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Legit Coffee

The quest for enlightenment through coffee.

Tag Archives: Pour Over

mattbNathan and I had made a day of coffee tastings, and Brū Coffee was our afternoon destination. We lapped the neighborhood a couple times looking for parking since it was a street-cleaning day, until Nathan ran over something in the middle of the street. It could have been a downed palm-tree or a hipster on a fixed-gear, but we didn’t look back.

After ten minutes in a holding pattern, we found that Brū had parking behind their shop. I highly recommend parking in that lot should you like convenience and a close proximity to your destination.

Brū had an awesome vibe- vaulted ceilings, a lofted dining area, and plenty of tables highlighted the shop, as well as a beautiful patio that was chock full of people on laptops. The people were diverse, ranging from scarf-wearing hipsters to a girl with green hair. I even bumped into an old friend. Other than being a victim of the “no outlet” epidemic sweeping coffee shops, it would be the perfect place to study, write, or take a date.

Now to the coffee:

Brū had a beautiful La Marzocco espresso setup as well as a full station for pour-over. Nathan and I both made pour-over selections from Brū’s 4 coffee menu, which offered a variety from San Francisco roasters, Ritual. Our barista freshly ground each of our beans and did a great job with the pour, allowing time for it to blossom.

I opted for a strong Honduran roast, Las Manos. It had a thick body, and a great aroma that kept my nose in the cup for longer than normal. The defining characteristic was a mango aftertaste, preceded by a hint of chocolate. As the coffee cooled, the mango subsided as flavors of old honey pressed through. As a morning to midday coffee, I highly recommend it.

Nathan had the Los Chacones Boutique from Costa Rica. He noted it as having a light vanilla scone flavor, but having a stronger “coffee” taste than our earlier offerings of the day. The coffee cooled into some nice candy-orange tones, and provided a rich, healthy body throughout. His description of it tasting like “coffee” lead us into a conversation that I’m sure we will chat about here later.

At this point I sent the following texts to my girlfriend, leading me to believe that my caffeine intake had maxed for the day. I won’t go into details of the car throwing,  but I think you probably know what happened…

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NathanLong ago, by which I mean when I was in junior high and high school, we had a word for people who listened to bands like The Pixies because they thought they were cool: Poser. (Never mind the spelling.)

The concept of the poser and the idea that doing the cool thing could be uncool came to mind just now when I checked in with the excellent LA Times blog Overrated/Underrated. You see, they declared the recent pour-over coffee craze overrated. They question the increasing cost of coffee made in this fashion, in which a barista carefully pours 200-degree water directly over coffee grounds, and they imply that it doesn’t actually take that much skill to do it well.

If they’re right about the skill — I sense they’re not, though I’ve never done an experiment — they may be right about the cost. Regardless, I think they’re not up front about the real issue: posers, and the fact that we don’t like them.

Consider Intelligentsia Coffee in the happenin’ Abbot-Kinney neighborhood in Los Angeles. The place is populated by people dressed like they’re in an Arcade Fire cover band — suspenders, muted colors, tattoos, lots of those cute wing tips that seem popular in certain circles. It’s easy to feel intimidated, but it’s also easy to feel, well, cool. Thus, by drinking pour-over and extolling its virtues, you too can seem cool.

But can you taste the difference? And if not, aren’t you just another poser who thinks Candlebox was good? That’s what I suspect the Overrated/Underrated folks were really thinking about when they declared pour-over — forgive me — so over.

Now, me? I can taste the difference — given the right coffee and the right water temperature and so on. And I think you can too, but I’ll side just a bit with O/U. It is the thing the cool kids are doing right now, and that does mean that some people are doing it just because it’s cool. That doesn’t mean it’s over, any more than fixies, Arcade Fire, or craft beer.

Here’s the Overrated/Underrated blog (which you should check out).

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