The Coava Kone: finally, a perfect cup of pour-over coffee

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Over the years, I have inherited a few household items from my mom. And while most of them were at the time simply mementos from my 1970s childhood, a few also turned out to be icons of mid-century design.

One such “hand-me-down” was an original Chemex glass coffee maker that my mom pawned off on me about 20 years ago. I liked the hour-glass shape and the wood grip, held together by a piece of old leather string. When I had my first apartment in NW Portland, I occasionally tried to use the Chemex to brew up some easy-to-make drip coffee, placing a few scoops of grounds in a paper filter and pouring hot water over it. Unfortunately, I either had the wrong filters or just couldn’t get the hang of it because more often than not, the ground coffee flowed over the paper filter and into the pot, making a gritty, ground-filled drink.

My mom’s old Chemex pot has followed me around ever since, but collected more dust than coffee – until recently. When I heard about the Kone filter, an innovative new reusable coffee filter made right here in Portland by the creative folks at Coava Coffee and had the chance to have a cup of perfectly brewed pour-over coffee at both Mr. Green Beans and Coava, I had to get one myself. Plus, I liked the idea of buying local and not having to throw away, or compost, my filter after each use.

The metal-mesh Kone, at $50, is a pretty penny, for sure. But if you compare it to the price of paper filters over the life of your pot, eventually it all pays off, especially if you drink as much coffee as we do.

Following the instructions of Coava’s barista (see below), it only took 20 years to brew a perfect cup of pour-over coffee in my now-vintage-vintage Chemex pot.

The metal Kone filter fits right into the top funnel of the Chemex. I expected it to look a little like a strainer but the holes are mesh-like, allowing the water to pour over the finely ground coffee ever so slowly and seep into the pot. For one pour-over, Coava recommends: 21 grams ground coffee, 340 grams H20 and 3 to 3.5 minutes to drip/brew.

To find out more about the Chemex coffee maker, check out a post by Portland Roasting Company on their visit to the original factory.

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Stumptown, Coava and Midnight Fuel

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Things have been a little quiet on the Coffeepad front, but not for lack of coffee. If anything, Portland coffee has been making news this month and I have been downing the stuff to get through a summer graduate course while holding down a full-time day job.

First, the news. Stumptown Coffee has sold a majority of its company (90%, according to Willamette Week) to a San Franciso-based investment firm. A barista at my favorite Stumptown shop on SE Belmont assured me the company is still a Portland company, and the move will allow Stumptown to expand to other cities, like Chicago. What it means for Portland? Probably nothing for coffee drinkers who don’t care if their coffee roaster is independent and locally owned. Luckily, for those who do, there are plenty of other options – for which we have Stumptown to thank for blazing the trail starting 12 years ago.

In other news, Coava Coffee, the hot trend-setter in the pour-over coffee movement, has launched a new and improved metal filter – the Kone 2nd Generation – for glass Chemex drip coffee pots, and the reviews have been great. Check out the review on Gizmodo, which calls the new version “a more magical metal Kone for brewing coffee.” Good thing I held off on buying my own Kone filter recently — new model, here we come.

In the meantime, as coffee has fueled some late night studies recently, I’ve conducted a bit of a home-brewed taste test with: Courier, Ristretto, Heart and Caffe Vita. Right now, Courier is in the lead for a nice-tasting, smooth-with-just-a-touch-of tang after-dinner espresso.