As Black Tap Coffee acknowledged in a recent tweet, yesterday’s debut of a new coffee dripper is likely to leave non-obsessives cold.
But for folks with strong opinions about how to construct the perfect cup of pour over coffee, the shop’s switch to Kalita Wave – a piece of equipment pioneered in Japan – is cause for celebration. Already popular in hardcore coffee circles, the Wave’s reputation skyrocketed in April after Erin McCarthy used the gadget to win the 2013 US Barista Championship.
Black Tap’s Ross Jett says the victory helped secure the Wave a spot behind his café’s counter.
“With the recent success of the Kalita Wave at the world Brewer’s Cup, we decided to get one to try it out,” Jett e-mails. “Also, one of our baristas runs a pop-up bar at The Elliotborough Mini Bar and has been using them there.”
Pour-over coffee works exactly like it sounds: Water is poured over freshly-ground beans in a cone. Its acolytes say pour-over, or hand-brewed, coffee is cleaner, fresher and more aromatic than the joe produced by a French press, espresso maker or automatic drip unit, like the one you might keep in your kitchen. Pour-over tends to get plenty of attention in summertime, because it’s the recommended method for making iced coffee. But Black Tap Coffee, like many serious coffeehouses around the world, is exclusively pour-over year-round.
The simplicity of the process, though, means it’s nearly impossible to conceal problems created by faulty equipment.
“For the first couple weeks we opened, we used the Hario V60s,” Jett recalls. “I could expound on the many reasons why, but the V60s are terrible brewers.”
After junking the V60s, Black Tap used Bonmac two-hole ceramic drippers, which Jett credits with making “a great cup.” The Kalita Wave, though, has drawn near-universal praise for its flat-bottomed design, which is supposed to create a more complex coffee.
“The consistency and fool-proof nature swayed us to make a permanent switch here at Black Tap,” Jett explains.