In April, I headed out to Bellevue to attend a Public Brewing School. This (often) FREE! class is provided by Caffe Vita periodically throughout the year, often at its Capitol Hill location, but on this day, it was a Whole Foods Bellevue.
The class covered five different methods of brewing: pour over, Chemex, French press, Bialetti and vacuum pot. You have the opportunity to see each type in action, and to try the same bean prepared five different ways, so you can see how each method affects the flavors and aromas of the coffee.
This side-by-side comparison was illuminating. The difference between the French press, where the coffee grounds are soaked in the water, and the methods that use a paper filters was especially remarkable. I personally preferred the richer French press brew, with its more distinct body, but could also see the appeal of the clean-testing Chemex.
The class was taught by lead barista trainer Andy Kent. Vita's roaster Jacob was also on hand to offer his perspective on the bean. Both were extremely helpful and enthusiastic to share their knowledge.
They provided cards for each method that you could take home, and there were also some good general brewing tips, like Andy's recommendation that you use a ceramic burr grinder for your home grinder, and hemp filters when a paper filter is called for. There was also a surprise extra bonus for all the attendees at the end of the class.
If you love coffee and want to maximize your home brew, keep an eye out for the Public Brewing School.