Pour-Over Coffee

Food journalists notice food trends—“this is the year of the nutmeg martini!” “oatmeal’s out, grits are back in”–and I’m not a food journalist, so I feel like I get a free pass on that front. I just cook, blog and eat (not always in that order) and go about my merry way.

But last year, I thought I noticed a food trend creeping up at the coffee shops I frequented. I noticed it at Joe, then I noticed it at Gorilla. They were these little copper stands with white ceramic objects sitting on top that looked like a cross between a coffee mug and a funnel. Had it really happened? Had I hit upon a food trend?

Turns out I had! And that trend is pour-over coffee.

Here’s the stand and the ceramic filter I spoke of:


The idea is that: traditional coffee brewing doesn’t bring the best out of your beans. By pouring hot water slowly over the ground-up beans, you extract more flavor. That’s why it’s called “pour-over coffee.”

Joe features a special menu of beans you can experience via the “pour-over” method:


Rickie, who manages there and who, here, played the role of my coffee sommelier, recommended I try the Kenya.

“Sure!” I said, eager to fully milk this food trend for all it was worth.

Rickie placed a paper filter in the ceramic cone and poured hot water into it I suppose to warm it up:


Then she ground the Kenya beans on a special setting on the coffee grinder. Here they are sitting in the paper cone:


She placed a mug underneath and then poured hot water on top:


A timer was involved, but I forget the role that this played.

Look at my coffee percolating:


More water was added:


And then, there it was, my first mug of a food trend I’d “discovered” (belatedly), pour-over coffee:


With normal coffee I add milk and sugar, but Rickie suggested I take this black (like my men (that was an “Airplane!” joke)) so I did.

And ya know what? This wasn’t just a trend, this actually tasted totally different than normal coffee. It had real nuance of flavor; I tasted a certain fruitiness (“A Certain Frutiness” is the name of my memoir) and nuttiness and other noticeable flavors that don’t ordinarily come through when you drink a mug of coffee.

So the moral is: maybe I AM a food journalist! And maybe this IS a food trend! So if you see it in your local coffee shop, give it a try. It’s very good.

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