Cold Brew vs. "Japanese Iced"

Ladies and Gents,
Let me introduce you to a brand new Craft Coffee blog series….: Pro-Tip Tuesday!

Today, in the spirit of spring to come, we dig into Cold Brew vs. “Japanese Iced”.
Sam Lewontin, our in-house coffee evaluator, has been so kind to give us a preview of his thoughts on the subject. 

Any thoughts or comments? Be part of the conversation! @craftcoffee #craftcoffeetuesdays. 


Cold-brewed iced coffee is immensely popular, and for good reason: it’s easy to make in large batches, and it’s pretty foolproof. Just put the proper amounts of ground coffee and water in a container, steep for around 12 hours, filter out the grounds, and you’ve got a cup that’s consistently pretty tasty.

The trouble with cold brew is that many of the flavors which make coffees distinctive– organic acids, volatile aromatic compounds and so on– aren’t extracted at all when brewing with cold water. This means that, while cold-brewed coffee can be very good, it will generally taste pretty similar, no matter which coffee you use.

If you’re looking for iced coffee that tastes like hot coffee, then, you’ll need to brew with hot water. We do this by changing our brew recipe for pour-over methods so that a little more than 1/3 of the water (by weight) is replaced with ice, which we place in the carafe, so that we’re brewing the hot coffee directly onto it. For instance: our usual Chemex recipe calls for 30g. of coffee and 500g. of water; to ice it, we place 200g. of ice in the bottom of the Chemex, and then brew using 30g. of coffee and 300g. of hot water. We also grind a little finer, to compensate for the effects of the smaller amount of water on the brewing process.

Get brewing and tell us what you think!

Pro-Tip Tuesday: The Ultimate Recipe

Before I got into coffee the ratio of coffee/water was always really confusing to me.
But Sam Lewontin, our Craft Coffee-coffee expert, gave me this really simple recipe that I can easily remember.

60 grams of coffee per 1 liter of water.

Alright, fellow Americans. Don’t freak out. That’s 2.12 ounces per 4.2 cups of water. 

This makes about two big cups of coffee. 
If you want to make more - just double the ratio.
When I make coffee for myself in the morning I use half: 30g to half a liter (500g) of water. 

Give us a thumbs up on Facebook or tweet @craftcoffee #craftcoffeetuesdays

If you want to practice this Pro-Tip you might want to try a Craft Coffee tasting box! Go to and check us out! (prices start at only $19 bucks!)

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Over or Under Extracted Shot
It’s Tuesday which means Pro-Tip by Alex Bernson!

For all you uber-coffeegeeks out there with an espresso machine in your kitchen, here’s a good way to get a handle on what baristas mean when they’re talking about a shot being “over-extracted” or “under-extracted”.Get ready to make a shot of espresso as you normally would, but get 3 demitasse cups ready.
Have an idea in your head of about how long your shots usually run seconds-wise. Start the shot going and put the first demitasse under the portafilter. A third of the way through the shot (~7seconds) pull the first cup away and put the second one under. Do the same at ~15s with the third cup. 
The first cup will have a dark, dense look to it. If you taste it, it’ll be sour and maybe salty but also have some sweetness, caramel and dark fruit flavors. If your shots tend to taste too much like this you are “under-extracting”.
The second cup will be sweeter and have more of a smooth, round body. A good shot of espresso needs to have a lot of this middle sweetness.
The last cup will be more bitter and sharp. If your shots normally taste too much like this you are “over-extracting”.
Each of these cups will be pretty unpleasant by themselves, but they add up to a delicious shot of espresso when they are all in balance. If your shots are tasting under-extracted to you, try loosening your grind setting, and conversely, try tightening the grind if they taste over-extracted.

Be sure to tweet your thoughts and comments at @alexbernson!  

Paper in my Coffee?
Another Pro-Tip Tuesday has arrived!
Have you ever wondered why people rinse their coffee filters and what it does to the quality of their coffee? Todays pro-tip rant is about exactly that.
Sam Lewontin, take it away:

“Rinsing your paper filter is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your coffee at home. Simply put: paper filters taste like paper, and rinsing with hot water before brewing extracts much of that paper flavor, so that it doesn’t end up in your cup.  For a dramatic demonstration, try rinsing a filter and taking a sip of the resulting rinse water. It’ll taste a lot like chewing on whichever filter you’re using.

To rinse, just seat the filter in the brewer and pour a cup or so of brewing-temperature water through it into a carafe (or straight into the sink). Discard the rinse water, and then brew and enjoy!”

Have you ever considered rinsing your filter? Can you taste a difference? Start the conversation on our facebook page or tweet @craftcoffee #craftcoffeetuesdays
Goldilocks Syndrome

Welcome to Craft Coffee’s Pro-Tip Tuesday!

Do you ever wonder if the water you’re pouring over your freshly ground coffee is the right temperature? If it’s too hot you will burn the coffee grounds and if it’s too cold you won’t be able to extract the best taste. How can you get it just right?
Stop worrying, Goldilocks. Try this:

When the water is boiling, take it off the heat and wait until all the bobbles have settled and the water has stopped moving. That means the water is about 205 degrees. Make coffee so good, the bears won’t even notice you slept in their beds and ate their food.

We’d love suggestions on what to talk about on Pro-Tip Tuesday.
Tell us on Facebook or Twitter @craftcoffee #craftcoffeetuesdays.

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Filter Out the Nasties

Not only is your Craft Coffee boxes on the way - you’re getting a Pro-Tip too!

Coffee has two ingredients: beans, and water. We at Craft Coffee clearly love to obsess over the beans, but without good water, even the nicest coffee may wind up tasting flat. Unless you live in a place with reliably low-mineral water, I highly suggest using at least a Brita pitcher or similar to filter the water you use for brewing. Run of the mill bottled water can work too–no need to splurge since we just want a nice low-mineral water. Avoid distilled water though, you do need some minerals in there to extract the full flavor.

By our very own coffee expert Alex Bernson! Tweet your thoughts at him #cupofawesome.


Coffee Wars

The latest tempest in coffee-pot amongst the coffee twitter-sphere is the question of cold-brewed coffee versus “japanese” style iced coffee. The debate was kicked off in large part by Oliver Strand’s post on the subject,, and involves a lot of coffee esoterica, but there are certainly substantive differences between the two styles that merit your further investigation. I encourage you to give both styles of ice coffee a try and see which one is more to your liking. And don’t forget, one variable that most people are ignoring this discussion is that cold-brew coffee is 1.5-2x more caffeinated than Japanese iced coffee. 

By Alex Bernson

Which kind do you prefer? Tweet at @craftcoffee #cupofawesome and tell us! 

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Rwandan Roasts
Today’s Pro-Tip is written by Alex Bernson, one of the Craft Coffee evaluators. Rwandas land on our cupping table from time to time and we’re excited to see more and more good stuff show up. Here’s why:

If you’ve been receiving a Craft Coffee box for the last couple
months, or have the fortunate ability to get coffee from multiple
great coffee roasters where you live, then you may have noticed some
special things coming out of Rwanda. All sorts of different roasters
have recently been offering beautifully clean and complex Rwanda
coffees bursting with flavors of bright citrus, sweet caramel and
savory tea.  In our April box we featured Detour Coffee Roasters
Rwanda Buf Cafe, and in March we featured Augie’s Rwanda Kivu. Both
are lovely coffees, but the Detour Buf Cafe is particularly
interesting because there are a ton of different roasters who have bought this cooperative’s coffee. Each roaster brings a differentstyle and perspective to making these Rwandan coffees shine. Irecently tried a Rwanda that was roasted a little darkerto emphasize the caramel and tea flavors over the citrus flavors. If youhave the chance, try a Rwandan coffee, especially the Buf Cafe, frommultiple roasters and see what differences you can notice!

Thanks, Alex (@alexbernson)

To all you coffee lovers out there: What’s your experience with Rwandan coffees? Especially the ones from previous Craft Coffee boxes. Tweet @craftcoffee #craftcoffeetuesdays and let us know!

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Imbibe Magazine keeps it simple!

We borrowed today’s Pro-Tip from one of our favorite magazines: “Imbibe”!
In this months issue (May/June 2012), coffee pros are talking about coffee-do’s and we want to share one of the tips with you:

 "In all honesty, brewing delicious coffee can be as simple as you want it to be,“ says Pete Licata, 2011 U.S. Barista Champion and partner in Hawaii’s Isla Coffee. While going out and finding new, dazzling funky-shaped or vintage styled coffee equipment can be a fun way to drop a few dollars, if you’ve already got the basics, it’s not necessary. "A lot of coffee pros will tell you to go get a special water kettle and some sort of expensive imported dripper that you have to use,"he says. "Instead, I love asking people what they have in their kitchen and suggesting ways they can make coffee with what they’ve got. If all you have is a campfire, a metal post, a sock (preferably clean) and a hammer you can still make tasty coffee as long as you know what to do with those things.” And the most important thing to have on hand? Good beans are the ultimate key to a great cup, says Licata. Focus your energy and bucks on buying great beans and brewing them the best you can on the equipment you have, and that will make your morning as enjoyable as your brew.

Do you agree? 
Tweet your thoughts @craftcoffee #craftcoffeetuesdays and start the conversation.

Thanks, Imbibe!

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Clean Out the Gunk!

Pro-Tip Time. I give you your favorite: Alex Bernson 

Cleanliness is crucial to good coffee. There are many compounds in coffee that can dirty things up, especially the coffee oils that will coat your brewing equipment and go rancid if you don’t clean them off. You should at least rinse, if not soap and scrub, your brewers after each use, but for deep cleaning, there’s nothing better than Cafiza. Used primarily to clean the tenacious the gunk in espresso machines, a bit of this stuff in hot water will also do wonders on your brewing equipment, as well as any other mess you can imagine. Grease traps from stoves, dirty tubs, baked on food, etc. Just be careful, this will start to eat away at delicate plastic if you leave it sitting!

Get some at Sweet Marias

Be sure to tweet your thoughts at Alex @alexbernson #coffeedisco

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Cool it off
Today’s pro-tip is by our lovely coffee evaluator Alex Bernson.
Taste your coffee at different temperatures

Here’s a real simple way to learn a lot more about a coffee: try drinking it at cooler temperatures than you normally would. It is easiest for us to taste things when they are near our body temperature, and harder when they are too hot or cold. This is why bad beer is served ice cold, and truck-stop coffee piping hot. If you let your cup of coffee cool, you’ll notice that the acidity–the lively high notes in the experience–will open up and become more distinct. You may also notice more sweetness as it cools. In general, the better a coffee is, the wider its range of enjoyable temperatures.

Be sure to tweet your thoughts at Alex @alexbernson!

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Quality Assurance

Some of you may have heard that one of the coffees in the May Box is from Kuma Coffee

Mark Barany from Kuma just send us this photo from Seattle.
He cupped all the batches of roasted coffee that are going in the Craft Coffee boxes to make sure that the quality of your coffee is top notch.

Mmm… doesn’t that look delicious? It doesn’t get more fresh than this!
Tweet your comments at @northwestmark and @kumacoffee!