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