If you haven’t had a cup of third-wave coffee, you’re missing out. And if you have no idea what that means: The name comes from what people refer to as the three waves of coffee. Wave one would be the Folgers era of mass-produced coffee available to everyone, often in a can. For wave two, think Starbucks and the rise of coffee that’s easily accessible between work and home. Wave three focuses on crafted, specialty coffee with a focus on origins and small-batch roasting.
Specialty coffee can be brewed many different ways, but one of the most common ways is a slow-drip method called a pour over. It takes between three and five minutes to brew because, well, it drips slowly. With setup and cleanup, the whole process should take about 10 minutes. And believe it or not, it’s the perfect way to make coffee when you’re at work.
You might be thinking, This sounds like a ridiculous and inefficient way to get my morning dose of caffeine. But before you write this ritual off, check out some of the benefits of making a slow cup of coffee.
Slow down to speed up
The biggest benefit to making pour-over coffee when you arrive at the office or during a mid-morning break is being able to completely disconnect — from a hectic morning, a problem you can’t figure out, or anything else weighing on your mind. To make the perfect pour over, you have to be completely focused on what you’re doing. In many ways, it’s like the adult coloring book craze wherein your body and your mind are focused on a simple task that allows you to be in the moment.
There are a lot of variables to think about when it comes to brewing coffee. It can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. You can worry about the grind of your coffee, the temperature of your water, the coffee-to-water ratio, or the consistency of your pour. And that’s just scratching the surface. Or you can just stick to basics and focus on not spilling.
However complex your coffee, putting in the time is a meditative process that can help you get back to work with a new level of mental focus.
Clear eyes, full cup, can’t lose
Making coffee can be a much more refreshing break than activities like taking a walk or endlessly scrolling on your phone. While walks are a great way to get away from your desk, it’s easy to let your mind race about all the things you still need to get done. And while scrolling through endless news feeds can be a great way to distract your mind for a moment, it doesn’t get you out of your chair and your eyes off of a screen. Making a cup of coffee, on the other hand, accomplishes both.
As an added benefit, when you come back from making your cup of coffee, you have a delicious beverage and a nice boost of energy. So now that you’re thoroughly convinced of the power of the magic bean that is coffee, it’s time to get the equipment you’ll need to make coffee that will blow you away.
Some equipment will look like it’s been stolen from a chemistry lab, so you’ll likely get a lot of questions from your co-workers about what the heck you’re doing. Don’t be afraid if they make a “Breaking Bad” reference or two. It’s all part of the experience. Here’s what you’ll need:
First things first, you’ll need to pick up some beans. When you’re looking for great coffee, don’t be afraid to try new things. You may think you like rich, dark coffee only to find you actually prefer lighter, more complex flavor profiles.
A great way to determine what you like is to find a multi-roaster coffee shop near you. These are coffee shops that feature coffee from different roasters, so you can determine what you like best. If this isn’t an option for you, you can always purchase a coffee subscription that can recommend coffees and roasters based on your preferences and send them straight to your door. Three popular subscription options are MistoBox, Angels’ Cup, or Bean Box.
2. Pour over
There are a lot of great options for pour-over systems, and it’s hard to go wrong. One thing to keep in mind is the type of filter the system uses. Metal filters tend to let a lot of oils through, while paper filters will keep them out. This can make a difference in the flavors you get from your cup. If you like bright, fruity flavors, stick with a paper filter. Here’s a great breakdown of some of the top systems you can buy.
Next, you’ll need a grinder, because the only coffee you should buy is whole-bean. When looking for a grinder, there are a lot of options. You’ll want to find a burr grinder that crushes the beans instead of a blade grinder that cuts them. By crushing the beans, you ensure greater consistency as well as a more robust flavor profile.
There are two primary options. You can go with a hand grinder or an electric one. You can find a great grinder at just about any price point. Just make sure you aren’t pre-grinding your beans. This should always be done right before brewing to ensure freshness.
While a great kettle isn’t a necessity, it is a piece of equipment you might want to look into getting if you’re serious about your coffee. The most important thing to look for is a kettle with a gooseneck spout. This will allow you to evenly distribute water across your coffee grounds. You can check out some great kettles here.
This item might seem a bit hardcore, but it’s key if you want to maintain consistency when you’re brewing. You’ll want to pick up a digital scale to measure both your coffee and your water to ensure you have the right ratio of each. There’s no need to get crazy here. Any scale that can measure in grams will do.
Once you have all the equipment you need to make your perfect cup of coffee, the only thing left to do is brew.