Last week, I discovered free coffee classes from Blue Bottle Coffee at the W.C. Morse building in Oakland, CA. I’ve actually been quite interested in making my own drip coffee (looking at you, Chemex), so I signed up for the Bonmac Pourover Class without much hesitation.
[Click here for the full list of available classes and locations.]
You don’t need any prior experience to attend this class. I had none. In fact, let me break it down for you:
- Professional barista experience — None.
- At-home brewing experience — I can operate a basic coffee maker. Also, instant coffee.
- My idea of drip coffee — Place dripper over a mug. Add filter. Add coffee grounds. Pour 8 oz. of hot water over the grounds. Wait for all of the coffee to drip out. (Surprisingly, I’m actually not too far off in terms of the concept.)
About the class
As the name suggests, this class will teach you how to make drip coffee using a Bonmac dripper. The class begins with a full demo, then there are 2-3 rounds of hands-on brewing experience + tastings. The session lasts one hour.
My class had 6 students, some of which had just moved to the area or were visiting from out of town. (Meanwhile, I’ve lived in the Bay Area for my entire life, have known about Blue Bottle for years, frequent W.C. Morse Café, and somehow just discovered this class last week.) There was a lot of room for questions, and our instructor dropped many pieces of coffee-related wisdom. I learned that Brazilian coffees tend to be nutty and chocolatey, while Ethiopian coffees are fruity or floral.
[After class, I was curious to learn more about coffee beans and their origins. Check out this article to learn about the flavor profiles of coffees from different regions.]
How to make drip coffee at home using the Bonmac pourover method
- Boil water to 210 ºF.
- Weigh out 24 grams* of coffee beans. Grind to the consistency of sea salt.
- Fold filter and place it inside the dripper. It should fit snugly.
Tip: Fold the bottom edge towards you, and the side edge away from you. See Step 4 of the official guide.
- If needed, transfer boiling water to a kettle. Wet the filter with the hot water until it is fully saturated, then dispose of the water. This helps remove the taste of the filter.
- Add coffee to the filter. Give the dripper a gentle shake to level out the grounds.
- Bloom (first pour): Start the timer. Add 60-75 grams of water, starting in the center and then moving outward in concentric circular motions. Bubbles will start to rise to the surface as the coffee degasses. Total time elapsed will be between 30-45 seconds.
Tip: Do not hit the setup as your pour. This will disrupt the flow of water.
- Second pour: Add water up to 250 grams, . Total time elapsed will be between 1.5-1.75 minutes.
- Final pour: Add water up to 350 grams, starting in the middle once again. Total brew time will be between 3-3.5 minutes.
Recommended: Check how much time has elapsed. The final pour starts when approximately 1/4 of the water from the second pour has dripped down.
- Enjoy your freshly brewed coffee!
*The instructor recommended 24 grams as a good starting point. The website recommends using 25-30 grams.
What we used in class
- Bonmac ceramic dripper — Obviously.
- Bonmac filters — The Blue Bottle website offers #1 and #4. I don’t know the difference.
- Wood-handled pouring kettle
- Hario V60 drip scale
- Baratza Vario grinder
- Three Africans — Blend of 3 coffees (Congolese and Ethiopian)
- Brazil FAF Carmel Yellow Catuai Natural — Single-origin coffee
- Steaming pitcher — For excess water and waste.
- Coffee server — To collect coffee.
- Here is Blue Bottle’s official Drip Preparation Guide, with step-by-step instructions and photos. It’s really everything that you needed to learn in class.
- There’s also this Skillshare course by Michael Phillips, “the Director of Training at Blue Bottle and 2010 world barista champion.” Pretty cool, right?
About Blue Bottle Coffee
If you’re from out of town, there’s a high chance that you’ve never heard of Blue Bottle Coffee. Well, here in the Bay Area, it’s kind of a big deal. Founded in 2002, Blue Bottle is headquartered in Oakland, California, a very short distance away from its W.C. Morse location. The company offers espresso, blends, and single-origin coffees, and they are popular for their dedication to preparing the perfect cup of coffee.
Earlier this year, Blue Bottle Coffee merged with Tartine Bakery. Tartine Bakery is amazing. I am very happy about this merger.
Lastly, if you’re visiting SF, check out Blue Bottle Coffee at Mint Plaza Café–it’s my favorite location! I also highly recommend the New Orleans Iced Coffee to everyone. (There’s a prep guide for that, too.)
[Need music? Here’s my personal coffee shop playlist.]