The great debate: Pour Over vs Batch Brew

While hand brewing, pour over or manual brewing has become norm in the 3rd wave coffee movement there’s good reason you shouldn’t discard your batch brewer just yet. Matt Perger, head of coffee (and two-time Australian Barista Champion) for St ALi, has implemented batch brewing into their café. Even my local favorite, Two Rivers is full steam on batch brewing. Here are the top three reasons you should stick to batch brewing

1) Consistency

When it comes to coffee the hardest thing to manage is consistency. With so many variables in coffee it’s hard to maintain 100% consistency with each brew. In fact, it might be impossible to reach 100%. Thus, one of the easiest ways to limit change is to control the variables. Batch brewing does just that. Here are the items that your batch brewer can not deviate from, well intentionally at least.

Water temp
Water flow rate
Water Volume (to some degree as it will use only what you put into it)

Your coffee brewer is programed to push each of these variables the exact same each time. Thus, limiting human error in any of these 3 categories.

Here are the items you can control to create further consistency

Water Volume
Coffee Volume
Grind Size

Your batch brewer will brew as much water as you put into it. If you measure 350g of water your brewer will use only 350 grams of water. The same goes with coffee. But these variables you should be controlling on your manual brewing methods as well. However, you can get more consistent results as the Water Temp and Flow rate will always be the same.

2) Speed

When it comes to manual brewing the biggest downside is speed. If I can go to a local café and have an impeccable batch brew cup immediately or pay $5 bucks or wait 10 mins for a pour over. I will take the batch brew every day. I’ve even been to a few cafés where the barista on staff clearly wasn’t concerned with quality or consistency and the resulting cup was less than great. This is not always the barista’s fault. When you are working in a super busy shop and not solely dedicated just pour overs, how can you pay the time and attention it takes to make a stellar pour over? You can’t, you’ve got to many things to worry about. Yet another reason a good batch brew program shines.

For me when I have early morning meetings etc. the Bonavita batch brewer is my saving grace. I prep it the night before by weighting my coffee and putting in the grinder’s hopper, measure and fill the brewer’s water tank and place a filter in the basket. Then all I do at 5:45 am is rinse the filter, grind the coffee and press brew. By the time, I finished warming up my breakfast I have an amazing cup of coffee already waiting for me. And because I have taken the time to dial in my coffee recipe beforehand I know that the coffee is spot on.

While I know manual brew is the cool things these days there are a number of good reasons to break out that batch brewer. And especially if you plan on visiting an busy cafe, a good batch brew is the way to go. What are your thoughts? Do you batch brew or have you ditched the batch for a V60, Aeropress etc?

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