Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Handy Guide to our New Manual Brew Methods

If you've been to the new Benson location (6051 Maple Street), you may have noticed a few different menu items. (If you haven't been to the new location, you should definitely go check it out.) These new items have weird, science-y names like "Chemex" and "Aeropress" but fear not. These are exciting new ways for you to taste our awesome coffee! These manual brew methods give us the chance to truly control every variable in the brewing process from the size of the grind, to the rate at which the water is poured, to the final extraction percentage (nerd alert) and the result is a clean, tasty, perfectly extracted cup that will make your taste buds sing. Let's break it down:

French Press:
Many of you are already familiar with this method. In fact, we have it on good authority that this is how a lot of you brew at home. For the rest of you: the French Press is what we call an immersion method. Coarsely-ground coffee is immersed in hot water for four minutes before it is plunged to the bottom of the pot with a metal and mesh screen. What you end up with is a smooth, rich, full-bodied cup that is perfect with a lazy Saturday morning or a romantic evening.

If you think this one sounds science-y, you are absolutely right. It was invented back in 1941 by a chemist named Peter Schlumbohm (it's like that scene in "Breaking Bad" where Gale makes coffee). Anyway, the Chemex (pronounced like chemistry... Kem-ex) is considered a pour-over method because after the beautiful glass brewer is lined with a thick paper filter the barista will pour hot water over the coffee with the kind of precision you've only seen in a science lab. While it's possible to make many different amounts of coffee in the Chemex, we chose to stick with one volume for consistency. The Chemex at Aromas is plenty to share with a friend, so grab one and come on over!

Whoever invented this brew method was, well, incredibly clever. They combined an immersion method with a pour-over method to create the great Franken-brew-method that is the Clever. Your lovely barista will line the BPA-free plastic brewer with a thin paper filter and add some medium-fine ground coffee. He or she will then add water to that brewer and allow the coffee to steep, immersed in the hot water for a couple minutes. Once the brewer is placed on top of your cup, the coffee will drip through the filter thanks to the sweet, secret, hidden lever on the bottom. 90 seconds later, voila! You have a sparkly clean cup just for you. This brew method works especially well with brighter coffees. (And those coffees pair especially well with pink champagne cupcakes... just sayin'.)

You would never know it for the quality of coffee it produces, but the company that makes the Aeropress also makes dog frisbees. To each his own, huh? The Aeropress is another semi-hybrid method. You'll see your barista immerse coffee in hot water while the brewer is UPSIDE DOWN (crazy) and then flip it over on to your cup and press that brew through a super thin paper filter. It's quite the show and the result is a very rich and flavorful cup. It's a great way to taste a few different coffees because it only makes about 8 ounces of brew OR, *pro-tip*, it's the perfect base for a decadent Cafe Au Lait.

Your barista will likely have a great recommendation for which coffee you should have brewed which way, but we encourage you to try it all! You might find you like a nice dark roast in the French Press while you reserve the nuance of a light-roasted Ethiopian coffee in a clean, syrupy Chemex. Who knows? You won't, unless you scoot on up to Benson and try it out. See you soon!