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Homebrew Coffee Tools with Ben Cram of Fernwood Coffee

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Coffee at home or at work is often of the set-it-and-forget it variety, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The constantly growing field of high quality, locally roasted origin coffee has people exploring different methods for extracting the most flavour, and many of them are easy to do on your own. Homebrew has plenty of benefits, from the inexpensive price-per-pound, to the freedom of experimenting with different temperatures and brew times — plus, the ability to try whatever brand or blend catches your eye.

Recently the Cookworks stores in Vancouver have been proud to host Ben Cram of Fernwood Coffee in Victoria, who’s been helping demonstrate a few of the different coffee makers in stock.

Though Ben’s roastery is right beside his own Parsonage café, he still makes coffee at home on a regular basis. “You can replicate the top coffee companies in the world with some really simple stuff,” he says. “A scale, a good pouring kettle, and your brew method of choice.”

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There are two methods that have established themselves as favourites here at Cook Culture. If you’re making just a single cup of a coffee, the Aeropress is a good bet. Inside the plastic chamber, you combine grounds with water and allow them to steep, and then using the plunger, push the resulting coffee through a filter and into the cup. “Aeropress has always been the professional coffee industry’s travel brewer and even home brewer,” says Ben. “It’s probably one of the best single cup methods across the board when you combine the quality of the coffee you get out of it, the convenience, and ease of cleaning… It’s a really amazing brewer for a very low price point compared to other things on the market.” With its fine paper filter, the Aeropress brews a bright, sediment-free coffee that highlights a coffee’s specific flavours.

If you’re the type of hard-liner who drinks a whole pot in one sitting, or you need to brew for a group, give Vancouver startup Espro a try. It’s essentially a French press; you mix the grounds and coffee to let them steep, then push a filter through the container, separating out the grounds. The really unique thing is a two-stage filter that keeps in the coffee’s oils while removing far more sediment than a regular press. “Espro was fairly new to me; at the demo it was probably only the second or third time that I’d tried it. Their claims of doing a cleaner French press are true, it’s very remarkable,” says Ben. “For flavour clarity and not having that silt at the bottom of the cup, it’s almost as good as a paper filter, whereas you’re still getting some of the advantages of a French press.”

Thanks to roasters like Fernwood, there’s far too much good coffee out there to drink the same stuff every morning. Whether its discovering new locations for coffee growing or experimenting with the harvesting and roasting process, they’re always something new to try.

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“Coffee culture is changing so fast because of the influence of quality roasters going to origin and working with farmers,” says Ben. “The boundaries are being pushed each year, it’s great.” 

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Join the movement with one of these awesome tools — drop by Cookworks or Cook Culture today for more info. - Sol


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