Making Coffee With...

Making Coffee With Jonathan Aldrich

Jonathan Aldrich (Aldi) is an OG in the Dallas coffee scene, helping open Cultivar Coffee before moving over to Houndstooth and taking the role of Head Roaster at Tweed Coffee. He took 6th place at this year’s South Central Brewers Cup, allowing him to advance to the Nationals in early 2015. We sat down with Aldi to learn about his routine and how his brew can be reproduced at home.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

DCC: Tell us a little about the coffee you used at the Brewers Cup.
JA: The coffee I used was one of three lots we bought from Finca El Diamante, the Guatemalan farm I visited in May. All three lots are washed bourbon and caturra varieties. This particular lot was from the later part of harvest and the higher elevations of the farm.

DCC: What attracted to you that coffee? What flavors were you trying to showcase?
JA: Because of the higher elevation and the later harvest, this coffee is incredibly sweet, bright, and because of attention to detail in the washing process, very clean. Compared to the other lots we purchased, it has more citrus, a nice rose florality, and a more delicate mouthfeel – all qualities I felt would play well at Brewers Cup. I also felt my connection to the farm – having visited, met the producers, etc. – would lend a more personal quality to the presentation.

DCC: Is the coffee available retail?
JA: Not quite yet. We are selling the three Diamante lots as UNO, DOS, and TRES, and we are currently on DOS, so this particular lot will probably be making a January debut.

DCC: What brew method did you use at the Brewers Cup?
JA: 185 size Kalita Wave

DCC: What made you decide to go with this method over other brew methods?
JA: I like the geometry of the Kalita a lot versus other brewers- the big, flat bottom versus the cone shape of other methods, the multiple small holes versus one large exit point. I think these things help promote overall extraction as well as an evenness in that extraction. The Kalita is easier to brew with little to no agitation, and the restricted holes give you the ability to grind coarser than you would in say, a V60 or Chemex, because you aren’t just relying on the coffee bed to slow down the flow of water. It also makes it very easy to knock coffee down off the sidewalls of the brewer and keep all the coffee in the slurry for the entire brew.

Aldi and Houndstooth owner Sean Henry

Aldi and Houndstooth owner Sean Henry

What You’ll Need:
Kalita Wave (185 size)
Kalita Wave bleached filters (185 size)
Bonavita Variable Temp Kettle (with Flow Restrictor, preferably)
Scale
Timer
Great water
Tweed Coffee
A vessel for your brew

Aldi’s Method:
1. Grind 30 grams of coffee a little coarser than a cupping grind (between paper filter and French press grind). Use an EK43 if you have one (you have a $2,000 grinder at home, right?)
2. Heat 600 mL water to 204F
3. Pre-wet filter
4. Add coffee to Wave and give it a little shake to distribute coffee evenly
5. Pour 60mL of water over all grounds and bloom for 30 seconds
6. At :30, pour 90 mL fairly quickly, starting from center and spiraling outward. This pour should be pretty aggressive.
7. At :50, pour 90 mL quickly but gently, starting from the center and spiraling outward, with the last circle of the pour hitting the ridges on the edge of the brewer to knock coffee down into the slurry.
8. At 1:30, pour 90 mL quickly but gently, starting from the center and spiraling outward
9. At 2:10, pour 90 mL quickly but gently, starting from the center and spiraling outward. Hit the edges at the end of the pour.
10. At 2:50, pour 80 mL quickly but gently, starting from the center and spiraling outward. Hit the edges at the end of the pour.
11. Finish pouring at 3:15, drain to 3:35-3:40
12. Swirl and Serve

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Making Coffee With...

Making Coffee with Andrew McCaslin & Rob Reagan

The boys of Palace (from left to right): Rob Reagan, Andrew McCaslin, Kevin Friemel, and Patrick Burns

The boys of Palace (from left to right): Rob Reagan, Andrew McCaslin, Kevin Friemel, and Patrick Burns

During our trip to the Panhandle, we had the good fortune of meeting Palace Coffee Company baristas Andrew McCaslin and Rob Reagan. This year, they competed in the Big Central Brewers Cup and placed fourth and fifth, respectively. These guys know their coffee. Andrew and Rob were nice enough to sit down with us and explain their Brewers Cup methods and a little bit about the coffees they used.

DCC: What coffee did you guys use at the Brewers Cup?

AM: I used a honeyed Caturra/Catuai grown and processed on Finca Santa Marta in Costa Rica. The coffee was sourced by Thrive Coffee Farmers, and roasted by Evocation Coffee Roasters.

RR: I went with a natural Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere (Zero Defect), sourced by Keffa Coffee, and roasted by Evocation Coffee Roasters.

DCC: What flavors did you want to bring out?

AM: I wanted to bring out the cherry, vanilla, almond extract, honeydew, and salted baker’s chocolate to balance the high end.

RR: For the aroma, we were getting a lot of berries, lemon, and jasmine. The acidity was that of a white grape, and developed into a green apple-like acidity as it cooled. It had a light, crisp body, fruit-like sweetness, and jasmine on the finish.

DCC: What brew method did you go with and why?

AM: The brew method I used was built around the roast profile of the coffee. The roast profile, thought up by Roman Leal, was short and aggressive. The intent was to highlight the acidity and sweetness of the coffee. So, I went with the Tiamo flat bottom single cup brewer, which has a slightly slower flow rate than the Kalita Wave.

RR: I chose the Kalita Wave for a couple of reasons, but the main reason was the design. It’s a flat-bottom dripper, so it promotes a super uniform extraction by allowing the water to move through the grounds evenly, giving it an edge over cone filter methods (in my eyes, at least). Also it looks GOOD. This is a presentation after all, so when you can get an awesome extraction from a beautiful looking brewer, it’s a win all around.

Andrew’s Brew Method

McCaslin showing how it's done.

McCaslin showing how it’s done.

Equipment Needed:

1. .1g Scale
2. Variable Temp Bonavita Kettle
3. Tiamo flat bottom single cup
4. Kalita filters

Directions: Brew ratio 19g/285g

1. Set the kettle to 206 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grind the 19g beans to a medium coarseness.
3. Bloom the coffee with 30mL of water for 35 seconds.
4. Pour the remaining 255ml of water in intervals, focusing on keeping the slurry volume high enough to keep the temperature constant and to provide enough weight in the brew bed to keep the flow rate steady.
5. The finish time should be approximately 3:30.

Rob’s Brew Method

Reagan during his routine at Big Central

Reagan during his routine at Big Central

Equipment Needed:

1. .1g scale
2. Variable Temp Bonavita Kettle
3. 155 Stainless Kalita Wave
4. 500 mL Kalita Decanter
5. Kalita Filters

Directions: Brew Ratio: 18g/275g

1. Set the kettle to 204 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Grind coffee at medium coarseness, and sift out the fines.
3. Weigh out 18g of sifted coffee into each brew vessel.
4. Use 36ml of water for bloom, immediately stir bloom, and allow coffee to bloom for 35 seconds.
5. Pulse pour 40ml of water in 15 second intervals (pour 40ml in 15 seconds, wait 15 seconds, and repeat).
6. Finish pouring at 3:20.
7. Finished brew approximately 3:35.

You can pick up Evocation’s Costa Rica Finca Santa Marta and Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere locally at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary’s cafe in Ft. Worth. Or, you can buy them directly from Evocation here. (Note: the profiles of the retail roasts will differ from Rob’s and Andrew’s competition profiles, but still serve as worthy replacements)

Photos courtesy of Palace Coffee Company

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Making Coffee With...

Making Coffee with Lorenzo Perkins

Lorenzo Perkins: Sweet beard, better coffee

Lorenzo Perkins: Sweet beard, better coffee

DCC: Tell us a little about the coffee you used at the Brewers Cup.

LP: It’s from Finca San Jose in San Juan Sacatepuez, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. 1900 MASL, red bourbon, washed, patio dried, and delicious. We’ve been buying this coffee from the Sanchez family since 2006, and this past year Guillermo took over the majority of operations from his father. It is processed at a mill owned by Luis Pedro Zelaya, who is incredible at what he does, as well.

DCC: What attracted to you that coffee? What flavors were you trying to showcase?

LP: It is an unbelievably complex and dynamic coffee, really one of the best Guatemalan coffees I’ve ever had. In a lot of ways, it actually reminds me of a really good Kenya. It starts with a vibrant black tea/oolong tea aroma and has a blackberry/currant jamminess throughout. It has a wonderful silky, creamy body, and when it cools, the acidity pops even more, but it is tamed by some really delicious anise and cardamom notes.

DCC: What, if any, were some of the other coffees you were considering using.

LP: For me, this was a pretty obvious choice. We have a bunch of delicious coffees from great producers, but this is really the one that I knew I had to brew.

DCC: Is the coffee available retail?

LP: Absolutely! And at less than $14 a bag, it’s a steal. You can find it on our website or at coffee shops around town.

Working his magic

Working his magic

DCC: What brew method did you use at the Brewers Cup?

LP: I used the Kalita Wave 185 Stainless Steel dripper because it’s the jam. And, we sell them on our website.

DCC: What made you decide to go with the Kalita over other brew methods?

LP: Because it’s the jam. Seriously. It’s very forgiving, but still allows for some intense manipulation of flavors by changing just a few subtle things. I also just wanted to take my favorite brew method, brew it up like I do every day, and see what the judges would say. For me, it was very much a calibration more than a competition in that I wasn’t gunning for a win; I was really just looking for feedback on my coffee and my method.

Now on to the fun part…

What You’ll Need:
Delicious Coffee from Finca San Jose Ocana
200 F Water
Kalita Wave Pot 1L Kettle
Kalita Wave 185 Stainless Steel Dripper
Filters (KW 185, duh)
Kalita Wave 500 mL Glass Server
Jennings CJ-4000 Scale (or any scale with at least 1 g resolution and 2 kg capacity)
Timer
Mad Skilz

Steps:
Place filter in dripper, and rinse with ~200g of hot water.
Add 28g of delicious coffee, and shake gently to even coffee grounds. Place dripper on the server and all of it on the scale.
Add 60g of brew water. Let the bloom collapse (usually 30-45 seconds).
Add 60g of water in 10 seconds. Let drain for 10 seconds.
Repeat pulse-pour cycle until you have reached 450g of water. The final brew time should be around 3:30, with a TDS% of 1.35-1.4.
Swirl coffee in server.
Make uncomfortably long eye contact while pouring the coffee into the cup.
Serve, or enjoy it yourself you greedy sonofa…

You can follow Lorenzo on twitter @LorenzoPerkins, and follow Cuvee @CuveeCoffee.
Go to http://www.CuveeCoffee.com to purchase anything listed in the “What You’ll Need” section (sans water, timer, and Mad Skilz). Or, if you are just need the coffee, Oddfellows retails the San Jose Ocana and other awesome roasts from Cuvee.

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