I made coffee as a job for the better part of 5 years and used this time to experiment and experience many different ways of making coffee. It’s only in the past month that I’ve discovered my current favourite way of making coffee at home, and I thought I might as well share. It’s called an Abid (or Driver, or Clever), and it’s basically a fancy version of those cone shaped plastic pour-over holders that I think everyone probably has hiding somewhere in the back of a cabinet. The neat thing about the Abid is that you control how long the coffee brews for by way of a plug, before placing the holder on a cup or carafe and allowing the coffee to drain. This gives you better control of your extraction time, which is a good thing. Here is my method from start to finish:
1. Weigh your (freshly roasted, properly sourced) beans
This is important! If you want your coffee to be consistently good, you need to be consistent in your preparation. Weighing your beans takes mere seconds, but it ensures you are use the correct ratio of coffee to water. I know it may seem like an extra step in the morning, but believe me, it becomes second nature before long. In this case, I’m brewing one cup (using 340ml or 12oz of water), and so my weight is 23.5g, but 23g or 24g would be fine.
2. Boil your water and prewet your filter
You are going to need to boil 340ml of water plus about 300ml for prewetting your paper filter. I’m using Chemex bleached filters because they are strong and I had them lying around. Feel free to experiment with others. Once your water has started steaming (but before it starts boiling), pour about 300ml into your Abid, in which you’ve placed your paper filter. Allow it to sit for about ten seconds, then drain the water out. You can generally just pour it out the side instead of waiting for it to drain through the bottom; the filter will stick to the sides of the Abid. This step removes papery taste from the filter that would otherwise find its way into your coffee.
3. Grind your coffee and place into the (now empty, but moist) filter
The grind I’m using is close to a paper drip grind, or about 16 (out of 40) on my Virtuoso. This will mean nothing to you, even if you own a Virtuoso due to the differences in calibration between grinders. I’d suggest starting shy of the halfway mark on your grinder and adjusting based on taste. Is your coffee weak? Grind finer. Tasting overly strong and intense? Grind coarser. This method is fairly sensitive to grind changes, so don’t move around too drastically. I start to taste differences moving more than one notch on either side of this current sweet spot. And it goes without saying that unless you own a burr grinder, you’re not really ever going to make great coffee. Sure, they may cost more than that $15 spice/”coffee” grinder, but it’s an investment in something that you will use everyday.
4. Place your Abid on a scale and grab a timer
Another scale? Yes, another scale. But you can use the same one as before, and while this may seem like complete overkill, it’s really another tiny, easy step that ensures you are getting consistently great coffee. Your water should be boiling by now, so remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 20s. We don’t want water quite at the boiling point. Now prepare your timer. We’re going to brew for one minute. No longer, no shorter, and again we want to be precise and consistent about this. Once you are feeling cocky, you can begin experimenting with longer or shorter brewing times to more closely match your grinder, but this is a good starting time. Start your timer and slowly and gently pour your water into the coffee, ensuring you get all of the grinds wet. Pour until the scale reads 340g which, conveniently, corresponds to 340ml of water! Now wait until your timer hits one minute and…
5. Place your Abid on your carafe or cup
The neat thing about the Abid is that on a flat surface, the bottom hole remains plugged. When you place it on a cup or carafe, a collar on the bottom gets pushed up, opening the hole and allowing the coffee to drain. This is what should be happening right now. Once the Abid is finished draining, you can remove the entire filter with grounds and place in the compost. That takes care of half the cleaning right there!
6. Pour and enjoy!
I like to brew into a carafe because it allows me to experience multiple small cups of coffee starting out hot and cooling down. As coffee cools, it changes in flavour and body, hopefully for the better. If you’ve only ever had terrible tepid coffee, that’s because the coffee itself was terrible. Try allowing some good coffee prepared properly to cool slightly, and perhaps completely. You may be surprised at how tasty it can be.
Also very important, and one of the reasons this method is my current favourite. Easy to clean! Simply wash your Abid in hot water, using a sparing amount of preferably unscented soap. Rinse very well. Done!