Over the last two weeks my wife, Hannah, and I were celebrating our anniversary in Italy. We got the opportunity to try coffee from the Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice, Rome, and Milan, and we learned a lot about Italian coffee culture as we went. At the end of our trip Hannah and I sat down and recorded this episode, discussing Italian coffee, the culture that its integral to, and how it’s different from U.S. brews.
The two specialty coffee shops that are briefly referred to in the episode are Taglio in Milan, and Ditta Artigianale in Florence. Taglio won 3rd place in the 2014 Italian Aeropress Championship, and Ditta Artigianale took 6th place in the 2015 World Barista Championship (Seattle) and 5th place in the 2016 World Barista Championship (Dublin).
Music on this week’s episode is from The Free Music Archive, and the picture in the cover art was taken by me in La Spezia, Italy. If you’d like to see more classy pictures that I took of Italian coffee while traveling, take a gander at the Boise Coffee’s Instagram.
This episode of The Boise Coffee Podcast is brought to you by WMF Coffee Machines. If you are looking for a fully automatic commercial coffee machine for your office or workplace, look no further than WMF. Their offerings range from state-of-the-art filter coffee machines all the way to professional, barista-grade equipment. To find out more, visit wmf-coffeemachines.uk.com.
Use Instagram? Check out the below graphic to get some fresh new coffee pictures in your feed! I’ve found Instagram to be a great way to meet fellow coffee fans and to share ideas for brewing ratios, recipes, and coffee love in general. Here are the names and links, in the order they appear in the graphic:
The v60 is a staple in specialty coffee; it’s used at home, in coffee shops, at brewing competitions, and just about anywhere else that you find great coffee. It’s a fickle beast, not nearly as forgiving as the Chemex, and deceptively simple when you first try it out.
Brewing in the v60 takes time and practice, but once you get it down it’s really not difficult to throw together your morning cup of coffee. I talk about the highlights in the below video, but here are a few other things to keep in mind.
Use fresh beans – There’s nothing worse than going through the trouble of manually brewing coffee only to remember that you’re using month old stale beans. Freshly roasted coffee beans have a shelf life of about 2-3 weeks before they start losing the tastes that make them unique (read: go stale).
Grind your beans properly – You’re going to want to use a burr grinder set to a medium grind (also often called a drip grind). Too course and the water will fall straight through, too fine and you’ll be left wondering why it’s taking so long to brew while the water pools. To hit that sweet spot, try a few different grind settings hovering around medium to find what works best for you.
Bloom – Let your coffee breath. The bloom is critical and essential when doing any manual pour-over brew method, but I can’t stress its importance enough with the v60. I start with 60g of water and let the coffee bloom for 30-45sec. What’s a bloom? Basically, you’re letting the coffee grounds release the unwanted CO2 that’s trapped inside.
Coffee-to-water ratio – The brew method I use is 415g of water to 28g of coffee. There is an endless supply of brew methods online (here are a couple from Intelligentsia and Stumptown).
Don’t be afraid to play – Figure out what works for you, then run with it. If you don’t like the product that my recipe turns out for you, change the coffee-to-water ratio or the bloom time. Play with it until you get something you enjoy drinking.