My Part of the Plate: Pour Overs with Abby

Saturday and Sunday mornings Abby and I always try to spend a little extra leisure time together.  It comes in all shapes and forms, mostly sleeping in late and crawling out of bed briefly to grab a cup of coffee from our auto drip with a programed timer.  Some weekends however, we tend to wake up full of an eagerness to make food and be homie together (albeit rarer than the former situation).  Last Sunday was one of those situations, we had just got back from Boston and were eager to try to recreate our now favorite dish from Tatte; the avocado Tartine. Abby was all over recreating the dish, so I figured I'd go ahead and try my hand at a good cup of pour over coffee to accompany it. 

Where to Start

Good question. It's actually a question that ran through my head non stop when trying to figure out how the damn thing works.  I love pour over coffee, but I had never invested enough time in doing it myself to appreciate the craft that really goes into it.  I went through a few tutorials online and created my own little step by step (one that doesn't require a B.S. in Chemistry). 


Here's where we start, the bare essentials.  I started by grabbing a couple cups, the Chemex, my goose neck kettle (not shown) and the coffee (not shown).  I used one of the coffee cups to measure two cups of coffee, plus extra for blooming the coffee and heating the glass (I'll elaborate in a bit). 


I put the kettle on the stove to boil and started grinding my coffee.  I actually filled my grinder to the max and ground for about 20 seconds, equivalent to the grade you would want for a french press.  In the end I only needed four tablespoons for the amount of coffee I was making.


Heat the water to around 200-210F, I found it easiest to bring it to a good build then shut the stovetop off (when it first started to make the boiling noise it was only around 180F, so make sure to use a thermometer!).


Once your water is hot, you should wet the filter and get the Chemex glass warm. Pour that little bit of extra water around the edges of the filter to make it stick well to the opening, and swirl it a bit as it collects in the bottom reservoir to get a nice even warming effect. 


At this point this is what you should have; a really awesome looking, condensation filled Chemex. Now it's time to dump the rinse water and fill your filter. 


It's pretty self explanatory how to put coffee in a filter, but I'd recommend trying to shake the Chemex a bit after you pour the grounds in to make sure they're nice and even. Now we're ready to begin blooming the coffee. 


To 'bloom' the coffee, you only want to pour enough water on the grounds so that they begin to puff up a bit.  You don't want any water to pouring through the grounds, so try to be really light on the water but enough to get all of the grounds evenly saturated.  Once they're all evenly saturated, I let it sit for around a minute before I began my final pour. 


The final pour

This is honestly the best part; it's probably the only part anyone thinks of when they think of a 'pour over' coffee.  I enjoy it because the fruit of my labor ripens before my eyes, and every moment the kettle gets lighter as the coffee collecting in the Chemex basin gets darker.  It's a beautiful process, and I would definitely recommend it to any coffee enthusiast that likes coffee for more than just a kick in the ass in the morning. 


in context

The coffee went really well with the avocado tartine Abby was whippin up while I was knee deep in the coffee realm.  Now that I know I can handle the task of actually making drinkable coffee with this thing, I'm off to find delectable coffee to brew with it. Try it yourself and let me know how it goes! and don't forget to check out Abby's blog post on how to make the dish seen in the photo below (you won't regret it).


A Weekend of Adventure: Boston

This past weekend Abby and I teamed up with Amtrak to promote the convenient rail commute between Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. We're huge advocates of taking the train down to the city for a little getaway; they offer all the commodities you would need for a couple hour commute like outlets, wifi, bathrooms, even a little cafe to fuel you up with coffee and food for the day.  Boston is by far one of Abby and I's favorite cities, and this opportunity allowed us to get away from our hectic schedules for a day and catch up with some of our good friends in the city. 

Views from the Rail

I love taking the train to Boston.  The views it offers of New England are subpar to non and the ride is always so much more convenient than driving.  Abby and I live minutes from the Portland station, so accessibility was amazing and the ability to work while traveling is always a plus.  Although the train travels through tons of familiar places, I'm always amazed at how different everything seems from the rails. My hometown felt transformed into some picturesque, dream like town that I had never seen before, and towns I never gave much attention to grabbed me like nothing before.  I realized the immense variety New England has to offer and the beauty of my everyday surroundings.  

Stopping from station to station offered beautiful opportunities for street portraits

When is comes to shooting all manual (including focus/aperture) nailing the focus can be hard. Luckily I love the look of slightly out of focus shots!

One of my favorite parts of the ride down was linking up periodically with cars traveling around the same speed. It offered such an amazing opportunity for ride by shots!

The historic beauty of New England was out in full force on this trip; the entire ride down provided unprecedented views of the old mill towns and countryside.

Reaching our Destination

Boston is a beautiful city.  As we approached the skyline on the train during the peak hours of sunrise I felt myself overwhelmed with the excitement of familiarity and adventure. Revisiting old favorite spots, the crisp November air lapping my face as it had years before and the slow docking of the train bringing it all home.  Our immediate thought was to get coffee, and start connecting with friends to make the most of our trip. 

I always love the first step off the train and the rush of excitement I get as I approach North Station by foot. 

This is always something I try to photograph as soon as I get out of North Station! 

Our first stop is usually Faneuil not only for the heat, but for a quick snack while we get our bearings for the day!

I can never help but stare at the size of some of the buildings in Boston, Maine has nothing like it!

Quick Stop at Tatte Bakery + Cafe

I love coffee, and baked goods, and luckily Boston has some top notch offerings of both.  Tatte quickly became a mandatory stop in the city for Abby and I when our friend Brayan recommended it this Past September.  The line is always out the door, and although most time here is spent waiting, it's always worth it.  We had our sights on the Avocado Tartine and a Mocha Latte to accompany it. 

Easily one of the best breakfasts i've had to date, and oh how photogenic it was. 

One of my favorite parts of this places is the hex floor; it's so amazing! #floorgoals

En Route with Brayan

Brayan is a good friend of ours, and is always such a pleasure to hang with in the city.  We met up at Tatte for a quick drink and soon after took off to go meet up with our friend Steven and check out some of the places Amtrak has suggested for our trip. We cut through the park on our way to the public library and couldn't pass up some of the photo ops.

Brayan photographing Abby for his feed #doitforthegram

Couldn't get enough of these Willows in the park.

Restoration Hardware: Dreaming of Luxe

Boston's Restoration Hardware furniture store is absolutely amazing.  Apparently it is housed in what was once the Natural History Museum of Boston, and the interior architecture is so incredible.  The glass elevator in the Middle complements the entire store and every corner you turn lush luxury furniture fills your field of view.  

Even their patio furniture on the second floor was nice enough to be a center piece, needless to say I was drooling over everything in this place.

It felt like I was in five mansions at the same time, like some weird inception shit. 

Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library is a spot Abby and I have always wanted to check out.  Its amazing architecture and notorious photo spots are always a lure, but somehow up until this point we had never managed to make it there.  Luckily our friends Brayan and Steven were up for a trip (although at this point I'm sure they've both been there countless times). We headed over to the Library from Restoration Hardware, a trip that was windy and cold, but totally worth ever step. 

The Libraries garden felt like a piece of summer in November. Seeing the lush green was such a wonderful change of pace.

This space felt very stoic and antique, I think that really came through when I was editing these shots and wanted to enhance that vibe. 

This space felt very stoic and antique, I think that really came through when I was editing these shots and wanted to enhance that vibe. 

Abby and Steven talking about life in the Garden. 

Undoubtedly the most notorious photo spot at the Boston Public Library, I had to be cliche #sorrynotsorry

Boston Skywalk Observatory

I didn't even know this thing existed; It was the last stop on our list and we were approaching peak lighting for some great cityscape shots.  My biggest fear is heights, and traveling up 50 stories to the the top of the Prudential Building was total worth it, although the wind bellowing through the elevator shaft on the way up gave me the chills. 

This art installation is awesome, but i'm not really sure I understand its conceptual meaning yet. fear of heights comes to mind, but maybe I'm slightly biased. 

Harsh inner city light will always be a favorite of mine. 

The amount of people up here was actually really surprising, I wanted a nice shot of Abby here but alas, tourists as far as the eye could see. 

This perspective really got my inner sci-fi fan going, day dreaming of futuristic cityscapes with bottomless pits and endless sprawl. 

This arterial really took the stage here, and I couldn't help but give it a nice moody edit to give it that Judge Dread Mega City 1 vibe. 

Concluding Thoughts

Boston, I love you.  You are the urban escape I desire sometimes and the adventure within my reach.  You offer me a seemingly endless abundance of fun and excitement fueled by constant discovery and exploration.  Maybe someday I'll get to know you as well as your citizens, but for now I love being a tourist, and can't wait to return to see what else you have to offer.