Color me Caffeinated!
March 20, 2014 5:13 AM   Subscribe

Put hot water with coffee (in proportion) in a mason jar or a mug. Stir well. Immersion brew for 4 minutes (like you would in a french press). Pour the whole thing into a pourover cone lined with filter. What would/ is this style of brewing called? I can't find any info on this-- am I missing a memo somewhere? Is this too simple to be true?

This is how I have been making coffee while travelling-- I didn't want to take my beloved french press and was too cheap to buy a travel press. This is essentially what a $30 Clever Dripper does for you, except all you need is a $5 cone and a few filters (and so it's even more forgiving than Clever).

In my experience this technique produces a clean cup that still has some of the flavors of the french press. Why haven't I seen anything similar in online discussions etc., except discussed as a cold brew technique?
posted by redwaterman to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cowboy coffee.
posted by nicwolff at 5:34 AM on March 20, 2014

This basically sounds like cowboy coffee, with the added pour-over step.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:35 AM on March 20, 2014

Cool Tools calls it the Reverse French.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:42 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

If you have a pour over cone and filter, you can just make a pour over coffee. Which is really good. That's probably why you don't see people discussing your technique.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:55 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

A pourover coffee can be really good, but it's basically the same as standard drip (like a Mr. Coffee) with just a little more manual control over the brewing variables. Your method sounds like it would produce something like a non-gritty French press, and a mason jar is probably much easier to clean than a Clever Dripper. You'd probably get the most consistent results with a basket filter (like the Kalita Wave) so you don't have as much uneven brewing time while the coffee works its way through the filter.

You probably haven't heard anything about this method because it requires two pieces of standard equipment instead of one specialized coffee device. Coffee nerds love their specialized coffee devices. See the recent rebirth of the humble Melitta filter-cone in a wide variety of specialized pourover devices, most of which require custom filters: V60, Kone, Beehouse, Wave, Clever Dripper, etc..
posted by stopgap at 7:08 AM on March 20, 2014

Yup, cowboy coffee. Though I didn't know that was what it was called either when I used this technique whilst living in a no-frills dorm in Scotland (at a time/place that coffee was not a common drink so I had to make do). I didn't take that extra step of pouring over a filter--just let the grounds settle and then decanted to a coffee cup. Kind of makes sense that the weird American was locked in her room by herself drinking something called Cowboy Coffee.
posted by gubenuj at 7:14 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I might adapt this technique the next time I use my Chemex Coffee Maker (basically a glass beaker you pour hot water through a coffee filter into - but WOW, does it make great coffee! The original Chemex is on display at MoMA, in NYC, for the design buffs out there...)

That said, your technique with the hot water + stirring sounds A LOT like the technique I use when employing my AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker, but the AeroPress creates pressure in the tube when extracting.

Thanks so much for this question. If you end up buying an AeroPress (GREAT for traveling!) let me know.

I'm going to employ your jar technique the next time I break out the Chemex. Cheers!
posted by jbenben at 7:15 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I sometimes strain my French press coffee through a pour over cone. This is basically what it sounds like you're doing. There's no special term for this beyond straining. Which covers it pretty well. At this point you're mostly talking about grounds removal strategies, anyway, not really brewing style.

Re cowboy coffee, my assumption was always that cowboy coffee is boiled over a heat source. But I could be wrong?

uneven brewing time while the coffee works its way through the filter

The best way to counter this in a pour-over is to pour slowly.
posted by Sara C. at 7:40 AM on March 20, 2014

stopgap and Sara C are correct that filtering adds to immersion time so I'm imagining your method exactly as stated is somewhat over-extracted, and that's why it's not more popular, but yes, it's basically a Clever dripper. Shorten your jar time to two minutes and I bet you have something that tastes exactly what Clever brew tastes like.
posted by slow graffiti at 7:47 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just "hot" water won't make a tasty brew. Boiling water is what you need for that.
posted by Carol Anne at 11:01 AM on March 20, 2014

thanks all! and thanks for the suggestion to shorten the jar time. I was just looking for the right keywords to search in, so that I can improve upon it. Two birds with one stone!
posted by redwaterman at 4:15 PM on March 20, 2014

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