What We Are Brewing: Parlor Coffee

What We Are Brewing: Parlor Coffee

Mar 22nd 2021 Written by Steve Morrow

Not surprisingly, the office at Prima is always stocked with coffee. Always. Since we sell coffee equipment, and only that with which we have been able to make consistently tasty cups, we find it necessary to sample coffees from all over the country, at times the world, and, although we prefer lighter roasts, from all over the color spectrum.

Until now, this has remained our little secret. We grind and brew coffees. We measure extraction percentages. We taste and talk among ourselves. Then we refine recipes and brew some more. It is part of our job and, dare we say, it is fun.

With this series, we aim to bring some of that behind-the-scenes experimentation to the fore. We want to give you an opportunity to see, in any given week, what we are brewing and how we are brewing it.

Each month we will highlight a new roaster, a new coffee, and a new recipe as part of a series we're calling "What We Are Brewing." The first season will focus on pour over brewers. The first episode features Parlor Coffee.

Parlor is a coffee roaster in New York that started as a cafe with one employee and a one-group espresso machine (a gorgeous Kees van der Westen Speedster) in the back of a barber shop. That was eight years ago. Now, having outgrown its original space, Parlor roasts and serves coffee (on the weekends) from a modest storefront at the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

This coffee was grown in Ninga, a remote region in the Muramvya province of Burundi, and processed in the village of Bukeye. It traveled to Brooklyn through The Long Miles Coffee Project, a group that works with farmers and a team of junior agronomists across Burundi (and soon Kenya and Uganda) to grow consistently high-quality, traceable coffee cherries. Essentially, Long Miles creates sustainable relationships between roasters and farmers, resulting in higher green coffee prices and annual premiums. Since 2103, the group has grown from working with fifty farmers to working with 5,500.

According to Parlor, this coffee should yield the aroma of black tea and fig and flavors of white currant and molasses. We agree but have been pleased, too, by the chewy mouthfeel, raisiny sweetness, and overall structure we have brought out with the Espro Bloom. With the recipe below, a traditional 1:16 ratio, we have been extracting consistently above 22%.

Roaster: Parlor
Coffee: Burundi Ninga
Variety: Bourbon
Process: Washed
Brewing Device: Espro Bloom
Grind: Fine
Dose: 20 grams
Water: 320 grams at 208°F
Time: 3:30

Before the brewing begins, all the prep work must be done. Heat the water. Grind the coffee. Pre-wet the filter. Add the ground coffee to the Bloom. Tare the scale. Start the timer.

    1. Pour 60g of water. Swirl the Bloom. Then, using a WDT tool, gently stir the coffee bed, breaking up clumps or dry pockets.
    2. After roughly 45 seconds, add 140g of water, bringing the total to 200g, and then swirl the bloom.
    3. At 1:45 seconds, or when the water has mostly, but not completely, drawn down and through the coffee bed, add the remaining 120g of water. Swirl.

The brew should finish around three minutes and thirty seconds, but, depending on the grinder, may take longer (up to 4 minutes). Don't panic. Let the taste be your guide. If the cup smells of dried fruits and tea, and if it tastes like berry syrup, and if the body is full and chewy, you have brewed a remarkable cup of coffee. Be proud. If it doesn't excel in those ways, or if it takes too long (beyond four minutes), try again with a coarser grind. Honestly, the trick is this: try again until you're happy. That's what we do.

Shop the Espro Bloom Shop Parlor Coffee
Mar 22nd 2021 Steve Morrow

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