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)
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


SHIRTS 2: The Sequel

First off, thanks to everyone who bought a shirt in our first printing.  The response was overwhelming, and it’s always awesome when I see a DCC shirt in the wild.  And since the demand has exceeded the supply, we’re doing a second printing.  This time, there are COLOR OPTIONS!!!  Eight, to be exact.  The price will hold fast at $15 for anyone who pre-orders, but this is the last printing, so this is your last chance.  Well, it’s not your LAST last chance; Method: Caffeination & Fare and San Antonio’s Brown Coffee Company have some for sale, but I believe their supplies are dwindling as well.  So, without further ado, let’s get to the good stuff.

The Original:


The color options*: (from top left to bottom right) black, grey, blue, evergreen, indigo, orchid, cranberry, coffee


Here’s the skinny:
How much do they cost?
$15 (+$5 shipping if you want yours mailed)

How threadbare are these things? 
These are the finest tri-blend shirts American Apparel has to offer. They’ll be perfect for the Texas summer, assuming it ever gets here.

How will they be delivered?
We can mail them to you, or we can always meet up somewhere around town to hand deliver it. I hear Dallas has some good coffee shops. Maybe we could meet there.

What sort of Ponzi scheme is this? Whose pockets are getting lined with those sweet, sweet shirt profits? 
This whole venture is two-fold. One, the shirts are badass and everyone should want one. And two, it is a way of supplementing the cost of a really amazing contest we will be putting on in the near future. So, if you aren’t going to buy a shirt for your shirtless torso (how lewd), do it for your greater coffee community.

Ok whatevs, I’ll take one. How do I order? 
It’s easy. Just shoot a PM to the DCC Facebook page with all pertinent information (name, size, color, shipping information, how you’re paying). We’ll get back with you and make sure everything is everything.

How do I pay? 
The DCC isn’t some giant mega-conglomerate – I’m just a man with an iPhone and a PayPal account – so our payment options are scant. You can pay with PayPal (more details to follow if you choose this option), Square, cash upon delivery, or we can even do bank to bank transfer, if you’re into that sort of thing. Prepay is preferred, but cash works (may your beans be oily and your cappuccinos too hot if you don’t pony up the cash).

How long until I get my shirt? 
Pre-orders must be made by Sunday, June 15th. The shirts will be ordered on the 16th, and it’ll probably take around 2 weeks to print them. Any change to that timeline, and we’ll let you know.

What if I just wait until after the shirts are ordered to buy one?
That’s an option. We won’t be ordering too many additional shirts, so do you feel lucky? They may also go straight up to $20 after the pre-order. Gotta incentivize that pre-order, you know. They may not, but then again, they may.

I have other questions that you didn’t cover. Be more thorough.
Sorry. PM any other inquiries to the DCC Facebook page.


*all photos of color options taken from American Apparel.


Dallas Buyer’s Club

If you’re looking for gifts for your favorite coffee geek and you want to support local businesses, this is the guide for you.  Prices aren’t listed because they may vary from place to place.  Most things are under $50, though.  This is not a complete list of all things these shops offer or even all the places that you can find these items, so please forgive any omissions.  If you let us know, we’ll make any needed additions.



Chemex:  This brew method has seen a resurgence in the past few years, and for good reason.  With its extra thick paper filters that remove almost all the coffee oils, the Chemex delivers one of the brightest, cleanest cups around.  And, it gives your coffee station that sweet “mad scientist” feel.

Where to buy:  Ascension (6 cup model), Davis Street Espresso (multiple sizes), Roots Coffeehouse (8 cup model)

Chemex filters:  They make great stocking stuffers.  They come in different variations (bleached vs. unbleached, rounds vs. squares) and people can be particular about which filters they use.  I strongly recommend the bleached filters, and I favor the rounds.

Where to buy:  Davis Street Espresso (bleached squares), Sur la Table (bleached circles)


Tiamo Coffee Dripper:  One of the newer manual brew methods to come out, the Tiamo Coffee Dripper is modelled after the Kalita Wave, but at a much lower price point.  The Kalita was the preferred method of Lorenzo Perkins in his recent South Central Brewers Cup winning brew, and the Tiamo version will allow you to produce the same beautiful cup.  With its flat-bottom design, it is made to create easily-repeatable results while still providing the clarity similar to that of the oft-finicky Chemex.

Where to buy:  Davis Street Espresso

Hario V60:  Pretty much a staple in the single-cup pour over world.  Simply designed, solidly constructed, what else is there to say?

Where to buy: Roots Coffeehouse, Davis Street Espresso


AeroPress:  Not only does it make a stellar cup of coffee in its own right, but pair it with a quality hand grinder, and you’ve got yourself a really great traveling coffee setup.  And, it can even approximate espresso (but I would really only use it for “espresso” to make an americano).  Each AeroPress comes with 100 filters.

Where to buy:  Tweed Coffee Roasters, Davis Street Espresso

Clever Coffee Dripper:  The Clever is a full immersion brewer that offers many of the benefits of French Press but without the sediment.  And because it is effectively a steeping device, it doubles as a really nice tea maker.

Where to buy:  Roots Coffeehouse, Davis Street Espresso

Bodum French Press:  French presses have been around forever, but they haven’t ever looked as sexy as Bodum has made them.

Where to buy:  Roots Coffeehouse, Davis Street Espresso, Zenzero

Toddy Cold Brew System:  It’s never too early to get a head start on your summer coffee gear.

Where to buy:  Davis Street Espresso


Bonavita Automatic Coffee Maker:  One of the first automatic machines to be SCAA approved.  While most machines won’t get water hot enough for proper extraction, the Bonavita brings water up to 195-205°F, allowing the coffee to reach its full potential.

Where to buy: Davis Street Espresso


Hario Skerton Hand Grinder:  This might be the best grinder under $100.  The design is beautifully simple and compact.  It’s great for work, travel, or if you aren’t quite ready to drop hundreds of dollars on a grinder just yet.

Where to buy:  Davis Street Espresso, Roots Coffeehouse


Escali Arti Bamboo Scale:  A very design-forward scale.  The only drawback is that it has accuracy to 1g.  .1g is preferred, but if you are using it solely as your pour over scale, then this is a great mix of form and function.

Where to buy:  Ascension Coffee

Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle:  This is THE kettle for pour over coffee.  The gooseneck allows for more control when pouring.  The temperature can be set to anything up to 212°F (with a 2°F variant) and held, which is great for keeping a steady temperature during multiple pours over an extended period of time.

Where to buy:  Ascension Coffee, Davis Street Espresso

Optipure FX-11 Home Water Purification System:  For the coffee geek in your life who has gone deep into the rabbit hole.  Water is important to great coffee.  Really, really important.  And Optipure (in Plano) makes top of line system for both home and retail shops.  This is the gift the serious coffee drinker in your life needs, even if isn’t something they know they want.

Where to buy:



Individual Bags:  There are so many great coffees coming right now, and they can be picked up all over this great city, so we can just list all of the roasters and let you go explore for yourself.  If you are lost, just about everything Ethiopia, Kenya, or Panama has been amazing recently.

Who we love: Avoca Coffee Roasters, Canon Coffee Roasters, Cultivar Coffee, Novel Coffee Roasters, Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, Tweed Coffee Roasters

Coffee Subscriptions:  Sometimes, if your loved one (or just the person who makes you coffee in the morning) has a fever, the only subscription is more coffee.

  1. Cultivar Coffee:
  2. Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters:


Conspiracy Theory Set:  A two-bag coffee set from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination.  The set is limited to 200, and the only roast date left is December 18th, just in time for Christmas.  The Ethiopia blend is beautifully on point, but I think the honeyed Costa Rica just might edge it out.

Where to buy:


Cups:  What’s coffee without a cup?  A mess on the floor.  Here are some of our local favorites mess savers.

  1. Coffee Mug:  Cultivar Coffee
  2. KeepCup:  Roots Coffeehouse
  3. Porcelain To-Go Mug:  Davis Street Espresso

Barista Training:  This is probably one of the coolest gifts you could get your fledgling home barista.  Classes offered include: Espresso & Milk Skills, Coffee Brewing Methods, and even a 2-day Barista Training Program.  They also offer coffee cuppings!

Where to buy:

For ideas on other great coffee gifts, check out the following links:


Q&A with Louie Corwin of Method: Caffeination & Fare


DCC:  So tell us about how you got started in coffee.

Louie:  I first got my start in the Dallas coffee scene in the fall of 2010 at the Pearl Cup when Mattie was still manager and Jon Meadows (of Cultivar Coffee) was only roasting coffee.  Jon was the person who really exposed me to the craft coffee world.  I had always enjoyed coffee but I never had good coffee and definitely never tasted great coffee.  The short 6 months I was there, I was hooked.  I loved the people, I loved sharing my new found passion with them, and I knew this is what I wanted to do long term.  Fast forward to fall of 2012, where I was hired on at Origin Natural Food to be in charge of the entire coffee program.  It was some of the most invaluable experience I could ever ask for. I left at the end of May 2013 in hopes of getting my own shop open, and here we are today.

DCC:  Tell us a little about the shop.

Louie: It’ll be called Method: Caffeination & Fare.  We’re located at the corner of Ross and Hall.  Right now, we’re looking to open in early December of this year.

DCC:  What roaster(s) will you be using?

Louie: As of today, the plan is to have two “house” espressos each year from various roasters around the U.S. and then rotate in a new guest espresso at the beginning of every month.

DCC:  Very cool.  Who can we expect to see guested at Method?

Louie:  We will hopefully bring in Corvus, Ritual, Heart, Commonwealth, Novo, Boxcar, Herkimer, and Novel, to name a few.

DCC:  Those are some pretty great roasters, a lot of which we haven’t had in Dallas.  It’ll be nice to have Heart back, too.

Louie:  Definitely.  The idea behind this multi-roaster approach is to bring in as many different roasters as we can while still giving the barista adequate time to really learn taste profiles of each bean every month.

DCC:  Will there be retail bags from either the “house” or the guest?

Louie: Most definitely!  And hopefully other great swag from the roasting companies, as well.


DCC:  Method is going to be the first shop in Dallas to use a Slayer.  It seems like there are times when people will judge a shop by what machine they use.  What made you decide to go with a Slayer over a Linea or a Strada, even?

Louie:  Well, some of the most memorable shots I ever tasted came from a Slayer.  I’m definitely excited to bring such an amazing machine to Dallas, but as great as this or any machine is, it still relies on the knowledge and capability of the barista in order to really sing.

DCC:  I bet there will be more than a handful of baristas eager to give it a test drive.

Louie:  No doubt.  I expect to have an industry night where baristas can come try out the Slayer.  With supervision, of course.

DCC:  What about non-espresso coffee?  What sort of brew methods will you offer?

Louie:  We’ll be offering 3 methods to start out: Espro French Press, Chemex, and Aero Press.

DCC:  What made you decide to go with those methods?

Louie:  I love the new spin on the Espro French Press- taking an older brew method and “modernizing” it, so to speak.  Our main focus will be the Aero Press, and using it to create both hot and cold brews.  It’s a technique that hasn’t been a key item at any shop in the Dallas area.

DCC:  Are you going to be using the traditional or inverted brew method for the Aero Press?

Louie:  Initially, we’ll be sticking with the traditional method, but we’d like to branch out into unique or more adventurous methods later on down the road.  As a brand new shop, we’re trying to stay simple to keep from getting overwhelmed while still being able to unique coffee and methods.  Have I said method enough?

DCC:  For the Chemex and Aero Press, will you be using paper or the Able metal filters?

Louie:  Both.  I love when you get the time to compare the different nuances of varying brew methods side by side.


DCC:  What is the “fare” of Method: Caffeination and Fare?

Louie:  I have a culinary background, so I’d love to start creating and pairing baked goods to various espresso or pour over methods.  We will also have a full food menu that will be quaint but irresistible.

DCC:  That’s a pretty amazing idea.  It would be really cool have to unique creations tailored to the current offerings instead of just the standard bagel, muffin, and plastic-wrapped scone.

Louie: Exactly!  But we will definitely have our work cut out for us on this one.

DCC:  You’re also looking to push the envelope in areas beyond what you serve.  What can you tell us about employee ownership?

Louie:  I understand the difficulties that a barista faces when trying to live off $7.50 an hour.  I’m still working out the details, but I’m hoping to offer employees a percentage of the company.  I got the inspiration after visiting the New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, and hearing the employees talk about how they love the company they own/work for.  I see that as the next huge step in the specialty coffee industry.

DCC:  That could certainly go a long way to help legitimize the job of a barista to the rest of the world.  It could become on par with that of a chef.

Louie: I sure hope so.  How else do you expect to get the best baristas AND get them to stick around?  Not only that, but I want to see the Dallas coffee scene grow.  And if we as owners don’t step up in some way or another, that growth is going to be slow.

DCC:  We’ll be keeping up with the progress of your shop as the build out continues over the next few months, but how else can people stay on top of all Method-related news?

Louie:  We don’t have a Facebook page yet, but you can follow us on Instagram @MethodCoffee.