That time I took a Coffee Workshop…Finally

My wife, sister, and I went to a coffee workshop in Costa Mesa, CA hosted by Wayfare and taught by Jeff Clinard of Bear Coast Coffee. Jeff is a co-founder of Bear Coast Coffee and was one of the founders of Portola Coffee Lab. I’ve been a coffee enthusiast for the parts of my life that haven’t included climbing trees and giving wet willies (just to be clear, since I’m about 12 years old), but this was my first official coffee workshop. Whenever I visit a coffee shop with baristas and raosters who are legitimate and know what they are doing I make it a priority to glean from them whatever nugget I can to make my home brewing experience that much more enjoyable and tasty. But this workshop was the first for me, and they succeeded at setting the bar high for any future courses I may take.
What I learned:
Jeff did a great job of answering the questions “What is coffee?”, “What is the history of coffee?”, and “How do you make coffee?” At least, as good as one can do in an hour and half workshop. I won’t cover everything he taught us here, but you can read these articles (here, here, and here) over at National Coffee Association, USA to educate yourself. Or you can check out these past posts. Jeff’s love for coffee is evident, but his love for what coffee does is even greater. His love of coffee stems from the communal aspects of coffee. Coffee, starting from the earliest days in the Ottoman Empire, has been enjoyed amidst conversation and collaboration. This is what makes Jeff love coffee and it showed in his presentation. Even to a small group he was able to convey this.
How to Make a Cup of Coffee with an Aeropress:
This is the part of the workshop that has changed my day-to-day brewing experience the most. For the last thirty minutes of the workshop we dove into the world of Aeropressing. The Aeropress is a fairly new item to hit the coffee world but for those who love a combination of control over the brewing process, a timely cup, and smooth, rich flavor it is a must have tool in the repository. The aeropress is a plunging device that mixes the best of press pot and espresso worlds to create a unique cup of coffee. I’ve found the system to be very forgiving as long as one follows some basic rules that are required to be followed for any home brewing to be successful (grind level, water filtration and temperature, and grounds-to-water ratio). A quick search online proves that there are many recipes for aeropress, but I thought I would share what I use (The Coffee Compass, a regularly trusted source for coffee knowledge and happenings, recommends these five recipes).
I’ve learned to love the Intelligentsia App and part of the reason is for their Aeropress recipe:
Fill your kettle and set to boil. Be sure to add additional water for preheating your Aeropress.
Pull plunger halfway out of the Aeropress and stand upright
Weigh out your coffee, and grind coffee on a sand like setting
Once the kettle boils, preheat Aeropress and decanting vessel with water
Place an Aeropress paper filter (I bought a metal filter here) in the plastic filter top and pre-wet both.
Add ground coffee to Aeropress. Check to see that the coffee weight hasn’t changed, then tare to zero again
Start your timer as you begin to pour your water.
After a minute, stir the Aeropress four times in a clockwise motion.
Screw the plastic Aeropress filter top onto the Aeropress. Wait an additional 3 minutes.
After a total of 4 minutes, invert the Aeropress onto your decanting vessel and begin plunging.
Plunging should take 15-20 seconds. When the coffee has been plunged and the Aeropress makes a slight hissing noise, stop plunging—the brew is finished!
Happy Pressing!

Coffee Tour: Prague and Budapest

I knew heading on this trip that Prague and Budapest were hipster-hangouts (Bohemia, after all, is in Prague). But little did I know that the third-wave of coffee had hit these cities hard, and the world is better for it.

The third wave is, in many ways, a reaction. It is just as much a reply to bad coffee as it is a movement toward good coffee. – Trish R. Skeie, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters

Some observations:

  • English, it seems, is the language of third-wave coffee (obviously while also being the language of the world economy). Menus, items for sale, brewing methods etc. were all in English. It made my life easy.
  • The coffee shops (espresso bars, roasting labs, cafes etc.) are concentrated in the same areas, mostly.
  • The third-wave is fairly new in Prague and Budapest, but has a firm grasp. Most shops have started within the last 4 years.

Now, for the good part…pictures.

Prague

Our first stop…EMA Espresso Bar

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Second…Original Coffee

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Third stop…La Boheme Cafe

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Budapest

While we loved the coffee in Prague, Budapest had a lot more options. It seems like specialty coffee has deeper roots, or at least is spreading quicker, in Budapest.

Stop #1…Sock’s Coffee

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Stop #2…My Little Melbourne

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Stop #3…Tamp & Pull

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Stop #4…Kontakt

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Stop #5…Espresso Embassy

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Stop #6…Blue Bird Cafe

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We didn’t get to visit all the shops on our list…but that just gives us reason to go back! Until next time Prague, and Budapest…

Oh…and this sums up our coffee tour…

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