Coffee Marks The Spot

Café Outfitter

Around the World in 40 Cups of Coffee. (Photo: courtesy of Dave Selden.)

Coffee’s global connection is just one of its many compelling characteristics. In one afternoon, you could cup your way around the globe, sampling from a mill in Kenya, a family farm in Panama, and a cooperative in China. Around the World in 40 Cups of Coffee allows you to bring a visual component to your coffee tasting explorations, mapping each cup and preparation method.

The large-format wall mat was developed by Dave Selden, designer of the popular 33 Cups of Coffee tasting journals. “When I was researching 33 Cups, one of the things that really captured my imagination was thinking of the far-flung places and people responsible for the coffee in my cup,” Selden says.

“When I was researching 33 Cups, one of the things that really captured my imagination was thinking of the far-flung places and people responsible for the coffee in my cup.”

The map is printed on 100-percent-recycled paper (coffee-colored, of course) and lists forty producing countries. Each country is highlighted with eye-catching metallic ink and paired with the same flavor wheel found in Selden’s tasting notebooks. The goal is for coffee drinkers to try to taste and log coffee from each country, noting the origin, roaster, and variety directly on the map. A space is also provided to note brewing methods used in each tasting, helping users note patterns in their preparations.

Around the World is a great addition for cupping rooms and kitchens alike. Rolled in gift-ready tubes, the maps are available online and will appear soon at specialty shops carrying 33 Cups.

WHAT THE PUQ

Imagine that every time you loaded your portafilter with grounds, you could guarantee a level tamp, constant pressure, and easy cleaning. Though it sounds like a dream, the Puqpress team sought to make these features a reality in the design of the their Puqpress precision coffee tamper.

Espresso is set apart from other brewing methods because of the pressure used to force water through the grounds. Uniform tamping is essential in espresso preparation; when grounds are uneven, water finds the path of least resistance through the coffee, leading to uneven extraction and unbalanced flavors.

Photo: courtesy of Puqpress.

Puqpress controls the variables of tamping through mechanized action. A sensor recognizes when the portafilter is placed in the cradle of the tamper and automatically activates. Thanks to the patented clamping mechanism, the Puqpress can be used with all sizes of portafilters. Pressure can be set between ten and thirty kilograms, giving a consistent tamp pressure each time, regardless of which barista is using the machine. A special cleaning mode whisks away excess grounds, ensuring a clean start each time.

Puqpress is the result of two Dutch brothers putting their heads together—one with a background in coffee, the other a mechanical engineer. After considering how much the quality of espresso relied on precision and control, they questioned why tamping was still done by hand. Figuring this was a problem they could solve, they set to work with lots of ideas, coffee, drawings and test settings until they produced the first beta version of the precision coffee tamper. The Puqpress now sells in fifteen countries.

DO YOUR OWN BREW

Many coffee enthusiasts enjoy their daily cup (or two), but rely on the expertise of their neighborhood barista to prepare quality coffee. For those who have yet to attempt or perfect making café-quality coffee at home, Brew: Better Coffee at Home offers a solution.

Photo: courtesy of W&P Design.

Author Brian W. Jones leads readers through the process of home coffee brewing, demystifying coffee’s complexities, discussing how to buy the best beans and brewing equipment, and offering in-depth primers for mastering various slow-coffee techniques. Jones also supplies a collection of recipes for creative coffee-based beverages and cocktails.

Brew is designed to be an indispensable and accessible guide for any specialty coffee lover who wants to elevate the in-home coffee experience. The hardcover, 160-page book was launched as the first of three debut titles from Dovetail, a new publishing company that pairs impactful books with original products. Brew can be purchased with a pour-over press, pour-over dripper, and set of stoneware mugs from manufacturing partner W&P Design.

OCD

In the busy morning rush at a café, distributing grounds in a portafilter is often accomplished with the quick sweep of the barista’s index finger. This method is problematic because each barista will sweep with a different motion, leaving a slight mound or divot in the coffee, resulting in an espresso puck with inconsistent density.

The desire for a better distribution tool led to the development of the ONA Coffee Distributor (OCD). First conceived by World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic in 2001, the OCD has evolved into a valuable tool for baristas looking to improve the quality and consistency of espresso.

Photo: courtesy of ONA Coffee.

The OCD has four angled slopes that consistently, efficiently, and evenly glide the coffee grounds around in a circle, resulting in a puck with even density throughout. The tool eliminates the need for collapsing grinds after dosing, meaning that baristas have one less step to worry about.

The OCD features spacers that allow depth adjustment to account for different doses, roasts, and densities of coffee. The adjustment controls allow the tool to be used with very low doses or larger baskets. The distributor was tested at different cafés and training rooms with various espresso machine models to better gauge the tool’s efficacy. Blind taste testing found a clear trend that OCD-distributed shots had rounder acidity, lower astringency, clear finish, and a smoother transition of elements over the palate.

MORE THAN DECENT

In addition to the creation of a home espresso machine that facilitates world-class coffeehouse espresso at home, Decent Espresso has created an arsenal of barista tools designed to achieve a perfect, repeatable result. The Decent Tamper is calibrated to twenty-five pounds of pressure and perfectly fitted to the inside of a fifty-eight-millimeter portafilter basket. The twenty-five-pound tamp fully compresses coffee grounds while reducing the potential for muscle or joint strain and the risk of repetitive stress injury. The perfect fit of the tamper to the portafilter basket keeps tamps perfectly vertical and won’t leave an untamped ring, helping baristas achieve a perfect puck, shot after shot. The Decent Tamper comes with the added bonus of a lifetime guarantee; if any component breaks it will be replaced for free. Options for the tamper include a handle designed for smaller hands and a thirty-pound spring for baristas who prefer the SCAA standard.

Photo: courtesy of Decent Espresso.