So about a year ago, my cafe started "French Press on Tap" (and it tag-teams with our standard drip coffee until mid-afternoon, when we brew it on demand) and many of our customers fell in love with the press and its ability to bring out all of the best qualities of the coffee bean. 

 

We are now ready to explore...the pour over bar! (dun-dun-DUNH! *insert far-off scream*) So I'm interested in hearing what some of you are doing and how you are making this work and sustainable at your cafes

 

Basic things I'm researching:

* what type of brewer

* roaster-designed brew bar or special-designed bar

* paper or sock(!) filter

* suggested grams to water ratio

* scale or no scale

* Hario Kettle or good ol' water kettle

* water tower or "hot plate"

 

And of course I want to hear the good stuff!:

* the joys & pains

* the highs & lows

* the challenges of profitability, training, labor, demand, etc.

 

Any information you can provide is grately appreciated! thx! nate

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  1.  I would recommend starting with a V60 setup while in the trial phase, they are fast (sometimes to a fault, but it definitely improves workflow), relatively inexpensive and have a very large knowledge base available. eventually you will want to offer other brew methods such as Aeropress, chemex, Vac Pot, Kalita wave, etc. don't try to offer tukish.
  2. I would not buy a commercial brew bar. it is possible to make one for very little money, and you can design it to fit your needs perfectly. Remember, all it needs to do is hold cones and filters, maybe some cups.
  3. It is good to have both on hand, but i would recommend using paper filters as your primary choice. V60 filters are relatively inexpensive, and in my experience, thoroughly cleaning a sock between each brew takes too long for a high volume setting
  4. I would print out a copy of a standard sheet of ratios . but feel free to adjust to taste.
  5. SCALE! all caps are necessary for this point. Measuring by volume is too inaccurate to achieve consistency. You can weigh out portions once per week if your bar staff does not have time. 
  6. A pourover kettle is a very good asset for a brew bar. it is possible to use a steam pitcher or teapot, but these are much more difficult to use and have a very high amount of temperature loss. A less expensive alternative to the hario kettle is the homeloo kettle
  7. A water tower would be best for a coffee shop in general. it has many other uses outside of the pour over bar, such as filling americanos. you will usually get better temperature consistency from a hotplate, but even induction hotplate are too slow for many shops.

 

A pourover bar is a fantastic addition to any shop, greatly improving the quality of your drip coffee.  This does come at a price however. It is very easy to make an aweful pourover if your baristas are not properly trained. Also, unlike french press, where the customer does most of the work, a barista must be taken away from all other tasks for about 3 minutes.  Needless to say, production is much slower than airpots, but if your customers are willing to wait, they will be greatly rewarded.

 

-MAZ

I am personal fan of going paperless.  On more delicate coffees the paper flavors can taint  the final product.  Have had great success with the Coava Kone 2nd generation and Chemex.  

Also, the Chemex do not require a bar to be built or bought. 

I would recommend using a pourover kettle.  Homeloos are shipped from Hong Kong, so be warned, so shipping can be quite expensive.  If you can hold out until January there will be some other kettle options on the market, namely the Bonavita line that should beat both the Hario and Homeloo in price, and are very well built. 

 

I would agree with Madison that a scale is a better option.  The new Vario-W by Baratza is an excellent choice for a moderately paced pour-over bar, and by far the most affordable option (considering labor time spent weighing, and it speeds up your bar).  I was developed specifically for this purpose and tested in cafes before hitting the market. 

 

Water temp is key to brewing pour-over successfully, so appropriate tower would be recommended. 


WOW MADISON! I can not thank you enough for all of this great info! This is excellent! I am certainly going to take ALL of this into consideration. THANKS!


madison swords said: 


A pourover bar is a fantastic addition to any shop, greatly improving the quality of your drip coffee.  This does come at a price however. It is very easy to make an aweful pourover if your baristas are not properly trained. Also, unlike french press, where the customer does most of the work, a barista must be taken away from all other tasks for about 3 minutes.  Needless to say, production is much slower than airpots, but if your customers are willing to wait, they will be greatly rewarded.

 

-MAZ

Hey keith! Thanks for the info! you know, the paper filter is a pain but i wasnt sure of any other options. thanks for that tid bit.  Huge fan of the hario, but I'm looking forward to testing out the Bonativa! =D

Keith Eckert said:

Also, the Chemex do not require a bar to be built or bought. 

I would recommend using a pourover kettle.  Homeloos are shipped from Hong Kong, so be warned, so shipping can be quite expensive.  If you can hold out until January there will be some other kettle options on the market, namely the Bonavita line that should beat both the Hario and Homeloo in price, and are very well built.

Hey there we have a lot of success with the pour over bar in addition to the brew bar we have at our cafe & farmers market tables. I would always recommend that you use a scale for everything. Weighing coffee is crucial to consistency. The setup we use, and have arrived at after a lot of experimentation, is a glass hario V60 with the glass decanter, all on a Jennings Cj4000 scale. We use the hario bleached paper filters, the natural give an undesirable taste in my experience, and use a hario kettle. We use 16 grams of coffee for 10 ounces of water, make sure to wet the filter first, this will remove some of the residue in the paper, as well as heat up the brewer.

Pour about an ounce of water in and let it bloom for a few seconds. I don't let it bloom too long because of the potential for temperature loss, some people will suggest you let it bloom longer, but in my experience, the temperature loss is more detrimental. After this pour evenly and consistently in circles and stir maybe 2-3 times once it is at 10 ounces.

I like the water tower, the hot plate can be less consistent.

This method can be really enjoyable for people to watch, and can allow for your baristas to really make a connection to customers around your coffee. People can get a little impatient, so this should be on your menu for a slightly higher price and for here only, in my opinion. This will convey that it's a more artisan process, slower and only bolster your image to the customer!

It's tough to look at the margin increase or decrease on this, because I am of the opinion that the marketing and image bolstering it can do for you will be positive, but hard to measure. In addition, you can reduce waste a little with this option. Your baristas really need to buy into it, because it's super easy to brew incorrectly, and they will have to monitor the grind a little more closely.

Have fun!

Edit: coava coffee is coming out with a metal filter which will fit the V60 soon as well, definitely worth checking our!

I use Yama sock pots for 90% of my brewing. I also have Chemex (like Keith, I prefer to go paperless) and vacuum pots in the shop.

We use the 1 pint chemex with paper filters. We have a fetco 5 gallon hot water tower beside our 4 chemex station. The chemexes are on scales. We only do 12 and 16 ounce cups. 25gr whole bean, 385gr water for 12oz. 30gr whole bean, 475gr water for 16oz. We allow for roughly 1/2oz weight loss on grind. We have one person brewing all the chemexes at one time. It works out. When we're in full swing, someone else grinds the beans and preps the chemex. Use a Buono style kettle. You need control. We tried the Kone. Didn't care for it. If you use paper, you can move faster, and you don't have to be super gentle with a Kone. They're extremely fragile. They'll bend and dent super easily, and then you'll kick yourself for spending that much cash on one filter, when you can get an entire case of chemex filters for the same price, or less.

Also wanted to add that Bonavita has electric pouring kettles. Just saw them come up on Prima-Coffee. This solves a lot of temperature loss you get from going to a regular boiler/kettle to your pouring kettle. Don't have any yet, but will follow up.

Best,

Phil

I would do the Todd Carmichael mod..,

Bonavita superglued to the base...

Disconnecting the bonavita will turn off the element leaving it lower than desired temps...

Cool idea, what kind of pour over cone are you guys using...

Kalita Wave? Chemex? Hario V60?

There's also a pour over module from modbar which really helps a lot in getting higher quality brews...

Why not go the stainless steel filter route for your Chemex? Avoid the chemicals with the paper filters, even if you wet them properly before brewing there's still sometimes a paper-like taste. Not to mention if you're brewing that much coffee on a daily basis it seems a shame to go through filter upon filter. 

Totally agree with Crucial Coffee, go for stainless steel filter it's more safe that using paper filters. Hate it when my coffee have that not-so-good taste. I always use stainless steel filter.

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