New French Brewer and Interview with its Designer

New French Brewer and Interview with its Designer

Silo Coffee Brewer

New French Brewer

We’re living in a golden age of brewers. If you think they’re all alike, think again. The new Silo drip maker is stunning looking. But looks alone don’t warrant a mention in The Coffee Companion. What sets this one apart is its filter. Another attribute is its double walled carafe. It keeps the coffee warm without a warming plate. I met Romain Gauthrot, designer, at Coffee Fest in Chicago this past June.

Designer Romain Gauthrot

I hope to get a sample to test, but all signs are good from my initial taste. As you may know, I’m not a big fan of permanent metal filters. But, this one seems to really work – that is separate the grounds from the brew. I could detect virtually no sediment in my samples. Apparently, Mr Gauthrot was able to make two separate screens work together to accomplish this.

This is one of those inventions that has much that has happened before. But the sum total of his efforts is so effective that it warrants a second look. People often presume a new drip brewer can’t taste different from ones that have come before. That’s just not correct. Details can make big flavor differences. Mr Gauthrot has promised a sample and I hope to be able to rigorously subject it to my kitchen in the future.

Meanwhile below is an interview I did with him right at his exhibit space at Coffee Fest.

Play

Automatic Drip Coffee that Rivals Hand-Crafted

Can you really make automatic coffee that tastes as good as the best manual hand-brewed? Let’s just say it is possible. To illustrate this claim, I chose the Bonavita BV 01002 to demonstrate the possibility.  It meets the stringent Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) standards. Most automatic drip brewers do not.  It is simple to use and pretty un-tweaky as well. Frankly, other than having to measure grounds and grind the coffee separately, it’s as easy to use as a K-cup brewer. It works great as is. But, I have found some nips and tucks to my procedures that lift it to match my best manual brew results and I thought I’d share them.

I’m sure you’re already aware that I’m a big fan of this brewer. So is George Howell who uses it to accompany his tasting seminars at our CoffeeCon events. But, if someone were to ask exactly how I make coffee with this automatic drip machine it would be as follows:

Auto drip tweaks grindGrind – If you’ve been with me for awhile, you know I advocate erring a notch coarser when using most brewers. But I also advise playing around with grind and, once in a while, it pays to just experiment a notch at a time. For instance, with this brewer I go one notch finer. That may be because I don’t usually make a full 8-cup batch, but rather fill the water only to the 1 liter mark. Just so you understand the testing procedure for SCA certification,  brewers must make their coffee, start to finish, within six minutes. So when you make approximately 25% less, it’s likely that it will be a little rushed traveling through the grounds. I’ve found by grinding slightly finer I slow the drip rate and this increases brew strength. If I make a full batch I coarsen the grind slightly.

Auto drip tweaks use lessRecipe Measurements – Consider that we may have gone from using too few grounds to using too many. Maybe this brewer does such an efficient job it does not need the requisite 55 grams specified for a liter of coffee. If you make one liter, I suggest you try using 50-51 grams. I found this to be the best recipe. I discovered this by accident as I only had 50 grams left of a particularly memorable ReAnimator coffee when a friend arrived for a visit and a cup. Since I needed to make one liter, I decided to chance it. To my surprise I preferred it using this formula.

Pre-infusion – This brewer has a pre-infusion stage, which drips a few ounces of water over the grounds to saturate them before the majority of water is released and dripped over the grounds. I strongly recommend using it if your coffee is fresh, meaning just a week or two from its roast date. If your grounds are older than this, or you use pre-ground coffee, you may skip this stage, although it won’t hurt, so if in doubt, use it. Its purpose is to allow the coffee to de-gas, which prevents foaming up and potentially spilling over the filter holder’s top edge. Pre-infusion also allows it to de-gas and settle down before the majority of water drips through, which actually helps facilitate the extraction process.

Auto drip tweaks not great dispersion 2

Filter holder – If there’s one area where manual drip still reigns supreme it is the end user’s manual water dispersion over the grounds and subsequent even extraction.  Fortunately, the Bonavita already does a good job dispersing the water. But, for a perfectionist end-user, we are able to occasionally swivel the filter holder to vary the showerhead’s position over the grounds. This is kind of tweaky, but shows to what extent I’ve played with mine over the years. I would not expect this tweak to make a night and day difference with this maker, but it is a slight tweak and just goes to ensure that all the grounds get wet. If someone told me this is too far to go to make coffee, I’d likely agree. But, I do it. Look at my “after” photo of the grounds post-brewing and see if yours matches. Again, if it’s too much, skip this if you like.

IMGP1718

I define tweaks as anything I do beyond the instruction manual, that appears to make a better pot of coffee. This brewer is noteworthy in that none are necessary for it to perform its stuff. But, I’m comparing to the best manually brewed coffee I’ve ever had. That fact that it’s that close to perfection already is impressive. I simply believe I can match that perfect flavor with this brewer, with just a little attention to details.

What are your tweaks?

Play

Espresso Supply Connected App Preview at SCA Expo

Espresso Suppy scale app 2One of the reasons I so enjoy the Specialty Coffee Association’s Expo is running into products that are in the pipeline, but not quite ready. I realize how this happens. The inventors are tweaking them up until showtime and then the lights come up. Do we or do we not exhibit it? I mean it’s not quite ready? As we used to say in my previous life in television, “We never finish anything. We just abandon it.”

Well, I’m exaggerating a bit with that last line. In this case, Espresso Supply has an app which will definitely be finished. Meaning it will be released and no doubt work for its purpose. Its purpose? It’s designed to assist you when making coffee in a manual brewer. I noticed that they brought along a Chemex, which of course made me happy as it’s one I often use at home. It was quite inclusive of them, considering they have a number of their own manual brewing designs. Glad to see they’re above corporate jingoism that might have cause them to insist it be one of theirs.

The idea is to weigh your coffee on this scale. The scale sends this information to your phone and the app then tells you how much water to pour, step by step. It’s really quite simple to use. The goal is to make manual brewing as consistent as possible. It also allows you to change your grounds weight; then the app will automatically change how much water it tells you to pour into the brewer. This is one of those products where descriptive words take more time and effort than just using it. Espresso Supply’s Elliot Jackson demonstrated this in-development app for me, I recorded his demo along with his observations about its potential.

Espresso Suppy scale app 4It’s worth noting it’s my opinion that the use of such a tool will become more and more useful as it covers more variables. If course as it stands today, it will help maintain brewing consistency. But the real power will come when it monitors the grind. Those of us who attempt to vary batch sizes in a drip brewer know that slight grind adjustments can enable practically identical flavor profiles when changing batch sizes, and this is really difficult. While the demo didn’t demonstrate the app’s capability to change batch size parameters, and it’s unlikely that v1 addresses grind at all. Long term this is the dream I have for all of these products.

Congratulations, Espresso Supply for taking some first steps to move toward this along. Here’s hoping it’s released in in field use soon!

Play

OXO’s New Manual Drip System, Hot or Cold

This year’s International Housewares Show in Chicago had some exciting news. OXO has introduced a new manual drip coffee brewing system. As usual with OXO, the benefits are in the details. It’s a system, meaning it has attention to aspects of boiling water, of brewing and serving. I couldn’t get them to give me a sample, but I’ll be happy to review it. Based upon a few quick taste samples, it has what it takes. A few features:

OXO Dripper

Attention to balance. OXO has this down. The idea of making sure it’s easy to handle and perform all tasks.

 

OXO Dripper

Deep ridged filter, to allow air to circulate. Facilitates brewing. The filter bottom is narrow, but flat, leading to efficient, consistent flow during steeping.

OXO Carafe

Double walled glass carafe. Cool outside. Evenly hot inside. Designed high enough to place ice cubes in bottom for instant cold coffee, while retaining all the benefits of Specialty Coffee Association specified hot brewing.

It’s interesting to see OXO moving towards manual gear. It gives me hope that there’s life in new manual methods. While this may be refinement more than reinvention, I can think of no more thoughtful minds than OXO’s folks to apply themselves to getting more from your precious grounds. I’ve requested a review sample and am eager to see how it fares in my own kitchen. Meanwhile, enjoy this conversation I had at OXO’s space at Housewares.

Play

CoffeeCon LA

Flywheeel siphon sample 4CoffeeCon has taken on a life of its own. I created it as something I simply wanted to attend. It has its own following, and its presenters creating their presentations. My role is goal setter, overactive attendee and tinkerer. I am constantly urging, cajoling and watching our presenters rise to new heights. Often their finished presentations are better than I imagined. Still we are a comparatively tiny-budgeted event. I had a last-minute cancellation at last-month’s Seattle event due to not being able to fund a presenter’s travel.

I hope you will be able to attend CoffeeCon, the reason I keep taking it around the country, and hope one day beyond.  Here is a rundown of our upcoming LA event, which has the benefit of being an established venue (a big advantage) and a good nearby source of presenters. Let’s go.

CoffeeCon LA is the only CoffeeCon featuring US grown coffee. Yes, coffee not only grows in California, we have California coffee grower Jay Ruskey, who will be sampling his 100% Made in Mainland USA beans and offering coffee plants for sale you can take home. Who knows? Maybe you’ll grow enough beans for an AeroPress.

Beanscorp, the Korean entrepreneurs who seem to live on coffee as they tour the world will be again at CoffeeCon LA. In addition to their innovative Cafflano Klassic grind and brew one-cup travel drip maker, they’ll be sampling from their new Press device. Is it a manual espresso or a step beyond the AeroPress? Taste it and tell me.

Chemex is coming to every CoffeeCon event this year. They’re innovating with customer personalization collars and ties, giving the Chemex yet another advantage over any other brewer. They’ll also be bringing some historic artifacts from the Chemex archives to give you a mini-tour from the Chemex museum I keep telling them they should create.

Bonavita’s Marcus Boni came up with an idea so close to my own heart my only disappointment is I didn’t think of it. Marcus will brew the same excellent coffee in four difference brewing methods: An automatic drip maker, a Chemex, a full-immersion dripper and the new Rattleware cupper. Tastes will be shared with the audience to demonstrate the difference brewing makes.

Mokhtar Alkahnshali’s got the oldest story in coffee. One of a magical bean, one that for some years all but disappeared until he started a one-man crusade to restore its prominence and availability to the world. It’s a compelling story. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, as I was when I first learned of it.

While we’re on an oldest kick, the oldest method of making coffee is almost unknown in mainstream US of A. It’s the ibrik (pronounced ee-brick). It’s the way everyone brewed coffee since that fake news-created dancing goat got high chewing berries. We have Turkish Coffee World ibrik champion Turgay Yildizli on traveling half-way around the world to demonstrate his techniques, which are different from any other ibrik make I’ve ever before seen; hence I reached out to him to bring his art to our event.  chemex-ottomatic

Everyone’s got an artist inside them, and Klatch Coffee’s champion barista, Heather Perry will show you how to create artistic latte art in your home espresso. Just in case you thought, oh it’s easy because she’s using a giant commercial machine like a café does, Ms Perry does her magic using a home machine, albeit a fine one.

Local San Diegan roaster Marc Wortman of Make Good Coffee will teach a home roasting class. This is a first for us here in LA. At our Chicago events, our home roasters are virtually a separate event within the event. Marc is both a skilled professional and someone who started roasting as a fun pastime. His knowledge and enthusiasm are infectious. If you’ve ever wanted to create your own first crack, but haven’t known where to start, now’s your chance.

What do you know about the 98% of your coffee beverage, water? Too hard or too soft, water can affect your beautiful cup of coffee, so much so that new companies are offering mineral-enhanced waters designed for brewing. We’ll warn you right now. We’ve asked a water expert who’s a strong advocate for such waters to come and preach it to you. But we think the arguments are strong enough to let them be heard in our classroom. Use your own judgment, but be prepared to learn about coffee’s number one ingredient. Our expert will be

All this presumes you have already spent time on our tasting exhibit floor, the most important of all reasons to attend. No one, not even our visiting expert presenters and professional tasters, can coordinate the giant array of coffees brewed seconds before tasting. This is more than simple cup differences due to growing regions, farms and lots, but also through idealized roasting and brewing. I do well at home, but there’s no better way to enjoy coffee for me than to attend CoffeeCon.

I wanted this to be an easy read, and mimicked the phone call I’d give if you called the night before and told me you wanted to see everything, impossible really, but at least now you can come close. See you soon.

 

Page 1 of 1612345...10...Last »

Pin It on Pinterest