company - education - coffee

Monday, August 31, 2009

The hario 1 cup ceramic v60

The brown v60 1 cupper

Affectionately called the 'mini' in house, this little brewer takes a small dose and brews rather quickly. Where the 2 cupper is around a 3 minute brew, this little bugger knocks a minute off and delivers a single cup. It's the opposite of those 8 cup Chemex that are all the rage right now. One regular sized cup of coffee.

The little v60 is actually fairly simple to use. As long as the pour is even and the resulting grounds show an even, rather than lopsided dispersion, it probably brewed pretty well. The trick is setting the grind fine enough to get enough extraction and a slow enough draw down.

Remember to add a bit of pre-infusion to let the grounds bloom before pouring. 30-40 seconds with a couple of ounces is usually enough. For more info, get a detailed care/brew guide from the web store.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New v60 gear

Sweet V60 Server, originally uploaded by TheClothMan.

We have a new cutie, the range server that matches the style of the Hario kettle as well as some sweet new ceramic v60 in red and brown.

Limited supply on these items so take a long look and then check out our updated coffee list. The Kenyas are up and Soma will come back into product in the next two weeks, give or take.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Open House

From 2-4pm, Sat. August 22nd, we will have an open house and free samples of our new Kenyas via a pour over bar.

Meet our crew and taste great Kenyan coffees!

Oh, and hand mills are back in stock as well as a few new goodies that will be available online soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Replacing syphon filters

There's a trick to getting a new vac pot filter on. First thing is to get some replacement cloth filters.

Once you remove the old cloth, boil some water to rinse the new cloth through. A trick Ben C. showed me is that you have to start with a warmed and wet cloth filter and stretch it tightly when tying it on. Taking a little time to rinse it with water and then stretch it out making certain there are no folds or areas of crimping at the edges before tying it tight is essential.

The reasoning for this is largely that the filter needs to be tight but also that the filter needs to set flush in position against the glass when brewing. Any crevices or uneven spots around the edge will allow steam bubbles to gurgle from the sides of the filter. This is uncontrolled agitation and will add unpleasant bitterness (not unlike whisking the grinds excessively during brewing). Make sure that filter sits flush when brewing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

barismo's Best of Kenya tour

We have 4 Kenyas on the shelf right now and two are currently available online with the Kagumoini shortly to follow. To celebrate all the Kenya vac sealed goodness, we are doing a Kenya coffee tour with brew bars and chances not only to taste the coffees but to find out more about each of their unique characters.

barismo (169 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA)
Saturday August 22nd 2-4pm
barismo staff meet and greet with tasting.

Simon's (1736 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA)
Sunday August 23rd, 2p-4p
Manual brew bar featuring 4 Kenyan coffees.

ERC (736 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA)
Monday August 24th, 930a-1130a
Sample Kenyan coffees and learn about the estates.

ERC (44 Gainsborough St, Boston, MA)
Monday August 24th, 130p-330p
Meet the roaster and sample Kenyan coffees.

ERC (286 Newbury St, Boston, MA)
Tuesday August 25th 130p-330p
Sample Kenyan coffees learn about the estates.

HiRise (56 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA‎)
Thursday August 28th 2-4pm
Manual brew bar

View barismo - 'Best of Kenya' Tour in a larger map

Sonata series espresso

Sonata implies a four part composition. A mixture of four coffees that gives a signature profile or taste.

The three versions featured on our site are also featured at a few of our cafe accounts and have been tuned to develop specific profiles. Coffee is seasonal and components will change so don't get attached but this series is an attempt at having a transparent lineup of coffees where customers could evaluate and compare the different variations and still have be cognizant of the changes.

Each version has a distinct style but the symmetry is they are all four part compositions.
S3 - Sonata series 3
60% Moreninha Formosa (Brazil)
15% Helsar de Zarcero (Costa Rica)
15% Kiandu (Kenya)
10% Koke (Ethiopia)
Pralines and cherries dominate this espresso. A blend of 4 coffees tuned to yield a short but rewarding shot of espresso. Start at 1.75oz and walk it down, depending on how fresh the coffee is, as it approaches a tight ristretto it really opens up.

S4 - Sonata Series 4
60% Moreninha Formosa (Brazil)
20% Helsar de Zarcero (Costa Rica)
10% Kiandu (Kenya)
10% Nimac Kapeh (Guatemala)
Warm fruited aromas yield to a berried mix of fruit underneath. A blend of 4 coffees tuned to yield a complex fruit candy shot of espresso.

S7 - Sonata Series 7
67.5% Moreninha Formosa (Brazil)
15% Koke (Ethiopia)
10% Nimac Kapeh (Guatemala)
7.5% Helsar de Zarcero (Costa Rica)
Pralines, caramel, and light cocoa intermingle to yield a classic full double. A blend of 4 coffees tuned to yield a sweet caramel mid-tone espresso.

The components will change from time to time and the Brasil component is going to change soon so don't get settled on this. The idea is to stay transparent and avoid confusion. Soma will make a return shortly with a few reincarnations and new 2 and 3 component mixes will show up as we move along. All the four piece blends though will fall under this same name, Sonata.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cloth filter brews taste good

Cone Grindage, originally uploaded by TheClothMan.

Cloth is annoying to clean. If you don't take care of the filter and let it dry out or store it improperly, it will taste like 'cloth'. If you bleach it or use harsh cleaners, it will distort or deteriorate. If you don't rinse it well, it will discolor quickly.

On the other hand, it provides depth filtration so you can get a nice oily balanced and clean cup of coffee from a cloth filter. It's no more difficult than the majority of methods and needs only an additional step or two of care to keep it in good shape.

What I personally find so enjoyable about cloth is the taste. The depth and simultaneous clarity that comes from using this filtration should be justification enough for any serious coffee geek to give it a spin. I guess that's what matters the most though, the taste, right?

I know that so much of the coffee community is looking for the golden brewer that is simultaneously cheap, easy, and produces great quality. If they pick two of those three, it might be more realistic but there will always be room for everybody from those searching for the perfect cup to those searching for the easiest one. Cloth filters just might fall to the side of those willing to put a bit more time in to get a better cup.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New labels

Our first labels were a much bigger battle than they needed to be. I think that new businesses have these situations where everyone has an opinion and is trying to define the future of the company in one step.

I think my first version of the label set the tone for our approach but style is often an organic thing that grows with the people putting ideas into it. Right now the labels are evolving to be a bit more geeky and help people discern how we brew. They keep the same information about the coffees but we have been thinking about ways to help our customers take home the experience they have at the brew bar.

Kieni 09

New labels are going to strive to keep our transparent style but add brew specific notes for each coffee. BREW settings are for traditional cupping and french press style brews. The additional notes are specific to our catalog of brew equipment so take the time to calibrate with our website notes as we update them for each coffee.

Disclaimer: Methods are specific to our roast style and the brewers we carry. We advise the end user to not expect similar results from different roast style coffees using these methods or the same results using different brewers. Larger Syphons with different form factors and traditional drip roasts may need to be tuned significantly differently to which we advise you to talk to the roaster for their approach. Our pour over brew specs will not translate directly to chemex or aeropress so we advise consumers using those methods to not adopt the pour over suggestions on our bags for these methods.

*Printed instructional brew guides are available on request with any purchase.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

barismo expands!

Okay, so this post is a little late and well overdue.

I want to take a little time and say thanks to our staff for all the recent effort and help taking on new projects. It has provided Hong and I the room to focus on specific aspects of the business and grow others aspects quickly beyond our expectations.

A big thanks to Chris, Jamie L., Logan, and Lex for the efforts and input recently. Working in a growing new shop is often long hours but this group has made it a lot of fun and keeps me very optimistic. It is a credit to them that we are moving forward right now and are able to meet the increasing demands.

I will take a little time to talk about them more in the future as I am very proud of the mix we have working here.

Method guides

The Hario Kettle works best, originally uploaded by TheClothMan.

We will start sending out general method guides and care guides with items like the ceramic v60 and cloth filters. We will slowly be adding these to orders. Keep an eye out for notes on the shopping section about availability.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A revised mission statement

One of the key focuses of our business is very simple, we are about the barista. With a name like barismo, that seems pretty obvious but let me take a moment to refresh our mission statements.

In starting our business, we felt there was a gap in training and barista support, or customer service if you will, that led us to opening our own roasting outfit. That's the extremely abbreviated version but there is a key concept here.

Give people the tools to succeed.

I know, it sounds simple, but that was an earth shaking concept for us. Deadlines, contracts, posturing, and aggression are all too often the norm in this area. It took a little time for people to catch on to the concept that we were there with the genuine intention to support and help them. In every business, you tend to pay for the mistakes of those that came before you as much as you might also benefit from those same mistakes.

I believe that building trust starts from the beginning. Coming into every situation working on good faith hoping that investment and patience with any new account would lead to a healthy working relationship long term. Sure, we have parted with accounts and lost a legitimate return on the training and investment we put in with a couple of early adopters but I believe that is not a reflection of any lack in effort or good intentions on our part.

The most important aspect in building healthy relationships with those who represent our coffee is our employees. A manager or business owner must always be accountable for those who work for them. In fact, there is no greater statement about a business owner than the people they give the most responsibility to or let speak for them. It is in this one area that I think we really excel, having cornered the market on good hard working and well meaning individuals. Yes, we have some of the most head strong and independent people you could put in one room but that also has a bit of charm to it as they are full of good intentions.

We are very proud that our approaches in roast and brew method are tuned to a stylized interpretation of what tastes good to us. Taste being the imperative word. Meters and measures are fun so we use as much as we can for pragmatic purposes but they become entirely superfluous if the person using them refuses to taste the results. It is because of our own taste preferences that we have come to a unique style we feel separates us from the traditionalist coffee community. Our styles and brew methods are our own and we spend a lot of time tuning them to be proud of what we produce regardless of arbitrary standards set down by others.

We believe the measure of good taste is not easily attributed to charts and graphs or gold standards and this is why the barista is still essential. Interpretation plays a large role in what a coffee can be and this is where the roast and of course, the final stage with the barista is important.