The Yardstick Coffee team teaches us how to concoct the perfect cup of joe at home
There once was a time when 3-in-1 coffee reigned supreme, when fancy brews were but a luxury. For a lot of men and women, those days seem unfathomable. The widespread of third wave coffee and the rise of artisanal cafés have spoiled most of us by refining our palates, making us all crave for brews beyond purely utilitarian reasons.
Today, we want to take your obsession a little bit further by learning how to be your own barista. Here’s what we learned from a basic brewing class with Yardstick Coffee: a good homemade brew is only a few simple steps away. Watch how.
Choose The first step is choosing, particularly your equipment and beans. This step is important because the decisions you make will determine the overall quality and flavor of your coffee.
You can pick from three major brewing methods: pour-over, full immersion, or hybrid. The pour-over method is pretty self-explanatory and allows for the most control but is the most meticulous of manual methods. Full immersion, on the other hand, entails completely submerging your ground coffee and allowing it to steep over a certain period of time in your chosen apparatus: siphons, vacuum pots, French presses, etcetera. This technique produces deep-flavored brews. The best of both worlds, however, is truly achieved through the hybrid method. A prime example of accessible equipment for this kind of method is the aeropress. This is a fancy little gadget that gets the robust flavors associated with steeping but that also maintains the clean taste and smooth texture of pour-over coffee.
After deciding how to make your coffee, it’s time to choose the actual beans. There are four factors to consider when choosing coffee beans: roast date, origin, roast style, and processing. While flavors and aromas are usually noted on the packaging, here are some important things to remember when choosing beans: Always check the roast date as coffee should ideally be consumed within 30-45 days of roasting; make sure the roast style jives with what equipment you have at home (it never hurts to ask but generally light to medium roasts are for filters and pour-overs while medium to dark roasts are for espresso machines); and it’s always better to grind your coffee yourself to retain caffeine and flavor.
Measure and Grind Speaking of grinding, it’s important to know what kind of grind matches your brewing method of choice. For pour-overs and hybrids, medium to medium-coarse ground beans are best. For full-immersion methods, it’s best to use coarse ground beans to keep the final brew as clean as possible.
Take note that the ideal ratio for dose:grind is 1:15-1:19. For example, when making coffee for a single person, the best measurements to follow are 15g of ground beans: 225g of water. Try to be as precise as possible when weighing your beans and measuring your water in order to avoid waste and to get a perfectly balanced blend.
Avoid grinding your beans in advance. Doing so will make your coffee go stale.
Brew When it comes to actually brewing your coffee, it’s best to use filtered water. Mineral water has a tendency to push down flavours aggressively, bad flavors, included. Distilled water has the opposite effect and may ultimately lead to blandness. The ideal temperature for brewing is 92-96 degrees Celsius. Since most of us don’t have professional pots that accurately measure our water’s warmth, here’s a pro-tip from the folks over at Yardstick: let your water reach boiling point (100 degrees Celsius) and then wait exactly a minute before using it to brew your coffee. The temperature will have gone down to 93-94 degrees.
Always remember to distribute the water as evenly as possible, wetting all the ground coffee you possibly can. Seeing as the water is pre-measured, it’ll be easy to know when to stop for pour-overs and hybrid equipment. For full-immersion techniques, stir vigorously and then allow the coffee to steep for 3-5 minutes. Once your drip is done or your steeping time is up, it’s time to enjoy a quality cup of joe in the comfort of your own home.
FOR A MORE DETAILED LESSON ON THE ART OF BREWING AS WE AS CLASSES ON ESPRESSO-MAKING AND LATTE ART, SIGN UP FOR A TWO-DAY CRASH COURSE AT YARDSTICK. IT IS AT UNIVERSAL LMS BUILDING, 106 ESTEBAN STREET, LEGASPI VILLAGE, MAKATI, 845-0073, AND ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.
Mags Ocampo is a twenty-two-year-old writer, graphic designer, and life guru (or so her friends claim). She currently works as Rogue Media Inc.'s Digital Art Director and takes freelance jobs on the side. She likes diving into whitecaps, reading sad books, and trying to tear down the patriarchy during her spare time. She's taken on adulthood by changing her screen names to her actual name, and thus, can be found as @magsocampo on Twitter and Instagram.
DIY iced salted caramel latte by Nespresso, anyone?
Frequent coffee runs to your favorite café can get pricey. But plain old black coffee might not be for you, or your favorite 3-in-1 mix just won’t cut it. Nespresso, who recently made their home line available locally, thinks coffee doesn’t have to be boring. Here, the global brand’s coffee masters suggest three quick, hassle-free recipes that go beyond their already-impressive array of pods.
Peanut Butter Macchiato
1 cup of milk
1 tsp. of peanut butter
1 tsp. of caramel
1 Ristretto capsule
1 tsp. of toasted peanuts
1 cup of milk
2-3 pumps of raspberry syrup
1 Arpeggio capsule
Iced Salted Caramel Latte
1 cup of milk
2 tbsp. of carmel
½ tsp. of salt
1 Kazaar capsule
1 cup of ice
3-4 tsp. of froth
Produced by Alyssa Castillo Photography by Renzo Navarro Videography by Richard Webb
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON NESPRESSO AND THEIR PRODUCTS, VISIT NESPRESSO.PH.
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media'sEditorial AssistantforThe NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @lysscstll.
One of BGC’s busiest specialty coffee spots transforms into a more casual hideaway down South.
It all started with a few friends who were nowhere near being coffee aficionados, but whose passion for caffeine was all the same. As Lino Cayetano, one of the café’s partners, reminisces: “Luna was born out of coffee and a what if.”The homegrown brand has made a name for itself as one of the most accessible places to hit up for local specialty coffee—especially for residents in the Fort area, where two of its initial branches are located. But for those who are looking for something different from the hustle and bustle of their first two branches, you can expect something more like a hideout down south. Their newer Kapihanby Luna Specialty Coffee branch in Alabang doesn’t feel as hectic—the pace and crowd are more relaxed and even the price points are slightly lower. “It’s not in a mall, not in a commercial space, but somewhere you can just walk to,” Cayetano explains. “We want something that brings you home.”The café, which still prides itself on their Filipino roasts, allows their customers to experience the entire spectrum of coffee through their specialty blends, which vary each month—a way for customers to experience something different each time they visit.Like any other coffee-dependent student, I’m curious about the distinct flavor of Luna’s brew. “We purposely went for the sweet and bold because it’s a balance of not-so-bitter and smooth,” Cayetano explains. On the other side of their roster, for those who prefer to take their coffee sweet, Luna offers flavors inspired by our childhood sari-sari store favorites. The Candyccino line offers ice-blended coffee drinks with hints of White Rabbit and even Flat Tops.Once they figured out the fundamental coffee bases for Luna, the team dug deep into everything else that went along with it. Taking into consideration our local food culture, they immediately thought of the Filipino breakfast. “Our culture urges us to have a heavy breakfast,” Cayetano reminds us. Without a doubt, the Metro is already brimming with restaurants that serve Filipino food, but very few that specialize in Pinoy breakfasts.Luna prides themselves on their tapa lineup, which is different from those offered in their first branch—Garlic Tapa and Luna’s Famous Crispy Tapa (both of which are available for PHP99 during all-day Tapa Thursdays). Their localized takes on grilled sandwiches are also a must-try—namely the Bistek & Cheese and Grilled Cheese and Chicken Adobo. Lito’s personal favorite, a dish he had rushed because he couldn’t wait to show us, is the Eggs Benedict (off-menu, but you heard it from us).
“When you say Kapihan, it sounds like a place that you don’t even have to think about,” he says. “A lot of us associate coffee with waking up, but it’s more than that—it’s a constant companion that helps you pass time through the day.”
On Coffee and Storytelling: The Narrative Coffee Company
Narrative Coffee Company breaks down the wall between the barista and the customer with their specialty slow-brew coffee.
Step into any café and the first sight that you’ll probably see is of people on their laptops, students hunched over their books, or groups of office workers in deep discussion. Coffee has been heavily associated with productivity and is often viewed as a supplement to our busy lifestyle. Yet there are times when you just crave for a dose of caffeine to sip over stories worth sharing.
Tucked in the busy neighborhood of Salcedo Village in Makati, Narrative Coffee Company is a small café that aims to do just that by allowing customers to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, enjoy how their coffee is made, and have discussions with their baristas. How do they do it? It’s all in the way their coffee is prepared. Here, you won’t find big espresso machines humming with mechanical noise. Instead, they make use of traditional slow-brew processes with simple, handheld equipment.For Narrative, the absence of the machine breaks down the wall between the barista and the customer, and since it’s a slow-brew process, it also takes a bit longer than usual. But this is exactly what Narrative capitalizes on, allowing them to exchange stories and experiences with their customers more intimately.
As soon as you step inside, you are greeted by warm smiles from baristas who are eager to get to know each customer that walks in. And it’s not just the simple, courteous pleasantries; they’re more than willing to open up and share their own stories, like how they got their start through crowdfunding, as well the story behind each cup of coffee—connecting the farmers and brewers to you.Another notable thing about Narrative Coffee Company is their ever-changing lineup of brewed coffee. Christine Rollings, one of the owners, says, “We want to be able to tell a story with and through our coffee. We want to take our customers on an adventure as we source our beans from different parts of the world. In a way, we make them experience a certain country through coffee.”
When we were there, they were gracious enough to let us try different varieties from their coffee lineup. Among them were their La Joyeria, which has hints of peach, butterscotch, and caramel; Rushashi, which is reminiscent of juicy apricot, dalandan, honey, and has a milky sensation to it; and Dimtu, which has notes of wild berries, green grapes, and a touch of black tea. Their tea selection, it’s worth noting, is just as impressive for non-coffee drinkers.True to its name, Narrative Coffee Company is all about stories worth sharing – from how they started, how your coffee is made, where their coffee beans come from, to your own personal story. They change their menu almost every week so you may not be able to binge on your favorite drink each visit, but that’s what makes it so unique. They continuously offer you something different—different beans, different sources, different stories—which will always manage to both excite and surprise you. Through this, they make every visit a truly different narrative.
NARRATIVE COFFEE COMPANY IS LOCATED AT ALPHA SALCEDO CONDOMINIUM, BAUTISTA STREET, SALCEDO VILLAGE IN MAKATI CITY. FOLLOW THEM ON FACEBOOK AT @NARRATIVEPH.
Tricia is a freelance writer who often imagines her life as a Wes Anderson film—complete with flat-space camera movements, nostalgic color palettes, and a '70s pop soundtrack. Her simple joys in life include music, coffee, chicken and waffles, art, and sushi. Follow her on Instagram at @triciaquintero.
This feel-good café’s goal is simple: to provide good food and even better coffee.
“Our overall concept revolves around our mantra: ‘No Bad Days,’” Ashley Siy, co-owner of Common Folk Coffee Bar, explains. As if the neon signage of this three-word maxim that hangs across the bar wasn’t indication enough, the café makes a concerted effort to spell it out in as many ways as it can. “From our design to our menu, to the overall feel and ambiance, we wanted to exemplify this to everyone who steps inside,” Siy continues.Right across the road from 78-53-86, the sunny café sits amidst a growing cluster of lifestyle and culture specialty shops. “Two of our partners (Kenneth Ong and Choi Kapunan) own Burnside Barber, which is a barbershop right across the street,” Siy explains “One day, Ken came across this space and pitched it to us. All of us love going out to cafés, drinking coffee, and enjoying each other’s company so we thought, ‘Why not start our own café?’ We felt that the northern part of the Metro still lacked a good number of places to go for good food and even better coffee.”With a concept that revolves around providing simple, no-fuss comfort dishes and drinks for both coffee aficionados and newbies alike, the team placed its focus on putting together a well-rounded and inclusive menu.During our visit on a hot weekday afternoon, nearly every table was filled with students from nearby universities poring over laptops in between sips of iced coffee and bites of open-faced toast. Of the dishes that we tried, my personal favorite was the cheekily named Salmon to Love: mini-toasts topped with herbed cream cheese, smoked salmon, and pickled onions. Their Matcha Latte—a heavy-on-the-milk and lightly floral alternative to the usually overly sweetened drink—with a side of their Chewy Choco with Sea Salt Cookies proved to be a supremely satisfying dessert combo.“We created our food list in order to provide our customers with a relaxed, enjoyable experience, and our drinks were developed specifically for a more generic palate,” Siy shares. “One that can be appreciated by both non-coffee drinkers and more seasoned baristas and coffee enthusiasts alike. The Flat White, Iced Mocha, and Cappuccino are some of our customers’ go-to favorites.” She also goes on to explain that Common Folk makes use of several manual brewing methods (all of which can be prepared right in front of you) in order to provide their customers with a fuller, more unique dining experience.“In the end, we just wanted to create a small, shared space with a warm and welcoming vibe, where people can get together and enjoy our food and drinks with awesome company,” she says simply. “We want to provide the ultimate coffee bar experience to the common folk.”
COMMON FOLK COFFEE BAR IS LOCATED AT 79 KATIPUNAN AVENUE, WHITE PLAINS IN QUEZON CITY. FOLLOW THEM ON INSTAGRAM AT @COMMONFOLKPH.
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.