Melbourne is experiencing a filter coffee revolution. This isn't only evident by the number of specialty cafes offering filter coffee, nor the overwhelming local demand for the Mahlkonig EK model filter grinders (currently 170 on backorder for 7 months). It is evident by the natural and emerging demand for the purity and power of the product. The demand is natural because the palate of true coffee connoisseurs inevitably leads to a desire for the pure form of coffee only produced by the light and delicate roast of filter coffees. The demand is emerging because simply put: brewed filter coffee contains more caffeine per serve.
As one goes on their coffee odyssey one naturally desires a purer and more powerful hit. Like any drug coffee leads its pilgrims towards refinery and experience. And let's face it. This city is hooked! So let us talk briefly about filter coffee as an experience...
Unlike espresso which is bold and beautiful: one and a half atmospheres of pressure (or nine bars) force water over and through finely ground espresso for a burst of around thirty seconds. Filter coffee is, on the other hand, delicate and delightful. Filter coffee involves a more coarsely ground, lighter roasted coffee usually placed on a paper filter (hence the term "filter coffee") and usually uses the force of gravity rather than pressure to gently brew the beverage. Filter coffees are often brewed for a much longer period from 3 minutes in the case of an Aeropress or pourover and to up to twenty hours in the case of cold drip. Let's look at a common filter brewing recipe for pour-over:
Ensure your coffee is recently harvested, expertly roasted and fresh: around 5 days. Make sure your equipment is state-of-the-art such as Hario V60, Kalita Wave or Clever dripper. Wash and rinse your paper filter with hot water. Twice. Make sure your kettle is hot and remains at a consistent temperature or use a thermometer. You will need digital scales and a stop watch to follow the recipe. When it's time to brew you may want to follow these steps
- Weigh 12-15 grams of freshly roasted filter coffee ground coarsely
- Weigh 200 grams of boiling hot water
- Pour extra hot water into the V60 and the receiving vessel to pre-heat. Discard.
- Add coffee to your wet, rinsed filter
- At 0:00 seconds - Pour 50 grams of water at 93-97 degrees (slightly higher temps for EK grinder)
- Stir or "agitate" the bloom ensuring all particles are wet
- At 0:30 seconds - Pour 50 grams of water at 93-97 degrees and agitate again. Use a consistent and repeatable action such as a X or circular pattern.
- At 1:00 seconds - Pour the remaining 100 grams of water in a clockwise pattern starting from the centre, moving to the outside of the filter paper moving grinds into the centre.
- At 2:21 seconds your beverage should be ready.
- Wait for 1-3 minutes before drinking.
FAQs - If you're beverage is juicy and sweet and you can make out subtle flavours described by the roaster then you have done a fantastic job! If your brew time is far outside of those times then try repeating the exercise with slightly coarser or finer grinds; coarser to reduce the total brew time, finer to shorten the brew time. If you cannot make out the subtleties of the flavours and the taste is muddled then you have likely over-dosed. Try dosing less and repeating the exercise. If the beverage tastes watery then you may need to increase the dose or water temperature. If the beverage tastes dry or bitter you may need to coarsen your grind or reduce the water temperature.
The best way to improve your brewing is practice, and tasting. Yes use your stop watch and scales with your recipe as a way of objectively measuring your consistency and accuracy. However use your taste to inform what to do next!
We welcome the filter coffee revolution in Melbourne. We are excited to see what trends and evolutions that come from this natural and emerging change towards more pure and powerful coffees.