Category Archives: Coffee

Portland Recommendations

A friend recently asked for some Portland recommendations. We haven’t gone since March 2015, but these were some of the places we went back then.

Pok Pok – Thai Food. I just remember that this place had really good chicken wings. Some say better than San Tung but I didn’t think so.

Blue Star Donuts – Donuts. This place had better tasting donuts, but Voodoo definitely takes the cake when it comes to interesting looking donuts.

Heart Roasters – Coffee Shop. Some of the best small batch coffee roasters! Another plus is that they have some of that great Rachel’s Ginger Beer from Seattle.

Nong’s – Thai. This is that Thai style Hainan Chicken. Really tasty!

Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Coffee. We did a tour here back then but I heard they don’t have that anymore. It’s a shame but the coffee is still worth it.

Coffee Equipment for Beginners in 2018

I love coffee.  I love drinking it, talking about it, making it, sharing it.  Every time someone asks me what they should get to start brewing their own coffee at home I get excited.  Like really excited.

There are a few items you’ll want to get to start, the coffee vessel, thermometer, hot water vessel, coffee filters, grinder and a kitchen scale.

The Coffee Vessel: Chemex 6-cup and Chemex Filters


If you’ve already done a bit of research, you are probably wondering why Chemex over the Hario V60, Kalita Wave or Aeropress or even why drip over French Press or Espresso.

There’s a reason the Chemex coffee maker is displayed in Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art.  Made with all glass with a wood collar tied down by a thin strip of leather it’s a beauty with or without coffee.  The simple, beautiful design makes it the perfect art display when you aren’t being that cup of Joe.

The Chemex is the most forgiving when it comes to brewing drip coffee. 90% of the magic is in the filters which seem to filter out a lot of the bitterness in most coffees giving you a nice clean tasting cup of coffee.  Some people think the coffee taste is too light, but that’s where all of your coffee tools come into play. I’ve found that the finer you grind the more chocolatey you can make your brew especially when you pair it with a medium or medim-dark roast.

The biggest negative I have with this is how you clean it. I’ve tried rinsing it, stuffing a regular sponge and letting it soak in a vinegar mixture. What would probably work best is one of those wand sponges. However, removing the grounds is much easier with this that the AeroPress or French Press. You just pick up the filter and plop it in your compost bin.

The Grinder: Baratza Encore

I use a KitchenAid ProLine grinder at home which I’ve modified to create a finer grind for espresso. If I was starting over, I would probably recommend getting the Baratza Encore.  It may seem expensive, but getting a good conical burr grinder is worth it when you are starting out.

We purchased one for my brother-in-law and he loves it. The grinds are nice and consistent.  It’s pretty easy to clean and it’s pretty quiet compared to the ProLine. There’s a little door that keeps the grinds from getting all over the place.

My buddy also recommends the CuisinArt Automatic Burr Mill.  I’ve never actually used this one but it’s cheaper than the Baratza.

I don’t recommend getting a manual grinder unless you need a cheaper alternative, need to save space or need it to be portable.  I have a manual Kyocera Ceramic Coffee Mill that I used for pulling espresso shots but prefer using the automatic grinder at 6am to brew a pourover.

Water kettle

Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash

I’m using the Hario Gooseneck kettle with electric attachment. What I love about it is the control the gooseneck gives me for the pour. The other plus is that I just fill it turn the heat on and start preparing the beans and chemex filter.

Kitchen Scale and Timer

Any scale is useful here.  I don’t really have a recommendation as long as it measures in grams and ounces.  The one we use is the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display.  For the timer, just use your phone.

Coffee: Ritual Seasonal Espresso – Dark Horse (11/2/2015, 11/14/2015, 11/23/2015)

I’ve been making a latte every morning since Sam surprised me with a La Pavoni for my birthday in 2012.  I’m finally getting around to taking notes on all the different bags of beans we’ve been getting.  I’ll be backfilling the notes I’ve been taking from a notebook, so some of the roast dates will be out of order.  Also, bear with me, as I learn to take better notes on coffee.

Ritual – Dark Horse


  • 50% YCFCU’s Organic Hama, Kochere, Ethiopia
  • 50% YCFCU’s Organic Aramo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia

Size: 12 oz.

Roaster’s Flavor Notes:

  • Chocolate-Vanilla Soft-Server Twist
  • Blackcurrant
  • Cantaloupe

Latte’s made: 16 (Whole Milk)

Kitchenaid Proline Grinder Setting 8

Samantha’s Notes: Deliciousness, I like it, Smooth, Foam is right (*I’ve upped my frothing technique by holding the pitcher from the bottom), Favorite Ratio of Coffee to Milk.

Kingston’s Notes: Mellow, not too acidic.  Not too dark.  We obviously like this one because we’ve been repeat customers.