Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Third Wave - What does it mean?

Ok, so you may have walked into your favourite coffee shop and been a bit bemused by all the coffee offerings of late. Everyone's getting a little bit fancy and for ordinary folk like you and me it can all get a little confusing. In this post I will attempt to diffuse the mystery surrounding the various science like instruments and what difference it will make to your cuppa. 

Getting a great coffee from your beans comes down to a few variables; heat, time, extraction, temperature, grind, pour and drip rate. Playing about with these factors has resulted in some new approaches for getting different flavours from the coffee and involving more of the senses in the overall experience. The third wave coffee movement is about trying all these methods new and old, straying away from mass produced roasters and sourcing the highest quality beans from all over the globe with a real push towards single origin coffees.

So what are some of these spiffy new brewing techniques:

This method allows for complete manual control over the amount and quality of the coffee extraction, producing a round bodied coffee full of flavour with little acidity. Hot water (not boiling) is hand poured in a continuous motion over medium grains whilst being careful not to flood the beans. The coffee is then drip extracted through a filter paper cone. This method can take up to 5 minutes to produce so be prepared to wait slightling longer than your regular coffee. Great when prepared with single origin estates. Pour-over is about getting back to basics with the gentle withdrawal of flavours.

Cold Drip
I'll have it on the rocks please...drip... drip... drip by drip the coffee is extracted in a painstaking process that can take up to 12hrs. Cold drip is making a resurgence back into the coffee market where by iced water in a top chamber slowly drips onto ground coffee which then filters into a lower chamber. This is bottled for freshness and at drinking time you can choose to drink chilled or hot. Palomino Espresso will definitely be serving up Cold Drip - don't pass up the opportunity to try one when we open next month. Fantastic on a great summers day, you'll be able to pick up the subtle flavours from each single origin with an acidity thats lower than most espressos.

One of the most delicate ways to brew coffee that can reveal the many underlying complex flavours. Its a very exact process using a scientific looking gizmo that is essentially a vacuum coffee maker. The syphon device is made up of two glass vessels one is filled with water, the other with coffee grounds. When the lower vessel is heated with what looks like a bunsen burner the pressure pushes the water up the syphon tube, the heat is removed, the coffee steeps and then strains itself as it drips back down into the bottom receptacle. As you could understand this takes a wee while (5-10mins) so order one of these when you have time to watch and enjoy. It turns the everyday mundane act of ordering a coffee into a full sensory experience. The extra time will be worth it when you notice the difference in taste as this process helps extract the unique characteristics of the bean.

Caffeine geek or not, the latest coffee trends are not to be ignored. Coffee is the new artisanal drink that can be gulped down for your morning buzz or tasted, appreciated and discussed, much like wine. Hopefully these explanations will entice you to try one sometime in the future ooor you can just wait till Palomino Espresso opens and come to us! We would love the opportunity to make you a coffee and explain the techniques further. You might find this opens up a completly new way of drinking coffee and become hooked... darling I wouldn't be caught dead drinking anything other than cold drip.

One final brewing method to mention. I invented it just this very morning whilst running late for work. Take a handful of coffee beans, chuck them straight in your mouth and whilst chewing try gargling with boiling water.

*Disclaimer: If you are clever enough to attempt the 'gargle' method, we accept no responsibility for your impending death.*


  1. I'm intrigued by this cold drip method, sign me up for one when Palomino's doors open.

  2. Will do, you'll be first on the list!