Monday, May 31, 2010

Soft Pour: 2nd Time's the Charm

The Coffee Chroniclers have been messing around with the "soft pour" technique recommended to us by Scott Richardson from Herkimer Coffee (see, "Finessing the brew method" and "Pour speed and silt behavior with the French press") and we're happy report that we have been able to consistently repeat the technique.

We were concerned at first that the episode might be an anomaly, but our success in replicating the results with the Coffee Catcher screen are quite encouraging.  The real yield of this success is the consistent flavor and even longer cup-life it's helping us to pull from The Coffee Catcher - due to the containment of the silt below the Coffee Catcher screen.  (Also, see "does the Coffee Catcher improve flavor?")

In addition to enjoying our ability to recreate the technique, we've also really been enjoying using it in our own coffee each morning.  French press is already such a fantastic brewing method - who knew it could be better!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A "Sprodown" is in the works!

 We're excited to announce that the Coffee Catcher launch event on June 18th will be part of an epic coffee weekend featuring Why Not? Coffee's Sprodown on June 19th.  (Wondering what a "Sprodown" is?  Check out their explanation of the term.)  Visions Espresso will play host to both events, and it promises to to be a highly caffeinated engaging weekend of coffee competition and consumption.

Here is the Why Not? Coffee Sprodown press release: is planning an event geared to bring together coffee professionals and enthusiasts alike to showcase espresso excellence and the craftsmanship that goes into the perfect shot of espresso. This is to include baristas, trainers, roasters, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and of course, our coffee consumers. By bringing baristas together without the pressure of a traditional competition format, we can provide a greater learning experience, hands-on training, and a relaxed environment to do something that all coffee enthusiasts and professionals enjoy: drink exceptional coffees.

The "Sprodown" portion of the event will include baristas to be given a set amount of time to dial in the espresso of their choice on various espresso machines provided by equipment sponsors. They will have an "Espresso Assistant" to help as a second palate as well as a colleague to provide advice
and support. Baristas will then submit a description of the coffee to the "Espresso Assistant" for later use.

Baristas will then serve their 'spro to the "Showcase Evaluators" whenever they choose, as long as they are served within the set time (i.e. 20 minutes.). The evaluators will be a panel of unbiased Paciļ¬c Northwest coffee professionals. During a showcase, we encourage baristas to share their coffees with as many attendees as they wish; just as they would on their own coffee bar. 

After a showcase is over and a barista's on bar has expired, machines will be cleaned in preparation for the next barista. The previously submitted descriptors will be private and only shared with the evaluators in order to help decide coffees deserving recognition.  We want to support and award those baristas that showcase coffee excellence with specialty coffee, barista tools, and brewing equipment.  Sponsorship is being sought for these awards; as well as small wares, cleaning supplies and other showcase related necessities.

More details to be released on this event at

Monday, May 24, 2010

Coffee Catcher Unveiling: save the date!

We are extremely pleased to announce the date of the Coffee Catcher Product Launch Event!

On June 18th The Coffee Catcher's official launch event will take place at Visions Espresso from 6-10pm.

In addition to launching the Coffee Catcher, the evening will host a barista competition for the French press technique that yields the best taste results.

See more event details and RSVP on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coffee Enhancement Lounge feat. The Coffee Catcher

Created by Visions Espresso as an educational coffee laboratory, the Coffee Enhancement Lounge offers introductions and demonstrations of coffee equipment and techniques.

The Coffee Catcher will be the honored (and well-tested) guest at this week's Coffee Enhancement Lounge for the Seattle Coffee Club, taking place on Friday.

The coffee for tasting shall be Sumatra courtesy of Herkimer. Think you know a Sumatra? Think again...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pour speed and silt behavior with the French press

As you can tell by our previous post (“Finessing the brew method”), we’ve been giving French press technique quite a bit of thought lately.  Nate Jones recently made this interesting observation during his French press experimentation:
“I saw something very, very interesting when I used the Coffee Catcher today.  I think that the filter effect of the Coffee Catcher is governed by the rate-of-pour during the first few seconds of the pour as the water meets the grounds.  If, while pouring the coffee maker lets 'er rip, then the water penetrates the mesh of the Coffee Catcher and forms a single reservoir with the liquid above the mesh, leaving silt able to pass through the Coffee Catcher’s mesh base.  However, if the water is poured gently, the water and grounds act together to seal the mesh, causing an air bubble underneath - and no silt.

“If this is repeatable, it is a definite win since it would give the traditionalists an option to still clean up with the Coffee Catcher.  Also, it reveals the breadth of flavor one can achieve using the Coffee Catcher.  Finally, and most interesting, it may mean a new dimension to the French press experience - something experienced brewers can use to precisely guide silt filtering."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finessing the brew method

We at the Coffee Chronicles are really getting into the French press brew method recommended to us by Scott Richardson of Herkimer Coffee:
  1. Once pouring the water, allow 3 minutes with the cap off the press so the bloom can aerate.
  2. Gently shake in the bloom (no spoon).
  3. Allow the grind to settle.
  4. Press.
This process seems a lot gentler on the coffee, and has been given the thumbs-up flavor wise from members of our team. We would like to do a head-to-head comparison with this method and our traditional approach.

Monday, May 10, 2010