Filter coffee always makes me think of those ‘American Dream’ lifestyles with that little coffee brewer sitting in the corner all day, where the family help themselves to their brews all day. One of my first times I came across filter coffee was in my early television-viewing, with the likes of Luke’s Diner and Central Perk highlighting the simple nature of the batch brewed filter coffee.
Then, for the majority of my teenage years I moved away and mostly forgot about this style of coffee, as I began to consume fancy pants lattes, flat whites and cappuccinos. (Well, heck, they weren’t fancy, but my sixteen year old self most definitely saw it that way)
But as soon as I moved to London, I came across the wonders that was the third wave coffee version of batch brewed coffee, and it’s safe to say that I soon fell in love. As my coffee ‘journey’ (if I want to say it that way - i did slightly cringe) has continued to grow, I’ve fallen more and more in love with the black stuff.
So, where do I start? Batch brew is, well - you guessed it - a batch of brew. A large quantity of coffee is brewed, sitting in a thermal container until needed - usually lasting anywhere between 4-6 hours before being chucked when a new, fresher batch is made. Although I wasn’t heavily involved in the coffee industry at the emergence of speciality coffee in London, I’ve heard many a tales from people a tad older than me who said that batch brew was quite the taboo. Baristas were dedicating their times to hand brewed, slow pour filter methods, as well as perfecting their latte art skills. The quick grab-and-go style of batch brew remained predominantly for the chains, where Starbucks’ Pike Place took centre stage as the filter coffee you’d think of being poured from industrial sized kegs.
It wasn’t until slightly later that coffee shops soon realised that many customers were wanting the high quality of speciality coffee, but in a quick and easy method. I mean, many customers still to this day use old style filtration methods when they buy beans, and thus it made sense that they wanted to try something with a similar process in the shops so they knew how their coffee would end up tasting when they were at home. So coffee shops slowly began to bring in batch brewing and offering it on their menus.
Now we’re seeing places who do not even feature a hand-brewed option, and instead stick to the batch brew. Personally, I like a bit of both, as there is still something magical about ordering a pour-over coffee and watching your barista put loads of love and care into your drink with the precision necessary when perfecting a cup of filter coffee. However, I think the wide acceptance of filter coffee in batch brew form is a great step forward, especially for speciality coffee shops in areas where they cannot afford to spend large quantities of time making hand brewed coffee. Apparatus for batch brew has developed dramatically over the past couple of years, and thus the filter you receive via this method can, if done well, taste exactly the same as a slow brewed V60, Kalita or Aeropress.