle
Next Line (mid-tone): After being poured into Buono Kettle
Bottom Line (lightest): Temperatures of the Pour
Yellow Line: Temperature in open-top container

OK – only for 30 seconds, but that it crossed the line, then crossed back again made me think that this science lark was just far too complicated!

But here could perhaps be the most important thing to understand from these experiments – that the pour itself is where the temperature changes the most (pouring from the kettle used for boiling, into another vessel in the first place, and from the pouring vessel onto the coffee).

And therefore different styles of pour, durations of pour, or methods of dealing with the water will mean that the temperature, in effect, on the coffee is different.

This is where the water is coming into most contact with the air (or perhaps more importantly (scientifically) the much lower ambient temperature) and so is losing the most heat.

So I guess one of my biggest conclusions is that when we’re talking temperature we may or may not be talking the same thing – the temperature of the water can change greatly quite quickly depending on how it is transferred from the boiling vessel to the coffee.

Water that is the same temperature for 2 different coffee making techniques at the starting point could actually be at very different temperatures when hitting the coffee grounds seconds later.

This coffee making really is both an art and a science!!

please note: boiling and hot water can be dangerous if not handled with care!
(despite the haphazardness of some of my approaches above, I did take some care and would suggest anyone else does the same: and children should be accompanied by an adult)

Water Temperature Experiments for Coffee (5): ….

Hot Water onto Coffee Grounds

Interim Conclusions …?

Instead of being one simple set of experiments to while away an afternoon and get the brain cells working – this little exploration has actually turned into a set of experiments and blog notes and pseudo scientific activity that has occupied rather more than the initial expectation!

Where we’ve travelled so far, I think, is that the temperature of the hot water as it hits the coffee could vary perhaps rather a lot – affected by all that can happen between the boiling of the water and the drips hitting the coffee.

What I seem to be able to conclude so far is that if the water remains in the kettle it retains its temperature much better than if poured into another vessel. If this other vessel is closed top (e.g. Buono kettle) the temperature will perhaps drop 3 to 4 degrees on the initial pour from the kettle, then hold at a slower rate of decline than if poured into an open-top vessel (where over a few minutes the temperature difference may easily be 10 to 15 degrees Celcius).

All of that fairly logical (and some would say obvious or a matter of common sense perhaps), but I’ve found it rather interesting to be able to place some (amateur) quantification on what’s going on, and helpful to think through what may be affecting the readings.

But the key issue is perhaps what temperature the water is as it hits the coffee. And for my own normal coffee making at home, this involves first pouring the boiling water from the electric kettle into the Buono, and then pouring from the Buono onto the coffee grounds themselves.

So the idea that there might be a second heat loss as poured from the Buono kettle seems to be a logical expectation, and that’s exactly what we get – but the results did puzzle me at first.

(I’ll write that up next post…..)

please note: boiling and hot water can be dangerous if not handled with care!
(despite the haphazardness of some of my approaches above, I did take some care and would suggest anyone else does the same: and children should be accompanied by an adult)

How many types of coffee are there……?

coffee cup

As the coffee journey continued from that very naive early years experience of mainly instant coffee – when freeze dried Gold Blend was posh! – there came a realisation that coffee came in more than just 3 or 4 options.

I suppose that I ought to have known more – because my foreign relatives in my fathers homeland of Denmark used to have a very different kind of coffee than I’d ever experienced elsewhere. Looking back I now know that it was properly brewed filter coffee – but wayback then it was just strong and different.

Eventually progressing to ground coffee at weekends – maInly using a 1 cup cafetiere – there was now a bigger task of making sure we always had some available. And so comes the task of buying coffee more seriously (certainly trying a bit harder than just picking up the best value jar from whichever supermarket we happened to be in).

So where do you start when essentially youre considering a new product that you have very little experience of ? Start with the colours, or strength numbers, or the price, or the origin? [That’s an official coffee word now – just means what you think it should …. where does it come from?!]

I dont thinknthat there’s a right and a wrong on this. Even starting with the colours can be sensible – cause it’s more likely that you’ll remember what you had next time you’re buying! The important thing is maybe just that – remember what you try and remember what you like. Maybe take some notes about what you’ve tried and what you liked, and why.

If you do the remembering, you’ll journey on in coffee terms much more quickly and generate an appreciation for and knowledge of coffee perhaps far more speedily than being directed by someone else at what you should like and how you should like it.

Experiencing the journey of discovery of coffee is part of the joy. There’s no shame in being on a learning curve but plenty of interest and fun in  the exploration!

There are so many coffees out there, and so much to discover!

So the coffee discovery takes off…..

Learning to use ground coffee

At the start of what was the real coffee journey – somewhere between my brother moving from London to Seattle (10 years ago) and now – was the awareness of the difference in the taste and quality of filter coffee vs instant. It seems like such a basic discovery, but it’s a fairly key step!

Once you have some quite different reference points there will start to be comparisons in your head – an appreciation that some coffee is far better than others. It’s not just about a strong/weak scale depending on whether someone has put half a teaspoonful of granuals or a heaped one into a cup.

Having had the instant coffee starting point – I think there’s an even greater appreciation of the variation in coffee experiences that can be available.

For long enough my experience was to have the occasional treat of buying a packet of ground coffee at the supermarket to enjoy on Saturday or Sunday when there was more time to savour. I do wonder now though just how long the coffee takes to get to the supermarket shelves, how long it stays there, and just how old it is generally by the time it gets consumed.

However, making ‘real’ coffee from grounds is a good step to take in pushing along the rewarding journey of discovering coffee.

Much better coffee, worth a little more effort

Mug of coffee

More and more people seem to be getting into coffee – because we’re all starting to know that it can be better than pouring boiling water on a sprinkling of freeze dried granules.

Of course that’s mainly the coffee shops that have taught us to raise our sights on coffee – but the experience at home has been slower to follow.

Every Saturday & Sunday morning for years I used to make the time to use ‘real’ coffee rather than turning to the granuals: and always appreciated making the effort. For a long time I never really understood why it tasted so much better, but certainly knew that it did!

However instant coffee was the predominant source of coffee for the week as a whole, until more recent years. There are of course some better quality instant offerings these days, and there was a phase of ‘upgrading’ via those!

But having taken some time to learn about different ways that are available to make coffee by hand at home – there’s a realisation that you don’t even need to take much longer to make a much better cup of coffee.

Of course it can be very theraputic and rewarding to take your time with a slow pour of coffee – with a Chemex or a V60. There are other ways that are very straightforward too – which either make themselves while you sort something else out: like the Clever Dripper or the French Press; or are so ‘Quick & Easy’ like the amazing AeroPress.

There’s much to enjoy about the process of learning more, and of making coffee in a more enjoyable way – long before you become a coffee geek (not sure when anyone attains that status if you want it ).

We’ve found some brilliant ways of enjoying coffee, without bulky or crazily expensive machines.

http://artistrycoffee.co.uk/

We’ve brought this together in Artistry Coffee and have a great range of products to help you hand-craft delicious coffee at home!

 

When did we realise we were on the coffee journey?

Coffee Beans

It strikes me that sometimes only when you are actually on the journey do you realise that you have started out.

Certainly that’s my experience of the coffee journey.

There can be a lot of steps to in learning about the art of coffee making – unless you discover coffee part-way down the line.

I can’t remember my first cup of coffee, but it was probably as a young boy. Not sure whether I liked it or not, but possibly not. I do remember at Uni hopping between Mellow Birds and Nescafe, so hardly an auspicious start!

I think we mainly had Gold Blend at home – and for many years have puzzled at how seemingly the same process of making coffee can result in different tastes. At that stage down to scalding the granuals or not, how much milk, and how big a spoonful you put in in the first place. Also Nescafe did taste different from Gold Blend and Mellow Birds etc. But no real idea why in those days!

But further down the line, here we are now considering the origin of the beans, the quality of the water, the coarseness of the grind, the brew method, the timing and style of the pour or the push, and much else too……

But how much have we already learned, and how much still to learn? No doubt very much further along the road, and fascinated with where we have got to, but realising that were definitely on a coffee journey – but not totally sure when it started or where it will lead.

However, very happy to have discovered all that we have so far, and to share it here and at www.artistrycoffee.co.uk where we feature some great products that we have found along the way.IMG_20141122_084416