The Speciality Coffee Rabbit Hole

I moved to Goa sometime in late 2020, and the only habit of mine which I struggled to carry onwards from Bangalore was coffee. I was (and still am) a bit of a kitchen nerd.

Decent coffee was something I usually took for granted in Bangalore, where you had tiny mom & pop coffee roasters selling you either plantation or peaberry arabica beans, which you could either buy whole or buy ground to whatever size you wanted – with the option of pre-blending some chicory into your coffee.

You would eventually form friendships with these roasters, and have a steady supply of fresh beans to crush with a cheap ceramic conical burr grinder, and brew into a nice concentrate with the South Indian Filter. Brewing coffee at home was part of my morning routine, and buying beans locally about once every 2-3 weeks was one of the small joys of everyday existence (in a pre-pandemic world, ofcourse).

Arriving in Goa, it became apparent that I couldn’t source coffee beans of the same quality I could in Bangalore. Moreover, my trusty tiny South Indian Filter was starting to crack in a few places, and I wanted something nicer to brew with.

I decided to start experimenting with relatively fancier equipment and coffees. I bought myself a bright red plastic 02 sized Hario V60, which came along with paper filters, a ~700ml conical glass carafe, and a measuring spoon. I found a couple of companies that shipped adequate quality beans online, and zeroed in on Devan’s.

About 4 months after I moved to Goa, I met Moxxie. We became acquaintances at first, awkward friends next, and within a few months, a romance blossomed, and we grew into becoming a steady old fashioned couple. Moxxie was something of a tea nerd, and I a coffee nerd. Moxxie’s impression of coffee at that time was a harsh astringent beverage that’d help you stay up all night, and I’d make them coffees every morning to try and change their mind. I succeeded.

This lead us down a new rabbit hole – SPECIALITY coffee. I began reading more about coffees, and started consuming large amounts of video content from YouTube. I decided that my continuously failing cheap ceramic burr grinders were not going to cut it (pun intended), and I never really liked the taste of pre-ground coffee as much. I decided to acquire a Comandante C40 Mk3, an Aeropress, a Fellow Prismo, and go down THAT rabbit hole. I also bought a lot of silly coffee gear that I would only occasionally use, and this became something of a hobby of mine.

We bought light roasted coffees from Blue Tokai, and ordered sampler packs of anything and everything until our palettes settled down on something we actually liked.

Moxxie settled on a chic looking matte white Timemore C2 for a hand-grinder, and exclusively brews with their Aeropress + Prismo, and uses a matte white Sleepy Owl 350ml French Press to fluff their milk to make their large mug of fluffy coffee every morning, brewed with a caramely medium roast that is neither bitter nor acidic but has a long aftertaste.

My own flavour profile, meanwhile, seemed to go in the direction of light / light medium roasts that have good body, enough acidity, no bitterness, and none of the funky notes of warm dry wine (or sewer water) that some Indian roasters seem to enjoy. But I drink a lot more coffee than Moxxie, and as a result I can afford to experiment with gear & beans, and risk messing up atleast one of my coffees everyday.

I have a laboratory retort stand that I use to allow my pour overs to drip from a great height (to cool them down immediately to drinking temperature). I have a Hario Mugen dripper to SLOW DOWN my V60 brews while keeping the grind size coarse. I bought an Atlasware 2-cup (15g dose) MokaPot because I wanted to own more equipment that is made in India. Blue Tokai sold me a South Indian Filter to replace the one I used to own. I have a laboratory funnel that I sometimes use to brew micro pourovers (5g dose). I use a separation funnel to do a slow drip coffee.

I still have my “defaults” – 100% of my grinding is on my black Comandante C40 Mk3 (the makers claim it’ll last 20+ years, and I hope they’re right!), and I like the Aeropress best when it comes to brewing. I only use other gadgets for the sake of variety.

But this desire for variety and the continuous stimulation from experiments led to something I did not expect – I started writing lengthy messages about what I did to Moxxie, some coffee friends, and to a coffee discord server. And in a way, it cleared up my writer’s block! That’s where this blog post comes in. I’m going to post a lot about my experiments – coffee, kitchen, electronics, and all else – onto my blog on a much more regular basis going forward.

Here’s to a lot more content!

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wingedrhino

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