You're a devotee of direct trade, sustainable coffee. You buy your beans based on origin and flavor at independent shops such as Octane, Dancing Goats and Chrome Yellow. But if you're looking to take advantage of your love of third-wave, fair-trade coffee at home, let the caffeine connoisseurs at Octane be your guide on which products to purchase to brew that perfect cup of Ethiopian Kochere. Here's everything you'll need to be your own barista.
Read more about coffee in Atlanta -- and dining in and around the city around the clock -- in the AJC Dining Guide, coming out Nov. 13 at myajc.com/dining.
They say the grind is everything in a stellar cup of joe, which is why a good grinder is the most important tool in making hand-brewed coffee. This entry-level grinder is the preferred choice for coffee lovers who want to brew barista-quality cups of everything from drip coffee to the mighty espresso. It features more than 40 grind settings from fine to coarse, and it comes highly recommended for anyone hand-brewing coffee at home. Available at Crate and Barrel -- Shops Around Lenox and Alpharetta.
Manual pour-over systems (light and bright coffee)
Basics needed: Kettle-heated water, filter, freshly ground coffee beans, cone-shaped dripper
Directions: Place filter into dripper, fill with ground coffee, set dripper on top of coffee cup/carafe, pour hot water evenly over grounds allowing coffee to drip until serving vessel full. Grind beans according to pour-over brand recommendation.
The Hario V60 series is one of the most popular and economical conical-shaped pour-over systems. Brew directly into a coffee cup for a midafternoon pick-me-up or a Hario carafe for up to four cups. The spiral ridges inside the cone keep the paper filter from sticking to the wall, allowing water to seep out the sides as well the bottom to provide an evenly brewed cup of coffee. For the best bang for your buck, purchase the V60 kit, which includes dripper, carafe, filters and measuring spoon. Brew time 2-4 minutes depending on dripper size (up to four cups.) Available at Crate and Barrel -- Shops Around Lenox and Alpharetta.
The Chemex is an easy-to-use, all-in-one system with an attached decanter. It's great for brewing multiple cups for those days you're riding the struggle bus or simply serving a small group. Place the Chemex filter into the cone, rinse the filter with hot water to seal it against the sides, dump excess, add freshly ground beans and pour hot water over the grounds until the decanter is full. Brew time 4-6 minutes depending on dripper size (three to 10 cups.) Available at Williams-Sonoma -- Lenox Square Mall, Ponce City Market, Avenue East Cobb, Forum on Peachtree Parkway.
This fairly new system features a flat-bottomed dripper with paper filters designed specifically for the Kalita. Octane recommends this compact set as it allows anyone to brew third-wave beans without worrying about pouring technique or unnecessary contact with coffee grounds. In other words, simply grind and pour for a barista-quality cup. Set includes glass carafe and dripper, metal holder, filters and measuring spoon. Brew time 2-4 minutes depending on dripper size (up to four cups.) Available at Octane Coffee Westside and Grant Park. Call 404-815-9886 for more information.
French Press or Immersion Method (bold and rich coffee)
Basics needed: Kettle-heated water, French press, freshly ground coffee beans
Directions: Place coarsely ground coffee at the bottom of press, pour in hot water, steep for 5-6 minutes, push filter plunger down and pour coffee into cup. Grind beans according to immersion brewer brand recommendation.
Although the pour-over method tends to bring out the brighter, lighter flavor profiles in coffee, French press coffee is bold and bawdy. No, this isn't a science experiment, but if you like your coffee full-bodied and strong, this is your brew method. Most baristas agree that Bodum is a great choice for home brewing as it comes in various cup sizes and is one of the easiest brewing setups to master. Brew time 4-6 minutes depending on press size (two to eight cups.) Available at Target as well as most independent coffee shops.
If you're looking to make a quick cup of coffee, Octane says the Aeropress is the way to go. Made from heavy-duty plastic, this compact immersion brewer uses a paper filter and finer grind, and it claims to pack an espresso-like punch. While sharing some French press characteristics, the Aeropress steeps coffee in less than a minute. It's great for single cups and for those craving a bolder flavor over the sprightly pour-over. Brew time 30-50 seconds depending on press size. Available at Octane Coffee Westside and Grant Park. Call 404-815-9886 for more information.
Although all items are available online and at retail shops such as Target, Octane recommends you pick up your beans and brew products from your favorite independent coffee shop. This allows you to discuss your needs with an expert who can help you make selections.
All items listed above are available at Octane locations. To check inventory or chat with a barista about your home-brewing needs, call 404-815-9886. www.octanecoffee.com
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