The process, secrets and art of making pour over coffee
Once again, I’m on the east side of the city. There is something about it that makes me think it’s frozen in time. To be honest, I will probably end up moving to this area sometime in the future. My absolute favourite place to visit while in the neighborhood is the Distillery District, a complex of 47 Victorian Industrial buildings that have been converted into an entertainment, arts and business haven. Every two steps you will find a nice restaurant, a local business, endless art galleries or a coffee shop.
While my usual choice is Balzac’s Coffee, this time I decided to explore a non-chain cafe. Located off the main streets of the distillery, in the last place you’d think to find it, is Arvo. An elegant little cafe with a total industrial design. It perfectly matches the European atmosphere of the whole district. What makes this place even cuter is the fact that they share space with a local florist. You can expect to be charmed and maybe spend some money on the beautifully potted succulents (cleverly placed) when you first step inside. On the other hand, flowers are not the only thing you would love about the place. The marble bar displaying a couple of pour-over makers instantly lets you know that they really care about their craft. Soon, you learn that, not only do they have one of the best coffees in town (Calgary’s very own Phil & Sebastian roasters), but they also host variety of events. Their concert series, live jazz nights and coffee tastings makes this place the most attractive coffee shop I’ve found so far.
It was a cappuccino kind of day, or so I thought. While the barista was telling me how his favorite drink was the cortado, I spotted an item on the menu that I had yet to try, “pour-over coffee" (English language is so literal!). In theory the process is very simple, but in practice it requires some skill, knowledge and what we call in spanish “callo” (literally translates as “callus” but lets call it experience). It is literally the action of pouring water over ground coffee to extract its flavour into your cup.
Luckily for me, the staff and the owner were all very friendly. One of the baristas was kind enough to guide me through the whole process while making my coffee. Like the good girl I am, I took some notes. This is my explanation of the process from what I could understand.
You will need
- Grinder (preferably manual)
- Paper filters
- Gooseneck Kettle
- Cone-shaped dripper (he used a Hario V60)
There are many factors that can dramatically change the taste of your coffee. The grind of the coffee, the ratio of grounds-to-water and the temperature of the water are the foundation for this brewing method. He used:
- Coarse grain (Phil & Sebastian Roast from Ethiopia)
- A ratio of 17 to 1 ( 23gr / 391ml)
- Hot water (90 to 96 Celsius)
For a newbie like me, I find this brewing method very specific. And only by experimenting can one get better results.
- Bring water to boil
- Place filter on the cone and rinse it (get rid of that water)
- Add your pre-measured ground coffee (make sure the coffee bed is level)
- Pouring water for about 15-20 sec. (You will see bubbles, this is called “blooming”)
- Wait for about 15-20 sec.
- Continue pouring and waiting until done with water (always keep water level 1/2 to 3/4 full)
- This whole process should last about around 4 mins tops.
- Pour and enjoy!
Or knowledge rather. From 'how to pour the water' to the scientific explanation of 'why you have to wait in-between'.
- Rinsing your filter gets rid of the paper flavour
- When pouring you want to start from the center and continue circling around it (avoid the edges)
- When you see the bubbles it means the coffee is liberating CO2 (so you have to wait for it in order for the water to soak)
- The time you take in the whole process will determine how strong your coffee will be. (Different roastings require different times in order to get the best flavour)
- You want to “pre-heat” your cup before serving your coffee. Pour some hot water on it and then get rid of it. (nobody wants coffee getting cold too soon)
After an amazing learning experience I am most definitely coming back to this little gem! I already have a date in mind, April 15th is their coffee tasting. Considering that they've only been around for 8 months, I can’t wait to see everything else they will offer. It is always rewarding to see someone giving so much to the community. Not only amazing products, but with full understanding of their craft and willingness to share with others. It’s been a thrill to write this one. Hope to read you all next week!