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Alternative coffee – philosophy or fashion?

Kemex, hario, cold brew, aeropress, craft roasting – let’s try to understand what is more in the new coffee culture: snobbery of a closed club or the inspiration of evangelists and pioneers.
On request, “alternative coffee” dozens of articles titled “Five alternative ways to make coffee.” This files most often mention Chemex, Hario (or “funnel”), the siphon and the aeropress. In fact, this is the same way, immersion – full immersion of ground coffee in water, and differ only in the device for cooking. But even the choice of device is not important, and most importantly – the idea.

Philosophy of alternative coffee
In Russia, the fashion for an alternative came with a trend for slow life and the concept of ethical and transparent business, support for a local manufacturer. There are no unimportant details. Grain – only the best, specialty – such no more than 15% of the total crop. Definitely from one farm: important altitude, climate, type of soil, fertilizers. Now they even begin to grow grain according to the specified characteristics “to order” – this is called soursing.

The next stage is roasting. Coffee beans for alternative roasted directly in coffee shops, and use only fresh. In the instructions you can find recommendations to use the grain “medium” roasting, but the ideologists of alternative coffee called the division into three saturation roasting rough and outdated. They believe in the “crack” after the grain is clicked the first time – it’s time to remove, you can hold very little. This method also works on the disclosure of the natural taste of grain.

The degree of grinding is also important: there will be a professional electric coffee grinder with adjustment, but a manual coffee mill is also suitable. The main thing is uniformity, and the size of the fraction varies from medium-thin, like sugar to medium-coarse, like salt from grandmother’s Cabinet.

Coffee is weighed to the nearest gram, and the water is boiled to a strictly defined temperature: to the “white keys”. There is a legend about how one young man was disqualified from the Barista competition: he used melted ice as water, and it changed the taste of coffee so much that he was accused of replacing grains.

How to prepare an alternative at home?
Devices for brewing alternatives with a dozen, some even include in their list of geyser coffee makers. The General point is that the extraction of coffee is not under pressure, as in an espresso machine, and thanks to prolonged contact with water, in addition, it is believed that these techniques allow better saturate coffee with oxygen and help to reveal the natural flavor of the grains. Manual cooking gives you better control of the five main factors affecting the taste of the drink:

the speed of the Strait.
“Make coffee like a chemist” is the slogan with which this device was launched on the market. Cooking technique is simple:

Fold the filter so that there are three layers on one side and one on the other.
Heat 0.5 water to “white keys” (92-95°C).
Moisten the filter with water to remove the smell of paper, drain the water.
Place 30 g of ground coffee (medium grind as table salt) in a funnel.
Moisten the surface of the coffee with water and wait 30-40 seconds, let the water soak in. Coffee will begin to reveal its flavor – this stage is called “flowering”.
Thin uniform stream in a spiral from the edges to the center pour water into the coffee. When the water in the upper flask Celexa comes almost to the brim, wait, let her come down into the lower flask. The whole process will take 3-5 minutes.

For Strait convenient to use a special kettle with a thin curved spout. Important! If you want to change the volume of the finished drink, you need not only to change the volume of water and coffee, but also to change the degree of grinding.

Hario (“funnel” or “pour-over»)
Just as it was with the copier, the name of the brand-discoverer gave the name to the device. The funnel can be made of ceramic, glass or plastic – each material has its advantages and disadvantages.

The technique of making coffee is much like cooking in kemeks:

Attach the funnel to a Cup or jug.
Attach the paper filter.
Place 20 g of medium-fine coffee in the filter.
Heat 340 ml of water without boiling – the required temperature 92-95°C.
Pour water into the coffee in a thin, uniform spiral stream from the edges to the center. The whole process will take 3-5 minutes.
Pour-over funnel
Photo: goran ivos|unsplash

Important! There are swirling grooves on the walls of the Hario funnel – they separate the paper filter from the walls, and the coffee is more saturated with oxygen during the cooking process. Pay attention to the direction of twisting the grooves: pour the water in the same direction.

Similar way less popular funnel Clover. The difference is that the grooves inside are straight, and the finished drink is not poured into the Cup as it is prepared, but first accumulates in the lower tank of the funnel.

Aeropress is the newest of the devices we are talking about. It was invented in 2005, although in many ways similar French press exists much longer. American Alan Adler invented it specifically so that everyone with a minimum of effort and disorder could prepare coffee in the workplace.

Place a paper filter on the metal mesh.
Place the aeropress on a Cup or other container for the finished drink.
Warm up the aeropress and the container by pouring hot water through them.
Fill the coffee at the rate of 2 tsp coffee medium or medium-fine grinding per 100 ml of water (to choose the right grind, imagine the fine sea salt).
Pour 30-40 ml of water into the press, stir and wait for 30 seconds.
Add hot water to the edges and mix again.
Insert the piston and slowly lower it down. The whole process should take about two minutes.

Important! Lower the piston slowly and smoothly – this will provide better extraction. The water for the aeropress take a little hot – 96-98°C. you Can bring it to a boil and give a couple of minutes to cool down.

Siphon, in my opinion, – the most spectacular way of making coffee, it is quite possible to arrange a mini-show for the entertainment of friends.

In the lower flask, pour water to the mark.
Install the top flask and put a paper filter in it
Fall asleep in the top flask of coffee at the rate of 2 tsp per 100 ml of water. Coffee is also medium-fine grinding.
Light the torch.
Water, heating up, will go into the upper flask, and there will boil. Give her no more than two minutes.
Remove the heating element. Ready coffee will go down in the lower flask.
Siphon for coffee
Important! Many baristas do not use an alcohol burner, which is included, but a gas burner: the gas burner is easier to regulate the flame. In addition, some use heated water to speed up the process, but we recommend using cold – it also affects the taste of the drink. By the way, half of the recipes pour coffee into the already boiling water in the upper flask. Try both – will you notice the difference?

Cold brew
Among the alternative methods of making coffee is often found cold brew. But in fact it should be mentioned separately. Cold brew can be prepared in an aeropress and French press, even in a mug or thermos: the essence of this method is not heating, but insisting.

Just fill in the selected capacity of the finest grinding coffee at the rate of 150 g per liter of water
Leave for 8-12 hours.
After – filter the finished drink.
From well-known brands you can buy devices for industrial cooking cold brew. The price varies from 6 to 60 thousand rubles. This coffee is very concentrated and is well suited as a basis for coffee cocktails.

Cold brew

Cold brew is good in a cocktail of cherry juice and coconut milk or in an invigorating mix with orange juice and lemon syrup. Ready cold brew can be stored in a closed container for up to two weeks, and if you are too lazy to Tinker – you can buy it in the Alphabet of Taste.

One of the meanings of the alternative is that everyone can cook a great and really interesting coffee at home, buying grain from local roasters. This is a matter of the future – let’s be honest, only a few gourmets are ready to buy a device with a price from 6 to 60 thousand, and the Moscow speed of life does not have to Scandinavian hugge and Japanese ceremonies. However, if you are ready for new experiences, come to the coffee shop “Doublby”, “Cooperative Black”, “Coffee” and “West 4” – here you can buy freshly roasted grain and drink coffee from the funnel, kemex, or filter.

The secret: the main axiom of coffee culture “there are no axioms.” Try, experiment and discover new horizons.

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