Brew Method: Appreciating a Simple French Press

06.08

Sometimes I forget how far I’ve grown in my relationship with coffee over the years and I often catch myself speaking to someone as if  it’s standard to grind and brew fresh roasted coffee at home. Well it’s far from standard, and I often come off sounding like a giant nerd or a pretentious jerk—neither of which are the intention. Those of us who love great coffee get very passionate about it and just want to save our family and friends from drinking anything less—to share with them the joys of truly great coffee.

Recently, I was sent a blog post that reminded me to appreciate the simplicity of the French press. While this is no longer my preferred way to brew coffee, it’s a gateway drug to coffee appreciation that shouldn’t be underestimated. I was given a vintage Chambord French press, as a house warming gift from a good friend, which introduced me to home brewing years ago. Prior to that, I was spoiled by my proximity to Intelligentsia’s Broadway café in Chicago—where I spent a lot of money on coffee, but it was always good. Even as a barista 8 years ago, the batch-brewed beverages I made, never compared to what was now possible at home, made simply with a French press.

So if you’re reading this and have yet to decide how to begin brewing great coffee at home, don’t overlook a French press. Even with all the recent talk of pour-overs and fancy Hario equipment, the French press requires no special technique, fancy kettles or paper filters. Just fresh coffee, a decent burr grinder, hot water and 4 minutes of patience.

This beautiful video and the photos above are from the original Sprouted Kitchen post that reminded me how intimidating the coffee world can be to beginners who just want to brew better coffee at home. There’s a lot of information that can quickly overwhelm consumers and most of it is unnecessary. Start simple and go from there.

Shop for French Press


Music by Forest Creatures

posted by on 06.08.2011, under Brew Methods, Misc., Products, Videos

2011 World Barista Champion – Alejandro!

06.06

Over the weekend, top baristas from 53 countries around the world competed for the title of World Barista Champion in Bogota, Colombia—the winner becoming the face of exceptional specialty coffee around the world. After a great all-around competition and an incredibly refined finals round on Sunday, Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador took the top prize with his stunning presentation. Big congrats to every competitor, who all exhibited incredible skill, craft and expertise in coffee.

World Barista Champion: Alejandro Mendez, El Salvador (710.5)
2nd: Pete Licata, USA (659.5)
3rd: Matt Perger, Australia (659)
4th: Javier Garcia, Spain (631.5)
5th: Miki Suzuki, Japan (629.5)
6th: John Gordon, UK (613.5)

Not only was this the first Championship held in a producing country* it’s the first time a barista from a producing country has won. Alejandro’s presentation showed his expert knowledge, not only of the coffee most consumers are familiar with, but everything else that is usually discarded in the harvesting process.

Alejandro’s signature drink was comprised of an infusion of coffee mucilage, a tea made with dried coffee flowers, and a tea made from cascara (dried coffee cherries). The espresso used, which was separated from the crema, was a single origin El Salvador, called Finca La Illusion. It was grown by Ernesto Menendez on the slopes of the Sanata Ana volcano and roasted by Steve Leighton of Has Bean Coffee in the UK.

After Alejandro’s final presentation, the internet lit up with excitement, claiming that El Salvador had won, even with several contestants left to compete. His presentation was remarkably calm, personable, and had a beautiful story. I can only imagine how great the drinks tasted. You can watch the final presentation below.

*While the US and Australia both produce coffee, I reserve the term “coffee producing” for countries who include coffee among their primary exports.

View videos of the all the competitors on Livestream

[Photo via Barista Magazine]

posted by on 06.06.2011, under Misc., Videos

Winning! A GoCoffeeGo Gift Certificate

06.06

Thanks to everyone who played along for a chance to win $40 in fresh roasted coffee and espresso beans from GoCoffeeGo. There were 75 great entries and Dyan Flores was the lucky winner who will get to try some awesome coffee—on the house.

The first two coffees Dyan said she would like to try were: Klacth Coffee’s FTO Rainforest Blend and Metropolis Coffee’s Brazil Sitio Boa Vista. Hopefully the rest of you discovered some great new coffee and roasters who you are still interested in trying, even though you didn’t win. Thanks for checking out GoCoffeeGo and for being great readers.

I choose partners who I truly believe in and support what they are doing. These are people I would recommend my closest friends to, regardless of their support. However, since they are big fans as well, supporting them helps support what I do here at DCILY. So if you’re just as impressed by GoCoffeeGo’s offerings as I am—give them a try!

posted by on 06.06.2011, under Misc., Recommended Roasters

Stumptown Hasn’t Sold Out

06.02

After days of rampant internet speculation regarding Stumptowns ownership, a reputable publication did some real journalism to finally uncover some answers. Rumors began after the owner of an east coast coffee roaster, irresponsibly claimed that Stumptown’s owner Duane Sorenson had “sold his life’s work to the highest bidder,” in an “article” for Escquire.com.

Oliver Strand waded through the hysteria, and spoke with Duane to learn more.

“I still own Stumptown,” Mr. Sorenson said in a telephone interview. “I’m still in control of Stumptown, the only thing that’s changed is that I brought in an investor, a buddy of mine, who brought in some money so that I can do the things I want to do.” -NYTimes

While this may not appease all of the doubters calling him a sell-out, there are also people who will never believe President Obama was born in the US. Considering the state of the economy and the costs required to scale from a regional business to a national one, I completely understand the need for investment capital. While they aren’t disclosing the structure of the investment, there’s currently no reason not to take Duane at his word. There seems to be a lot on the horizon for Stumptown, and if they continue supporting farmers and selling great coffee, we should be thanking Alexander Panos and TSG Partners.

[Stumptown] plans to open two coffee bars in Brooklyn, add a bottling facility to its roaster in Red Hook for its cold-brewed coffee and, Duane Sorenson, Stumptown’s founder, says the company will try to open roasters in Chicago and San Francisco. -NYTimes

Read the full article at the New York Times Diner’s Journal. An updated article with some new and developing information has also been published.

[Photo by Todd Stadler]

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posted by on 06.02.2011, under Misc., Recommended Roasters