The Filter Debate

What makes the perfect filter coffee? The taste? The ceremony? The speed? The smell? Or does it simply come down to your trust in a machine or a barista? We put the argument to two of Brighton’s best baristas to see what they had to say on the matter…

Jacob Rubio, Bond St Coffee
Batch brew is becoming increasingly popular in cafes, and with the increase in popularity comes a great step up in the quality of coffee. No longer is batch brew an afterthought; brewed and left in the pot for hours on end, getting old and losing flavour. It is now an exciting and delicious way of enjoying coffee, an alternative to a quick flat white, or a long black.

Baristas can find superior consistency in their brewing, thanks to programmable machines that can store numerous profiles for different coffees. This means they can serve stunning filter coffee day to day, week to week. You no longer need to wait for ten minutes for an average, disappointing pour-over (we’ve all had them). Batch brew is really at the flip of a tap, ready to be enjoyed right away. Many shops operate a high turn around routine for filter so there is always fresh coffee available.

Cafes are incredibly busy environments, and baristas constantly have 1000 things to do. Having someone stop everything to make me a pourover amidst the madness feels like a recipe for disappointment before they have even begun. Next time you are at a cafe that is in the middle of a rush, order yourself a batch brew and watch it arrive to your table in moments. Relax and enjoy a beautifully extracted coffee that is just as tasty if not better than a pour over.

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Stevie, 44 Poets

Pourover coffee is about the art, and skill, of hand brewing coffee without machinery. Hand brewing is ritualistic and soothing, yet precise and simple – and this is reflected in the taste of the final cup.

Hand brewed coffee gives the barista total control over grind coarseness, water temperature, pour rate and nothing can beat the human eye and experience for precision. The final cup is an unparalleled reflection of the coffee’s origin and processing and tastes clean, light, vibrant and fresh. Let’s compare hand brewed coffee to a skilled chef working with only the freshest seasonal ingredients and a gas stove – no trickery or gadgets here!

The visual bravado of pourover coffee also impresses and inspires customers to learn more about the coffee they are drinking, engage with the barista, and sneak tips for home brewing. Hand brewed coffee changes people’s perceptions on coffee and this is something at the core of speciality coffee – great hospitality and a personal touch, and nothing is more relevant to this in coffee than a conversation between a barista and customer during the brew.

We have to hold onto traditional brewing methods that differentiate independent coffee shops or we let the automated systems and equipment take over the fine art of brewing someone the perfect cup of coffee. It’s a slow process, but the result justifies the means, and like all good things in life, sometimes you just have to wait a little longer.