• Pour Over or Press?

    Espresso and drip coffee both require machines that might not be easy to accommodate in a small kitchen, or travel with. For those looking for a brewing solution that fits some tighter spaces, pour over and press brewing is quite attractive! Let’s take a look at each style so you can get an idea for what might fit your taste buds more.


    Whether you end up going for press or pour over, hot water is a must. We recommend picking up a variable temperature kettle like this Bonavita kettle or this Fellow EKG. One of the most important parts of any brew method is accurate, consistent temperatures, and both of these kettles will provide that!

    If you’re traveling and don’t want to bring a whole kettle with you, you can get by with boiling water left off boil for 20-30 seconds. 

    Pour Over

    Pour over brewing is simple and effective, but takes a little practice to get right. When considering it as a brewing option with a smaller footprint, keep your scale in mind. Because of how pour over is made, you really need a scale to measure weight as you brew. This can take up additional space, but there are plenty of scale options that are compact enough to slide into a bag for travel. We love the Hario V60 Drip Scale for its slim profile and usability.

    You’ll also need a dripper, which doesn’t take up much cupboard space, but can be difficult to pack for travel if that’s your goal. The Hario V60 is a gold standard dripper, but this collapsible dripper from GSI Outdoor is perfect for travel. You’ll need appropriate filters for your dripper as well, which can add a bit more complication for travel.

    Space questions aside, pour over offers fantastic flavor. It’s the brew method we use here at SCG to try new coffees, and the perfect way to take in every note from a roast.


    Coffee presses generally offer a bolder, stronger flavor than pour over. For some, press coffee is the only way to go. Depending on your press, it can be a little bit difficult to get a totally grit free cup. With that in mind, the Aeropress Go is a fantastic press that uses a paper filter to strain the grounds. Aeropress is one of our most popular presses, and a fantastic option for coffee on the go or at home. The Go in particular collapses into a simple cup to travel with.

    Other presses can still offer excellent results as well and brew in larger quantities, but might be harder to travel with. Classic like this Bodum Brazil or this Espro P7 are fantastic options that are simple to use and delicious. These larger options are a little on the large side, so they might be hard to travel with.

    Final Thoughts

    One last thing to keep in mind is a grinder. Luckily a simple brew grinder like the Baratza Encore or the Oxo Brew can handle press or pour over brewing.

    The best thing you can do is try both brew methods. For those who like a little variety, the space and cost is gentle enough with pour over and press brewing that you might even find room for both!

  • Coffee History: Japan

    It’s time for another look at coffee history, this time, in Japan! So much wonderful coffee gear comes from this island nation, so we wanted to take a look at how the drink has had an influence on the culture there! Let’s jump in.

    Coffee Arrives in Japan

    Like many goods, coffee first arrived in Japan in the 18th century, sometime around 1700. Our favorite bean found its way to Japan via Dutch traders, some of the first foreigners to make contact with the Japanese. For most of these early years, coffee was a luxury brewed at home by the wealthy, rather than at coffee shops like in most places. It wasn’t adopted widely in the country until the Meiji Era, which lasted from 1868 to 1912. Even during this time, its popularity was brief and limited.

    In 1888 the first coffee shop opened in Japan, and it closed just a few years later. It’s hard to pinpoint why the beverage had trouble catching on. A factor that may have been related is cost and difficulty in importing beans, especially already roasted ones.

    Coffee During the 20th Century

    During World War II, coffee was seen as a Western influence. This was true of many Western items, and was a function of the government’s stranglehold on the populace during their Imperialistic attempts at expansion. As a result of this, coffee was banned in Japan and didn’t have much presence in the country until well after the war was finished.

    Coffee began its resurgence in Japan in the 1960s, and grew immensely in popularity over the rest of the century. According to Rochelle and Viet Hong (Coffee In Japan: 100 Years of Mornings), imports grew from just 15,000 tonnes in 1960 to over 440,000 tonnes today. Part of this rise can be attributed to the ways in which Western culture became a fascination in Japan in the latter half of the 20th century. That, coupled with coffee’s marketing as an on the go beverage made it a convenient thing to enjoy on the way to work or school. This worked well in Japan’s busy, always in motion economy. 

    Modern Coffee Consumption

    In modern Japan, coffee occupies an interesting place in culture. It is still viewed as a Western beverage, and is treated like many elements of Western Culture. Much like American fast food and theme parks, coffee is viewed as a novelty. While still a largely on the go drink, it’s also one that’s enjoyed as a solitary one by most people. Unlike the United States, where coffee is often a social activity, this is largely reserved for tea in Japan. The exception comes from young people, who view coffee as a disruptive drink, and often enjoy it in groups as a counter-culture activity.

    We couldn’t talk about modern coffee in Japan without mentioning how much Japan has influenced Western coffee culture. Manufacturers like Hario have created some of the finest equipment for pour over in the world. Coffee may come to Japan from the West, but Japan has certainly made its mark on the way the world drinks coffee too!

  • Clearing Space: Where To Put It All?

    It's a constant struggle as a coffee fan, where do you put all of your supplies? How do you manage a machine, grinder, accessories, cups, the coffee itself... Sometimes it feels like too much! Here are some ideas for ways to keep down the clutter and manage your coffee making space, from grinders, to drip brewers, to espresso.

    General Tips

    The first thing we recommend is creating a dedicated space. This isn't possible for everyone, but whether it's a kitchen island, a space next to the sink, or the top of a shelf, it helps. Carving out a specific space for your coffee equipment helps cut down on mess and clutter. You also wont have to worry about finding your gear when it's time to get brewing. The biggest consideration in picking your space is access to power and water. This is especially important for an espresso brewer, where you'll need to provide both in steady supply.

    We also recommend dedicating some organizational space to your brewing space as well. This could be a drawer under the counter, a cabinet, or dedicated shelf space below your brewing area. Having a place to carefully and generally store your accessories next to, but without cluttering your brewing space is important.

    Finally, there's storing the coffee beans themselves. We recommend a solution like an Airscape or a Fellow Atmos. These canisters  vacuum seal your coffee, keeping it fresher for longer. It's also easier to scoop coffee from a canister than it is from a bag.


    For espresso setups, having a clear workflow from machine, to grinder, to tamp, to machine is key. You'll want a mat like a this one from Rocket Espresso, and to store your portafilter in your machine. Another tip is to keep a catch tray under your grinder. This way you'll be able to easily clean up any excess grounds and cut down on mess.

    Another big thing to keep in mind is your circuit. You'll want to make sure that running your grinder and espresso machine at once won't trip anything, otherwise you might be in for a longer wait for your morning coffee.

    Otherwise, keeping your grinder, portafilter, and machine close to each other and near needed power, water, and milk will be a huge help!

    Drip Brewing

    For drip brewing a lot of the same principals apply, but you'll also want to be able to carefully weigh out your grounds before brewing. If you're a fan of measuring volume instead of weight, you may want to keep a second storage container handy for excess ground coffee. Otherwise, you might miss your grind amounts and throw coffee out.

    Handy storage options for drip and pourover brewing include this filter holder, it's designed for V60 dripper filters, but can fit other filters as well.

    Keeping a grinder, whole and ground canisters, and filters close at hand should lead to an excellent cup of drip.

    There are other organization tips out there, but all of the above should get you started on curating a space for your brewing. This will help you to enjoy your morning cup with less prep and less cleanup, giving you more time to focus on the coffee!

  • Top Three Pour Over

    The Round Up

    Pour over coffee delivers an irresistibly smooth, flavorful cup that casual and enthusiast coffee drinkers desire. The method involves a steady, controlled pour that evenly extracts grounds and brings out those delicate notes like fruits and spices. We enjoy a lot of different pour over coffee makers but our top three picks have to be the Hario V60, Chemex and Kalita Wave. These three brewers offer beginners and professional home baristas different amounts of control, volume and design options—you’re bound to find a pour over brewer you’ll love! Check out the reasons why each coffee brewer made the list.

    Staff Pick: Hario Coffee Dripper V60

    The Hario V60 allows professional and budding baristas alike granular control over their pour over—earning it a place at the top of our list! Practice dialing in the grind, finding the ideal brew temperature or perfecting your pour technique and the coffee will speak for itself. One of our favorite design elements though is both iconic and functional! Inside the V60 are raised swirls that keep the paper filter from sticking to the edge and restricting the water flow, so our coffee is always evenly extracted—hooray!

    Another reason we adore the V60 is there are different colors, designs and sizes available, so there’s something for everyone. That said, the V60 is generally a one to two cup serving—ideal for one coffee lover to enjoy. If you want to make pour over for a crowd, we’ve got something better for you.

    Crowd Pleaser: Chemex

    Chemex’s iconic carafes are elegant and, most importantly, make a delicately bright, tea-like cup of coffee. This flavor profile results from the thicker paper filters that when wet creates a seal against the wall to help reduce the oils and fines in each cup. If you enjoy the lighter notes of coffee, then the Chemex is sure to be your favorite!

    The Chemex is designed as pour over vessel and carafe for seamless brewing and serving. On top of that, there are several sizes that make excellent brews for a crowd—try out the 8- or 10-cup! We prefer the glass handled Chemex for easier pouring and clean up, but the iconic wood and leather handle is always a good choice.

    Ease Of Use: Kalita Wave

    Last but not least, the Kalita Wave is our pick for entry-level baristas! We find it easier to achieve a consistent cup every time thanks to the small holes in the base that restricts the flow. Also, the flat base helps evenly extract grounds for a bolder taste. However, it’s a single serve pour over coffee makers, so keep that in mind if you want multiple cups. But, for ease of use, it’s quick to brew and easy to clean up. If you’re new to pour over brewing, the Kalita Wave is the perfect vessel for you!


    For our top three pour over coffee makers, we have the Hario V60, Chemex and Kalita Wave. Each pour over has different designs and sizes that have something to offer for everyone. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch more of Seattle Coffee Gear’s top three picks!

  • Top Three Coffee Grinders Under $200

    The Round Up

    Shopping for a coffee grinder on a budget? We’ve got you covered! We picked out our top three budget grinders under $200; the Breville Dose Control Pro, Baratza Encore and Hario Skerton Coffee Mill. First on our list is the Breville Dose Control Pro as our favorite entry-level espresso grinder. It’s one of the cheapest grinders we have that’ll grind fine enough for a non-pressurized portafilter. For every day grinding from French press to drip, the Baratza Encore impresses baristas with its intuitive controls and consistent grind at a great price point. Lastly, the Hario Skerton Coffee Mill is a hand grinder that offers the best value on a budget. Lets check out the features and functionalities of these budget grinders.

    Espresso Grinder: Breville Dose Control Pro

    For under $200, the Breville Dose Control Pro blows us away with its grinding capabilities. It grinds consistently and fine enough to work for non-pressurized portafilters. Even at coarse settings, the Dose Control is consistent! This is hands-down our SCG Pick for a budget espresso grinder. With only 60 grind settings, we were excited over how easy it was to dial in on a Rocket Premium Plus (not to mention the delicious shots)! For even more control over your grind, Breville included additional adjustment settings beneath the hopper.

    Another feature we love on the Dose Control is the adjustable timer that grinds for up to 50 seconds. With the start/cancel button, you can also pause or manually grind when you need to. Breville continues their focus on crafting a great user experience and included two portafilter holders in 54mm and 58mm sizes. They’ve even included an adjustable dosing tool that levels off loose grounds in your portafilter for an even tamp—now that’s great service!

    Everyday Grinder: Baratza Encore

    For general use grinding, we turn to the Baratza Encore. Built with 40mm conical steel burrs and a steady 450 RPM motor, the Encore turns out consistent grinds without excess heat—an excellent feature with steel burrs! This stepped grinder features 40 settings consistent even at French press settings. This grinder can also work for an espresso machine with a pressurized portafilter—sorry coffee friends, it’s just not fine enough for non-pressurized. That said, the Encore would be the perfect entry-level grinder for beginners or casual coffee drinkers.

    One of our favorite design elements on the Encore is the bidirectional power switch. No matter which way you turn the switch, it’s either on or off. The overall style of the Encore is complementary to its entry-level price-point. It’s all plastic, which creates some unwelcome coffee static. However, its compact design makes it an easy fit in any home barista’s kitchen. If you’re on a budget, the Encore’s affordability and features make it a strong choice.

    Budget Friendly: Hario Skerton Coffee Mill

    The Hario Skerton Coffee Mill is the perfect companion for in the kitchen or on the road! It’s compact, reliable and user-friendly design makes it our go-to budget grinder. The Skerton features conical ceramic burrs ideal for pour over or drip brewing. However, we did notice that the coarser we went, the less consistent the grind got (French press fanatics beware). And while the Skerton is able to go fine enough for espresso, its burr locking mechanism makes it difficult to set at a just-right grind. And, in our opinion, it takes more time and effort to grind for a shot than we’re willing to spend.

    Still, the Skerton’s lighter weight and ergonomic shape make it a comfortable fit in your hands. The Skerton also has a glass container that helps reduce coffee static and limits the mess—a blessing if you know what we mean! Pro tip: if you’re an Aeropress brewer, you’ll find that the upper portion of the grinder fits almost perfectly over the Aeropress’ brew chamber! Speaking of, the upper portion is built with plastic, but we see that as a positive feature since it reduces the overall weight and makes it less likely to break. The hopper holds up to 80 grams of coffee (or four Aeropresses worth) to get the day started with a couple of fresh cups of coffee.


    That’s it for our top three budget grinders! Each grinder has affordable features and functionalities that offer home baristas much-needed options. If you’re looking for an espresso grinder, then the Breville Dose Control Pro is our recommended pick for you to take home. For everything else from French press to pour over, the Baratza Encore and Hario Skerton Coffee Mill are both great options.

    Are you interested in watching more videos like our Top Three series? Subscribe to our YouTube channel for daily videos!

  • Top Three Cold Brew Systems

    The Round Up

    Are you looking for the best cold brew system? Then you’re in the right place—we’ve rounded up our top three favorite cold brew systems: the Toddy Cold Brew System, Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot and the Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew. For those not in the know, cold brew is a popular summer treat that’s best served chilled with a splash of your favorite mixer. Cold brew coffee is incredibly easy to make; simply add medium-coarse ground coffee, water and time! Let it steep in the container until you’re ready to filter it! The process is even easier with these systems purpose-built to reduce coffee oils and silt for a clean, easy drinking cup.

    Staff Pick: Toddy Cold Brew System

    We asked the Crew what their favorite cold brewer was and it was near-unanimous for the Toddy! The Toddy has been our trusty office coffee maker through the hot summer months. A couple of reasons the Toddy comes out on top is due to its reusable felt filter that removes a lot of the oil and silt from our coffee—in fact, we’d say it makes the cleanest cup of cold brew (of our favorites)! The filters require a bit of maintenance; they need to be stored in the fridge and eventually tossed and replaced, but overall the expense is worth a deliciously smooth, clean cup.

    Another reason we adore the Toddy is its size—48-ounces of coffee concentrate, coffee friends! It comes with a filter, the container to steep coffee and a carafe for the final product. The only things we’re missing is a lid for the brew container and a sturdier handle to move the Toddy. It’s small enough for a counter, but it’s the biggest cold brewer on this list, so if space is a consideration, we’ve got something else for you.

    Best Value: Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot

    The Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot is one of the best values we’ve seen for a cold brewer (about the price of a bag of coffee). It uses a fine-nylon filter that traps grounds but leaves a little silt and oil—sort of like a French press. However, the filter is easy to pop out and rinse off with water (although it looks a little yellow after a few uses). The Hario is also the perfect size to store in a fridge door, saving you valuable real estate.

    Bonus for tea drinkers—the Hario is super versatile and can brew tea or coffee with cold and hot water! When the cold weather sneaks up, you can use your Hario as an immersion brewer. That’s a win-win in our books!

    Ease Of Use: Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit

    Out of all three, the Cuppow is hands-down the easiest clean! The CoffeeSock Cold Brew Filter is, yep, a sock-like filter made of organic cotton that you can toss in the washing machine or dishwasher. Best of all, you make this cold brew in a mason jar, which is not only on-trend but easy to replace if the unthinkable happens.

    Making coffee in the Cuppow is also a breeze. Add 3 ounces of coffee into the CoffeeSock and use the tie and plastic ring to secure the end and keep the grounds out of your coffee. Then add 21 ounces of water and allow it to steep for 12 to 24 hours. When you’re done, all you have to do is remove the sock and your coffee is ready!


    We've gathered our top three cold brew systems; the Toddy Cold Brew System, Hario Cold Brew Pot and Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew, and compared their features for you to decide which one is best for you. There are so many coffee makers on the market, but finding the right one doesn't need to be difficult!

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  • Comparison: French Presses

    With so many French Presses to choose from, which one do you choose! Well, we decided to help you out and compare three of the most popular French Presses out there!

    In our three way comparison we took a closer look at the Hario Olive Wood Double Walled French Press, the Frieling Insulated Stainless Steel French Press and the Bodum Brazil French Press. So let's jump right into it!

    French PressesThe Hario French Press has a great look to it. It reminded us of the classic Chemex, with it's glass and wood design. The double wall will help keep your coffee hotter, longer. However, we don't recommend leaving your coffee grounds in contact with your brewed coffee for any extended period of time as it will result in over extracted coffee. The Hario brews up 400ml of coffee.

    If you like stainless steel, then the Frieling might be your choice out French Pressesof these French Presses. The Frieling comes in multiple sizes, from an 8 ounce pot all the way up to a 44 ounce pot. You know, for a crowd!

    The Bodum French Press is the best press if you are on a budget. It is not double walled, like the other French Pressestwo French Presses in this line up, but it still brews up a mighty fine cup of coffee. The handle for this French Press is easy andcomfortable to grab. Be sure to check out the 4 color options as well!

    Watch the video below for the full Crew Review Comparison! Still not subscribed to our YouTube channel? Click here to subscribe!




  • Crew Review: Hario V60 Drip Station

    Hario V60 Drip StationPour some sugar on me! Ok, maybe not sugar or on me. But you can pour some water on my freshly ground coffee! And if you want, you can use the Hario V60 Drip Station. What's that you ask? It's only the coolest thing sitting on my counter (granted, my 8 year old toaster is not much competition).

    The Hario V60 Drip Station is designed to compliment the whole V60 pour over brewing process. The acrylic stand is easy to clean and easy to assemble. The stainless steel grate sits on top of the ABS resin drip tray, ready to catch any rouge coffee. The whole station fits perfectly on the Hario V60 Drip Scale, which makes for a no fuss brewing process. Once everything is set up, you are ready to brew just like they do at your local coffee shop.

    Some may say that the stand is not an essential piece of equipment for brewing up a tasty cup of coffee. And yes that may be the case. The V60 Coffee Dripper does fit nicely on top of your standard coffee mug but if you like an organized and clean looking set up, this is for you (much like it is for me!).

    Take a look at the video below to see Gail brew up a cup using the Hario V60 Dripper, station and scale! Yeah, she went all out. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel as well, Gail is always reviewing products or answering your questions. We'd love you to be a part of the conversation!

  • Crew Review: Hario Olive Wood Coffee Press

    hario olive wood coffee pressWe love new things! This time it's a new product from Hario. Building on the classic french press, Hario has really created something special. The Hario Olive Wood Double Walled Coffee Press is a new favorite of ours. While the 14oz won't supply enough liquid gold for a crowd, it will easily satisfy a few.

    One of our favorite things about this new product is the style. It's contemporary design is complete with a removable (for easy cleaning) olive wood handle and leather strap. We know looks aren't everything, but it truly looks great out on the counter. The design also includes (as the name suggests) a double wall which helps keep the heat where it belongs, in your brew! Another awesome feature worth mentioning is the mesh filter at the end of the plunger. It's finer than you would typically find on a french press, which means less coffee silt in your cup. Yes please!

    We asked Gail to give us a full Crew Review of the Hario Olive Wood Coffee Press. Watch the video below to see her brew a pot and give you the full scoop!



  • SCAA 2014: Hario Beam Heater

    HarioAs we mentioned a few weeks ago, to us, Hario means happiness (the true meaning of the word is “king of glass”). And nothing makes us happier than fun new coffee gear to play with! Thus, we made sure to make our way over to the Hario booth while we at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) expo. As we expected, Hario had a ton of great new products on display. We’re big fans of science and are always interested in creating experiments of our own, so our two favorite products that are new to the United States market are the Hario Beam Heater and the Hario Next Siphon.

    Luckily, we had Kris Fulton from Lamil Coffee (a California based coffee house) to explain the beam heater to us. One of the main advantages is that the heat it emits comes from a really high-powered halogen lamp, which comes with a dimmer switch that allows you to have more control over the heat coming off the lamp as well as the direct heat on the coffee. To show us how the beam heater works Kris demoed it with the Next Siphon, enabling us to learn more about the siphon as well. Siphon brewing as become pretty popular in the past couple years, since not only does it produce a great cup, but it is also neat to watch and is sure to impress your guests. So we put our “scientist hats” on and watched Kris brew us on a cup of coffee. Although the process does look like a science experiment, we were happy to find that this brewing method is not as complicated for the barista as it sounds.

    Basically, using a siphon brewer is all about pressure. Once the water in the bottom chamber of the siphon gets to the right temperature, you use the rubber seal at bottom of the top chamber to create a vacuum that draws the water from the bottom chamber to the top chamber. When all the water is in the top chamber, you introduce the coffee to the hot water. The next step is to give the coffee a stir to fully incorporate it and then let it sit for a certain amount of time. After the coffee sits for the desired length of time, you turn off (or remove) your heat source and break the seal you created earlier. This causes the vacuum between the two chambers to suck the coffee down into the bottom chamber. As the coffee is being sucked down, the ground coffee is going to be filtered out by the metal filter. Thus, at the bottom of the carafe you will have fresh brewed coffee and at the top of the carafe you will have ground coffee. The resulting coffee, according to Kris “has the full-body richness you get from a full-immersion brewer like a French press combined with the clarity you get from a percolator like V60 or a pour over.” In other words, it is delicious! To learn more about both of these products, and to see them in action, watch as Kris shows them off in this video.

    SCAA 2014: Hario Beam Heater

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