Recently I had a chance to chat with a rising star in the home craft coffee culture. Jason is active daily on Instagram under his account @coffeethenboba . His photos, coffee brew methods, whole bean coffee reviews, and pourover recipes speak to a growing movement; home manual coffee brewing. Sit back and palm one of your favorite roasts and enjoy this delightful story of Jason's journey into the craft coffee world!
Brewtoria Coffee: Could you tell our readers about your coffee background and how coffee is a part of your life now?
Jason: I currently reside in the Bay Area. I work in tech just like the majority of people who live here. The only type of coffee I used to drink was caramel Frappuccino's at Starbucks with extra caramel and whip cream. I then found myself working at a boba tea shop when I was attending university. I tried my first sip of black coffee
when I started working. I would say that the main driving force behind why I wanted to drink coffee was to stay awake during the afternoon at work. The company I was working at that time had a soda machine right next to the coffee machine. My go to recipe every day would be: 1) fill a cup with ice 2) place the cup under the coffee machine and hit the button for a double shot espresso 3) swirl. This was a tradition I carried on to my next 3 jobs over the course of 4 years.
Fast forward to now, I'm currently working from home (WFH) every day of the week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting into a normal routine was difficult especially when WFH started in February. My normal iced coffee in the afternoons was no more so I needed to find some normalcy during these times. I never brewed my own coffee pre-pandemic unless you consider pushing a button. My wife had a maroon colored collapsible coffee dripper used for camping lying around the house but I had no idea what to do with it. I did a quick Google search on the bare minimum I needed to make my own coffee and I found myself drinking a hot coffee brewed with generic beans and a constant inconsistent formula.
The catalyst of upgrading my coffee game started when one day I realized what I was drinking was absolutely terrible. I'm the type of person where if I'm going to do something every single day, I'm going to try my best to improve. My first YouTube video of coffee was the 'Ultimate V60 Technique' that led me to buying a V60. Next purchases in chronological order was an OXO gooseneck kettle, Baratza Encore, Acaia Pearl Scale.
I'm nowhere near an expert, I highly consider myself as a beginner brewer but I'm enjoying this journey. I look forward to waking up in the morning even though I'm the exact opposite of a morning person. There is just something soothing about a great cup of coffee that sits on my desk as I begin navigating through the rest of the day. Although this year has been nothing short of surprises, coffee definitely has been a positive add in my life which wouldn't have happened without this situation.
Brewtoria Coffee: What are you into now as far as home brewing? Do you have any favorite roasts, recipes, brewing devices or equipment? Do you drink your coffee black, or add any cream, cream and sugar?
Jason: I used to be into making a cold brew in a French Press especially during the warmer days. I've found that a Japanese Iced Coffee is able to capture the amazing taste of a hot brew but still be refreshing during a hot summer day. Now that it is winter I've been trying to find a perfect cup for the morning.
I've heavily been using the 4:6 method by Tetsu Kasuya and have been getting sweet cups using my local Barefoot Coffee Roasters 'Redcab'.
- I use 20g of ground size 18 on my Encore.
- My bloom pour is 50g at 45 seconds,
- 70g for the next pour and split the next 3 pours at 60g each totaling 300g.
- Water temperature at 198 F.
I drink my coffee black, however, a little bit of me dies inside when I give a cup of coffee to my wife and she then proceeds to pour in a generous amount of the Starbucks caramel creamer. Now that my pouring technique is slowly improving I'm starting to venture outside of the Bay Area roasters and trying beans from all over the place. I'm working myself up to hopefully try my first Gesha soon!
Brewtoria Coffee: Do you strictly brew at home or do you have a favorite hangout that you go to for coffee when you're feeling like someone else preparing for you?
Jason: I strictly brew at home unless I am traveling and cannot bring my gear with me. I do appreciate cafes where they have a pour over option because I can then bombard their barista with my million questions and carefully watch their technique. I try to learn from them and taste what a coffee should taste like. I understand that the taste is subjective but I'm always trying to learn. I then buy a bag of their beans and go home to see if I can mimic the taste I had from their cafe and tweak accordingly.
Brewtoria Coffee: Do you have any funny stories involving coffee?
Jason: I had an upcoming meeting at 8:30am and I was going through my normal routine of making my coffee before attending. Upon completion I typically throw my filter and the coffee grounds into my trash can. This day however I ended up throwing my freshly made cup of coffee into the trash while still holding my filter on the other hand. My wife was witnessing this entire situation and simply asked: 'what just happened'. I went into that meeting without any coffee.
Brewtoria Coffee: If you could sit down and have a coffee with anyone, who would that be and why?
Jason: I'm a big NBA fan and I also love playing the game of basketball. I'm extremely glad the NBA was still able to resume in the Orlando bubble. I live in the Bay Area and grew up a Warriors fan so I have to say Steph Curry would be the guy I would want to sit down and have a coffee with. He seems like a genuine guy and shows that he has life outside of basketball as well. Probably would also try to squeeze in a little workout session with him as well since coffee makes a surprisingly great pre-workout.
Brewtoria Coffee: Do you enjoy listening to music, or journaling as part of the coffee brewing process?
Jason: As geeky as it sounds I actually enjoy putting on my headphones while making coffee and listening to a tech talk from my company. The fascinating thing about technology is that it is still so new that there are always new ways to improve performance or experiences so iterating on existing practices/ideas is encouraged. I find it a great way for me to warm up my non-morning person mind as I get ready for the rest of the work day.
Brewtoria Coffee: There is a growing trend with brewing at a dedicated coffee bar or coffee counter, do you have a special designated space like this to brew on?
Jason: I brew on a kitchen counter that I've dedicated to my manual brewing. All of my equipment and filters are within easy reach.
Brewtoria Coffee: Anything else you would like to share with the readers?
Jason: I'm starting to love coffee but I can't forget that I still love boba. Being a former bobarista showed me that finding the right ratios and timing is so important there as well. For example: precision on steep time was an absolute requirement whether it be black or green tea. This was also coupled with the boil and steam time for the pearls you find in the typical boba drink. You then need to add the right amount of sweetness and ice for each drink which had a normal recipe but take into account the customers order in the case they want to adjust any of those parameters. Now take a step back and realize the complexity when you're working at a college tea shop where you're getting hundreds of customers each hour. To scale the quantity for the demand was always a challenge so I'm glad I got to experience that and respect that industry and bring that over to my own personal coffee journey.
Find Jason on Instagram and follow him. Shoot him comments or questions or ask him how his jumper is behind the 3-point line. As always, Brewtoria is looking for more people to share their love of coffee. If your story needs to be heard, feel free to contact us @firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Enjoy your coffee today and everyday!