I try to make myself believe that I am not addicted to it, but if I don’t have a freshly brewed cup of coffee by around 10am, I’m not the most pleasant of people to be around. I’m not talking cream and sugar kind of stuff. I’m talking single origin, freshly brewed, hand-poured coffee. I started drinking coffee when I was in high school (mostly sugar drinks that had “a shot” of coffee in them), but really didn’t start my journey to snobbery until about 3 years ago.
I was the typical Nashville musician who worked at Starbucks and lived at her parents house, and shortly after I quit Starbucks, I got a job at The Well Coffeehouse in Nashville where I really took this hobby to a new level. I now no longer work in the coffee industry, but I still believe that coffee will always be a part of my life in one way or another for the rest of my life. It is so fun and I feel like the more I learn, the more I realize what I don’t know about it. This is why I want to share with you guys my favorite brewing method, my favorite shops in the U.S., and show you how to get as nerdy as me in your own kitchen!
First off, my favorite brewing method is the Chemex. I use this brewing method every morning in my own kitchen. For those of you who have NO clue what I’m talking about, this is a brewing method that is a manual hand-poured style method that is with an hourglass-shaped container and kettle. I know, I know… some of you are thinking “Just give me my sugary latte or Keurig. That takes too long and I hate the taste of black coffee”. I used to think the exact same thing until I tried my first cup of a fresh, hand-poured coffee in Nashville. When used with quality beans (in my opinion a light roast single origin), the Chemex has roughly a 20-30% thicker filter than a lot of other brewing methods, so your cup of coffee will be almost tea-like and very light in body. I also like that I can brew about two 12oz cups of coffee in one batch, whereas a lot of other brewing methods like the V60, Kalita Wave, Aeropress, etc. are typically only good for a single cup at a time. This brewing method is actually really hard to screw up and very user friendly!
In the U.S., coffee has seen a tremendous increase in popularity over the last few decades, thanks to companies like Starbucks. Now in 2018, the specialty coffee shops are on the rise. Cities like Seattle, L.A., New York, and Portland are among the leaders of high-quality, specialty coffee shops. I believe that the health trends definitely are impacting the way people are eating and drinking, so more and more people are becoming passionate about brewing their own coffee and supporting local coffee shops that roast their own coffee beans. I have traveled a lot so I’ve been to some of the most famous shops around the country, but I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites in my home town of Nashville, TN. I love the way my city’s coffee culture has exploded over the last few years and continues to rise. So here you go!
in no particular order…
Crema: This was one of the first specialty shops I went to in Nashville back when it was a grungy hipster place that not a ton of people knew about. My husband and I had our first date here;) I love their hand-poured options and even their drip coffee is amazing. Their almond/coconut milk is my absolute favorite in an iced latte if I am wanting something sweeter and craving their awesome espresso!
Sump Coffee: Originating in St. Louis, their pour overs are my favorite with their selections changing frequently but usually having a killer Ethiopian. Seriously my favorite cup of coffee right now in Nashville. I can’t emphasize enough how if you are in Nashville you need to go here.
The Well Coffeehouse: The Well is a non-profit coffee house with amazing selections of pour overs and lattes. I love The Well because they give 100% of their proceeds to building water wells around the world for communities who don’t have clean water. Great place to hang!
Honest Coffee Roasters: This shop is in Historic Factory in Franklin, TN which is a quick drive south from Nashville, but is such a cool space. The Factory in general is a great place to visit while you are in Nashville, but this coffee is also worth the experience. They have amazing pour overs with coffee beans roasted freshly themselves, all while in a really cool part of town that you could also do a little shopping while you are in the area!
Steadfast Coffee: This is a shop for those wanting to try new things including their seasonal selections of coffee cocktails. I love the simplistic vibe here. They always have great pour-over selections and coffee soda. It is also in Germantown which is a great area of Nashville to explore.
Barista Parlor Golden Sound: I feel like I couldn’t make a list of coffee shops in Nashville without mentioning this one. This coffee shop has become a household name for tourists in Nashville, and I’m not gonna lie, I love coming here because of their pour-overs being awesome and their breakfast game being strong. They have 3 locations, but the location in the Gulch is my favorite. If you go here, order one of their pour-overs with a Moto biscuit…you’re welcome.
If you want to take your coffee brewing to the next level, it really isn’t that hard! The main essential products you will need to buy are:
- Chemex or other brewing method
- scale (Acaia will change your life: https://acaia.co)
- kettle (I’m obsessed with anything Fellow makes: http://fellowproducts.com)
- coffee beans of course;)
- grinder (optional but HIGHLY recommended)
Steps to brewing:
- Heat kettle of water (ideal brewing temp about 200-205F).
- Weigh and grind coffee.
- Insert filter into Chemex; once water is warm, rinse filter and discard the rinse water in sink.
- Add ground coffee inside filter.
- Bloom coffee: pour enough water to saturate all the grounds. This releases any carbon dioxide from the roasting process which you can read more about here: https://www.roastycoffee.com/coffee-bloom/
- Pour the rest of water. Pour very slow and low, and try not to get too close to sides or middle. You can usually try a 16 or 17:1 ratio of water to coffee grounds and be pretty satisfied!
- Remove filter and serve:)
I really liked these brewing guides if you want a more in-depth guide to brewing at home:
Happy brewing and I hope any of you who were wanting to try a few of these shops in Nashville have a wonderful experience. Also, I apologize if this blog caused any of you to also become coffee snobs as well;)