Online coffee tutorials

Whenever I want to learn a new skill (like how to clean a dishwasher, how to tie a fancy knot, etc.), I invariably consult Google and YouTube for help. Online tutorials can be extremely helpful, but they’re only as good as the people posting them. I have run into videos that range from being simply unhelpful to those that spread total misinformation.

ESPRESSO

Regarding espresso technique, ChefSteps have made what I consider to be the best online tutorials I’ve seen on the subject. In fact, they have a whole online course devoted to espresso which they currently offer for FREE. It gets extremely detailed so it’s not for people that just want a simple overview. I haven’t had time to go through the entire course yet, but I plan to on my next day off. ChefSteps Espresso Class

ChefSteps also has the best tutorial on how to create latte art that I’ve seen. The first time I saw it, I thought, “oh, that’s silly, I don’t need to practice pouring different speeds and going high to low, that’s easy to do.” And then I tried it (with water, as they do in the video). I was properly humbled. I’m still practicing. ChefSteps Latte Art video

POUROVER

A search for “hario V60 technique” on YouTube yields about 1,680 results. I watched the first five or so and while they had some things in common (rinse the paper filter, let the coffee “bloom”), they varied widely in pour technique. Some added all the water at once, some added it in many shifts, some poured counter-clockwise and some poured clockwise, some stirred the grounds with a spoon and some did not, etc. Ratios of coffee to water varied as well. Basically, there is no one “right” way to brew in a V60 so it’s kind of overwhelming. I started by following Intelligentsia’s V60 brew guide and I then experimented with some of the variations in Prima Coffee’s 8 Ways to Brew on a Hario V60.

For the Chemex, I believe I started with Intelligentsia’s Chemex brew guide and I have been really happy with it so I haven’t bothered to watch any videos. Stumptown and Blue Bottle also have helpful brew guides on their websites.

IMMERSION

For my french press, I started with the instructions that came with my Bodum presses, but you can find plenty of tutorials online. This one is pretty much exactly what I do, with one exception: I use a chopstick instead of a metal spoon, as the glass carafe of my Bodum presses is pretty thin and I don’t want to chip or crack it. I also don’t use Twitter or Instagram during the brewing process like the instructions suggest. Ha!

Regarding the AeroPress, there are two main styles of brewing with this tool: standard and inverted. This page does a great job at explaining the differences between the two. Both make great cups of coffee. In fact, I have tried the AeroPress with all sorts of water temperatures and coffee/water ratios (including DOUBLE the recommended amount of grounds, accidentally… oops), and I’ve NEVER had a bad cup. It’s made mediocre coffee beans smooth and enjoyable, and it’s made great coffee stellar. It’s the most forgiving brew method out there. If I had someone ask me what my recommendation would be if they were looking to buy just ONE coffee brewer, this would be it (as long as they didn’t mind that it only makes a cup at a time). Someday I plan to invite all my friends that own AeroPresses over to my house for a grand AeroPress smackdown to find the best brewing parameters, once and for all. Until then, have fun experimenting!

Nowadays, I most often brew AeroPress according to Blue Bottle‘s brew parameters, in the inverted method. Delicious!!!

(By the way, did you know that there is a World AeroPress Championship?)

What are your favorite online coffee tutorials? Post them in the comments!

2 Replies to “Online coffee tutorials”

  1. Great post, Margaret! Funny, I just discovered Chef Steps yesterday and was a little embarrassed that I thought tamping pressure mattered so much after watching a video that said it didn’t.

    1. Believe me, Benji, I read all the same advice you did re: 30 pounds of pressure, and my head spun debating the merits of flat vs convex bases. In the end, yeah, it’s the consistency that matters but I do find with my smaller hands, the size/length of the tamper handle makes a difference.

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