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Brewed coffee — revolution or retro evolution

Five Senses CoffeeDean Gallagher 7 January 2010

I know that the words ‘revolution’ and ‘retro evolution’ might sound a tad melodramatic, but over the course of 2009, after a few years of a bit of a spluttering start (think 1970’s engine), coffee brewed in ways other than through an espresso machine has really taken hold amongst those in the specialty coffee community.

The most notable thing here is that attitudes to brewed coffee have changed to a point where there is a greater respect for the brewed product and where many people are now choosing to brew their extra special coffees through brewing systems that give them the chance to experience nuances in the coffee which would not be evident to them through espresso.

This newly found enthusiasm by the industry in general has resulted in a few good things happening. Firstly, manufacturers are getting serious about making and supplying gear that gives better brewing results. Marco in Ireland have produced a machine (Uber boiler) that dispenses water to exacting temperatures. Syphon brewers, Chemex, Clever Coffee Drippers and filters are readily available and, most importantly, there are tons of people experimenting and publishing their thoughts on how to get good results. This is an excellent thing and bodes very well for those interested in the success of specialty coffee.

We too have had to get serious and look at the suitability of our coffee offering to those that want to pursue their journey of discovery into these relatively unchartered waters. In days gone by, we’ve probably sent a pretty poor message about the appropriateness of some of our coffee for brewing — mainly because it wasn’t something that we thought about very much, because there was never really a demand for it.

Things have changed and it’s forced a change in the way we do things, and in the message that we speak about brewed coffee. We are coffee roasters, and we understand the responsibility we have to seek out and roast coffee perfect for a brewed experience. We know that some coffees express themselves better than others as brewed coffee, and we know that the roast profile of the coffee is equally important in allowing the coffee to do the talking.

Previously, we only offered coffee roasted in a style that was best suited for espresso. It was impractical to do otherwise, as most people were using it for espresso anyway. Now we offer coffee that has been selected and "roasted specifically for brewing. Go to the Coffee page in the Shop and click on the ‘Roasted for Filter’ category near the top for a list of what coffees are available roasted for filter. You are, of course, welcome to order any of our coffee for brewing, and it will still be great, but it probably won’t lift you to the lofty coffee experience heights that some of you live for.

If you’ve never experienced brilliant brewed coffee, I’d encourage you to make 2010 the year that you do. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or expense and the results can be surreal.

My favourite brewed experience in 2009? Ethiopian Beloya through a Clever Coffee Dripper, 30g to 330ml, 3 minute steep time — blueberry smack in the face!

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