What's New.

Author: george Posted: February 21, 2009

With no particular flow or structure, here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately at and around crema..

As you can see in the title picture, we picked up a chemex.  I had never tried anything from it before buying it but I had heard good things about it.  I haven’t gotten that great cup I have heard about yet, but will keep trying.  Some problems I’ve had include over extraction, paper taste (from the filter of course), too thin, and lack of flavor.  On the pro side, it’s a pretty fun brewing method, and it provides some nice eye candy.

The funnest part of using the chemex so far has been spinning it really fast and creating a mini vortex.

My current thoughts?  It’s not bad, but why use a chemex when I have a press?

I plan to keep playing around with it none the less and see what I can make of it.  Obviously a week of experimenting is not nearly enough.

I finally found 3 minute sands of time/hour glasses for our french press.  Do you know how hard it is to find such an obscure time as 3 minutes?  I don’t even know why the store had them in the first place – the cashier suggested that it might be for an egg…

The stands they came with are pretty cheap looking, so we plan to paint them or just change them completely, but it’s cool to have them for now.  So long digital beepers.  Out with the new, in with the old.

The siphon has been a lot of fun to play with, and we had one of the most memorable cups of coffee on it the other day using the Colombia Huile La Plata.  I haven’t had the time to use it much this week but we’re definitely getting the hang of it.

The color of the coffee it produces is worth the work alone.

In November John went to Japan and brought back some beans from a local roaster which were awesome.  The packaging was cool and the coffee was really really good.

The beans were also super human size.  On the right hand we have the Japanese Godzilla Bean, and on the left a bean from our espresso blend.

John took some pictures of the roaster as well, which we’ll be uploading soon.  It’s super clean and understated, and they use a Probat.

If someone orders a solo espresso/macchiato/trad cap, we switch the double basket with a single one.  This is one of the advantages of using the Mahlkonig Grinder – it has 2 customizable grind times for this very reason.

Pulling shots from a single basket is a completely different animal than pulling doubles, with the most notable difference being in a much lower extraction time (usually around 20 seconds).

John and I are heading to Portland on March 5th for the United States Barista Championships, which is sure to be a riot.

Lastly, we designed our own packaging labels for when people buy beans but I don’t have any pictures of them at the moment.  Will post them soon enough.

I leave you with Sayaka.

9 Responses to “What's New.

  1. florian says:

    the 3 minute hour glass is for the french press? You let the coffee brew in the press for three minutes before pressing down?

    I really hope you will do a post about how to use a french press. I have been using mine for a few weeks now and love it. Some insider tips would be great though!

    I apprecite your website and love every post.

  2. Colin Newell says:

    Visited Cafe Crema this morning – mid-day…

    Great coffee -

    Asked about you – you are not usually in on Sunday.


  3. lawrence says:

    love your pictures as usual…

    I was worried you were going to chime in on the Chemex controversy that Scott Rao started on coffeed:


    Sounds like you have hit some of its limitations. On the other hand, I’m loving the siphon as well.

  4. Jeremy says:

    @Florian JJ Bean has a little tutorial on their site about using a french press under coffee basics and then under french press.

    I really want to try those new methods, maybe next time I stop in.

  5. John Giannakos says:

    @Florian Quick note regarding water temperature: You want to stop it before it boils, if your using a kettle, always time how long your heating the water until you find the sweet spot -defined by you of course.

    As an example, the kettle I use at the office is 3 minutes 50ish seconds to get my desired temperature. I also encourage you to try your coffee at lower temperatures, I personally like to be able to drink it right after it’s steeped, cool enough that I can comfortably sip it without slurping. As the coffee cools note how the flavor changes, this will help you find the water temperature you like.

    And yes, 3 minutes is our default steep-time. But experimenting is always good. We’ll put up a post on the way we’ve been doing French Press, though it changes quite frequently. In the meantime James Hoffman (07 Barista Champ) has a good video about it here

  6. Florian says:

    @john Giannakos and @ jeremy
    thank you very much for the video and the jj bean tutorial.

    I had NO idea that the water should not be boiling in the kettle. THanks for that piece of information.

    I tried the Bialetti today and the coffee tasts alot different than with the french press. It seems much harsher. Do you guys every use a Bialetti?

  7. Tyler says:


    I echo George’s sentiments about experimenting.

    Time is a very tricky thing and changes from coffee to coffee. Saying that, the first time I press a coffee I always do so for three minutes.

    As with tea, I enjoy some steeped for shorter periods of time and others longer. The best way is to experiment with the steep time, coffee to water ratio and grind for each coffee and find your personal sweet spot. Moreover, it is a rewarding experience as it really shows how the seemingly subtle variables can effect the final outcome.

  8. Tyler says:


    I echo John’s**

  9. Danny says:

    Nice single shot!
    nice 2 see 4 once

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