Tagged "Brew Guide"


How to Start Brewing At Home

Posted by Keith Yee on

Coffee is a necessary thing for most of the people. Some people just enjoy drinking it but for others this is not enough, they are interested in learning how to prepare it so they can enjoy wherever they are. However, it can be troublesome for a coffee lover to head down to a café, especially in the morning when you are getting ready for work or school, so here are my tips to start you off brewing at home with just a few simple tools.

delicious coffee common man coffee roasters

Many of my friends and customers have asked me this question, 'How can I brew a coffee at home that tastes delicious whilst not spending too much money on coffee equipment?' My answer is always the same, go buy a Clever Coffee Dripper (CCD) and a good bag of CMCR coffee! The CCD is suitable for every beginner because it doesn’t require too much technique and the cost is relatively low. All you need to have is a CCD, paper filter, a stirrer, delicious coffee and you are good to go!

CCD common man coffee roasters

So a little about the CCD, firstly it brews coffee in what we call the immersion method. This method allows you to control the steeping time while brewing, resulting in a much more balanced cup compared to other brewing methods.

Once you take your CCD out it’s box, you’ll notice it has a release valve at the bottom of the brewer which unlocks when pushed and allows the water to start dripping when you place it on a cup. You’ll also see it comes with lid which keeps the heat in the brewer, so you can have a lovely hot cup of coffee every time! The CCD is also lightweight and portable so you can enjoy the same great coffee at home, work or even on holidays.

ccd common man coffee roasters

Here’s my recommend recipe and a list of the tools you’ll need:

CCD
Paper filter
Scale (Optional but if you want a consistent cup is worth the investment)
Stirrer (a kitchen spoon will do)
Boiling Water
Delicious coffee (roasted for filter and CMCR of course!)

Once you have all these, here how to start brewing:

  1. Place your CCD on either your scale or worktop but do not place on your cup yet otherwise you’ll release the valve!
  2. Fold the paper filter according to the line on the side and place it nicely in the CCD.
  3. Rinse the paper filter with hot water to get rid of the papery taste and warm up the brewer.
  4. Put 15g of ground coffee into the CCD (medium coarse grind size – ask your barista for a filter grind if you don’t have your own grinder).
  5. Pour 250g of hot water into your CCD (or equivalent 1:16 ratio).
  6. Stir 5 times and put the lid on.
  7. Allow to steep for 2:15 minutes.
  8. Take off the lid and stir 5 times.
  9. Now place your CCD on your cup to release the valve and let it drip.
  10. Sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of joy!

It's really that easy! This is my recommended recipe but you may find you like it slightly stronger or weaker depending on the type of coffee you have. Why not have an experiment at home to see what works for you? remember consistency is the key so having a scale and a home grinder will mean you can repeat your recipe again and again.

Did you know that you can also brew cold coffee at home using a CCD? check out our blog for our method and enjoy a delicious cold brew made by you!

Read more →

Home Brewer: Cafe in Your Kitchen - Part Three

Posted by Stella Cochrane on

So now you have your machine up and running and can pull a mean espresso shot it time to turn our attention to the thing that everyone wants to try - Latte Art! We are going to look at creating the Rosetta, a fern or leaf shaped pattern, which is the most well known and often the most difficult design to master. Here we are going to run through the process step by step, so you can try it at home.

Common man coffee roasters milk texturing latte art

So you’re getting consistently good shots of espresso and you’ve mastered your milk steaming with silky consistency. But all your challenges are not surmounted! Increasingly in cafes around Singapore, patterns and designs are flowing onto the surfaces of coffees — while everyone around you is happily enjoying the filigreed designs, your frustration builds as you get no closer to achieving more that what your friends and family fondly refer to as your ‘abstract phase’. Well it’s time for that to change — below are some tips and pointers for getting you closer to giving birth to your first Rosetta.

My first prefacing statement would be that without a good set of shots as the base for your coffee, there’s no way you’re going to be able to achieve great latte art, let alone a good tasting coffee: so get those shots right! Remember: once your face gets close enough for the first sip, no-one can see the latte art anyway!

Secondly, you really need to have mastered your milk texturing before attempting your Rosetta. If your milk is lumpy, airy, too foamy, not foamy enough or not folded together thoroughly, you’re going to have all kinds of problems as you try to pour.

Another important factor is the spout on your milk jug (something that you generally only learn after purchasing 37 different milk jugs to find — the right one). Make sure that your milk jug has a clearly defined spout — check out our Incasa Milk Jugs we’ve got in stock: one of the reasons we chose these jugs is that they’re great for latte art. A spout with no point or one that has a big lip at the edge will disperse your milk widely, restricting you from any fine detail.

Alright — you know what you’re aiming for and you’ve prepared your shots. For the Rosetta, you want to steam your milk as if for a flat white — much thicker than this and there will be no definition to your design. Once you’ve steamed your milk (check out last month’s Café in your Kitchen — Part II article if you’re not sure about this), you’re ready to roll!

Begin pouring straight into the center, keeping the jug low to the cup. Begin with quite a slow pour to help stabilise the crema in the cup.

common man coffee roasters latte art guide

Once you’re around 1/3 of the way up the cup, move the jug so you’re pouring towards the back and start slightly shaking or ‘jiggling’ the jug side to side to throw the foam forward.

common man coffee roasters latte art guide

Once the foam has marked the surface of the crema, continue that same shaking or swaying motion while moving the pour backwards through the cup. Upon reaching the front of the cup, pour in a straight line toward the back of the cup, through the lines you’ve previously created. Your swaying motion will create the leaves of the Rosetta with the final pull through creating the stem.

You can then start practising doing fancy things like this:

common man coffee roasters guide to latte art

Alright — that’s a step by step walk through but just a few more tips:

  • Always make sure that the tip of your milk jug spout is as close to the surface of the milk as possible (pour low).
  • Once you’ve shaken the white to the surface, use a fairly slow swaying motion to create the leaves — don’t zig-zag but rather rotate just your wrist.
  • Try with a large cup to begin with — more surface area = more canvas.
  • Always attempt to have only as much steamed milk as you need in the jug: too much milk and the angle of your pour towards the end will still be too low.

So with these tips, hopefully you’re closer to achieving that great finish to your coffees, and always remember: the espresso base and texture of your milk are the most important factors — latte art is the icing on the cake!

Visit the Common Man Coffee Roasters online shop for all your home barista equipment needs!

If you want more hands-on practice and tuition in latte art, sign up for a Latte Art Class at the CMCR Academy, details of all our classes and how to book.

Read more →

How to Brew the Perfect: Kalita Wave (Flat Bottomed)

Posted by Stella Cochrane on

Sometimes it seems like there's more coffee toys than you can poke a stick at. Whenever one pops up, we like to put it to the test and see what kind of deliciousness it can help us deliver. Pourer devices have been a staple in our toolkit for a while now but after some further experimentation, we've decided to focus on supporting scrumptious gravity fed from the Kalita Wave 185.

If you haven’t brewed with a Kalita Wave yet, you can expect some cutting edge qualitative differences compared to results from a Hario v60. If you haven’t brewed with a v60 yet, I’d still recommend getting a Kalita Wave (ha!). Jokes aside the useability and consistency of result brew to brew with the Kalita has bumped it to the top of our list and whether you’re at home or overseeing a brew bar in a cafe, we’d recommend giving it a burl!

Why more consistent?
The Kalita has three small drainage holes at the bottom which, in addition to the filter paper, allow for an even and controlled drawdown of your brew water, as opposed to the results with one large hole. This helps to standardise your rate of drainage, which in turn provides more consistent results. In testing, we’ve enjoyed great cup quality, clarity and consistency. It’s almost fool proof if you can follow a few basic steps in preparation and brewing.

How do I use it?
Here’s a quick ‘How to’ on brewing with a Kalita:

KALITA WAVE BREW GUIDE

Great brewed coffee should be complex, satisfying and clean. But most of all, it should be easy to repeat! Here’s a good starting point for a rockin’ Kalita brew:

TOOLS

  • Kalita Wave 185
  • Filter papers
  • Grinder
  • Digital sclaes
  • Timer
  • Kettle or urn
  • Cup or vessel

INGREDIENTS AND TARGETS

  • 15g of your favourite CMCR filter roast coffee (lighter than espresso)
  • 280g (or ml) of filtered water or adjust to a Coffee Brew Ratio of 16.7:1(brew water:coffee)
  • Beverage after brew: 250g
  • Target TDS: 1.23% ‐ 1.48%

METHOD

  1. Bring your kettle to the appropriate temp (~94°C).
  2. Insert filter paper into Kalita.
  3. Use hot water to thoroughly rinse filter paper and preheat device.
  4. Grind 15g of coffee at a medium coarseness (18‐22 on a Baratza grinder).
  5. Place Kalita, with pre-wet filter paper on decanting device and scales, add ground coffee and tare the weight.
  6. Pour 50g of 94°C brewing water in the first 15 seconds. This allows the grinds to release the gas they contain and makes it easier to integrate them in to the brew while pouring.
  7. Wait 15 seconds before pouring another 130g of brewing water over 15 seconds (during 0:30‐0:45) in a steady circular motion. Stay in the centre and avoid pouring into the gaps of the filter.
  8. Pour another 100g of brewing water over 15 seconds (during 1:00‐1:15).
  9. After all liquid has dispensed, discard the used filter paper and rinse Kalita.
  10. Sit back, relax and sip your deliciously brewed coffee.

You can buy a Kalita Wave ceramic cup and filter papers from our online shop, happy brewing!

Read more →

Home Brewer: Tips for choosing the right beans

Posted by Stella Cochrane on

When it comes to selecting the right bean for your home brew the offerings can be daunting; with a world of jargon and information to decipher which inevitably ends either grabbing an old faithful or putting your trust in the prettiest packaging. To assist you in taking a new step along your coffee journey we have put together some of the key factors we think you should look for in your beans; unlocking a exciting new world of tastes.

Tip 1: Freshness

Coffee is a fruit, a cherry in fact and it is a carefully grown, agricultural product and therefore has a shelf life. Rule of thumb (as with any fruit) - fresh is always best. That's why we label all our bean with their roast date so you can easily identify the products' freshness. 

So when should I look to buy and finish my coffee by? Buy it as freshly roasted as possible and look to use it all up no later than three weeks after the printed roast date for maximum enjoyment. The ideal ‘peak’ flavour times are usually found between day 7 and 14, which will be the norm for most of the great cafes you visit. You can still potentially look to use beans for up to 4 weeks, but most of the time, after day 14 the quality and flavour intensity will start to fade and leave you with some very flat cups and sad faces.

Tip 2: Roast Profile

You should adjust your roast profile according to your preferred brewing method but here at CMCR we only roast to light or medium as we find this brings out the best bean characteristics ranging from fruity and herby to nutty and chocolatey. We call these espresso and filter roast, catchy names right?

So what is the difference? An espresso roast coffee has been developed in the roaster for longer, increasing caramelisation and body, which suits being prepared on an espresso machine to extract delicious elixir. It is generally more robust so it can stand up to the heat and pressure exerted by the machine during brewing. On the other hand, filter roasted coffee has been developed less in order to retain more of the sparkling acidity and delicate flavour perfect for a pour-over or immersion brew.

Dark roasts tend to have a much more smoky and spicy flavour which we feel masks the true flavour of the bean. However, this is a purely subjective and you may find that a darker roast suits your particular taste buds - only way to find out is to drink lots of coffee!

Tip 3: Blend or Single?

Our rule of thumb, if you want to drink your coffee with milk, choose a blend. If black coffee is your thing, choose a single origin however this can vary tremendously depending on where the coffee is from, more on this later.

With a blended coffee, most of the time, specific single origins have been chosen to use in that blend that create a complex and balanced espresso while still having a milk based beverage in mind. The coffees have been carefully selected to provide increased body, some delicious brown sugaring flavours, or to simply add some floral complexity in order to help balance the espresso. 

A single origin coffee is from a single known geographic location, such as a farm or estate. This allows the coffee drinker to appreciate the specific nuance that a particular growing region provides. So if you are a black coffee drinker you will be more likely to perceive and enjoy this subtlety of flavour easier without milk masking it.

Tip 4: Choosing your origin

Growing conditions and economic factors vary greatly across the planet and so it’s no surprise that coffee grown in one country will be different from the next. Coffee prefers to grow in the warmer latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. This band of latitudes is often referred to as the ‘coffee belt’. Within this band a vast array of variables exist including altitude, rainfall, soil conditions and sunlight, all of which will alter the outcome of how your coffee will taste.

So how do I narrow this huge offering down to what I might like best? If you seeking fruit driven flavours and floral aromas, starting with African coffees is a great option. Many coffee drinkers swoon at the thought of excitedly opening up a bag of Ethiopian beans to deeply inhale the complex berry and wine like aromas. Or salivate at the thought of slurping on a juicy stone fruit influenced coffee from Kenya.

South and Central American coffee might be your thing if you are looking for clean coffees exhibiting delicate sugar browning sweetness, like chocolate or buttery pastry, accompanied with a softer fruit character. As most of the world's coffee production hails from this area, it’s highly likely that you will find a winner here. Brazil is well known for producing coffees with a heavier body and peanut character. While further north in Colombia these flavours a mellowed and typically present more so as caramels and toffees. Sounds delicious! Do I even need to look elsewhere?

Perhaps if you prefer a coffee to be heavier bodied and earthy, selecting from the India and Indonesian region is for you. Often exhibiting a luscious and syrupy body combined with herbal and savoury flavours, these tend to be the most dividing in personal preference and definitely sit in the ‘Love or Hate’ bracket.

Tip 5: Choosing the right varietal

Since coffee is a fruit, there can be huge flavour differences between the most common coffee varietals; namely Bourbon, Typica and Caturra. While many countries will tend to favour growing a particular varietal, it’s not uncommon to see some varietals transplanted into different growing regions. The Geisha varietal is one of the most sought after on the planet. It’s saturated sweetness, clarity and vibrant flavours can range anywhere from dark berries to mangos or even peaches, if you see this on the shelf be sure to catch it whilst you can!

Tip 6: Processing

Washed, wet processed, honeyed, natural process....what do these all really mean in terms of flavour? Well if you are looking for a clean, bright and sweet brew then a washed bean is the one for you, but if you want something much more fruitier and bolder look out for a natural processed bean.

A washed coffee, or ‘wet processed’, has had the outer pulp of the cherry removed, then placed in fermentation tanks before being washed and placed out to dry. The result is often a coffee with a great clarity of flavour while exhibiting a bright complex acidity to match. A very popular method with producers as the fermentation process is controlled and leads to less defects.

A natural processed coffee is a coffee that has been dried with the cherry still remaining on the bean and parchment throughout the drying process allowing the fruit flesh and sugars to impart upon the seed. The result is often a ‘fruit bomb’ with a spectacular aroma and wine like characters. These are the two more common methods available but many others exist, such as Honey Processed (somewhere between Washed and Natural) and Wet Hulled.

Tip 7: The higher you go, sweetness and acidity is gained

Coffee prefers average temperatures between 18˚C – 23˚C and, in order to maintain that while still getting enough rain, higher altitudes are often preferred.

So what numbers should I look for? Anything growing above 1500 masl (meters above sea level) is quite a high growing region, and will generally exhibit a refined sweetness and acidity (remember those tasty Kenyan coffees we talked about earlier?). While lower down at 1000masl – 1250masl the acidity is mellowed significantly and more earthy tones are found, think Brazil or India.

So there you have it, our seven key indicators for choosing a good coffee. As I have said before though, nothing is set in stone and the best way to find out which coffee bean is right for you is to try as many as possible and remember to have fun along the way.

Read more →

How to Brew the Perfect: AeroPress

Posted by Stella Cochrane on

Are you familiar with the Aeropress? It’s one of the most distinctive brewers on the market, looking like a giant coffee syringe. But that’s not all! It’s also the only device to have an international competition, the World Aeropress Championship, dedicated to it.

The Aeropress’ creator also invented the Aerobie, that type of Frisbee that’s a ring instead of a disk. You know that one that goes really far and gets stuck in a tree? The Aeropress is also extremely portable. So portable it can hold a Porlex Mini hand grinder inside of it. So portable it has its own Mile High Aeropress Club. Add to all this the fact that it’s easy-to-use, flexible and easy to clean (very important) and you’ve got a pretty sweet device. All these things make it the secret favourite device of many baristas, the device they use for their caffeine hit at home.

So how do I use it?
Well, one of the great things about the Aeropress is how flexible it is. There is a vast range of grind size, contact times, agitation levels and water temperatures you can use. As always, we encourage you to do your own experiments. A great way to find out about the avant-garde of Aeropress brewing is to check the winner’s recipes on the World Aeropress Championship website, and try crazy ideas like cold blooms and adding different grind sizes at different times. We’d also like to present our own recipe for this humble device. A recipe that is simple, repeatable and delicious.

AEROPRESS BREW GUIDE
Great brewed coffee should be complex, satisfying and clean. But most of all, it should be easy to repeat! Here’s a good starting point for a rockin’ Aeropress brew:

INGREDIENTS & TARGETS

  • 13g of your favourite Common Man filter roast coffee (lighter than espresso)
  • 200g (or ml) of filtered water or adjust to a Coffee Brew Ratio of 16.7:1 (brew water:coffee)

TOOLS

  • Aeropress
  • Filter papers
  • Grinder
  • Digital scale
  • Timer
  • Kettle or urn
  • Carafe for decanting

METHOD (INVERTED)

  1. Bring your kettle to the appropriate temp (~94°C).
  2. Insert filter paper into Aeropress lid, and use hot water to thoroughly rinse.
  3. Grind 13g of coffee at a fine-medium coarseness (14-18 on a Baratza grinder).
  4. Attach the rubber stopper with about 1cm to spare on to the base, and make sure there is no danger of slippage. Do not attach the lid or filter at this stage.
  5. Invert the Aeropress so the rubber stopper is facing upwards so you can fill the brew chamber with grounds and water.
  6. Use hot water to preheat device and then empty for the next steps.
  7. Place Aeropress on scale, add ground coffee and tare the weight.
  8. Pour 200g of 94°C brewing water into Aeropress and start timer.
  9. Gently stir for 10 seconds, then add lid and steep for 2 minutes total
  10. At 2 minutes place your cup upside down on top of the Aeropress and, while gripping the cup and Aeropress brew chamber, flip so cup sits right way up on your bench with Aeropress on top ready for plunging.
  11. Plunge into your cup. Plunge should take 15-30 seconds.
  12. Plunge all the way down until you can’t anymore.
  13. After all of the liquid has dispensed, remove the cap, point the Aeropress at a bin and hammer the base to shoot the coffee puck and filter into the bin.
  14. Rinse Aeropress.
  15. Sit back, relax and sip your deliciously brewed coffee.
  16. To get your hands on a Aeropress for home, you can grab one from our online shop. If you’re keen to rock one of these tools in your cafe, then just mention it when you place your next order and we’ll pop one in with your next coffee delivery.

This article was originally published on the Five Senses Coffee website: Aeropress Brew Guide.

Read more →