December 20, 2016

It’s Time to Reconsider the Batch Brewer


Boiled coffee left for hours on a hot plate – many the specialty-coffee lover has shuddered at the sight of a batch brewer. Who doesn’t have memories of fast-food coffee that’s mouth-puckeringly bitter?

Yet it’s time to reconsider batch brewers. Because there are some models on the market that don’t just provide specialty-grade coffee but may even offer benefits your V60 can’t.

SEE ALSO: The Japanese Specialty Coffee Shop Serving Predominantly Decaf

behmor brewer

Can a batch brewer compete with a manual brewer? Credit: Abracadabra Coffee Co

A New Generation of Batch Brewers

There are currently 11 SCAA-certified Home Brewers, and they are nothing like the gas station coffee you drank before you knew better.

To quote the SCAA, they use:

“(1) proper ratio of coffee to water, (2) proper grind, (3) proper equipment operation, (4) good water, and (4) clean equipment.”

The Behmor Connected Brewer, for example, offers variable temperature control, adjustable bloom functions, elevation control, and even pulse water delivery – meaning that it the water drips onto the grounds in the same fashion as in manual brewing.

And specialty batch brewers don’t have some of the disadvantages associated with hand brewers.

behmor batch brewer

The SCAA-certified Behmor Connected Brewer. Credit: Williams-Sonoma

Want Consistency? Think Batch Brew

Hand-brewing can produce beautiful coffees. They can have clarity, prolonged aromas, mouthfeel, acidity, body… and what makes them even better is that you can adjust your brewing method to create the profile you want. Want more acidity and less body? Pour your water slower.

But if you want to repeat the brew you had yesterday? Well that’s not so easy. You can replicate the dose, grind profile, water temperature, and brew time. Yet can you guarantee you won’t be pouring slightly faster at 1:25 than you were yesterday? What about your concentric circles – are you sure they’re not a little bit wider?

Because that might seem like a small difference, but it will affect water channelling, which affects extraction and in turn the final cup profile.

It’s true that certain brewing devices provide more consistency than others. Scott Rao has famously taken the position that consistency and the Chemex are oxymorons. However, the AeroPress is often more consistent. It’s also true that not everybody wants absolute consistency.

But for those that do, a batch brewer can produce consistent coffee to hand-brew quality. You control the temperature, dose, and time, all the way from the pre-infusion to the last drip.

Kalita from the top

Beautiful coffee… but can you replicate it 100 times? Credit: Matty De Angelis

A Coffee to Share

Ever tried to make specialty coffee for your entire family at Christmas? By the time you’ve made your eight cup, you’ve missed out on half an hour of conversation and the first coffee has already gone cold.

While there are some multi-cup specialty options – such as the eight-cup Chemex or the four-cup V60 – they still cannot serve as many people as a batch brewer. What’s more, they often take you out of the living room and out of the conversation.

batch brew

How quickly can you make 10 coffee? Credit: Lufthansa

Making Specialty More Accessible

Our goal isn’t to be exclusive. It’s to spread interest in amazing coffee. We want to help people to appreciate the impact of terroir and processing methods on their drink. We want people to care about the profile of their cup. And we want them to care about extraction rates, brewing temperatures, pre-infusion, and more.

And batch brewers can achieve this. What’s more, they can do it a lot better than an ironically moustached barista taking five minutes to serve up a Chemex. (Baristas, we love your moustaches, but you have to admit we have a presentation problem among commodity-grade consumers.)

We might not look as good using a batch brewer – but with the right brewer, we will be making coffee that’s just as delicious (if not more so). And we will be doing it in a way that commodity-drinkers can see themselves doing.

It’s time we consider those specialty-grade batch brewers to actually be specialty.

Behmor is a sponsor of Perfect Daily Grind. Perfect Daily Grind is not affiliated with any of the other individuals or bodies mentioned in this article, and cannot directly endorse them.

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