April 6th, 2011 BEN WATERHOUSE | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Better Brewers

lede_betterbrewers_3722IMAGE: Jelani Memory
     
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While pour-over has become the standard at the city’s finest cafes, home coffee geeks have been steadily expanding their arsenals of java-related gadgetry. Where once the Chemex and French press reigned supreme, there is now a bewildering menagerie of brewers available at the city’s kitchenware stores. Each of these seven brewers makes a good cup of coffee, assuming you start with good, fresh beans, evenly ground; you can find instructional videos on their use, mostly involving digital scales and timers, at wweek.com. The differences between them have largely to do with the amount of time the beans are exposed to water and the amount of sediment that makes it into your cup. As with most things, it all comes down to taste. 


Aeropress

$25.95 at Mr. Green Beans, 3932 N Mississippi Ave., 288-8698.

How it works: Strictly speaking the only new technology on this list, the Aeropress was invented in 2005 by Alan Alder, the creator of the Aerobie flying ring. Consisting of two plastic cylinders and a rubber plunger, the Aeropress forces briefly steeped coffee through a paper filter and yields a flavor like a French press without the sediment. Coava makes a reusable stainless-steel filter ($15) for those who don’t like throwing away paper.

Aeropress from doubleshot - pražírna kávy on Vimeo.

CafeSolo

$85.75 at Amazon.com and other Web retailers. 

How it works: Designed by the elite Danish design firm Eva Solo, this is a very elegant take on the total-immersion brewer. The process is essentially the same as that of a French press, but instead of a plunger filter, the Solo uses a combination filter and pouring funnel. The manufacturer claims the jacket will keep coffee warm for half an hour, which is fine for those who like to let their coffee steep for 26 minutes longer than necessary. I’d just pour it into a travel mug.

Eva Solo Brewing guide for Has Bean Coffee from Stephen Leighton on Vimeo.

Clever Coffee Dripper

$15 at sweetmarias.com.

How it works: Combining immersion and drip brewing, the Clever Coffee Dripper is a plastic filter cone with a stopper at the bottom. Pop in a paper filter, add coffee and hot water, wait four minutes and pop the brewer on top of your mug. The valve at the bottom of the brewer opens when it presses against the ring of the mug, and your coffee drips out. It’s easier than slowly pouring water over a drip cone.

Abid Clever Coffee Dripper from David Walsh on Vimeo.

Credits: Jelani Memory

Coava Kone Funnel

Not yet available; see coava.myshopify.com for details.

How it works: This elegant stand turns the Kone, Coava’s stainless-steel reusable filter for the Chemex brewer, into an immersion brewer. It’s essentially the same concept as the Clever Dripper, but it’s prettier and doesn’t require disposable paper filters. For now, the Funnel is only in use at Coava’s shop (1300 SE Grand Ave.), but watch for commercial release in the future.

Single Cup Brewing: Using the Kone from SRaphaelFilms on Vimeo.

Hourglass

$49.95 at Kitchen Kaboodle, 404 NW 23rd Ave. and other locations, kitchenkaboodle.com.

How it works: Many Portlanders discovered the joys of rich, low-acid, cold-brewed coffee last summer (Stumptown has even started selling the stuff in 11-ounce bottles). You can make it with a Mason jar and cheesecloth, but local inventors Bob Neace and Todd Maas wanted something a little less fiddly. In 2004 they started selling the Hourglass, a slow-drip cold brewer with a washable filter and BPA-free plastic carafe. Just stick it in the fridge and, 12 hours later, pour.

Technivorm

$279-$299 at Clive Coffee, 738 SE Washington St., clivecoffee.com.

How it works: The king of automated coffee makers, the Dutch-designed Technivorm produces drip coffee comparable to that made with a manual filter cone without all the standing and pouring—and it does it fast, brewing 10 cups in under eight minutes. Its massive heating coil brings water to the ideal just-off-boiling brewing temperature of about 200 degrees quickly and keeps it there throughout brewing.

Technivorm Moccamaster from doubleshot - pražírna kávy on Vimeo.

Vacuum Pot

$35-$90 at Stumptown Annex, 3352 SE Belmont St.

How it works: As water is heated in the lower vessel, it is forced by expanding air pressure through a siphon into the upper vessel, where it mixes with the ground coffee. Removed from the heat, the air in the lower chamber contracts and sucks the brewed coffee back through the siphon with much bubbling and whooshing. The result is an exceptionally bright, clean-tasting coffee that’s worth the considerable time and trouble it takes to brew.

Syphon, Intelligentsia from The D4D on Vimeo.

 
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