A guide to batch brew coffee

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Batch brew coffee has seen a huge rise in popularity over the past few years. More and more cafes are installing batch brew stations on their menu to compliment their espresso and filter coffee offerings.

So what is batch brew coffee and should you start drinking it or serving it at your cafe?

Below we take a look at what batch brew is, its pros and cons, how it relates to pour-over coffee, and how to make the perfect batch brew.

What is batch brew coffee?

Batch brew coffee is coffee made in large amounts by slowly running water through the coffee grounds which are contained in a filter cone. The coffee then drains into a vessel from which the coffee is poured.

Batch brewing is a relatively quick and easy way of brewing large quantities of fresh coffee, without sacrificing flavour.

The rise in popularity of batch brew

Batch brew has been around for decades, but it has only recently become popular outside of specialty cafes, largely thanks to products like the Moccamaster and Wilfa Precision, which are automatic batch brewers with temperature and flow rate controls.

Filter coffee such as pour over has become more and more common in Australia over the past five years or so and the introduction of batch brewers in many specialty coffee shops and cafes is a continuation of this trend.

Batch brew at cafes

In a commercial environment, batch brewing is very different from pour over or espresso coffee in terms of the process required to fulfil an order.

Pour over and espresso are each made to order, one cup at a time.

Batch brew, on the other hand, is made all at once, ahead of time, and kept hot in a carafe or thermal container until it is ready to drink.

Batch brewers provide a lot of benefits for cafés to consider, including speed and consistency of the beverage, and in many cases, minimal training required to use the equipment.

Batch brew vs pour over coffee: Pros and cons

While we all probably have negative connotations associated with big filter coffee machines, the fact is that these have come such a long way that some specialty coffee shops rely on them as their main brew method.

If used correctly, these devices can produce coffee on par with that from a pour-over with much less work on behalf of the barista.

So what are the downsides?

Pros

  • Easy and quick to set up
  • Easy to repeat once have a brew recipe you like
  • Cost-effective for high-volume commercial environments
  • Even extraction of flavour and aroma vs other brewing methods

Cons

  • Have to stick to one bean for the batch – no choice for each customer
  • Coffee can lose flavour if left for too long
  • Requires specific (and often expensive) equipment
  • Not a great customer experience – may look/feel cheap
  • Not ideal for single serves or low customer numbers
  • Wasted coffee if not all drunk during the day

How to make the perfect batch brew

The first step when making batch brew coffee is to make sure that the machine is clean. No one wants to drink stale tasting coffee. Also, be sure that you are using fresh water each time you brew.

Next, be sure to adjust the grind size according to the type of batch brewer you are using. Batch brewers typically use either cone filters or flat bottom filters.

If you are using a cone filter, use a finer grind, while if you are using a flat bottom filter use a coarser grind.

Now you can fill your batch brewer’s water reservoir with fresh water and turn on the machine so that it begins brewing coffee into your empty carafe.

Once your carafe is full of brewed coffee, you can give it a good swirl then start serving.

There are some things you can do to improve your batch brew.

Most importantly, you can use a thermal server – a two-walled container that keeps the heat in – and preheat it before you brew your coffee into it.

Beyond that, you can experiment with water quality and brewing ratio (the amount of coffee per unit of water).

Popular batch brew coffee makers

Moccamaster Classic

The Moccamaster Classic drip coffee maker lets you brew 1.25 litres of coffee, which stays warm for up to an hour for you to enjoy at home or take out with you for the day.

The unique brewing system ensures that water is heated to 92 – 96 degrees Celsius and then sprayed over the coffee grounds, where it mixes with the ground coffee and passes straight through the filter into the glass carafe below.

This process takes only a few minutes and guarantees a wonderful flavour and aroma.

Wilfa Precision

Well-known barista Tim Wendelboe has collaborated with Norway-based Wilfa to create the Wilfa Precision Coffee Maker.

The Wilfa Precision uses flat bottomed paper filters and comes in two models: the WSP-1A and the WSP-1B.