Coffee-Lympics: Specialty Coffee Drinks Brewing Methods

Coffee-Lympics: Specialty Coffee Drinks Brewing Methods

Of late, I’ve been exposed to some pretty crazy and inventive coffee brewing methods and systems, from cold-coffee brews all the way through to Aeropress manually-brewed Espresso’s. It’s been an incredible journey to learn so much about coffee in such a short time. While I realise I’m in a fortunate position to be exposed to these things – it’s only fitting I share these amazing methods the coffee products and the incredible Barista’s behind them.

Cold Brew Coffee – Demonstrated and Written by Arno Els – Origin Coffee

“I’ve recently fallen a little in love with a certain way of brewing coffee. Now before we go any further I have to clear up a few things. This is not the best way to brew, drink, and enjoy coffee. None of the ways you might come across are “the best”. Think of coffee like you think of music. I might be a big fan of Country-Rap (I said might be) and you might be a big fan of Norwegian death metal. And we might not like each other’s taste in music. It doesn’t mean the music is wrong. It just means we don’t like it. And that’s okay because coffee, like most things worth falling in love with, is subjective and prone to fall victim to emotional instability. But on a more serious note, this is what I’ve been up to.”

Arno used a Japanese slow-drip cold coffee brewer as his “brew weapon of choice.” This beast can make, according to the beaker measurements, 3 litres of coffee at a time – but he successfully pushed 4 litres. This device looks pretty complicated, but let’s break it down into digestible bits of info, shall we:

  • You have a top compartment filled with water (generally an average of 3 litres)
  • Attached to the bottom of this compartment is a little faucet (tap) with which you control the speed and flow of liquid. Generally you want one drop every three seconds.
  • These drops fall onto a circular paper filter which lies flat upon your coffee inside the middle compartment. The amount of coffee varies for many reasons – like grind size, roast profile, origin of coffee and how concentrated you would like your brew… to name but a few. Arno used 800 grams of coffee for this project.
  • The water slowly makes its way through the coffee and then through a ceramic disc filter before funnelling into a spring-shaped glass pipe. Two things:1. The ceramic filter catches any coffee grinds2. “I would be lying if I said I knew what the purpose of this beautiful little spring-shaped glass pipe is. It’s beautiful and it adds to the magic. For more scientific info you could always consult Bill Nye. He’s a science guy.”
  • Once the coffee has made its way through this beautiful little spring shaped glass pipe it drips into the bottom compartment. The bottom compartment is the most important. It prevents your cold brew coffee from falling on the table and keeps it all in one place so you can enjoy it! Make sure you have a bottom compartment otherwise you will be left with a mess and a broken heart.
  • This whole extraction process takes anywhere from 12 to 16 hours. So you have to premeditate your coffee craving.

Next step, the cold brew gets decanted into a 4 litre keg. For extra enjoyment add half a bottle of honey flavour Jack Daniels. The Jack Daniels is optional and I would not recommend it for kids. Seal it carefully (or not, it’s your baby) and attach the Nitrogen canister. You want to leave it for at least 24 hours so that the Nitrogen can properly fuse with the coffee. I recommend at least 48 hours.

Now is the moment of glory. Attach it to your draught tap, make sure your cooling plates are nice and chilled and pour yourself a glass of coffee that resembles a dark beer.

Now you can enjoy both the creamy and refreshing nature of this coffee and the looks from friends and family when they assume you’re drinking a Guinness for breakfast.

Arno’s Disclaimer: I realise not everyone can afford all the equipment for this brew method. Heck, neither can I. So here is what you do for home:

Brew coffee in any manner available to you at home. Chill it in the freezer. Once chilled, add it to the canister for your cream whipper. Make sure you are using Nitrogen canisters and not CO2. Give it a good shake, leave it a few hours and whip that bad boy up and into a glass. Boom, coffee magic, and liquid joy. And never keep trying new ways of brewing coffee.

Check out the montage of Arno’s set-up here.


Aeropress Coffee – Demonstration Video by David Coleman – More Flavour

In the introduction to this feature we mentioned the Aeropress. This little device is gaining popularity faster than the Kardashians gain Instagram followers! It’s the simplest solution to make quality Espresso without using any traditional brewing methods. This gives you the flexibility, for example, to go camping and still have your morning caffeine fix – without compromising on quality or taste. Some may say this is the “new Moka pot” – but it is far, far from it.

Firstly, the Moka pot uses an entirely different brewing method, requires insane attention to avoid burning the coffee – and is just outdated. It will also never provide you with any sort of crema on your Espresso.

With the Aeropress, however, the manual force emitted onto the machine produces a crema (albeit slight) and you will never run the risk of scorching your beloved brew.

To see David in action –head on over and watch his Aeropress Demo here.

Chemex Brew – Demonstration submitted by Bean There

This is what I call “short and sweet”. This cleverly lapsed video shows us just how simple a great cup of coffee can be. Sheesh, even the name of the product is fancy! They use “Olga’s Reserve VI Kenya Mweru Pb” in the Chemex Coffee Maker.

If this isn’t simplified, sophisticated class, then I don’t know what is.

You will first need to allow 500ml of off-the-boil water to filter through the Chemex. Discard the “flush water” once this is completed.

Add 30g of your selected, freshly ground coffee and 500ml of brewing water (slightly off the boil, again) to your rinsed filter paper. Be careful to aim for only allowing the water to come into contact with the coffee – avoid wetting the filter paper. Add the water in increments of 30 second stages – in this time frame your pour-over should not take longer than 3 minutes.

Allow your audience to marvel at your creation.

Pour immediately and enjoy (the coffee and the street cred!)

Watch the video demonstration time-lapse video here 🙂

“Lee Specialty Reloaded” – Video Demonstration and Drink by Lekunutu Thobatsi – Cramers Coffee

Now, when we called for submissions of “specialty coffee’s”, not once did we imagine someone would concoct an amazing sounding (and imaginably great tasting) coffee – just for us. Lekunutu, affectionately known as Mr. Lee, graced us with a start-to-finish demo video of him in action, making not one – but two spectacular coffee’s!

In summary; Mr. Lee first adds flavoured syrups, then brews an incredible fresh bean coffee. He adds a few extra ingredients – but the incredible part is how he finishes the drinks off. You can almost feel this man’s passion for his creation. Who would agree that this special coffee should be on your “bucket list”? I do!

Head on over here to see his video 🙂

Hacienda La Esmeralda from Panama: Rare Coffee in South Africa – Video Feature by Shmuel Montrose – Jozi Blue Coffee

Not often do I see such pure, unrelenting and true passion for a craft – let alone a coffee. Having said that – this is in no way “just coffee”. Shmuel Montrose of Jozi Blue Coffee in Johannesburg brings to us the rare Hacienda La Esmeralda coffee bean from Panama.

Shmuel quotes Michaele Weissman – author of “G-d in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee” : “ When Don tasted Esmeralda Special for the first time, he said the coffee was so transporting that when he tasted it, he saw the face of G-d in the cup”.

Now, in my humble opinion – if someone who has sampled this coffee and read a book written entirely about the quest of the perfect coffee has such pure passion for it, it must be out of this world. To explain a little more; coffee is graded on a point system of up to 100 – with 100 being the highest possible score. The Hacienda La Esmeralda Coffee Bean scored 94.6 on this rating system – meaning there are little to no defects of the coffee bean – visible or not.

When Shmuel heard this coffee bean was available at DoubleShot in late 2013 – he wasted no time; procuring 15 kg’s of the raw Hacienda La Esmeralda coffee bean, he set about various forms of preparing this Java Delicacy, including Espresso, Pour-Over, Plunger, Cappuccino and Syphon; to this day he still stands firm in that Syphon was the best tasting brewing method for this little luxury. Working out to a price of R 70.00 per cup did not deter anybody! Instead, Shmuel went on to create a name for himself in the community. To this day, he has not come across any other coffee bean that can measure up to the bar set by this magical little bean; it’s now his quest to find a supplier and re-stock. Shmuel – if you get your hands on this delicacy – you know who to contact! 🙂

Watch Shmuel tell his Hacienda La Esmeralda story here.

So, we can see from these stories that the best specialty coffee is relative; it can take 3 minutes or 48 hours to brew; it might be your favourite flavour combination – or it could even be a machine or a coffee bean that makes your heart skip a beat. We’d love to hear your specialty coffee stories -whether it’s a mesmerising method of brewing you encountered or a flavour explosion you’ll never forget.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to film and submit their reviews and demo’s for us. Your passion for coffee is always noted – and it fills us with happiness to share in your coffee journey!