Batch Brew is Cool
I love batch brew. In this wild time, I want the coffee I am drinking to be less about the fuss and more about tasting what coffee producers around the world are providing. While espresso and hand poured coffee have their place in the cafe, batch brewed coffee offers a simplicity and consistency to be admired. Considering how many variables can go awry with a human making your coffee, an automated batch system can offer a cup of liquid gold with efficiency and consistency. And the best part is that you can replicate this in your own kitchen.
For weeks now, I have been exclusively brewing with the Ratio Six - a thoughtfully designed brewer that allows both the every day coffee drinker and the professional barista able to find their bliss. In my adventures, I have put this machine to the test -- using all kinds of coffees from varying origins and different roast profiles and I've been surprised at how little effort I had to put in to achieve a great result. I summed this brewer up with the phrase: think less, sip more. I spent less time waiting for my water to boil or conquering hand pouring techniques and more time enjoying my coffees in the way they were intended: properly extracted.
The plague on the batch brewer world is design. Machines can often look like an eyesore sitting out on your kitchen counter. The Ratio Six offers an aesthetic you won't mind displaying with its sleek design and matte finish option. It sits unassuming on a countertop, reminding you that coffee makers can both look good and be easy to use. And like the design, the brewer itself is simple. With one touch, you can walk away and come back to a hot carafe of great coffee.
Here are some features of the Ratio Six that stood out to me:
The Water Tank
The Ratio Six comes equipped with a water tank that is friendly to the everyday coffee drinker. Easy to use markings of measurement lines match the recommended amount of water for how much coffee you want to brew. For those more inclined to absolute precision, you can weigh your water before it goes into the tank (something I did myself out of curiosity's sake) and account for a consistent amount of water loss post brew cycle. I focused on a recipe I found successful for a majority of coffees and enjoyed the consistency of it all.
The Spray Head
Proper extraction starts with how water comes into contact with coffee. With the Ratio Six, the spray head disperses water on the coffee bed in two phases (blooming and brewing ) and pulses the water within these phases appropriately. While you may lose some of the precision that a hand-poured method allows, the machine does a wonderful job of making sure water is making its way to all of your coffee resulting in an even extraction. What's more, the grounds are extracted in an enclosed space which helps the temperature remain stable throughout the brew, as the heating element also brings it up to the desired brewing temperature. For me, this is where thinking less comes with more consistent results and less questioning of your technique -- Did I let the kettle sit too long off boil? Am I pouring in concentric circles? -- These are important questions, but when you need the coffee, it is nice to let them go.
The Insulated Carafe
Where that hot brew ends up can help improve your coffee from start to finish. Brewing straight into an insulated carafe, this brewer saves you from having to gulp your coffee. Coffee reveals its different layers as it cools and it's nice to let that happen in your mug. I start my day with at least two cups and I was delighted to refill my mug with what felt like a fresh cup rather than the lukewarm memory of what I tasted in the first. The carafe is easy to use and clean and goes from room to room to fill everyone's cup without fear -- it's made sturdy and kid-proof while looking less like a diner carafe and more like a space-aged container for your morning ritual.
As the name suggests, the Ratio Six is meant for keeping your water to coffee ratio at the forefront of the process. I aim to extract all my coffee between a 1:16 and 1:17 (grams of coffee to water) ratio using a scale to measure the coffee beans going into the grinder, the water going into the tank, and the final beverage in the carafe. This method allows me to measure the water loss from batch to batch which helps improve my recipe when moving between various coffees. Not everyone cares about this and that is completely fine. But for the coffee drinker who wants to get into the science this is an easy way to do so. A majority of the time, I simply click my grinder a couple notches to adjust my end result and figure out what tasted best. Spending less time in the overall process made my morning coffee easy and delicious.
It may be surprising, but this barista is here to tell you: batch brew is cool. With the right extraction knowledge, a well programmed brewer can achieve more consistency than a human hand. Great coffee doesn't demand years of professional coffee experience, but it does require you to pay attention and care. A batch brewer like the Ratio Six can help you start to care in more practical ways. There is a time and place for going down the rabbit hole and finding all the intricacies within brewing, but the goal remains the same: to enjoy what is in your cup. The Ratio Six simplified my brewing, but it certainly didn't compromise taste.
About the Author:
Beckett Reynolds is a non-binary coffee activist living in Portland, OR. With more than a decade of coffee experience under their belt, Beck is interested in utilizing their platform behind the bar to make the world of coffee more accessible and equitable to all.
When they’re not behind the bar or roaster, they enjoy spending their time running, playing guitar, reading and writing poetry, creating connection, and petting all the dogs they come across.
You can find more about Beck and their work on Instagram @beckett.jr, and by stopping by Guilder/Junior’s Roasted Coffee for one of their mighty fine espressos.