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