Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is a slow pour

Or more accurately, love is a slow pour-over coffee. No bitter. No sour. Just a complex dance of flavors.

My husband is a self-professed coffee geek. He's also a thrifty coffee geek which is why we still have our cheapo grinder from our newlywed days and an inexpensive coffeemaker. Every once in a while, we'd eye something more splendid. After all, who wouldn't want this beauty, the Elektra Micro Casa in copper and brass, adorning their counter? 

Okay, maybe that's a bit steampunk for many. The point is that we'd always believed that one had to plunk down something in the four figures to purchase a professional-quality espresso machine.

Well. That may be true.

Or you could spend $100+ (much less if you already own a very good grinder) for the very best coffee of your life.

Welcome to pour-over or manual brewed coffee. This is not coffee for mass production or mass consumption. Not a hyperactive, multitasking brew. With hand-poured coffee, the coffee is brewed in very small batches. One cup at a time. Two to three small cups at most. The tools are simple and beautiful. Sculptural. Note the almost nautilus-like swirls on this Hario V60-02 ceramic cone. The beehive shape of the swan-necked pouring kettle.

Again, the technique is simple yet artful. One grinds a certain amount of coffee and places it in the filter in the ceramic (or glass) cone. One heats a precisely measured amount of water to the correct temperature and then slowly...very slowly...pours a thin stream over the coffee over a period of a few minutes. One must not rush this step. It is mindful living at its essence. To be in the moment, inhaling the aromas released from the beans. A small break from a frenzied, overscheduled day. Best of all, this break doesn't take hours. No. This is a small pleasure that takes only minutes.

Intrigued? Boston-area readers, head over to barismo to dip into the world of hand-poured coffee. This small-batch roaster and purveyor of manual brewing equipment in Arlington, MA, will pour you one of the best cups of coffee you have ever enjoyed. Warning. Barismo is a cash-only store (as I found out to my chagrin on my first trip there). Also, they rarely have decaf coffee ready to pour (though they had sealed bags of decaf whole beans available to purchase when I visited the store).

From obscurity in this country, pour-over coffee is beginning to reach a wider audience. The New York Times Magazine recently published an article, "Coffee's Slow Dance," on this subject. Williams-Sonoma has begun to sell the implements for brewing pour-over coffee.

And so to my husband, the coffee geek, happy Valentine's Day. May we have many years of savoring great coffees simply brewed at home. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you too. I hope that you all feel warm and loved today.


  1. beautiful pics. i prefer your simplicity to the brassiness of the steampunk victorian maker.

  2. I have to agree with Devadeva...I couldn't deal with the copper and brass, I mean masterpiece, but the others are really pretty cool looking...lovely, even. So does this slow-poured coffee come out like coffee or espresso? Not that I'm a big expert on the difference..

  3. LOL. I guess that steampunk beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :) So (not that I'm an expert) espresso is extracted by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee. So slow-poured coffee is coffee, not espresso. Unfortunately, for professional quality espresso, you still have to pay the bucks. The espresso machine has to generate the steam pressure. No way around that (I don't think anyway).


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