Coffee’s foundational myths vary. My favorite is that of the Abyssinian shepherd Kaldi in the 10th century AD, who observed his goats dancing after chewing berries. The story goes that after his animals spent a sleepless night, Kaldi gave some of the fruit to nearby monks; disturbed by Satanic implications, they tossed the beans into the fire, only to be enraptured by the roasty aroma.
From this inspired Ethiopian moment forward, coffee set out to conquer the world. However, the method for making the best cup of coffee remains a topic of dispute. In this article, an innovation in batched coffee is surveyed. Ground Control is an immersion brewing coffee machine using a process that brews the same grounds multiple times, then blends the results.
Oakland-made coffee brewer Ground Control has industry buzzing, by Janelle Bitker (San Francisco Chronicle)
Bay Area cafes tend to sell two kinds of drip coffee: one made via pour-over, where a barista slowly streams water onto grounds for one precise cup; or one made via batch brewer, an automated machine that can make a gallon at a time.
Some high-end coffee companies like Blue Bottle Coffee tout the human touch of pour-over and argue batch brewers are purely utilitarian, too often making mediocre, burnt-tasting coffee. But Eli Salomon, founder of Oakland manufacturer Voga Coffee, thinks pour-over varies too much from barista to barista, and that the high cost of labor involved means the coffee — regularly $5 in the Bay Area — is too expensive. Plus, it requires customers to wait.
Salomon wanted to merge the best of both methods and create a batch brewer that could easily and consistently produce coffee that is just as smooth, sweet and customizable as great pour-over.
The result is called Ground Control, and you might have already seen the machine peering out from behind a counter at a number of Bay Area cafes and restaurants, including Equator Coffees & Teas, Dandelion Chocolate and Chez Panisse. It looks kind of like a robot, with an Edison light bulb-esque top that spurts out liquid — and it’s wowing local roasters.
“It’s one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had,” said Helen Russell, CEO of Marin County’s Equator …