The Art of the Brew: Method in the Madness

When it comes to drinking coffee, particularly concerning filter methods, things can occasionally get a little overwhelming. To the beginner brew enthusiast, there’s rarely a straight answer. Do you go with V60, or Chemex? What about the Aeropress? Or maybe stick to the old faithful Cafetiere stashed in your Mum’s cupboard? Luckily, we at Garage ponder this as much as you do, and have decided enough is simply enough. It’s time to cut through the lingo and get back to the basics.

We took one coffee, and brewed it every way we could. This is what we found.

The Coffee
For this particular test, we needed a statement coffee; something big, bold with recognisable, easy-picked-out flavours. Loma Verde, one of our current Colombian single origins, was a no-brainer. With flavour notes of Dark Chocolate and Red Berries, it’s guaranteed to show up however you brew it. We use it in Maypole, our House Espresso Blend, to add a little roundness and intensity to the mellower notes of the Finca Guadalupe Zaju from Mexico. Prior to testing, participants initially described the coffee as having a bold mouthfeel, intense, tart, punchy, classic, and strong – all good things, if you ask me!

The Test Subjects
We tested each brew on four participants, all of whom were familiar with Loma Verde and how it should taste. All of them have worked in Specialty Coffee in some capacity.

Methods and Recipes

Espresso
Our espresso recipe is a tried and tested classic, dosing approximately 18.5g of fine espresso-ground coffee, extracting it over 26 seconds, aiming for a 34-36g double shot. With a quicker extraction, you tend to get more sour notes; any slower, and things start to get a little bitter. Of course, always adjust to taste!

V60
We use the Hario V60 filter cone and their 02 paper filters for a quintessential pour-over. With a medium grind (remember, your friendly Garage barista is always on hand to grind your coffee in our shops!), we use 15g for one cup, extracting over two and a half minutes with 225g of water. Always make sure to preheat everything, and bloom with about 30g of water over the grounds first, allowing 30 -40 seconds so CO2 can escape.

Chemex
Typically, with its thicker filters, the Chemex takes a little longer to extract than a V60. We use a slightly coarser grind, but brew to the same ratio (30g coffee:450g water).

Aeropress
There’s a lot of contention surrounding Aeropress recipes and methods, but this is how your friendly neighbourhood blog-writer likes to do it! Using the same ratio as above (15g of water for every 1g of coffee), we brew using the standard method, allowing the coffee to immerse for two minutes before extracting over 30 seconds. We use a stovetop grind, medium-fine, significantly finer than the V60.

Cafetiere
Ahh, hello French Press, my old friend. Use a coarse grind, the same ratio as above, bloom first, and immerse for 2 and a half minutes before plunging. Yum!

METHOD

GRIND

DOSE

EXTRACTION

Espresso

Very fine, (<1).

18.5g

26s, 34g double shot.

V60

Medium, (4.2).

15g

2m30s, 225g.

Chemex

Medium-coarse, (4.8).

30g

4m40s, 450g.

Aeropress

Medium-fine, (3.4).

15g

2m immersion, 30s extraction, 225g.

Cafetiere

Coarse, (6.5).

30g

4m30s, 450g.

 

The Results?

 With our drinks brewed, we set to the terrible task of tasting them. Loma Verde delivered the big bold flavours we expected with every method, though the day didn’t go without a few surprises!

Espresso
When dialing in the Loma Verde as espresso, we modified our standard recipe, dosing a little lower than expected at 18.3g of coffee, lessening the time of extraction to around 24 seconds, and ending up with a double shot of 36g. With the original recipe, we found it a shade too intense, but here it offered a sharp mouthfeel with plenty of dark-chocolate intensity, sweetened by those familiar red berry notes.

V60
We used the V60 as our filter “control”, and with the above recipe, we got a subtle drink with plenty of high notes. The redcurrant notes of the Loma Verde were very apparent, offering a tart, sharp mouthfeel, with the merest hint of chocolately notes to round things off.

Chemex
We found the Chemex to be a little sweeter than the V60: the thicker paper of the Chemex filter lets through a little less oils and sediment than the V60 papers, and though slightly less rounded, offered a similarly light and refreshing brew.

 Aeropress
We found the Aeropress to be drier and sharper in mouthfeel than the V60, leaning a little closer to its Espresso counterpart. With a little more sediment, we found less high notes and more of a classic juicy base to the drink. Your author expected this one to be his firm favourite for Loma Verde, but was left wanting a little more sweetness from the berry notes.

Cafetiere
We’ll be honest, the Cafetiere really surprised us! Sediment-heavy, the brew was dark and fruity, with loads of juicy berry notes and a nice milk chocolate overtone. It would make for a beautiful morning brew!

The Final Verdict?

Well, that’s up to you! The great thing about coffee is that there are so many ways to drink it, and no two people like their coffee the same way. Hopefully this guide will help you nail down what you’re looking for in your morning cup!

Loma Verde is always available on our online store, or in our stores in Canterbury and Whitstable, ground to perfection whatever the method. We also sell a variety of brewing methods and glassware in store!

We have a coffee to suit every method and taste, so if you have any questions, never hesitate to contact us!

 Now, if you’d excuse me, I need to get over this caffeine crash.


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