Specialty Coffee: A year of discovery

Recently I celebrated a birthday and in doing so I also celebrated my first year of manual brewing specialty coffee from home. It was an awesome learning experience. I feel like I’ve learned so much, yet a recent conversation with my friend Bobby (owner of Recreational Coffee) helped me see that I still have so much to learn.

I started with a Hario v60 that I received as a Father’s Day present the year before. I dabbled with it, but I really didn’t get serious until my birthday in 2015. I’ve learned many things along the way but I’ll focus on three things here.

1. The specialty coffee community is strong

I have really enjoyed connecting and interacting with the specialty coffee community through social media especially through Instagram. It’s a worldwide group ranging from coffee roasters to home brewers. It’s a great way to see latest gadgets and brew methods. It also helps you see into the process of coffee from crop to cup. Many of my own coffee purchases have been driven by what I have  seen on Instagram. If you’re new to specialty coffee I strongly recommend that you search it out. Pick a few roasters or search hashtags and get involved in the discussion by commenting and asking questions. As a result of my social media interactions, I put together a list of some great coffee gear.

2016-01-17-120046-75_1.jpg2. Never settle

There is a ton of science involved in good coffee making. Ratios to calculate for the right amount of water to beans is just the beginning. But within all that science comes a bit of artistry. That’s why a quality cup of coffee made by a skilled barista often has that extra something you may not be getting at home. I have tried various levels of coarseness and various sources of water. They all play a factor. The best thing to do is embrace that or you will easily be frustrated. I feel I have come to a point where I make a consistently good cup of coffee, but I’m always trying to figure out ways to make it even more enjoyable.

wp-1453075343842.jpg3. Slow down and enjoy the process

Even after a year, I’m primarily a weekend manual brew coffee guy. I occasionally make a cup at night, but a good cup requires time and I don’t always have that in the morning on the way to work. I did find a way to take my coffee camping with me this year. That’s another story.

I love waking up on the weekend and preparing coffee for my wife and I. I enjoy exploring the various regions and getting feedback from my wife. The same when company comes over. I love making coffee for them and getting their reaction.  I love having a small variety of coffee beans to choose from so that I can prepare something that my guests will enjoy. It’s a nice way to show that I care. Coffee is more than just what’s in the cup, it’s more than a vehicle for caffeine. It’s time spent with people you care about. It will always be that for me.

I can’t believe how much I’ve learned over my first year of specialty coffee. I will continue to learn and share as I come across new roasters and accessories. Feel free to share your thoughts or suggestions. Go ahead and ask questions I’d love to help you along in your coffee journey too.

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