Interested in learning to brew with a Hario V60? We are offering two such opportunities in December. The first will be December 4th, 5pm at our new Nashville shop. The second will be December 27th, 4pm at the STL shop. These will be free events and open to everyone, no matter your skill or level of coffee interest. No need to reserve a spot, just come as you are. We will also be previewing our first brew guide in our soon to be released brew guide series. Now with that out of the way, a bit about why Sump relies almost exclusively on V60s for all our brewed coffees.
No one creates in the absence of the influence of others and those that came before. To that it end, it was 2009 or 2010, pre-Sump and I was in another vocation, when I came across a small shop in Fort Green, Brooklyn, NYC called WTF. Now I feel everyone has their touchstone moment in coffee, where they essentially come to coffee a second time, or for the first time after already drinking coffee - that coffee aha, mind blown moment. WTF was not my moment or that cup/shot/coffee. However, it was my first coffee experience as theater or as non-traditional cafe moment, a cafe as an educational/knowledge platform. WTF was the kind of place that was almost (1) pick a coffee, (2) pick a brew method, and (3) enjoy. It wasn’t exactly that, but the elements and illustrations were suggestive of that as a possibility - hinting that all one had to do was ask. The illustration that resonated the strongest with me was pictured a coffee brewing spectrum - spanning the two poles of cups as clean and clarified to cups as big body/mouth feel (dirty maybe), with a Kyoto like slow dripper (and Chemex) on the clean and clarified pole and the French press on the opposite pole representing big body and full. The graphic explained to me why I liked what I liked, while also providing me the tools or a path for creating my preferred cup of coffee. It was the beginning of thinking about coffee as something that could be complex, like wine, and clean and clarified, like tea, and that thought eventually drove all my subsequent coffee quests and set the core coffee philosophy of what would eventually become Sump.
When we opened Sump we were a little WTF in that we offered more than just one option for brewing coffee (often to our detriment). Since I wanted to serve and experience the cleanest, most clarified and most complex cups of coffee our initial brewing lineup consisted of 3 cup Chemex’s and Oji Kyoto style slow drippers. Over the course of our first year we iterated from 3 cup Chemex brewers to V60s. This ‘progression’ happened for two reasons.
Our Chemex brew times typically target 3:30 to 4 minutes. Thus, wait times can rapidly swell far beyond people’s patience no matter how delicious the coffee. A way around that would be hire an army of baristas. In all but the busiest shops this could possibly work, but everywhere else labor costs would quickly shutter the business. The second reason has to do with the ability to produce a consistent cup, from brew to brew, through the course of service. From experience, this is/was difficult. Even today, my own personal Chemex to Chemex brews can swing significantly in terms of total brew times -and in some instances, my brews my actually choke up, drip out too fast, or unexpectedly take too long often producing something outside of servable.
Enter the V60. This device approximates (to me) closely the clarity and cleanness of the Chemex, and cuts out at least a third the total brew time. Further, coupling this device with something like the Poursteady, it all but eliminates any chance of cup to cup inconsistencies. In addition, because of the large hole size in the V60 and the thinner paper (relative to the Chemex), there are more opportunities to modulate the profile (and find the sweet spot) of a brewed coffee by changing pouring diameter, rates of pour and ground coffee particle size.
The two V60 events in December will demonstrate our approach to V60 brewing, but will also open up to include making adjustments to our approach to account for different roast levels and different coffees. Hope to see you there. Also, be on the lookout for similar events for the Aeropress and French Press in December.