Reviews

The Art of the Pour Over

"I admit it. I spend more money at coffee shops each month than I put into my 401k. Although the internet may be spend-shaming you, I'm the one the finance blogs are really yelling at. So let me first say, I'm sorry.

Let me also say, I'm not sorry. Life is short. Pleasure is fleeting. Other truisms, etc. Coffee shop culture makes me happy. Especially during these past few years, when our communities felt more fractured than ever, and many of our traditional sources of comfort dried up, coffee shops continued to be beacons of routine amidst a sea of uncertainty.

My favorite amongst these has long been Blue Bottle. Their menu is varied, but not overwhelming. The aesthetic is chic, but not cold. The merchandise is playful, but also practical, and doesn't make the cafe feel like a gift shop. And most importantly, the focus of the brand is a good cup of coffee.

That quality shows. No matter what you order, you can be certain that the product and the preparation will be perfect. That preparation is actually one of the things I missed most while working from home, when quarantine kept me indoors. No matter how good I thought I was at turning water into coffee, my cups just never tasted the same.

I know that brewing a cup of coffee is as much a science as it is a ritual, but the specifics of that science have always intimidated me. My degree is in writing, not arithmetic, and watching the baristas do their thing felt like magic that was far beyond my reach.

Not so, apparently.

Blue Bottle's virtual The Art of the Pour Over class somehow managed to do, in about 40 minutes, what I haven't been able to do in 40 years. It taught me how to make a truly good cup of coffee. Not one whose taste relies on the nostalgia of our parents' old drip pot, nor the wing-and-a-prayer of my French Press, wondering if I took the plunge at the right time. Rather, it's a cup of coffee whose quality comes from... well, just a little more understanding.

Understanding why the beans, why the grind, why the temperature, and why the timing. Better yet, I understand them simply, and in a way that's easy to replicate. Not only am I making better coffee, I'm also enjoying making coffee more. Each preparation now feels like a victory lap. For the first time, thanks to The Art of the Pour Over, I finally get it.

A good cup of coffee is not a secret recipe, and I appreciate Blue Bottle's willingness to let me in. As we know, the world is a better place when we're all able to participate." 
—Adam L.