Interesting about Chemex. I’ve never had one, but may give it a try now.
I found that getting perfection with the v60 was so much effort that I wouldn’t do it on a regular day. The Bonavita is great for average days with competing priorities. If the Chemex is similarly easy to get right that might be a good option.
omg, chemex is so easy. such a fuss minimized as compared to my v60 explorations and the flavor is reliable so much smoother. if you are willing to really match everything and work on v60 and/or kalita, you can coax out a superior cup, but easy reliable and fun = chemex. round soft full sweet. i don’t know how or why but that filter is totally different than others.
i hesitate to mention this, but i keep trying costa ricans and being very disappointed. we just tried a whole batch and none of us liked them even in our own explorations.
@steveoath Very complex question! There are a few factors at play when roasting coffee. Most of what third-wave coffee roasters are trying to emphasize these days is that roasting should not impart flavors but rather emphasize or enhance what’s already there. There are about and sometimes over 600 different compounds in a coffee bean (the seed of the coffee fruit/cherry) when dried, depending on the process it underwent before arriving at the roaster. Some of these are volatile oils, some of them are terrible flavinoids. A lot of them will make up the coffee’s aroma, flavors, mouthfeel, and body.
So what a good roaster will try to do is find out what compounds are in the beans from a particular batch/variety/source, what they like out of those, and then add some heat to try and help release the good stuff and tamper the bad. This will also caramelize some of the natural sugars and bring them out, which helps with sweetness of the cup.
This is not to say that there aren’t good things to say about coffee that is roasted to impart a roasty flavor in the coffee. But those flavors come from burning the oils and sugars rather than making better what’s already in the bean.
To build on @dude’s reply, natural/dry process is where the coffee is set out to dry in the sun with the whole or partial original fruit left on, which ferments and imparts aspects of the fruit (sugars, flavor oils) into the bean. This is tricky because if not done well then it over-ferments and/or rots. But a lot of people like acidic, fruity coffee, so these are a go-to for that.
Washed/wet process is where the fruit is washed off of the bean before it is sun-dried.
Are you grinding your own coffee or having it ground at a shop? If you’re buying coffee from a shop, I would say ask them to grind for you, they should have a pretty good idea and it’s likely similar to what they would be doing on their drip machines. If you’re grinding at home, it can be a little tougher to figure out, but it’s really up to a little trial and error.
It’s like a science experiment, really! Have a few constants and a variable (amount of water, amount of coffee, grind size of coffee). See what you like best and try making another adjustment until you’re happy.
I really appreciate that this is the first specific question.
Having moved from LA to SF to Berlin (and now to Hamburg), I’ve had the luxury of tasting how those cities’ water affects the coffee. (Quite literally, bought Four Barrel beans, brewed them in SF, took them to Berlin, and brewed them the same way the next day, and the difference was stark)
As much as I love Berlin, it’s damn near impossible to make great coffee with the tap water. It’s too minerally. I haven’t invested a lot of time into figuring out a good solution, but basic filtering doesn’t seem to help all that much.
My daily brew right now is an aeropress, roughly with the sightglass brewing method (which, who knows, maybe they stole it or adapted it from elsewhere).
I’ve also come to love the Bonavita electric kettle. I was pouring from a Hario for years, and the way the gooseneck ends makes it so much more difficult to pour slowly than the Bonavita.
Lately I’ve also been excessively lazy with the grind. I bought a Baratza Virutoso a couple of years ago, but its motor broke a (large) number of months ago, so unfortunately I’ve been buying ground beans. At this point I should probably put fixing it at the top of my Goals 2018 list to try to make sure it actually gets fixed.
Recently I bought my partner a moccamaster for her birthday, because she was getting sick of doing v60 every day. It makes surprisingly good coffee for a machine.
It’s slightly less minerally than Berlin, but still pretty far from great. San Francisco has the luxury of Hetch Hetchy (which is a whole other can of worms).
I had a nice chat about water with the woman who runs Companion Coffee on Oranienstr (at least, I think she runs it), and she recommended me this book Water For Coffee, though I never managed to pick up a copy, and it seems pretty hard to find now.
I also forget now what she mentioned as their approach to handling it; either bottled, or distilled, or some kind of filtration process.
I also forgot to mention, I’m a sucker for the fruity / floral / acidic coffees… For me, nothing beats the experience of enjoying a well-roasted, well-brewed Kenyan coffee change its flavors as it begins to cool down.
I have a subscription to Pact Coffee. Not the best but still good, and what I can afford. I’m in London so the water is terrible, and rock hard. Otherwise, any trip into town, or vacation has a strong coffee shop expedition component. Electric Coffee Company is my local, and they have a great range of beans. I’m spoilt for amazing coffee in London