Aromas of chocolate, toffee, oak and even orange rind waft over the counter as Andy Luck adds water from a silver kettle to a filter holding a few ounces of freshly ground coffee beans.
He pours carefully, allowing small doses to agitate the grounds. With each batch, rich, fragrant coffee drips into the ceramic below.
Tired of your everyday joe? Try ordering a pour-over coffee at one of the city's artisan coffee shops, which are using this slow-but-sure brewing method to produce gourmet, handcrafted cups.
"The commuter who comes in and wants 20 ounces of coffee to go-it's not their thing," said Luck, who owns Luck Bros' Coffee House in Grandview. "It's kind of a trip for people to hear that the coffee's not ready yet and that we've got to make it first."
Pour-over coffee uses the same ingredients as your home brewer, a great aunt's percolator or a $5 camp stove. The difference, Luck said, comes from attention to detail and an intimate knowledge of the brewing process.
"The most important piece of brewing equipment is your brain," he explained. "You try to control all these variables, and you find what works best for you."
Luck, for example, is careful to wet the filter first so the paper doesn't absorb desirable oils. He wets the grounds to set off a "bloom" that releases taste-muting carbon dioxide. He adds water through a long, thin spout that roils grounds evenly without extracting unwanted chemicals.
Depending on the device, a pour-over cup can take more than seven minutes to make, Luck said.
Still, many Columbus cafes believe in the benefits of the more painstaking process.
Stauf's Coffee Roasters in Grandview offers single-cup pour-over service to customers who want to sample from its global selection of whole beans. The store also retails a full line of pour-over devices.
"We became a distributor because we liked the method so much," barista Grant Driskell said. "Since we got all these in, we've been selling quite a bit."
Most of Cafe Brioso's daily specials are brewed by the pour-over method, though in larger batches. This way, operations manager J.J. Justice explained, the Downtown spot can provide its morning rush with pour-over's benefits, which include an inviting sweetness and a higher level of antioxidants.
"Pour-over gives you much more control over the extraction process," Justice said. "In layman's terms, it gives you more positives without the bitterness that we sometimes associate with coffee."
Pour it on:
14 E. Gay St., Downtown
Luck Bros' Coffee House
1101 W. First Ave., Grandview
Stauf's Coffee Roasters
1277 Grandview Ave.,
Photo by Jodi Miller