A Guide to Home Brewing

Picture: The Nomad Barista

Picture: The Nomad Barista

When I do wake up at home (sometimes less often than not), coffee isn't the furthest thing from my mind, but it isn't necessarily the first. I think the first tip I can give is that coffee should be a facilitator and not an IV. Let your cortisol wake you up, hydrate, eat a morsel while your water's boiling, and then begin the morning's ceremony.

And it can be quite the ceremony... I'll go over some of the gear I like to work with, and then break down my typical recipe.

My go-to for home brew lately has been the v60 pour-over. It drips a really clean cup, filtering out most of the oils, and allows me to grind finer with its lower-density filters. I also use a burr grinder as opposed to blade because it tends to produce a more consistent grind and allows me to adjust the size of that grind depending on the brew. As for water, you never want to pour straight off the boil, and if you're super tech, you can measure the temperature (something in the 94 C range), but I often just guess by dipping my finger in or watching the amount of steam that comes off. 

Once you have all that sorted, it's a careful balance of science and art to brew yourself the perfect cup. But be warned, the coffee rabbit hole goes deep, and your pursuit will likely resemble a search for the Cheshire Cat. Just keep brewing, you'll be fine.

Back to the pour-over. I usually use 20.0 g of freshly ground beans to 320 ml of water to get a nice 1:16 ratio. First, I rinse the filter with hot water, let it drain, and then dump the ground beans in. When I begin pouring my 94 degree water, precisely measured by touch, I'll give the beans a quick soak to release some of the built up CO2 gas (we call this "blooming"), and let it settle completely (about 30s) before beginning the rest of the pour. For the V60, most people like to do a "continuous pour" of water; maintaining a constant stream and water level in the filter while swirling the kettle in a clockwise motion until the desired ratio is reached. Do what works for you.

I've been using a copper kettle from Monarch Methods that fills exactly to 320 ml thus reducing any measurements I have to take while pouring, but in the past, I've used a scale by Acaia to keep my brews on track. It's also nice to use a goose-neck kettle as it makes pouring a lot more precise and regulates the flow of water, so try to get your hands on something like that if you can. 

Beyond that, just have fun with it. Experiment with different grind sizes, water temperatures, ratios, and pouring speeds. This is the science-art balance. This is coffee.

The Nomad Barista