After announcing their forthcoming brick-and-mortar shop at 2715 Kavanaugh Blvd., it seems Mylo Coffee Co. has been buzzed about everywhere. And for good reason.
Stephanos and Monica Mylonas have an incredible passion for the pastries and coffee they serve. I had the pleasure of chatting with Stephanos for a spread in the October issue of Arkansas Life. Be sure to pick up a copy (on stands now) to read more about the couple and what triggered their passion for the science of coffee.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share Stephanos’ guide to brewing the perfect cup of coffee using the increasingly popular pour-over method.
The pour-over method is no secret. It’s not unique to Mylo or any other coffee brewer, and it’s been around for decades in Japan. But Stephanos says he’s seen an increased interest in the preparation as people in the U.S. have become more interested in the sourcing and preparation of their food.
“These days, everybody has access to the Internet, and within minutes, you can search and see the ethics behind any food or coffee consumption,” Stephanos says. “And when you spend that time to see that you are correctly sourcing, you want to roast the beans correctly and serve it and enjoy it correctly.”
Here’s how he does it:
An Internet search for “pour-over coffee” will reveal dozens of supply options, but the Mylo Coffee Co.’s set of tools looks like this: A burr coffee grinder (a variety which crushes, rather than slices), unbleached paper cone filters, ceramic coffee drippers, a gooseneck kettle, freshly roasted whole beans and a wooden stand to hold the dripper over the cup. Mylonas finds that running a cup’s worth of hot water through the dripper before the first brew helps heat the equipment and give the coffee a stronger flavor.
Water temperature is vital in the pour-over process. Though there is some variation from shop to shop, Mylonas recommends heating water to between 185 and 200 degrees. Darker roasts are best with water below 190 degrees, and light roasts around 200 degrees.
“Below 185, it does not give you the extraction you want to create a good body in your coffee,” Mylonas says. “If it’s too hot, that will impart very bitter characters and almost definitely ruin any work that you’ve put into finding the right bean. … It would destroy flavors that would potentially come through.” Gooseneck kettles are designed with a long, arched neck that allows boiling water to cool to the optimum temperature as it pours, so heat the water to just boiling before taking it off the stove.
Each cup of Mylo coffee uses 25 grams (about 4 tablespoons) for a 10-ounce cup, and they recommend a ratio of water and coffee somewhere between 15-to-1 and 10-to-1. “In terms of expense, coffee lovers might find that they actually save money over time … since brewing by the pot often results in a large proportion going to waste after it is deemed stale,” Mylonas says.
The couple use Rwandan coffee, imported and roasted by North Little Rock’s Westrock Coffee. “You really have a window of approximately 2-3 and sometimes up to 10-12 days after a bean is roasted that it’s at its peak,” Mylonas says. Beans should be ground somewhere between fine and medium, but Mylonas says experimentation is key to finding the right grind for personal taste. One thing that isn’t up for debate? Using the ground coffee right away. A very fine grind, like an espresso, has around a 20-second shelf life before air starts to dry up the natural oils from the bean. Medium to finely ground coffee should come in contact with water in less than a minute, Mylonas says, to produce the best results.
With the ceramic dripper positioned on the stand over the cup and the filter in place, place the freshly ground coffee into the dripper. On the first pour, water should be poured in a slow, circular motion over the grounds. The goal is to cover the beans without allowing extra water to start pouring into the cup below. The first pour of water should be absorbed by the grounds, allowing them to bloom, or expand. Mylonas prefers to allow the grounds to rest for 30 to 45 seconds at this stage—longer (around a minute) if the coffee was roasted more than a week before. After the grounds have rested, begin to pour water again, slowly, only allowing the water to rise three/fourths of the way up the filter. “For best results, you don’t want to extract all of the water through,” Mylonas says. “Let some of the last coffee drip into the tray. You can get a bitter flavor coming through if you leave it.”
Mylonas takes his coffee with a cloud of milk—raw milk, if possible—but coffee drinkers new to the method will want to try a sip black to taste the difference from the standard pour. The result is a more mellow, flavorful cup of coffee that leaves you wondering how you’ve subjected your tongue to the office coffeepot for so long. “It just gives you that response of ‘wow,’” Mylonas says.