TOOLS OF OUR TRADE
We take our jobs seriously, which is why we evaluate and test each tool of our trade before we implement it in our shop. Our approach to coffee is objective, as we believe quality has a standard and is quantifiable. Below are some of the tools and equipment we use at our shop that enable us to create the coffee you get to enjoy.
La Marzocco Linea PB Espresso Machine
Tried and true. La Marzocco espresso machines continue to stand the test of time. We chose the Linea PB as our espresso machine for several reasons; direct interface controls of boiler temperature, steam pressure, brewing volume, and unsurpassed boiler thermal stability. All of which means we can create a better and more consistent beverage for you, shot after shot.
VST Precision Baskets and Tamp
A portafilter is the device used to insert into the espresso machine group head which holds coffee to make espresso. Within the portafiler, there are metal baskets that we ground coffee into. These baskets have specific sizes that hold only a specified amount of coffee to create the brewing ratio of water to coffee, which is crucial to create the proper extraction. We chose VST Precision Baskets because of their fabrication quality and consistency. These baskets have hole patterns centered to +/- 1.0mm and placement is oriented for uniform extraction.
A tamp is the hand held device used to compress the ground coffee into the portafilter basket. The diameter size of this tool is vital for proper extraction. Too small of a diameter and there will be areas of the coffee that wont be compressed fully and pressurized water will flow through those areas more rapidly which will cause over extraction. Too big of a diameter and the tamp either won't fit, or will create pinched coffee within the walls of the basket. We chose the Pullman Big Step tamp to mitigate those reasons precisely. This tamp has a stepped edge measuring at 58.55mm (+/- 0.02mm) which helps increase the surface area of extractable coffee to be covered while preventing any pinched coffee to be caught within the walls of the basket.
FETCO Coffee Batch Brewer
We chose the 2132 XLT Fetco Brewer as our preferred method of brewing filter drip coffee. This Fetco brewer allows the barista to control all the variables within the extraction process to create the ideal recipe for each coffee; brew time, water temperature, volume, drip delay, and pulses.
Zojirushi Thermal Carafes
We use Zojirushi Thermal Carafes to brew our filter drip coffees into. These carafes are glass lined which has the best heat retention.
Mahlkonig EK-43 and Peak Grinders
We chose the EK-43 Coffee Grinder as our preferred grinder for filter drip and occasionally single origin espresso. This grinder has the ability to consistently grind coffee with a smaller distribution which means particle sizes are more even, resulting in better extraction for brewing. Sporting 98mm burr grinders with stepless adjustments, this grinder is unparalleled and continues to perform flawlessly in our shop.
The Peak is another Mahlkonig creation that we utilize in the shop for its performance capabilities. The name speaks for itself, as it refers to the even particle size of coffee once ground, because graphed it creates a "peak" showing its distribution. This means extracting espresso for single origin options allows us to get the most consistency, thus giving the coffee the best chance to show case all of its nuances and complexities.
Mazzer Major Espresso Grinder
Our main espresso grinder is the Mazzer Major. This grinder is used specifically for our espresso beverages with milk, which makes up the majority of the beverages we make in shop. This grinder is quick and efficient, which is a huge reason why it's on our bar. It sports a 83mm flat burr grinders and rotates at 1600 rpm with electronic controls which means we're able to make timing adjustments quickly during morning rushes.
A measurement tool we use to calibrate how much coffee has been dissolved into water. Our VST Refractometer measures the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of our sample, either filter drip or espresso coffee, which is represented as a percentage. This percentage tells us how strong (or weak) our coffee is. From here, we can change any of the variables that go into brewing coffee so that we can get closer to our ideal range. Depending on coffee varietal and roast level, our desired strength of coffee can change, but our goal is to always offer a coffee brewed with balanced sweetness and acidity.
Diedrich IR-5 Coffee Roasters
Our coffee roaster is a 5K Diedrich. We specifically chose this roaster for several reasons, all of which center around producing the highest quality coffee we possibly can. It is gas powered, but utilizes Infrared burners which gives us even saturation of the drum while operating more efficiently as it uses less gas to produce the amount of heat necessary to roast coffee as opposed to open flame. We are able to roast in smaller batches, ideal for our style of roasting, as it allows us to control the coffee's roasting profile more efficiently.
Cropster Roasting Software
Along with roasting is the computer software we use during the roasting process. Cropster is designed to give a roaster immediate visual feedback so that adjustments can be made strategically. Temperature probes are installed in various locations on our roaster which then provide feedback to our software via a USB data bridge. The software gives us real time data during our roasting process which we then use to collect data. By using this software, we can reproduce our best roasts for each coffee, giving us consistency in flavor and quality.