The case for Flat Bottom Brewers

May 09, 2017


Flat Bottomed Brews, You Make the Coffee World Go Round!

“Batch brewers are just so inconsistent.” -No Barista Ever

Single cup manual brews are sexy, but you just can’t deny the consistency of larger batches of coffee. With increased batch size comes an increased margin for error. Put it this way: If you’re ten grams over or under for a 200 gram dose, you’ll detect way less of a difference than if you were ten grams off of a 20 gram dose. The same thing is true of other factors; a few seconds longer brew time for a V60 makes a big difference when the whole brew lasts two and a half minutes compared an eight minute gallon-sized brew.

But what about the middle ground? I’m thinking of manual brews at home for several friends. There are only few practical options. For one, you can make one giant French press, of which I am a fan. But not everyone likes to chew their coffee. Alternatively, you could make an aeropress or a V60 for everyone. Have fun grinding coffee and pouring water for the next twenty minutes while everyone else enjoys breakfast!

Then, there are a few pour-over companies who have made it possible to do bigger doses all at once, the main one that comes to mind being Chemex. But the problem I have with the Chemex is that the cone comes to a real point and if you don’t have a quality grinder it can flow at a very slow rate. The water stops dripping and leaves you scratching your head thinking you’ve defied gravity somehow. Think about it—how many big batch brewers have you seen with a traffic cone-sized filter basket? No, they all have flat bottoms. And don’t get clogged. And taste the same every time.

I recently got my hands on a Stagg [XF] pour-over brewer by Fellow. It has tall straight sides that form a cylinder and the filter looks just like a skinny version of a big basket filter. I love designs like this—the Kalita Wave is another one—for all the same reasons why nobody stresses out about brewing coffee on big batch brewers. A 24-ounce batch of coffee would take ten minutes or more to finish brewing on a Chemex (I would know, I’ve done it a time or two) while on the Stagg, it completed in about four and a half minutes. It’s so handy that I’m thinking of incorporating this style in our own brew bar service here at the roastery. 

And because the brew bed is flatter, there’s less technique required for the bloom and throughout the pouring process, even with single-dose brews. The flat-bottoms of the pour-over world are user friendly, consistent, and can make enough coffee for your brunch guests without tying you up for a half hour at the kettle. Count me in!