In a perfect world every espresso bar would be staffed with at least three baristas for maximum efficiency, but in the real world, lots of baristas are stuck working solo in non-peak hours. Luckily, latte art champion Ryan Soeder has you covered. Soeder is something of a work flow expert, and has the tattoo to prove it. …
Archives for February 2018
There’s a coffee shop on every side street in Istanbul these days, but, on a whim, I pop into Borderline Coffee in Teşvikiye. Something about the thoughtful design of their sign inspired confidence to take a chance on an unknown café. Inside, I notice all of the calling cards of a quality-focused specialty coffee shop, with a few extra flourishes: La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine, house-made baked goods, foliage wall, Marco SP9s instead of the typical pour-over bar. But La Marzocco espresso machines far out number cafés actually serving specialty coffee in Istanbul, so I withhold judgement until my coffee arrives. Per usual when I visit a new shop, I order an espresso.
As I sit down, I notice a bright red sign boldly declaring in sans serif font “George is here.” At first, I assume the proprietors of Borderline Coffee must be fans of the Beatle’s most underrated songwriter, but then a scan of their retail shelf reveals the referent: legendary American coffee professional George Howell. Next to Howell’s cursive logo is another iconic coffee company: Oslo’s Tim Wendelboe. These two larger-than-life figures in many ways are representatives of the specialty coffee movements of their respective continents, and I begin to understand Borderline’s project. In a scene where there’s almost as many roasters as cafés, Borderline Coffee is curating a selection of the world’s most esteemed brands, providing a standard for a burgeoning coffee scene.
In subsequent visits I notice other roasters in the line up, like England’s Assembly alonside local roasters Probador Collectiva, Boxx, and Kimma. Whether as a filter coffee or espresso, I find each coffee to be brewed with precision. Highlights included a cappuccino prepared with Tim Wendelboe’s aptly named Espresso for Milk, and a natural Kochere, Ethiopia espresso roasted by Boxx.
Equal attention is paid to the food menu, which stands several steps above typical coffee shop fare. A dedicated staffer prepares a selection of seasonal salads and charcuterie plates that make Borderline a worthy dining destination in and of itself. Vegan and gluten-free diners will find designated menu items and pastries- still a rarity in a city where dietary restrictions can be hard to accommodate.
With warm hospitality, a delectable food menu, and an unrivaled coffee selection, there’s nothing unsure about Borderline Coffee. In a few short months, the café has become a welcome addition to a maturing coffee scene.
Do you feel like no matter what you do the coffee you make at home isn’t as good as the coffee you get at your favorite café? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make coffee that’s every bit as good as a five dollar pour-over. In fact, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be better. Most home brewers make at least one of these five mistakes that can be easily corrected. …
The Problem with most Aeropress Recipes
There’s few questions a barista dreads more than “Could you grind this for Aeropress? While you can always count on an espresso to use a fine grind and a fast brew time, and a French press the opposite, Aeropress recipes are all over the map, and most are terrible.
First, completely disregard the recipe on the box. No disrespect to the legendary inventor of the Aeropress, Alan Adler, but the whole notion of using lower temperature water to have a less acidic coffee is flawed in several key ways. For one, acids dissolve before the more complex carbohydrates, so lower-temp brews are missing more than just acidity- they’re missing a lot of sweetness too. Secondly, acidity levels have a lot more to do with the coffee origin. (If you don’t like brighter, fruitier coffees, stick with Brazilian and lower elevation Central American coffees.)
But there’s also reason to be wary of many of the more popular recipes circulating out there. Many call for more an absurd amount of coffee, often a 10:1 ratio, or even stronger. While I’m sure that many of these recipes with the right coffee could make an interesting, even delicious cup of coffee, for people in the real world, who are using their hard-earned cash to purchase coffee, I question such an inefficient recipe. If you can make a delicious cup of coffee with 15 grams of coffee, why on earth would you waste another 5–7 grams?
That’s why I’m sharing my fourth place recipe from the 2016 US Aeropress Championship*. Sure, it wasn’t quite good enough to book my ticket to Dublin for the World Championship, but it’s surprisingly versatile and pretty simple. You’ll need an Aeropress, a grinder, a scale, a kettle, and some coffee.
1. Grind 15 grams of coffee
You want to use a medium grind. Not too fine, not to coarse.
2. Place two rinsed filters in the Aeropress.
Double filtration helps keep any sediment out of your brew. If you really want to live life on the edge, you can use three (somehow, we never seem to run out of filters. It’s like they magically replenish themselves.)
3. Briskly add 225 ml. of boiling hot water. Quickly, but carefully, place plunger in Aeropress to create a vacuum.
This keeps the coffee from dripping. You need all the water steeping with the coffee to get the highest possible extraction.
4. At 1:00, remove plunger and gently break the crust with a spoon.
5. At 4:00 begin to slowly push the plunger down.
No coffee left behind.
6. Decant and drink.
*The Aeropress Championship was founded as a sort of lampoon of barista competition culture. To use a wrestling analogy, It’s more WWE than UFC.