Once you’ve tried Blue Bottle coffee there is no going back—and thanks to this book, you can now understand exactly why. This be-all book on today’s coffee culture is a how-to and why manual that will thrill coffee geeks, amateurs, and professionals alike. And for those whose experience is that food is an afterthought at a coffee bar, you can now have Blue Bottle’s sumptuous recipes that are like the crema in the cup.
— Danny Meyer, noted restauranteur (think Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe and the Union Square Hospitality Group, and author of Setting the Table
Knowing James is like knowing a prophet; my friendship with him opened my eyes to a whole new planet of coffee possibilities. What he’s taught me about coffee changed my world, and this beautiful brew of useful tips, surprising information, and tasty inspiration will change yours, too. I’m still buzzing.
— Mourad Lahlou, chef-owner of Aziza, San Francisco, and author of Mourad: New Moroccan
I don't drink coffee, I sip and savor it. I poured a cup before I sat down to tell you about this really wonderful book. The beans were an aged Indonesian blend from my favorite small-batch roaster. I used a hand-cranked burr grinder and a French coffee press. I hadn't really thought about it, but this ritual — which has evolved over the years — is very much a part of the overall experience of relishing each sip. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee helps inform and deepen that experience.
Coffee is experiencing a renaissance and Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee Company has quickly become one of America’s most celebrated roasters. Famous for its complex and flavorful coffees, Blue Bottle delights its devoted patrons with exquisite pour-overs, delicious espressi, and specialized brewing methods.
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee explains how to choose, brew, and enjoy the new breed of artisan coffees at home, along with 40 inventive recipes that incorporate coffee or taste good with a cup.
As coffee production becomes more sophisticated with specialized extraction techniques and Japanese coffee gadgets, the new artisan coffees can seem out of reach. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee explains this new world from farm to cup, exploring the bounty of beans available and the intricate steps that go into sourcing raw coffee from around the globe.
Blue Bottle founder James Freeman coaches you through brewing the perfect cup of coffee, using methods as diverse as French press, nel drip, siphon, and more to produce the best flavor.
If you or someone you know is a coffee lovers who want to roll up their sleeves and go deeper, Freeman explains step by step how to roast beans at home using standard kitchen tools — just like he did when starting out. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee also introduces a home technique for cupping, the industry method of tasting coffees for quality control, so you can hone your taste and share your meticulously roasted coffee with friends.
Rounding out this incredibly informative book are more than thirty inventive recipes — from breakfast to dinner and from desserts to martinis — from Blue Bottle pastry chef and former Miette bakery owner Caitlin Freeman that incorporate coffee or just taste particularly good with coffee. Here's just a taste: Liége Waffles, Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles, Stout Coffee Cake with Pecan-Caraway Streusel, Affogato with Smoky Almond Ice Cream, Fennel-Parmesan Shortbread, Tuna Melt Sandwiches with Piquillo Peppers, Nopa's Blue Bottle Martini, and more. Yes, drooling is allowed!
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee also has more than one hundred beautiful photographs that show coffee’s journey from just-harvested cherry to perfect drink.
I really think this passion-fueled, distinctive and deep guide to the new breed of amazing coffees from one of the country's top artisan coffee makers will change the way you think about, make and truly savor coffee.
In the late 1600s, the Turkish army swept across much of Eastern and Central Europe, arriving at Vienna in 1683. Besieged and desperate, the Viennese needed an emissary who could pass through Turkish lines to get a message to the nearby Polish troops.
Franz George Kolshitsky, who spoke Turkish and Arabic, took on the assignment disguised in a Turkish uniform. After many perilous close calls, Kolshitsky completed his valiant deed, returning to give the Viennese the news of the Poles’ imminent rescue of their city.
On September 13, the Turks were repelled from Vienna, leaving everything they brought: camels, tents, honey, and strange bags of beans, which were thought to be camel feed. Kolshitsky, having lived in the Arab world for several years, knew these were bags of coffee. Using the money bestowed on him by the mayor of Vienna for his heroic deed, Kolshitsky bought the Turks’ coffee, opened Central Europe’s first coffee house (The Blue Bottle), and brought coffee to a grateful Vienna.
319 years later, in Oakland, Calif., a slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic, weary of the grande eggnog latte and the double skim pumpkin-pie macchiato, decided to open a roaster for people who were clamoring for the actual taste of freshly roasted coffee.
Using a miniscule six-pound batch roaster, he made an historic vow: “I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my customers, so they may enjoy coffee at its peak of flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious and responsibly sourced beans.”
In honor of Kolshitsky’s heroics, he named his business Blue Bottle Coffee, and began another chapter in the history of superlative coffee.
JAMES FREEMAN is the founder and owner of Blue Bottle Coffee Company. After starting out in a tiny converted potting shed in Oakland a few years ago, Blue Bottle is now the country’s leading artisan roaster, with six cafés in the San Francisco Bay Area, roasteries on both coasts, and a presence on the High Line and in Rockefeller Center and Chelsea in Manhattan. In addition to its cafés, BlueBottle is served in fine restaurants nationwide, including Chez Panisse, Gramercy Tavern, Coi, and others, and regularly garners national media attention.
CAITLIN FREEMAN is the resident pastry chef for Blue Bottle Coffee Company and was a longtime owner of the San Francisco cake and sweets shop, Miette. James and Caitlin Freeman live in San Francisco.
A staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle's food section for 10 years, TARA DUGGAN earned a James Beard Award for best newspaper column. She was nominated for an additional James Beard Award for feature writing. She lives with her family in San Francisco, and this is her third book
I believe coffee should be prepared one cup at a time and consumed right away, no matter what technique you chose. The most low-tech way to make coffee, and one of my favorite methods, is the pour over. It feels elemental, sort of like cooking over an open flame: just coffee, water, a cone, and a filter. You grind the coffee, weigh it, put it in the cone, and pour water over it—slowly so the coffee has enough time to absorb the water and the water can extract the correct solubles from the coffee.
At Blue Bottle, we put a lot of energy into pour-over coffee in our cafés, and I do the same in this book because it’s one of the most basic, approachable, and effective ways to make a beautiful cup of coffee. But whether you are making a pour over or an espresso, the elemental process is extraction—which simply means hot water dissolving the compounds that are in roasted coffee.
First the grinder breaks the coffee beans down into much smaller pieces with varying surface areas. Then these surface areas are exposed to hot water. The hot water dissolves particles from the coffee grounds’ exposed surface area, creating brewed coffee. If the ground coffee is underextracted, you’ll miss out on a lot of flavor, and if it’s overextracted, water may leach unpleasant properties out of the coffee that mask its deliciousness. How the coffee is ground, the water temperature, and the amount of time the ground coffee is exposed to water are all crucial factors in extraction.
In this chapter, I’ll show you how to work toward mastering those variables for a few recommended methods of preparing coffee. I’ll explain how to make beautiful pour-over coffee, step-by-step. I’ll also explain how to choose a grinder, use a nel drip, and a siphon, and even an ibrik for Turkish coffee, if you decide to explore those methods.
Then I’ll delve into the murky waters of trying to write about making espresso. You may not leave the discussion convinced that you should buy a home espresso machine. But if you choose to go that route, I’ll tell you how best to do it.
Making coffee is a simple art, yet it also has so many aspects: practice, precision, and the sheer pleasure of making something you know you’re going to enjoy. It’s an expanding universe of wonderfulness; you never run out of things to get better at.
French Press Coffee
What You’ll Need: Good-quality water, Gram scale, Coffee beans, Coffee grinder, preferably a burr grinder, Thermocouple or other thermometer, French press Chopstick or wooden spoon, Timer, Medium-size slotted spoon (optional).
However much finished coffee you wish to brew, put double that amount of good-quality water in a kettle or other vessel used only for heating water. (You’ll use some of the water to preheat the empty French press and cup.) While the water is heating, weigh out the coffee; the amount depends on the brewing ratio you’ll use, for each 355-milliliter (12 fl oz) serving, use from 20 grams for a 15-to-1 ratio to 35 grams for a 10-to-1 ratio.
Grind the coffee—not too finely. The grind should be gritty, resembling beach sand that’s pleasant to walk on, but not too powdery. When the water is hot but not quite boiling, at about 198°F (92°C), remove it from the heat. Pour some of the hot water into the empty French press to warm it up. After a few seconds, pour the water from the French press into your cup to warm it as well.
Put the ground coffee in the press pot and pour the amount of water desired in a thin stream over the grounds. Gently stir the coffee with the chopstick. Place the stem on the pot with the filter about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) above the grounds.
Let the coffee steep for 3 minutes. Remove the stem, and for a full-bodied final result, briefly and gently stir with a chopstick. For a finer-bodied coffee, don’t stir; instead, use a medium-size slotted spoon to remove the coffee grounds from the top of the pot. Replace the stem and gently push the grounds down to the bottom of the pot.
If the plunger thunks to the bottom with almost no resistance, your grind is too coarse. If you have to strain to get the plunger to the bottom of the pot, your grind is too fine. Using too fine a grind can be dangerous. If the stem torques as you’re wrestling with it, near-boiling water and coffee grounds could spray all over you.
Ideally, the plunger will lower smoothly and gradually with 15 to 20 pounds (6.8 to 9.1 kg) of pressure. If you’re not sure what that feels like, press down on your bathroom scale with the flat of your hand until the scale reads 20 pounds (9.1 kg). It should take 15 to 20 seconds to push the plunger to the bottom. When you have pushed the plunger down as far down as it will go, serve immediately.