Brewing with Brendan: Exploring New Options

This blog post is brought to us by our very own Brendan O’Brien. Look for Brendan every Thursday at Diesel from 12:30pm-2:30pm, and every Friday at Bloc 11 from 9am-11am, then later at Forge from 12:30pm-2:30pm, where he will be serving up new and exciting coffee from Intelligentsia.

I grew up drinking terrible coffee. My first cup of Joe was purchased one fateful, sleepy morning at my high school’s cafeteria. It was after my first sip when I quickly learned that coffee was a beverage that desperately needed to be dressed up with a lot of cream and sugar. For years I enjoyed coffee’s stimulating effects while tolerating its bitter taste. I simply took it as a given that coffee was not inherently pleasant. It wasn’t until a few years later when I was able to joyfully unlearn that belief. There’s certainly nothing wrong with adding a little something to your cup! After all, what’s a kitchen without a spice rack? But it is certainly an eye opening experience to discover how sweet coffee can be on its own.

image1Zirikana, Rwanda: Tea lovers who are looking to branch out into coffee would do well to sample a cup of Zirikana; I am strongly reminded of English breakfast tea when I drink it. The first thing I notice is that this coffee has a light, silky body with a dark, malty taste at the front. This gives way to a clean, slightly fruity, crisp acidic finish. I always recommend that this coffee be taken black. Zirikana means “show your commitment” in Kinyarwanda. It is a fitting name that honors the dedication put into cultivating the heirloom bourbon varietal in this Rwandan coffee.


image2El Gallo Breakfast Blend: Versatile, well-balanced, and crowd pleasing. This blend of coffees from Ethiopa is absolutely delicious no matter what brew method is used. It stands up very well on its own but also will go nicely with anything you might want to add to your coffee. A very approachable first cup of the day, this coffee has a full bodied, coating mouthfeel with a smooth caramel sweetness with sublte acidity. Highly recommended for any home brew method.


FullSizeRenderHome Brew Tip of the Week: Wet your filter, brewer and vessel before you add your coffee! Coffee is temperamental and loves consistency. One of the ways to ensure that a number of brewing factors stay consistent is to pre-wet the filter and brewer with hot water. Pouring hot water into the filter before adding any coffee will help to keep it in place better, maintain a consistent temperature throughout the brewing process later, and also remove any tiny filaments in the filter that could give your coffee a papery taste. If you are pouring into a Chemex, you do not need to remove the filter to dump out the water (it will stay put as you are pouring the water back out, I promise). Removing the wet filter and then replacing it will create air bubbles along the side, which in turn will cause an uneven surface for your coffee to sit on.

Happy brewing!