The Kalita Wave is a great single-serve pour-over device. We've found the Wave to be easy to use and incredibly forgiving, so it's great for people who want the experience of brewing their own coffee by hand but don't want to be a slave to finicky pouring techniques. Here's how we do it:
1. Preheat your brewer and filter. Preheating the filter removes any residual paper taste from your brew. With the Wave it's best to preheat from the bottom of the filter, as pouring from the top or around the sides can collapse the filter.
2. Grind your coffee. 20 grams of coffee per serving. Grind setting should be middle of the road; it should have a little bit of grit to it but not be too rocky and chunky.
3. Add the ground coffee to the brewer. Give the brewer a little shake to spread the coffee out evenly in the brewer. This will make it easier for you to extract the coffee bed evenly, leading to a better tasting cup.
4. Start your timer and add just enough water to cover the grounds. You want to use enough water to saturate all the grounds but not so much that you get a lot of bleed-through or dripping from the bottom of the brewer.
5. After thirty seconds, add the remaining water in slow, steady, staged pours. Pour in a consistent circular motion, aiming to evenly saturate the entire coffee bed. Fill the brewer up, let it drain back down, fill it up again, and repeat that process till you've reached 300 grams of water total. Total brew time should be about three minutes.
6. A note on grind setting and brew time. If your brew happens too fast you'll need to make your grind setting finer to slow the brew down. If your brew takes too long, you'll need to make the grind coarser to speed up your brew.
7. Enjoy your delicious coffee!
If you would have asked us 5 years ago why your coffee is sour, the answer likely would have been that it was under extracted; either your grind is too coarse, or you were using too much coffee for the amount of water you’re using. Today with scales and refractometers being two of the most commonly used tools in specialty coffee, it's easy to consistently control your brew ratios and check for proper extraction levels. Why is it then, that the specialty coffee industry has developed a reputation for sour and polarizing coffees despite the ever-increasing quality of green coffee available, and abundance of tools to ensure consistent preparation? Lets take a look.
The current trend in specialty coffee seems to be of the "brighter is better" philosophy, with emphasis on intensely high acidity. While we also love coffee with bright, lively acidity, we feel that these types of coffees must have adequate roast development and flavor balance to be accessible and enjoyable. Without adequate development, these strictly acidic coffees lack sweetness, complexity, and clarity of flavor. While coffees fitting this trend can seem exciting and have lots of snap on the cupping table, they become one-dimensional and sour when brewed, even at proper extraction levels.
This phenomenon has been brought to our attention again and again over the past few years by the increasing number of people we've come across who stay away from specialty coffee altogether, claiming that the coffee is just too sour. More often then not, these are people who express genuine interest in the idea of specialty coffee, but can't get past the tangy taste they associate with our industry. Although there may be numerous contributors, we believe the sour coffee epidemic is primarily the result of the following three things:
1. Coffee professionals taste and experience coffee in different ways than most consumers do. (Cuppers vs. drinkers -- a whole topic in and of itself).
2. The misconception that the lighter you roast, the more varietal characteristic you accentuate.
3. Knowledge of how to roast lightly and still achieve balanced sweetness and acidity.
Regardless of the cause of this sour coffee phenomenon, the biggest problem with sour coffee is that it just doesn't resonate with the everyday consumer, which is ultimately who we are serving. We've seen specialty coffee go from providing inclusive, life changing (for the better) experiences to unintentionally alienating prospective customers who show true interest in what we do; people who want to buy in, but can't justify paying a premium for coffee that tastes worse to them than what they're currently drinking. Higher quality green coffee, a beautiful seed to cup story, and having your coffee prepared by highly skilled baristas is all for naught if the final product is simply not enjoyable.
We believe roasting balanced coffees that possess acidity, sweetness, and complexity all playing together in harmony is a win-win. Balanced and adequately developed profiles provide the best avenue for highlighting varietal characteristics in truly special coffees, and also resonate with the day-to-day customer (both current and prospective), providing a better path for real, long-term sustainable growth for the specialty coffee industry. One thing we can say for sure: At HoneyCo, balance is back.
This entry was co-written with coffee friend, Chris Baca.
The Aeropress is a great brewer to take with you on day trips or camping. It's tough, small, and simple to use, so we pack one just about everywhere we go. To get an outdoor Aeropress going you'll need the brewer, filters, a mug, water along with a heat source, and of course: coffee.
1. Heat your water. We used an Esbit, but any camping stove will do.
2. Prep your Aeropress. Insert the plunger into the cylinder, and flip your Aeropress so that the open side of the cylinder is facing up (inverted).
3. Rinse your filter. Pour a small amount of hot water over the filter. This will remove any residual paper taste from your brew.
4. Put your coffee in the brewer. 14 grams of coffee per serving. Grind setting is quite a bit finer than drip; not as powdery as espresso, but close. We pre-grind and pre-weigh before we go into the wild, but a hand mill would work great here as well.
5. Add water. 210 grams of water per serving. You can weigh your water if you have a scale, but we just eyeballed it out here. Fill it up about half way, give it a swirl to saturate all the grounds, then fill it up the rest of the way.
6. Cap the brewer. Screw the cap (with filter in it) onto the brewer
7. Flip and press. After one minute, flip the brewer over onto your mug and begin your plunge. Plunge time should be about thirty seconds for a total brew time of about one minute and thirty seconds. If the plunge happens too fast you need to make your grind finer; if the plunge takes too long you need to coarsen up your grind. A little experimenting and you'll find the sweet spot in no time.
8. Drink up. You deserve it!
Try this out on your next outdoor adventure, pre-grinding and skipping the scale will keep your pack light, but if you want to bring those with you we won't tell anyone.