I’m sipping on some lovely Esmeralda thanks to Mr. Tonx, who received this coffee via Andrew Barnett. So far, I’m not sure how I feel about the cup, but if it’s no bueno, then it’s my own fault. Even if it’s not that great, I’m still excited. See… I just got back from a trip to Funnel Mill. I found out about these guys via searching google for Yama TCA-3. They’re the first hit. The website had me so curious, a visit was a must….
I really should have had my camera to catch the experience, but I’m sure I’ll be back to take some more pics. Funnel Mill is weird. Bottom line. You walk in the door and there’s an asian style rock bed with a small water fountain to greet you. The bar is long and very wide. Facing it, an entire half of it on the right is dedicated to brewing and preparing coffee. There’s a Curtis brewer, but I doubt it sees much attention. Instead, there’s an array of Yama and Hario siphons. There’s an old Rancillio sitting on a metal table, underneath it is a Cirqua. There’s seating for 3 at the bar, and we belly-uped there.
When we sat down, there was already 3 Yama brewers set up and cooling. I just assumed the guy was doing a tasting of some sort. He asked what he could do to help us, and wanting to stay incognito, we simply asked for a siphon of the Tanzania Peaberry. He obliged and asked if we would like and milk or cream. We said no, and you could see he was starting to get curious… especially as Devin and I kept looking around and then looking at each other, but not saying a word (We’re really not good at keeping a low profile). The coffee was served, and then came two little dishes of peanuts. He explained that the peanuts would bring out the nuttiness of the coffee and help to accent the caramel flavors of the coffee.
After a couple brief questions, he asked if we worked in coffee and where… Opening this up lead us into much conversation and much learning. The guy is very passionate and strict about coffee. He explained to me that everyone of his baristas go through six months of training before they are allowed to brew freely on the siphons. He only likes blends for espresso and likes to keep his siphon coffee to only single estate.
We discussed more on siphon method. He believes 45 seconds is the perfect time of extraction for any siphon, no matter coffee or type. He uses the same grind all the way around. He also uses a coffee scoop and says one scoop for every 6 oz. cup. With more discussion, he offered to let us try the coffee that was on the bar when we sat down… three siphons, one coffee, three different stir methods. The first, was coffee that was stirred very lightly, to bring out the fruity notes in the coffee. The second, was a heavier stir, to bring out the caramel and chocolate. The third, was agitated with oxygen… There is an oxygen tank under the table and he inserted a tube into the coffee to basically keep it moving in a ‘end over end’ kind of motion. This was to bring out the body of the coffee. He invited us to smell the expired ground coffee sitting in the top bowl, and he said the fruity bowl would still smell like coffee, the caramely bowl would smell earthier, and the oxygen bowl would smell like earth or dirt. He was right on. His extraction time was the same, grind the same, but his various agitation methods produced the end result. When a customer orders a siphon, he actually asks if they want it heavy or fruity.
The siphons were brewed with passion and care. The coffee itself was ok. The experience was one I will remember as long as I’m in this industry. This guy doesn’t run in the typical coffeed circles. We talked briefly on SCAA and USBC type stuff… and he said he’d never compete cause he thinks the way it’s judged is wack… Which, I thought was funny to hear from someone who has never competed. I’m very glad I ran that search online and made the effort to check out this little gem.
The cup in my hand has cooled. It’s much better now. I’m adjusting because I’m finally brewing on my own Yama TCA-3D. I bought mine from JC at the Funnel Mill because the guys cares and is passionate. I also bought the butane burner… it’s the first time I’ve brewed with one and it’s gonna take some practice. I know I paid more for this setup than I would have online, but something about the guy and the way he talked about all this just made me want to support him and his business. All in all, this has been a pretty good day off.