Brew like a barista with the lat­est gear

Brew like a barista with the lat­est gear In We this watch age the of high-end barista mea­sure cof­fee, ev­ery out the trip cof­fee to the on café a dig­i­tal is a theater scale and ex­pe­ri­ence. check the tem­per­a­ture of the wa­ter. We stare as the rivulet of stea

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Scheinin » rscheinin@ba­yare­anews­group.com

In this age of high-end cof­fee, ev­ery trip to the café is a theater ex­pe­ri­ence.

His com­pany, Bris­bane-based Blos­som Cof­fee, works with Blue Bot­tle Cof­fee, Chro­matic Cof­fee and other brands to cre­ate prod­ucts that en­hance what Kuem­pel calls “a whole new world of cof­fee at home.”

We vis­ited him in his lab — a clas­sic, Sil­i­con Val­ley garage, but crammed with ket­tles, brew­ers, fil­ters, drip­pers, flow me­ters and in­ven­tions-in-the-mak­ing. There, he demon­strated four spe­cific com­bi­na­tions of cof­fee-brew­ing gear, and, as this writer can at­test, the cof­fee cre­ated in each set-up was ex­cel­lent — as in, “I’d pay three bucks for that.”

Setup No. 1: Easy Brew­ing for Busy Par­ents (About $175)

If ev­ery morn­ing is a scram­ble, Kuem­pel rec­om­mends the Ninja Cof­fee Bar Brewer. A counter-top cof­fee-mak­ing sys­tem, it’s eco­nom­i­cally priced and re­quires nei­ther brains nor skill to make a cup: “Set it and for­get it,” he says.

Just use high-qual­ity cof­fee.

Kuem­pel demon­strates. He pops open a vac­u­um­sealed “cof­fee vault” made by La Colombe Cof­fee Roast­ers: The cof­fee in­side is pre-ground, pre-mea­sured and costs less than $2 per pot.

He sets a pa­per fil­ter in the Ninja’s cof­fee drip­per, pours in the ground cof­fee, fills the glass carafe with wa­ter, and sets the dial, in­struct­ing the Ninja to make half a carafe. A mo­ment later, we hear the rum­ble and aroma of brew­ing cof­fee as the Ninja mea­sures out the proper amount of wa­ter, heated to about 205 de­grees Fahren­heit.

Kuem­pel sniffs, as if as­sess­ing the bou­quet of a fine wine. Then he sips and as­sesses: “Nice and hot and tastes pretty good — choco­latey, a lot of body, good bal­ance. It’s your clas­sic cup of cof­fee, but a lit­tle bit sweeter, a lit­tle bit fresher, and a lot eas­ier to brew.”

Setup No. 2: The Trav­eler (About $60)

Kuem­pel sug­gests this set-up for any­one who spends time on the road: “You can make an amaz­ing cup of cof­fee ab­so­lutely any­where — on the top of a moun­tain, or in your ho­tel room.” Here’s the no-frills setup: • a por­ta­ble Aero­Press Cof­fee Maker, es­sen­tially a plas­tic cylin­der with a plunger that works much like a French press.

• a Prismo at­tach­ment (made by Fel­low Prod­ucts) with a me­tal cof­fee fil­ter that fas­tens onto the base of the Aero­Press.

• pre-pack­aged, or­ganic, sin­gle-source Ethiopian cof­fee from Blue Bot­tle Cof­fee’s “Per­fectly Ground” as­sort­ment box, known as a Voy­ager Pack. (“It’s the kind of cof­fee that I re­ally nerd out on,” Kuem­pel says.)

He at­taches the Prismo — Blos­som Cof­fee’s tech­nol­ogy, coming to mar­ket this fall — to the base of the Prismo. He pours the ground cof­fee into the Aero­Press and sets it and the Prismo atop a stained M.I.T. cof­fee mug — the very mug from which he drank his first “eureka!” cup of cof­fee as an un­der­grad.

He boils the wa­ter and pours it into the Aero­Press, mea­sur­ing out less than a cup for an es­presso-style brew. (A small amount of steam­ing wa­ter poured over a full pack­age of ground cof­fee should in­duce pow­er­fully con­cen­trated fla­vors, as in es­presso.)

Kuem­pel stirs it for 10 sec­onds, then lets it sit for a minute be­fore push­ing down the plunger. Now the cof­fee be­gins to drip through the hole at the base of the Prismo at­tach­ment and into the mug as ex­pec­ta­tions build: “Mmmm!” Kuem­pel says, prac­ti­cally moan­ing. “This is so juicy and sweet. It’s like bit­ing into a mango.”

Setup No. 3: En­try-Level Pour Over (About $170$185)

“‘What should I get for my house?’ I get asked this ques­tion ev­ery day,” Kuem­pel says. He rec­om­mends a Fel­low Stagg Ket­tle along with a stain­less steel hand grinder by Por­lex. (The grinder costs about $80; less durable, but also ef­fec­tive for about $40, is a Hario Sk­er­ton hand grinder).

You will also need an Oz­eri Pronto Dig­i­tal Scale; a ce­ramic Blue Bot­tle Drip­per (co-de­signed by Blos­som Cof­fee); flat-bot­tomed, brown pa­per cof­fee fil­ters (they’re 10 per­cent bam­boo), also from Blue Bot­tle; and Chro­matic Cof­fee’s Gamut Es­presso beans, which “of­fer a huge range of fla­vors to ex­plore.”

Kuem­pel grinds the cof­fee; the Por­lex has ce­ramic burrs that make for an even grind. He weighs out 23 grams of ground beans on the scale.

He transfers the ground cof­fee to the fil­ter set in­side the ce­ramic drip­per — made in a fam­ily-owned shop that Kuem­pel has vis­ited in Arita, Ja­pan. The wa­ter is heated to 205 de­grees in the stove­top ket­tle, which has a ther­mome­ter on top.

Mov­ing the ket­tle in con­cen­tric cir­cles, Kuem­pel pours a quick, nar­row stream of wa­ter over the ground cof­fee — just enough “to get it wet and bloom­ing, to give it a start.” He lets it sit for 45 sec­onds, then pours again — more con­cen­tric cir­cles, “try­ing to hit all the grounds evenly to en­sure an even ex­trac­tion of fla­vors.”

“Oh yeah,” he says, tast­ing this lat­est mug. “You get some nice nut­ti­ness with Gamut, and a lit­tle of those lemony essences that I like.”

Setup No. 4: Week­end War­rior (About $880)

This gear is for those will­ing to lav­ish time and ex­pense in pur­suit of the ul­ti­mate brew: “Re­ally nice equip­ment,” Kuem­pel com­ments. “You’re go­ing to be mak­ing cof­fee just like in a café.”

He pours Chro­matic Gamut beans into a Baratza Sette 270W grinder, a high­per­for­mance ma­chine that “weighs the cof­fee as you grind it and gives you a great grind pro­file.” He grinds 21 grams and shows off the re­sults: a rich red­dish brown, earthy.

He heats the wa­ter in a Stagg EKG+ ket­tle; it has a vari­able tem­per­a­ture con­trol as well as Blue­tooth ca­pa­bil­ity. He moves the ground cof­fee to a high­qual­ity, white pa­per fil­ter made by Hario. That sits in­side a Hario V60 glass drip­per. That sits on top of a glass carafe.

Once again, Kuem­pel moves his ket­tle in con­cen­tric cir­cles, em­pha­siz­ing that each cup is an ex­per­i­ment. In fact, at ev­ery stage of the brew­ing process, there are vari­ables to be played with: “You’re learn­ing to ex­tract the nu­ance — how to be a pro.”

He tastes the cof­fee: “Wow!”

Note: Prod­ucts men­tioned in this ar­ti­cle are rec­om­mended by Jeremy Kuem­pel. Prices may vary, de­pend­ing on where you pur­chase items.

PHOTOS BY GARY REYES — BAY AREA NEWS GROUP

Jeremy Kuem­pel, CEO of Blos­som Cof­fee, is pho­tographed with a va­ri­ety of gad­gets used to brew the per­fect cup of cof­fee at his shop in Bris­bane, Cal­i­for­nia.

A Ninja cof­fee bar with La colombo cof­fee is demon­strated at Blos­som Cof­fee.

An en­try-level kit for the per­fect pour over in­cludes a Blue Bot­tle Drip­per, Oz­eri Pronto dig­i­tal scale, Por­lex hand grinder, Blue Bot­tle fil­ters and a Fel­low Stagg ket­tle.

An Aero­press cof­fee maker with a Prismo at­tach­ment and Per­fectly Ground cof­fee is a com­bi­na­tion that makes a great cup of cof­fee for the trav­eler.

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