Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.
Pour-over coffee brewing takes hold at coffeehouses in Seattle, Port Townsend
Posted by Melissa Allison
He and a business partner opened Better Living Through Coffee -- where Sadie is a barista -- last spring. It's well-located, on the water in downtown Port Townsend, and its brewed coffee -- $2 for 8 ounces, $3.25 for 16 ounces -- is poured slowly over paper filters held in place by plastic cylinders (second photo).
Pour-overs are all the rage lately -- part of the slow coffee (nee slow food) movement -- appearing recently at Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea, Starbucks' 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea and in the past couple weeks at Tougo Coffee (which also started using a Chemex brewing method that I hope to see soon).
I'm sure some shops have done pour-overs forever, but the first time I saw them was earlier this year at Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco, and now they're everywhere!
Is the taste really that much better? And how many people brew this way at home?
Updated 2:35 p.m.: David Kastle of Zephyr Green Coffee in Seattle (and New Orleans) e-mailed this great perspective:
I built out a cafe in Oakland CA in 1996-7 and the main feature was a drip stand, so we could feature 28 different coffees, ground/brewed to order (we also had a really nice egg poacher, but that is another story). At the time, there were a couple other cafes in northern California that had them - one in Santa Cruz, I can't remember the other. Intermezzo in Berkeley had a dripstand for a while, but they junked it in the early 90's. Caffe Med in Berkeley used to brew in Chemex, but the coffee was terrible (new owners now, so maybe that has changed). Anyway, when we introduced the custom-brewed coffee, customers were confused, upset about the price, couldn't handle the choosing a coffee, etc. But within 6 months we were able to get rid of our presspots and serve only from the drip stand and the espresso machine. It didn't hurt that we had a store next door with an urn, for people in a hurry. The customers who chose the dripstand agreed that there was much more nuance in the cup. Dripstand customers were also more likely to choose lighter-roasted coffees, instead of the ultra-dark roasts that work well in large urn brewers.
Anyway, point being, drip stands aka pourovers have been around for a very long time. Neptune on Greenwood Ave put one in right after the Clover sale to Starbucks, labeled "Dandelion."
Dec 9, 10 - 5:37 PM
Carly Simon case against Starbucks dismissed, again
Dec 7, 10 - 2:56 PM
Lynnwood cafe bought, renamed; dozens more coffee shops still for sale
Dec 6, 10 - 1:04 PM
Kraft seeks preliminary injunction against Starbucks