Hyperlapsed pour over 

Pour over run through
The following link displays myself brewing via pour over. The video is hyperlapsed, so it’s only 16 seconds. However you can see the timer counting up as the video runs its course. 

What I did:

25 grams of home roasted beans (medium grind setting)

400 grams of boiled water (vessel on a scale) 

Start timer and add 50-60 gram bloom (pre-infusion) 

Once timer reaches 40-45 seconds, start continuously pouring in small circles gradually pouring towards the outer slurry, and then bringing back toward the middle. (Try not to hit the actual filter) 

Pouring to a brew weight of 400 grams, so at about 350-80 pour around the outter perimeter of the filter to wash the grounds down. (This is the only time where it’s ok to hit the filter with the water)

Allow brew to finish, should be at 3-3:15 on the timer.

Final post – Video time: more V60 talk and how to talk about it

http://youtu.be/c7tlICRTfpg

Posting over the past 10 weeks has given me the chance to talk about my intrest in better coffee. However, I’m always learning how to better convey my thoughts in a more engaging way. The video I posted demonstrates, in my opinion, an ideal way to discuss coffee to new people. 

The video in the link is a walk through of making coffee with a hario v60. I personally like this video not so much for the individual process that the barista uses, but I love his appreciation and the vocabulary he has for coffee. I find Ben’s approach to describing hand brewed coffee very inviting. 

Most people when trying this type of coffee for the first time will not be on board at first. A clean cup of coffee will be sweet and fruity, which most would think is about as far from coffee as it gets. But when watching the way Ben engages the viewer which each step, people can learn to appreciate and even enjoy this perhaps outlandish coffee experience. 

I find that when I describe home brewing, in comparison to Ben Turiano, my approach is more factual and intense instead of inviting. Excitement is good but intimidation pushes people away. I strive to contextualize my ideas about coffee in a more easy-going manner that draws more people in. I think this video is an excellent example of how to introduce people to home brewing and brewing by hand. 

Thanks for reading. 

Live tweeting 

This week I live tweeted from the intelligenstia roasting works tour in chicago. The tour takes place at the roasting facility every second friday of the month. The tour provides education on what is considered high quality versus lesser qaulity beans/cherries, how the beans are harvested, and lastly how the roasting process works. 

In terms of coverage, live tweeting presented some advantages and disadvantages in comparison to traditional news coverage. 

The advantages are that it is much easier and more discrete to live tweet content. The ease of access via smart phone allows for more spur of the moment reporting and presenting what one finds Intresting. If an individual is speaking about a topic, one can just record and send the video as a tweet for anyone to view. I recorded multiple short videos of speakers on the tour and used that instead trying to type out all the information In a 140 character post. Since live tweeting utilizes Twitter, one can use hashtags and @usernames to draw more attention to the post and bring more people in, for example I used #coffee and #coffeeroasting to perhaps draw some attention from other coffee enthusiasts. 

But the age disadvantages to live tweeting. Twitter posts can only be 140 characters long, so phrasing has to be concise but may lack all the information that someone would want to present. I had a hard time sending out tweets because they would initially be over character count and I would miss other information because I was focused on fixing my post. Traditional coverage would in this case be a better medium for conveying whole ideas and thoughts. Though Twitter has community inducing features, I personally am not that popular via Twitter and my following is small. So a lot of my content may just be taking up space on Twitter than no one really reads. 

Overall live tweeting offers a very interesting take on news. It allows for a sort of micro news feed. Instead of recording everything I saw I was able to post a photo here, a video there, all with a certain flow that did not seem interrupted by the medium of Twitter. Though the character count of posts makes things slighty difficult it let me make more posts over a period of time, plus, I can share my posts on other social networks such as Facebook and of course WordPress.  

Blogging and media theory 

In a previous status I created a connection between coffee and media richness. In that post I used home brewing and roasting to describe a “rich” medium and a kurig or going to starbucks serves as a “lean” medium. This connection works because the theory is about quality, the coffee quality can be a metaphor for the qaulity of communication of a specific medium or tool. 

However with this post I am taking a break from my theme of coffee and applying a theory to my blogging experience as a whole. The theory I would like to discuss is channel expansion.

Channel expansion theory “expands” upon media richness in that it factors into account, the more familiar a user becomes with a medium, allowing it to be used more like a rich medium. For example, texting is considered a lean medium compared to face-to-face. This is due to the lack of cues and situational awareness that is lacking in a text based conversation. However with time and more familiarity with texting, a user could “expand” the channel of texting to act as rich medium. A user may be able to create new cues and adapt to the challenges of texting. 

With this being said, I do not feel that the theory holds true for my blogging experience. 

I’ve become fairly familiar with WordPress and keeping a blog. But I do not feel that the channel has expanded for me. To me the medium of blogging still, after 10 weeks, feels very one sided. Though I can express my ideas to a wide range of people online, I do not have any way of knowing how many people have been engaged by my posts. Also, the asynchronous nature of comments allows for disinterest to arise due to the in-the-moment responses being factored out of the conversation. 

Overall I would not say that I have had a bad experience while blogging, only that I do not feel as though the medium is anymore rich now than when I started. Blogging still seems very stagnant and onesided in terms of communication and discussing ideas. 

Tommy’s coffee shop picks 

In my last post my friend Tommy, in the video I took of him, mentioned some small coffee shops that he felt utilized more of a true coffeeshop feel where coffee quality and community with more important than how fast you can make a cup of coffee.

He mentioned intelligentsia and arcedium. These are two really good coffee shops that will deliver very well may coffee as well as a interesting coffeeshop experience. 
Intelligentsia, Will be the most similar to a Starbucks in the sense that it is more of a chain and it’s is fairly quick paced. However that quick pace does not affect the quality of the coffee. You can find intelligentsia in multiple locations in Chicago. My favorite however is located at Monadnock Building, 53 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604

arcedium is a very low-key coffeeshop. It is not as busy as some other shops and has a very inviting and a homely feel to it. The reason to go is because they roast their own coffee right there in the shop and you can see the roaster in the middle of the store. There is a nice view of the lake right outside of the store. The employees are very into their coffee and open to conversation. Arcedium is located at 

One of my favorite places to go in the city is the Wormhole. It’s total hipster chic with 80’s scifi movie lure everywhere including a full sized delorian in the back. The reason this place is very cool besides the nerdy culture surrounding the store is that the shop is very efficient with its brew methods. Wormhole is similar to intelligentsia with its multiple brew methods but it is much more relaxed and not as fast paced. You can have a conversation with the baristas while they make your drinks, they are very enthusiastic about their brewing.
Wormhole is located at 
These are some of my favorite coffee shops and I suggest visiting one of them.

A barista perspective on Starbucks

The link below is a video I shot to gain some perspective on Starbucks from a actual employee perspective. This is Tommy, a good friend of mine and fellow coffee enthusiast.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=793257914054747

As we can see from the video, tommy has presented some ideas both positive and negative. 

First off, as he mentions, Starbucks is a corporation more so than a coffee shop. Even with the cafe element employed by Starbucks, there is still a lack luster sense of community due to the overarching theme of efficentcy rather than qaulity at starbucks. It’s similar to a conveyer belt some could say. But it is fair to point out that many of the employees greet you with a smile and hospitality. But that’s as far as it goes in most cases because the care for the coffee stops there. 

Tommy had mentioned a positive though, that Starbucks employes a fair trade policy. Though it’s not direct trade, fair trade still provides a fair wage for farmers and does not try to pay them less. 

Overall my thoughts were shared with Tommy. Starbucks is a good company but coffee quality is defiantly not at the forefront of the company’s agenda.

Quick French Press Tutorial

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=792962380750967

I linked a from my Facebook a quick video for how to do a decent french press. 

What you need: 

26 grams of coursely ground coffee

Grinder, preferably a burr grinder with variable settings

Timer 

Scale

415 grams of water

French press

What to do:

1. Boil water in a kettle, any will work for this method. Weigh 26 grams of coffee beans with your scale and dump the beans into the grinder.

2. After water is boiled, grind the coffee grounds. 

3. Preheat the press with some hot water from the kettle.

4. Pour the water out and put the press on the scale and tare it.

5. Pour the grounds into the press and make sure the scale reads 26 grams. (as long as it’s close, sometimes scales are finicky) 

6. Set a timer for 5 minutes lowly pour the full brew weight into the press (415)

7. After a minute give the brew 6 stirs and put the plunger lid on.

8. At 5 minutes slowly press the plunger down to the bottom of the press.

9. Pour out into a cup or container immediately and enjoy. 

Coffee shop romance 

I’m aware that in previous posts I take a stand when it comes to coffee shops and or Starbucks. I find that it is much better to brew at home, but I will say that coffee shops have some major benefits in the end.

If it wasn’t for meeting at the library cafe by my house, I wouldn’t be with my girlfriend today. Now this is not to say that coffee is the magical elixir to find love, however it’s a great starting place. 

But even if it’s starbucks that’s something. Coffee shops offer a very homely feel and are in public. So not only is the environment calming but being in a public space is comforting to someone who is meeting someone else for the first time. 

Furthermore, being able to sit down with someone while drinking a latte is much more appealing than something like eating in front of the person for the first time or sitting quietly in a movie theater. A cup of coffee makes the first conversation much easier.  Basically, it takes off the pressure of having to think of something to do with someone you may already be nervous to meet in the first place. 

A little backstory on me, I was getting out of work later than expected and I scheduled to meet up for coffee around 10am. I did not think that I was going to make it but I contacted  my now girlfriend and told her that I may be able to meet up with her if I work about four times as fast. It worked, I made it to the cafe (slightly sweaty) in time. I ordered us two pour overs and we began talking for the next hour or so. We both talked about our interests, I may have talked a little too much but my girlfriend said it was great because I had a smile on my face the whole time. It was after that first meeting up for coffee that I knew she and I were going be something great. 

So in this case, it really came down to my passion for coffee that made me choose that cafe. And also, coffee was the main topic of my conversation…. Now I may have only had a smile on my face because of my strong interest in coffee, but because of that smile, my girlfriend didn’t have to drink twice about meeting me again (plus she drinks pour overs now). 

So you never know, that person you’re getting coffee with may end up being the love of your life.

Direct trade, what is it?

Direct trade is the process of buying coffee straight from the source, the individual farmers. Through this process, the “middlemen” and certification organizations are cut out of the equation. Most roasters, especially Intelligentsia view this method as the best suited for acquiring quality coffee. But why is this way supposedly better than others? Direct trade comes down to relationships rather than business transactions.

By buying directly from the coffee farms, beneficial relationships are formed between the farmer and the buyer. Farmers are paid a higher percentage for their beans (25% higher than fair trade organizations) because their wages are based off of the quality of their produced. To put it simply, when a farmer produces higher quality beans they are recognized and paid higher for their effort.

Intelligentsia, as stated previously, takes their direct trade very seriously. Because Intelligentsia does not have to answer to the practices of third party organizations, the roasting company can put its own standards into act. The company prides themselves on their standards which include:

taken from intelligentsia.com 

Whether or not all roasters follow these standards exactly, these standards are generally the cornerstone of direct trade. Direct trade is usually looked at as the most ethical of coffee gathering processes. Intelligentsia representatives actively go out to farms in countries across the globe to insure that proper standards are held and that farmers are being paid correctly.

Direct trade brings about exceptional coffee quality, creates long lasting relationships with roasters and farmers, and seeks to create standards that are socially and environmentally conscious.

Here is a link to a site that has information on direct trade and other coffee gathering information as well. 

http://www.ethicalcoffee.net/direct.html