Try beans which are ‘Natural’ not ‘Washed’ they tend to have more sweetness, although they are less common. Also let the water temperature cool to the appropriate temperature, water too hot will impart bitterness too.
There is much trial and error to this process:
Discovered that I was grinding beans too coarse for my pour over. Tightened up and now am enjoying more full flavored brews from a variety of bean brands.
I would recommend seeking out places that serve what’s called ‘specialty coffee.’ This is coffee that is largely not going to be as dark and/or bitter as you may be used to. Try letting it cool down a bit, as more flavor will be available at cooler temperatures. Since more lattes are served around 145-160 degrees, you can even let the coffee cool down that far. The coffee will be more sweet, though the acidity might also take some getting used to. And if you want to add cream, try a little at a time, taste it, if you want more add it in.
If you want to ease more but stay in the latte realm, try ordering a smaller drink that leans more toward the espresso, such as a cappuccino or gibraltar/cortado.
And of course, wherever the coffee shop is you end up going to, the baristas there will be trained to better help you with the coffee they have. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask for a pourover and watch them make it, if the shop isn’t too busy ask them a question or two. There are coffees out there that are more tea-like, there are ones that are naturally sweeter, so I would ask the barista if they have any that suit those tastes. That’s one of the beauties of what the coffee scene has become, there’s a wealth of options.
@geh2oman is 100% spot on. couldn’t have typed that any better in a million years!
i was going to add some things about chosen home brew methods, but that road can be traveled when the time is right. but basically, some methods (i have not nearly tried them all) accentuate natural sweetness, my favorite is chemex for round sweet mellow fairly even body. but french press and cold brew both have a lot of natural sweet brew related taste.
a really good (apparently running availability) natural process bean is the party from madcap. i can definitely vouch for it. just ordered second bag yesterday.
key to free shipping is 50 dollar order.
Nice thanks, although I’m in London. I always get ‘Natural’ if they are there—I pick up the guest beans from various places depending where I’m working, or near where I live.
ah yeah i don’t know the great roasters overseas but i’m sure they are there. i feel so lucky to be nearby in a shipping sense to my favorite roaster. i do wish there were better coffee roasting offerings in the northeast ohio area but the only place ive loved ironically uses madcap as their distributor in fact we are headed there tomorrow as we have tickets for the yayoi kusama special exhibition at the cleveland museum of art.
Ethiopian light roast drip/pour-over from some hipster-enough coffee shop (just to make sure they do it properly). No sugar. No milk/cream/etc.
It’s the most tea-like imo, and it fully changed my appreciation of, and palate for, ‘black’ coffee.
while i don’t think you are necessarily wrong, i’m not sure it is often safe to generalize any one country as being any one thing/profile.
In general, ‘columbian’ and ‘french’ usually mean a certain roast/flavor to most people, right?
Try some pour over made from African beans, I find them to be (generally) fruitier than something like South American. When I was getting into filter/black coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe was my friend
French roast is a particular profile for roasting the coffee, so most any beans can be used to achieve a “French roast” flavor if they follow that profile. Colombia would be an origin of the coffee. These days most people talk about light, medium, or dark roast as broad categories (French being a type of dark roast), though most specialty coffee roasters will display the origin of their beans rather than the roast profile because that’s a better indicator for their coffee as to how it might taste. There’s a bigger trend among smaller roasters to roast to fit the coffee beans natural flavors rather than a specific roast profile.
This is great advice for people with an older Aeropress!
I don’t mean to contradict you but only a tiny fraction of the coffee produced on earth is washed processed. This is true even with so-called specialty coffee.
My own tastes are driven by cup quality. Sweetness is a major component. Because of this nearly all the coffee I drink is washed process. But it would be untrue to claim that all washed coffee is inherently better than natural processed coffee. It’s not as simple as that. Washed process is another layer of quality control, not the quality of the cherry itself.
had a chemex of madcaps karinga from kenya this am and it knocked my socks off. it was the last of the bag, i wasn’t expecting it. gorgeous complex but wholly agreeable flavor.
I held off with my purchases till now, but will go for a Chemex setup this coming weekend. Couple of questions I would appreciate some help with:
- The Chemex itself comes in different sizes (3 cups, 6 cups, 8 cups). 6 cup seems the most versatily to me. What is everybody else using?
- Looking at a Baratza Encore as a grinder. Anything better for the money?
- How important really are a digital scale/timer and a “fancy” kettle like the Hario Buono?
- Anything else I’d need except decent coffee beans?
it’s cooking, best ingredients to taste
some of the best cooks (abuelita) never measured anything…
(pinch of this, a little bit of that, así se hace)
like who wants to 'mess up their espresso and put ice cream in it (affogato)
and it’s good!
Welcome to the Chemex world! They’re interesting devices, and very forgiving. The 6 cup is a great size, but even though it seems to say it’ll easy brew for two, it’s really not the best suited for this. So if you think you’ll only ever brew for yourself, the 6 is great. But if you’ll regularly (or even semi-occasionally) brew for two I’d opt for the 8 cup. It’ll do a one-person brew just as well as the 6, but it has plenty of room for upscaling. The 3-cup is really not the best.
A Baratza Encore is a very good intro grinder and will last you a long time. I think a scale will get you a long ways, and something like the Hario one with a built-in timer will do great things for consistency. I kind of think of it in two ways: you can either be really exacting and precise with a scale+timer, or you can use them as ways of not having to think about the amount of water and time on your own by relying on them.
An incredibly fancy kettle isn’t necessarily worth it, but a gooseneck kettle will definitely make it a lot easier to pour the water. I have a stovetop Hario and an electric Bonavita, and I use the electric kettle 99% of the time. The stovetop I really only use when I’m camping. I would say that if you have a reliable way of pouring the water for now, try that and see how much you might want to switch. If you end up finding that you enjoy the meditative process of hand pouring in the Chemex, and you want to increase joy, maybe a gooseneck kettle is for you. If you’re happy with your results and don’t want to think about more of a change, then you’re probably good to go!
nominating @geh2oman as coffee president as their words are (throughout this entire thread) so apt and thoughtful. and EXACTLY what i do.
I have a couple questions for the Chemex aficionados here (@dude / @geh2oman) – I recently got one after thinking about it for a long time and hearing people here rave about it. So far it’s been ok, but I haven’t been able to make as good a cup as when I really take care with the Hario. I’ve been finding it a little bitter, and sometimes a bit thin. I’m missing the smooth and rich flavours that I love from pour over.
I’ve been experimenting with grind and ratio, but haven’t hit on anything quite right yet. I’m also no expert and am not sure how to diagnose the issues I’m having to make meaningful adjustments. Am I over extracting? Under?
I’ve been using a 60g : 1L ratio mostly, water just off the boil, grind medium corse (chunky but with some fine pieces, between drip/filter and press settings). For a 750ml pour it’s taking about 5 minutes.