Coffee inspires creativity—this is merely an overflow of that. A bit of my coffee journey in the form of doodles and sketches.
January 3, 2013

I love continuity. Having some sense of fluidity in a process—whether in designing, crafting, or creating—is extremely appealing and something that gives a sense of closure to the entire process.

Brewing coffee is no different. Even though the functions of the brewing tools matter more than the form, having that continuity present between each step of the process is fulfilling.

With Hario, each step of the process is covered—from grinder to kettle to pourover to server to glass.

Recently, they’ve even thrown a beautiful scale into the mix (see a great overview of it here, courtesy of DCILY).

Here’s a doodle I did that summarizes a portion of the brewing process. If you’re thinking of getting into manually brewing your coffee, Hario is a good place to start.

Kettle: Hario Buono
Pourover: V60
Server: Hario Range Server
Hand Grinder: Hario Skerton
Glass: Hario V60 double walled glasses


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July 18, 2012

I’ve written about Baratza before. I love their grinders, I love how helpful they are, and I love how collaborative and encouraging they are. I’ve had the privilege of owning three different Baratza grinders—the Maestro, the Encore (Encorn, to some), and the Virtuoso. Each performing amazing.

Having a consistent grind is key to making great coffee.  If you’re anything like me, you started getting more serious about coffee by grinding your own beans with a blade grinder—I’ll always remember blade grinders by the high-pitched “whizzing” sound they make as they brutally chop up the coffee. While the heart behind grinding your own beans is great, this shotgun approach to blade grinding only allows for randomness and inconsistency in your grind.

The thing that sets Baratza apart begins with their use of quality conical burrs. “Burr coffee grinders are designed to create a very consistent grind size by crushing the coffee beans between a rotating burr and a stationary surface. This gives you grounds that are uniform in size and shape, from which the sweet, smooth flavors of the bean can be extracted reliably.”

I’m no expert, but one thing I have noticed is the difference a good grinder makes. Its night and day. If you’re just starting to venture down the path of brewing quality coffee at home, one of the first places to start is with a quality burr grinder. Although it’s a bit of an investment, the quality grind and resulting coffee that a well-made grinder will give you pays for itself.

I love my Baratza grinders, everytime I make coffee, it goes through my Baratza. Anything less is a disappointment and it shows in the cup.


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May 28, 2012

Just last week I was in Portland enjoying coffee from Coava in their beautiful shop. Luckily, I was able to take a bag of their coffee home with me thanks to the wonderful people at Clive Coffee.

I’m a huge fan of the simplicity that Coava gives off as a brand – from their shop set up all the way to their bag design.

This coffee from Ethiopia is full of intense blueberries and is extremely sweet, tart, and rich. I’ve been enjoying it through a french press filtered through a V60.

I’ve been finding that I love the depth and characteristics that a 4+ minute brew time provides, but I also like the clean, brightness that the filter provides.

It sounds like a lot more trouble than it is, and some have told me that it’s basically the same idea as a Clever.

If you’re interested in trying it out, here’s the recipe:

1. Boil water (you need a total of 375g)
2. Rinse paper filter with hot water
3. Heat French press or Soft Brew with hot water
4. Grind 27g coffee coarse (31 on a Baratza Virtuoso)
5. Pour 90g water evenly over grounds, “bloom” for 20 seconds.
6. Start timer for 4 minutes
7. Pour remaining 285g of water over grounds in a circular motion
8. Give it a quick stir
9. With about 1 minute left, break the crust
10. Plunge at 4 minutes
11. Pour through a V60 filter (it won’t drain all the way)


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April 12, 2012

Today, I had the pleasure of helping Jason Dominy serve up coffee for the wonderful folks at Jeni’s Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio. Between the two of us, we were brewing Batdorf and Bronson coffee on a V60, an AeroPress, and 3 Clevers. Jason has been doing these Coffee Ambushes for awhile now, but it was the first time he’s made his way up to Columbus – what a great place to start, at the best, most splendid ice cream company in the world.

Here’s a doodle to commemorate the event.

December 23, 2011

One of the things that got me interested in exploring coffee beyond simply drinking it was my very first blade grinder.

Having a grinder opened up a whole new world of coffee- I started to care about the freshness of the beans. Once that happened, I realized that coffee was a complex adventure that I’d be learning about for a long time.

Since then, I’ve been through a few different grinders, ditched my underachieving blade grinder, and landed on a pretty decent burr grinder.

The obvious benefit of a grinder is being able to brew fresh coffee- but to even justify purchasing a quality grinder, starting with whole beans is a must. There is a significant difference between freshly ground, whole bean coffee and pre ground, stale coffee. Once the bean has been ground, the lifespan of its freshness is significantly reduced, resulting in substandard coffee.

Beyond that, there is a significant difference between freshly roasted coffee and stuff that’s been sitting on a shelf in a grocery store. Even though grinding your own coffee takes a bit more effort, the end result is a more quality cup of coffee. I would compare it – to some degree – with buying fresh baked goods from a local bakery rather than a box of individually wrapped, who-knows-how-old snackcakes from Wal-Mart. Who wants old stuff that’s been sitting around?

There is so much more to coffee than the over-stereotyped notion that it simply jump starts your morning. One of my biggest pet peeves is people telling me that I’m addicted to coffee. For me, its more about the quality of my coffee than it is about the quanity. I’d take one cup of coffee that was freshly roasted, freshly ground, and brewed well than a whole pot of anything else.

Buying a fresh, locally roasted bag of coffee beans is a great way to start exploring coffee, and to truly start enjoying it.

Grind your own coffee. You won’t regret it.

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