Coffee: Pour over or Espresso

What is your preferred coffee?

Here in the UK most people drink instant coffee at home, even in this tea obsessed land most tea drinkers have given up with loose leaf tea and now use tea bags.

Here now in the UK we seem to have rediscovered our love of real coffee. By the 1670’s we had over three thousand coffee houses in England. Today it seems we have a Starbucks on every corner, and we all love are milk based caffeinated beverages.

So what do you prefer, espresso or brewed coffee? I have to admit they are very different drinks. Getting good espresso at home is a challenge, requires expensive equipment, and skill. Do you have the time to learn? I think for most people the answer to quality coffee at home is a good pour over, and to leave espresso when your out to the professionals.

Coffee Ratios

Classic Coffee and a Leica

With COVID-19 lockdown continuing I have been using the time to improve my coffee brewing.

Mainly espresso and pour over, but even the odd French press (cafetière).

Coffee recipes are often expressed in various terms, scoops of coffee to cups of water, or fluid ounces (often not explaining whether American or imperial). Oh and what is a cup. In Europe a cup of coffee can be anything from a 4 Oz to a 6 Oz cup. In America in fact the west in general it just seems to keep getting bigger. The biggest issue with measuring volume is the fact that different coffee can have more volume than other, plus it depends on grind size.

Most common now is a ratio by weight, for espresso 1:2, one part coffee to two parts output. So for example 14 grams of coffee (an Italian double), and have 28 grams of espresso.

For pour over 1:15 is often the starting place. So one part of coffee to fifteen parts of water.

So ratio by weight is better but who wants to do maths before making coffee, I much prefer grams of coffee per litre of water, a litre of water being 1000 grams.

As a general rule I start at around 60 g per litre for a pour over and maybe a little more for a French press depending on how I am feeling. It makes the calculations easy, a large mug is generally 250 ml so four mugs is a litre, 30 g for two mugs, 15 g for one mug. Also I grind a little finer for a V60 when making amounts up to 250 ml, a little courser for my Kalita Wave, and courser still for my Chemex when brewing over 400 ml.

Knowing that 1 g equals 1 ml of water you can figure out the size of your favourite coffee cup and using the grams per litre measure quickly make yourself a cup of quality coffee first thing in the morning.

Limited Coffee – oh NO!

Lock down and working from home has meant no visits to coffee shops since March.

And now my coffee grinder has stopped working. To be honest my Baratza Sette 270 gets hard use. Making espresso and pour over every day. Its been a good workhorse. Luckily Baratza products have good support and they offer repair/service and upgrades at good prices.

Baratta Sette 270

So while its away I have been limiting myself to a couple of pour overs each day and a fresh press at the weekend, grinding my coffee by hand with my manual Hario grinder.

I have already had the email to say its all repaired and tested, so it will be back with me in a few days. Until then I’ll be dreaming of good espresso.

Lack of Posts

Coffee – Leica M10

As you will have seen there has been a lack of posts over the last few months. The reasons are several; one I wanted a bit of a break from blogging. I was intending to write something at least once a week, but once you get out of the habit, weeks can go by and you realise you have not posted anything.

Secondly Timmy the Greyhound who died in March was ill for about a year. This made a big impact on my free time.

Lastly I am really getting behind with my Adobe Lightroom edits. My laptop no longer supports Lightroom.

The next few months are going to be quiet, but i’ll try to keep up with the picture of them month as post something at least once or twice a month.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee has become really fashionable recently so I decided to brew some up myself.

There are various recipes on the internet so I have tired several of the last couple of weeks before coming to one I prefer.  As for brewing I have just been using a Kilner jar.  Poor in the coffee grounds and iced water, then leave for sixteen hours, decant into a Chemex then in to jar to keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.  Easy.   Server over ice with milk or even better with cream, and if your feeling really decadent with Tennessee whiskey.

Christmas is just a couple of months away

Christmas is now just a couple of months a way and we are starting to think about presents for ourselves and for the house.

We finally had to retire our large CRT wide screen Sony Wega.  We bought one of the latest 4K HDR screens, but the sound sucks compare to the old TV, so we are looking at a decent surround sound system.

The other thing on our list as we both love quality coffee is a high end coffee grinder.  By high end I am talking sub £1000 price range while real coffee experts think that a grinder at £1000 is budget!

Lastly I will be approaching a significant birthday in a few years and there is a chance of a high end English fountain pen coming my way.  I have been dropping hints and it looks like its working.

Coffee Shop

I love good coffee.  The major brand shops offer consistent coffee but for great coffee its often better to seek out the independents.   Those that buy in coffee from independent coffee roasters with relationships with small coffee growers.  Coffee at its peak, roasted to perfection.  Many towns now have small independent coffee shops and the better ones do source there coffee from the better suppliers.  We in Lincoln are lucky enough to have several independent coffee shops and one in particular is excellent.

I try to at least twice a week get out into Lincoln with my Leica and shoot a little street photography but to also occasionally take a few snaps in the coffee shop

 

Coffee shop visit


I don’t always make it, but I try and go to our local independent coffee shop at least twice a week.  Either on the walk there or in the shop I often find a interesting photograph.

Coffee Shop Message Board

My local coffee shop has a rather fun message board where people but up notes about anything and everything, wishes, hopes and fears.  Its a great feature wall and really helps the atmosphere.

 

Coffee House on the Bridge

Another walk around Lincoln and a quick snapshot of High Bridge.  In medieval England it was common for building to be on bridges, and Lincoln High Bridge is one of the few remaining and was constructed around 1160 AD.