Manual pourover drip brewing

The 3 Melittas, after cleaning

The 3 Melittas, after cleaning

If there’s a simple way of brewing coffee, probably manual pourover drip brewers are the simplest. And the cheapest. Just pour hot water into the grinds, which sit on a cone filter, then let it drip into the cup and, voila! Great coffee using the simplest of process, the cheapest of equipment.

Well, maybe using socks would be cheaper. Hehe…

I’ve heard and read a lot about pourovers, but they weren’t easy to find around here. Melitta is a popular brand, especially its porcelain cone filter, but the Melittas I could find in neighboring Cagayan de Oro are the plastic drippers for travellers, the Ready Set Joe Travel Mug. I almost got one about a year ago from Robinson’s, but backed out. Then forgot about it.
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A pink plunger, a milk frother and a moka pot

gadgets-brocken

Got lucky once more with Brockenhaus, that surplus shop selling items from Switzerland and other European countries, with branches in Cagayan de Oro and Ozamiz.

We dropped by their Cagayan de Oro branch last Tuesday, and I found these three items.

Left, is a, um, pink 8-cup Bodum French press. I already got enough French presses, and I’m no fan of the color pink (I can guess my coffee will taste differently, hehe), but I got it just the same. I’m only after the glass carafe, just in case mine breaks. A friend wants the pink, so I’d trade that if she can get me another Bodum, we’ll just trade the pink case. Notice that there are also 2 Bodum coffee scoops. Not that I need them, coz I use a digital scale to measure my coffee to be brewed in a French press. But nice to have. It was priced at P168.
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My travel coffee paraphernalia

kopigear

I’m now on the third week of a month-long photographic assignment all over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), all five provinces of them — Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

I may be on the road for so long a time, and it’s tiring work with frequent travel on the worst roads and on the worst boats. But coffee helps me along the way, and I’m still enjoying my specialty coffee. How? I brought with me my coffee gear!

Aside from my clothes in a big travel bag and my camera gear in a LowePro backpack, I brought along another backpack containing my coffee paraphernalia.

What’s in the bag?
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The Aeropress inverted method revisited

The polyester felt filter for the Aeorpress is thick!

The polyester felt filter for the Aeorpress is thick!

Thanks to Steve A, one of the few readers of this blog, I finally got to try the filter medium suggested by the inventor of the Aeropress inverted method. Verdict: Looks like I’m back to Aeropressing.

I was brewing with the inverted method for a while, but using an inferior filter I found from a textile store. There were still some fine grinds that get past the filter, but lesser than the French press. I reverted back to using the French press after a coffee session in Davao with my sangay MindanaoBob, and after that I acquired quite an inventory of French presses of various brands and sizes. But still, the fine grinds at the bottom of the cup that pass through the French press’s metal filter bothers me a bit.

Then I got this filter medium for the hacked Aeropress — a five-micron polyester filter felt from McMaster. Almost no grinds at all, almost as clean as using paper filter, but with all the oils and flavor you can get from the French press. To give you an idea what exactly is this — you asthmatics, or those with asthmatics in the family, if you have a nebulizer at home, there’s a small (smaller than a coin) round filter where the air goes out where you insert the plastic tube; that’s polyester felt.
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Giant French press at work

That's BIG!

That's BIG!

Finally got to use my gigantic French press!!!

Saturday evening we had a mini-reunion, us batchmates of the Development High School class of 1981, of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT). We fondly call this school DaHaSa. They changed the name now to Integrated Development School or sumthin, but for us, it’s still DaHaSa.

There were 9 of us. And boy was I able to make coffee for all of us in one brew!

This French press aka coffee press aka coffee plunger aka press pot is called a 12-cup coffee maker, but maybe when you use small cups like those they use in espressos or tea. I used bigger 5-oz cups, and just enough for all of us.

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Giant 12-cup French press for a bargain

The giant 12-cup French press

The giant 12-cup French press

The family happened to be in Cagayan de Oro City yesterday, Saturday. While Miyam and Arkay were at the Lim Ket Kai mall, I drove to nearby Gaisano. It’s been some time since I visited their kitchen section, where I found some bargain coffee toys, like China-made French presses.

Lo and behold! There’s another bargain I found — a giant, 12-cup French press! At only 799 pesos (around $16), wow! I bought it right away. It’s not 12 cups for our regular cup of joe alright. That’s 12 cups only if you use those small espresso-sized cups. But for a regular-sized 6-ounce coffee cup, that’s enough for 6 coffee addicts. Still a lot!
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Yemen and Ethiopian beans, and 3 press pots

Green beans and French presses

Green beans and French presses

Wow, what a great day today! Two packages arrived. All related to coffee, of course!

First is the 15-pound USPS flatrate box, containing, what else, green coffee beans — 5 lbs of Yemen Hufashi and 10 lbs of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. As usual, distributed at GCBC, sourced from Café Imports. These coffees are my belated birthday gift for myself, as I mentioned in my post a few weeks back. The package reached Iligan, from the US, in 13 days. Not bad.

Yemeni and Ethiopian coffees, ahhh …. still my favorite after two years into this roasting hobby. The Yemen cupped an average of 88.6 at GCBC, while the Yirg averaged at 89.2. I got more of the Yirg simply coz it’s cheaper.

The second came in an LBC package — tree small-sized French presses. These are the plungers I traded with my sangay for three bigger ones, so I could hoard more and more of these press pots, which is now my favorite coffee maker. A proud owner of 8 French presses!

I’m gonna be busy roasting some beans tonight!
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And now there are 5

Plungers galore!

Plungers galore!

Whoa! I now own five French presses (a.k.a. press pots, coffee plungers)!!!

My friend and ‘sangay’ Bob just convinced me to take a second look at the French press. In our “cupping” session at his place recently, he let me try his brew. And I liked it. So these past few days I gave it a try, setting aside my Aeropress momentarily. Looks like the French press won for now. Maybe until I get the proper filter for the inverted method of the Aeropress, I’ll do French press in the meantime. But the Aeropress will still see action, especially when doing a cold brew, or for my improvized cappuccino.

This morning I dropped by a surplus shop in neighboring Ozamiz City, a place called Brokenhaus. Yeah, that’s spelled B-R-O-K-E-N. Its Cagayan de Oro branch is spelled Brockenhaus. I don’t know which is correct. I heard this place is owned by a Filipina married to a Swiss guy, and they’ve been shipping Swiss and other European used items in huge containers. My wife loves to visit these two shops every chance we get; now, Miyam had a lecture to cardiologists in Ozamiz and Oroquieta. Last year, I got a Moka Pot from this branch in Ozamiz.

This time around, I saw an unbranded big French press that’s made in Switzerland lying around, along with cups and saucers. This plunger can do 4 regular cups, although in Europe they call this size as 8-cup, coz I heard they use smaller cups there they call tasse or something.
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My coffee makers

L-R: Aeropress (2), Moka pot (1), French press (3)

L-R: Aeropress (2), Moka pot (1), French press (3)

If you think I have one of those familiar automatic electric drip-type coffee makers you see everywhere, in homes and in offices (and a LOT of them in department stores), which have become the most popular equipment for making brewed coffee, you’re wrong. I threw away mine long ago. Well, not literally, but I wonder where it went, coz I can’t find it now, now that I wanted to take a picture of it.

Why so? Coz the coffee these automatic drip-type brewing machines make sucks. Ops, sorry if I offended many coffee lovers who rely on this brewing machine every morning. But I’m just telling the truth. Didn’t I say this is a no holds barred type of blog? I found it out myself the moment I first tried the French press, coz suddenly, the same coffee tasted significantly better. I was just glad when I began reading tons and tons of information materials on coffee because none among the coffeegeeks use the automatic drip-type coffee maker. Simply because most of these coffee makers don’t heat the water to high enough temperature for good coffee extraction.
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