I had been reading and hearing a lot about the pour-over method of coffee brewing, and as a lover of all things tasty, I knew it was something I had to try.
I recently discovered Not Just Coffee, a coffee bar in Charlotte that crafts cups of pour-over coffee using freshly roasted Counter Culture beans. This tiny little shop was nestled only a few minutes down the road from me, and just happened to be right across the street from one of my favorite Charlotte landmarks - McGill Rose Garden.
This was easily shaping up to the be the perfect Saturday morning excursion...
Photos from the Not Just Coffee Facebook page
The idea for this morning out was filed away into memory, and last Saturday, Paul and I decided to roll out of bed early and see what the pour-over hype was all about. We were pleasantly greeted by some of the best cups of coffee we've ever sipped.
Pour-over is a method of brewing that is meant to get the absolute best out of the bean. "The difference is that instead of flooding the cone with water and letting the coffee seep and drip, you pour hot water in a thin, continuous steam for one to four minutes," explains Oliver Strand in a New York Times post. "When you control the flow of the water, you control the extraction."
Paul and I each picked our coffee from the menu, settling on the Gemelos from Guatemala and the Konga from Ethiopia. Then we watched the intricate process as our barista ground our selected beans (roasted only a few days before); poured a bit of water into the cone-shaped filter; placed the ground beans in the wet filter to let them "bloom"; and then poured a slow and steady stream of water through the beans, where coffee dripped into our individual cups below.
Each of our cups of coffee was pleasant with annunciated and distinguishable flavors. Mine was lemony and light and Paul's was sweeter with the taste of caramelized sugar and dark fruit. It was some of the best coffee either of us have ever had - truly "not just coffee," but a drink experience.
To really savor the morning, we took our cups of hand-crafted coffee on a stroll through McGill Rose Garden, where we enjoyed the lovely colors of late spring and the distinct aroma of each type of rose. Popping in just after a pruning, we walked through rose-strewn paths, and we were able to collect enough clipped blooms to fill vases around our home with reminders of our morning.
Take some time to stop and smell the roses and savor a sip...
510 E. 15th St., inside Area 15
Wednesday-Friday 7am-4pm / 7pm-10pm
940 N. Davidson St.
free, but donations are accepted