On a sunny day in Los Angeles, Blue Bottle founder James Freeman sits at a table near a window in his bustling, light-filled cafe. Following up on an intriguing invitation to drink coffee together, we sit down and he pulls out a box of white packets that look like they could hold tea bags. He tears one open and offers it up so that we can smell the aroma of freshly ground coffee. Then, out comes the brewing equipment to our table. Although Freeman has equipped his West Hollywood cafe with a state of the art espresso machine and a fully operational pour over brewing station, he makes coffee for us at the table. And now everyone can at home too, or camping or while traveling. Yes, Freeman has even made his own Perfectly Ground coffee on an airplane.
He pours water over the ground coffee. Cups are poured from the resulting brew. Sips are taken. It has all the distinct character and flavors of his regular freshly brewed coffee. Freeman then smiles and shares one of the best perks. In their airtight sealed envelops, these single portion coffees last for up to six months. This is a revolutionary idea for a coffee professional, who based the first 14 years of his company on only serving coffee made with coffee beans that were freshly ground before each cup was brewed as a pour over.
This project came about last February when Blue Bottle joined forced with Neil Day of Perfect Coffee. Day had developed a process for precisely grinding coffee on a professional grade grinder then transferring the grounds into hermetically sealed packages. This system kept oxygen away from the coffee to block the oxidizing that makes it begin to taste stale. This process basically stops the clock on the coffee aging. Blue Bottle offers preparation guides on their website to help everyone be able to brew a cup of coffee at the level of a skilled barista. Perfectly Ground will be available in Blue Bottle’s Three Africans, Giant Steps, Bella Donovan, Decaf Noir, and rotating varieties of single origin beans. The coffees will be ground to be optimal for a variety of brew methods, including pour over, French press, Aeropress, and coffee makers.
Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground will be sold in all Blue Bottle cafes in the US and in their online store beginning on 4 October 2016 with a pack of five single-servings for $17.50.
Images by Clay McLachlan