Current Coffee Project : master the art of the french press.

Level of Success : bordering on tragic.

Newest Strategy : sample french press


Kuma Coffee Brings Excellent French Press to Wallingford

Current Coffee Project: master the art of the french press.

Level of Success: bordering on tragic.

Newest Strategy: sample french press coffee at various coffee shops around town, so as to learn "good" from "bad" from "excellent."

Recently, I've been attempting to master the art of the french press. It is harder than it looks. So far, I've been guilty of making everything from faintly colored water, to a close relative of Turkish coffee, with only one or two truly semi-decent cups in the mix. It shouldn't be so difficult! Now, in an effort to improve the situation, I've begun sampling professionally prepared french press coffee around town, hoping to develop an ability to judge what's going wrong with my own attempts. This past week, a visit to Kuma Coffee made a surprisingly valuable contribution to the quest.

The Kuma Coffee Cafe is located on Stone Way North, between 41st and 42nd in the Wallingford neighborhood, and although easy to find, it is also awfully easy to miss due to location. But reasons abound to go out of your way to notice it. To begin with, walking into the tiny cafe is like walking into a friend's very nice living room for a visit over coffee. Step through the door on a day when the cafe's owner, Jay, is on bar, and you'll be greeted with convivial hospitality and conversation, like an old friend, whether you're a first time customer or a regular.

Kuma Coffee Roasters has recently become known for taking a bold stand in the coffee world, being the first Seattle roaster to release what's known as a transparency statement to back up its "Direct Trade" practices: the price Kuma pays a farmer for directly traded coffee is published to the Kuma website. This story caught my attention, so I dropped by to pick up my Saturday morning Americano, chat with the baristas, and catch up on a little reading.

I have to admit that I wasn't a tremendous fan of the espresso. Though clearly well prepared, it was a darker, heavier espresso flavor than I prefer, one I might describe using words such as "nutty" or "molasses" (Kuma's tasting notes describe "salted chocolate, pomegranate, blackberries with cocoa powder finish").

What I was a fan of, however, was the sample of french pressed Guatemala Finca el Injerto that I tried! Like many cafes, Kuma has opted to forgo traditional drip coffee in favor of french pressing smaller batches of coffee that can be held in an airpot for a limited length of time, thus filling the classic "black coffee" demand, though often with a higher level of finesse and a lower level of waste. The selection on Saturday was, as mentioned, their Guatemalan coffee, and it was a delight. Full flavored, beautifully balanced, and strongly tasting of tangerine, I have to say it's taken top of my list for coffee to purchase... as soon as I stop ruining coffee.

Stop in to the cafe this week and give it a try. Kuma Cafe hours are Monday thru Friday 7:00 am-2:00 pm, and Saturday 8:00 am-1:00 pm. It is closed on Sundays.

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