DISK Review

January 20, 2011

I’ve been experimenting quite a bit this past couple weeks with Coava’s KONE, no sooner did I get back home to the states to get my hands and start the process of brewing with new equipment, than they released the DISK filter for the Aeropress, and no sooner than was I about to do a write up on both of these than they released another DISK with slightly smaller holes! (Not to mention the KONE funnel coming out in the next couple weeks)

Slow down with all the innovation!

Well, regardless, I’m getting around to reviewing the product now, and I’ve been more impressed with the DISK as a consistent brewing device. The Kone has gotten me to brew a different kind of coffee (read: oily, big bodied, slight soot) by tricking me with one of my favorite brewing devices, the Chemex (read: clean, crisp, bright brews). However, I didn’t own an Aeropress before I was given the DISK + Aeropress combo for Christmas, and so naturally i’ve been drawn to brewing with it often.

Here’s my brewing specs for the DISK: 12-14g depending on the roaster, Inverted Aeropress, 200ml water poured in 10seconds, snap lid on and flip over the sink at 60 seconds (some coffee falls out into the sink that mostly contains fines and soot), set on cup, at 120-150s remove plunger and let the coffee drip through, depending on grind size it should finish up around 180-210seconds. I grind around 22 on the Virtuoso Preciso for a starting point, This gives a really balanced cup that highlights the aromatics and sweetness with very little soot. I’ve not had any good results actually using the plunger to push the brew through the filter, every time it ends up horribly sooty with a terrible astringency.

The best part about this filter (and brewer) is the easy clean up, while the KONE takes a little bit longer to clean, the DISK is no hassle at all to rinse and get rid of the coffee grounds and oils. As well, at a lower price point of $15 for one, $25 for a set of two different sized filters, it’s a more affordable luxury.

All in all, I can’t recommend Coava’s products enough. Though many don’t have the means to purchase, they are at least helpful to get one thinking about brewing in a different way, and moving the coffee industry further past the need of paper filters.

Watch here tomorrow, I’ll be posting some thoughts about a brewing experiment i’ve been working on with the DISK…

Kone Review

January 19, 2011

Coava Coffee generously sent me a Kone to review back in November, but because I was overseas as well as holidays, moving and starting another semester I am just now getting around to reviewing the product.

I’ve been doing a modified, but fairly basic, pour-over method with the Kone in the Chemex. 25-28g (higher than my normal 24g), 100ml bloom poured in the center over a 45 second period, left to rest for 15 seconds, then a slow pour right down the middle of the remaining 300ml in 90 seconds, then a drain for 30 seconds, which allows for a 3 minute overall brew time. This is all done with a grind coarser than espresso, yet finer than one would normally do for drip.

I have seen some overly sooty brews others have made (online and in person) as well that I have made, and almost always the issue is a method too close to a normal Chemex. If you take the Kone to a sink and pour water through it you will see very easily that there is a radically small amount of resistance in redirecting water through the brewing bed, and that water exits the sides, not the bottom of the filter. This means that pouring only in center actually is the best way to redirect the water through the bed, whereas in normal Chemex or V60 brewing bed architecture, the coffee is mostly flowing out of the bottom inch or so of the filter, meaning you want to incorporate the sides of the bed thoroughly as the water drains through the center bottom.

As well, because of this lack of resistance, I have found that coarse normal chemex grinds only work when you are aiming to overdose the coffee and have a weak, sooty, and underextracted brew. The finer than is common sense grind necessary is just that, necessary. For some sort of reference point, I’m currently using Macro setting 9 on my Baratza Preciso, with the micro dial set halfway to the right.

My only real complaints with the product are the flimsiness of the filter, It has already taken a bit of a beating from being used by some barista’s at the shop. While I doubt these dents substantially effect the brewing bed, it is a bit disappointing from a product that is higher in price point than around 750 regular paper chemex filters.

The Kone is another great tool to add to my arsenal, and although I do reach for it often, i’m more impressed with the DISK filter for the aeropress as far as the tastiness of cups i’ve been getting, which I will post a review of in the coming days..

p.s. I didn’t get to experience the great packaging that everyone else did because my brother was overly anxious to play with it..

V60 Guide

December 9, 2010

Here’s a quick little V60 video I did this afternoon. Bit of update to how i’ve been making coffee day to day.

I’ve also been logging some data on method of brewing and country of origin over at Daytum. Right now it’s a bit monotone as I only have my V60 with me and an In My Mug subscription, but it will be more varied once i’m back in the states with coffee and brew method choices.

Cheers
Collin

Cold Brew, Hot Bloom

October 5, 2010

I’ve been playing around with a cold brew method this week that’s been in Coffee Blog purgatory for a couple of months. Jesse Kahn (of World Bean) and Jesse Raub (of Intelligentsia Millennium Park) tweeted back and forth a while back about this method, but it was hard to get a good handle on brew ratios or the thinking behind the concept in general. I tried it back then with some terrible over-extracted results, any number of things could have gone wrong but I’ll just blame it on my parents Capresso Infinity Grinder that has been heading downhill for quite a while now. Enter a new Bitter Press post by Jesse Raub on the whole concept, based on the experiments he did back in Mid-August. I will HIGHLY recommend reading his blog post before mine for some photos as well as better general intro. In fact, I would just highly recommend reading his blog in general, but even more so now. Anyways, this is just a bit of a catalogue of my experiences, would love some similar experiments! It really doesn’t require fancy equipment which is nice. I used a couple of 500ml highball glasses and my Hario V60 to filter everything in this experiment but you could easily use many other kinds of filtration.

I did two brews yesterday with some leftover Guatemala El Bosque (RD Sep 24) and El Salvador La Illusion (RD Sep 17) from Has Bean’s In My Mug subscription.
For both cups I did a 30 second Hot Bloom with 50ml over 30 grams of coffee, with 250ml cold water on top at the 30 second mark for an 8 hour Cold Brew steep time in Room Temperature. Something I have found helpful when cold brewing is brewing at room temperature rather than brewing in the fridge. Room temperature brewing seems to pull out more of the coffees character as well as shorter brewing times due to the warmer water. The La Illusion cup was nothing special (Coffee was 2 1/2 weeks old) it was still delicious with some winey berry notes and the general cocoa iced coffee taste. The La Bosque on the other hand was ridiculously delicious with notes of spiced apple and creamy cocoa, a super juicy and complex iced coffee; one of the more delicious things I’ve had in a while!

Today I did a side by side of Cold Brew vs Hot Bloom cold brew with Has Bean’s new Kicker Espresso blend (40% El Salvador La Illusion, 40% El Salvador Alaska, 20% Ethiopian Yirgacheffe) the blend descriptors are “Oranges, Sherbet, Lemonade, and Difficult”. 100ml hot bloom for 30 seconds, 35 grams of Coffee, 10 hour cold brew in Room Temperature with 250ml water. Whereas the Cold Brew was flat on the aromatics and had the “Toddy Taste” of cocoa and wet coffee grounds in the sink, it still retained a bit of citrus that is definitely a major player in the blend. On the other side, the Hot Bloom/Cold Brew cup had some rich dark cherry aromatics that reminded me of the rum soaked cherry garnish from a Manhattan. In the cup, the citrus wasn’t as prominent, but heavily sweet in a lemonade like quality with just a subtle pucker of lemon on the finish, as well you could taste some of the distinct raisin-berry flavor (reminiscent of the La Illusion Cascara) in the cup which might be a flip side of the cherry in the aroma. Also a delicious cup but I think I would shorten the brew time back to 8 hours in order to pull out more of the wonderful juicy quality as well as more citrus.

I may stop experimenting with this brewing method after some great results with it due to winter swiftly approaching here in Norther Ireland, but those in warmer bits of the world (read: Texas/Houston) should play around with this some more and let me know what you think! Again all the credit goes to Jesse Kahn and Jesse Raub for their launching point and their generosity in sharing their experiences with it!

Big Update

February 11, 2010

Well, ever since i’ve been up in Chicago i’ve done a very poor job of updating, but you know, i’m in Chicago so it can be excused.
I’ve had some wonderful coffees from Intelligentsia and have yet to visit another cafe that wasn’t completely sub par on every level. A week or so ago Intelligentsia started offering two Burundi and two Rwanda coffees that have been very interesting to taste a couple different ways. I’ve especially enjoyed the Ikirezi, Burundi: Kirundo Muyinga as pour-over and single origin espresso. Tons of oak or cedar on the nose and hits you in the face with a nice sweet clementine orange acidity and some nice bitter chocolate and nuts on the finish. Almost reminds me of a chocolate covered orange candy in that sense.

Besides enjoying some amazing espresso and interesting conversations with the baristas, i’ve also been working on my siphon skills (although i still need a thermometer), as well as trying to modify my Skeleton Hario Hand Grinder, which i’ve finally found a way to have “settings”.
Basically i’ve made a small sharpie mark on the washer that controls the burrs while having the burrs completely closed together, added a mark on the plastic hopper cylinder directly below it that matches up. Then i’m measuring “settings” by half rotations or full rotations from this zero mark. So far i’ve been able to do some tests and determine which settings i generally use for which methods, and now i will be able to modify my grind settings according to taste because i know the settings rather than merely guessing on vague memory and sight.

Thats all i have for now!

Syphon Coffee

December 26, 2009

Hario Syphon and Hand Grinder


For Christmas I was given a wonderful Hario TCA-5 Syphon Coffee Maker from Avenue 18 which is the only retailer in North America i’m aware of that has an extensive collection of syphons for sale.
As a basic guide for brewing i’ve found Coffee Geek’s Guide as well as this Short Intelligentsia Trade Show Video very helpful and informative.

Short Instructions
Fine drip grind with Hario Skerton Hand Grinder
45g for 20 ounces (5 “cups”)
Completely Saturate Grounds
Stir 5 times at 55 seconds
Remove heat source
Apply Wet towel to bottom glass to increase speed of drop down
2:15 complete contact time from coffee deposit to last bit exiting top chamber

So far the best cups i’ve had have been with Ethiopia Amaro Gayo and the Cup of Excellence #15 El Salvador San Jose/Shangrila from Catalina Coffee. The fruit acidity in both is nicely accentuated as the cup cools, and the cup is very smooth when its hot.

Anyways i’m still playing around with my brewing method and what coffees work best with it, so any comments are greatly appreciated! I ordered a butane burner from Sweet Maria’s last night, and hopefully the heat increase will let me do everything quicker because the small alcohol burning i’m using makes the water take forever to get up to temperature even with a boil before.

Pictures:

Ethiopia Aleta Wondo

December 15, 2009

Unroasted Coffee in Aleta Wondo

Got a new Ethiopian coffee from Fusion Beans, a roaster out of Houston Texas. The Coffee is from a village in East Africa’s Sidama Region called Aleta Wondo, this coffee is special because 20% of the profits from the green beans go straight to the village for things like schools, clean water, health care and other projects for the 14,000 farmers in the region, you can read about it on the website linked above.

The coffee is unusually very spicy for an Ethiopian coffee, but there is still a bit of floral elements with a very strong lemon or and possible grapefruit accent. I haven’t been able to pull out the berry accents that are very apparent in the aroma of the beans and the grounds, but the cup hasn’t diminished because of it. The coffee lingers with strong nuts and chocolate (along with the spice notes) as it cools, with a intense (and sometimes harsh) acidity which could be a by-product of experimenting with different brewing techniques.

Check out this coffee though, your money goes to a great small roaster and to some really cool projects in Africa!

Aleta Wondo Village
Fusion Beans

Coffee for the week

December 7, 2009

Short notes: Heavy big body, fig, sweet with cherry on finish and slight grape aroma.

Hario V60

December 2, 2009


I’ve been using this method mostly to brew at home recently. It brews a great 5-12 ounces for one person and i’ve gotten better results than Chemex, which I suspect has to do with Hario’s thinner filters as well as something about the design, the ridges seem to give better airflow and room for the coffee to expand during the bloom. I don’t know for sure what it is about the design, but it tastes wonderful!
I’ve been using the method laid out over at Barismo as a general guide and it has been very helpful but i’ve found a slightly higher dose has worked for my taste/grind.
The brew today was the Cruz del Sur, Organic Peru from Intelligentsia. It has been a really great coffee for the past week but i don’t have a great idea yet of everything it can do. It has a really wonderful caramel/green apple aroma even as whole bean, and the tartness of that same green apple is what has continually taken my attention, especially how surprisingly pronounced it came out in a press pot. This week I also want to do a comparison between PT’s Coffee’s roast of the Amaro Gayo next to Max’s Roast from Amaya Roasting/Catalina Coffee!
Anyways, that’s all for today. Just wanted to give an update and encourage everyone to get your hands on a V60 to experiment with for at least an afternoon!

Kenya Thiriku

December 1, 2009


Image by Tonx via Flickr

Roaster: Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea
Producer:Thiriku Factory
Farm:Thiriku Cooperative
Region:Nyeri District, Thigingi area
Varietal:SL-28, SL-34
Altitude:1700 – 1900 m
Harvest:November – January
(from Intelligentsia’s website)

Got a pound of this coffee and a Peru from Intelligentsia, but this one is outstanding. Today at Tuscany Coffee we made a Chemex, a Pourover and pulled a couple shots of it and every manifestation was outstanding.

The dark sweet blackberry and more savory notes came through with the Chemex and in the aroma of the grounds. David from Tuscany observed that the grounds smelled almost like a savory steak rub.

David then pulled 4 or 5 double espressos that were absolutely stunning, though at first it was very upfront with the tropical mango/pineapple fruits and very unbalanced, we up dosed and ground coarser and more syrupy sweetness came through with hints at the savory notes. The espresso still mostly hit the tropical fruits that were not as noticeable in the Chemex.

This coffee is absolutely stunning though, if you are going to pick up or order a coffee from somewhere, this is the most impressive i’ve had in a couple months.