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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

A coffee-filled Sunday at Aroma Craft

The cafe offers coffee-related workshops led by professional barista, and we decided to try our hand at pour-over brewing.
Print+EIC+senior+Cathy+Li+begins+creating+her+first+pour-over+coffee+in+a+drip+cup.+%E2%80%9CThe+coffee-making+process+%5Bwas%5D+intricate%2C+but+the+routine+was+relaxing%2C%E2%80%9D+Li+said.
Photo courtesy of Cathy Li
Print EIC senior Cathy Li begins creating her first pour-over coffee in a drip cup. “The coffee-making process [was] intricate, but the routine was relaxing,” Li said.

As someone whose coffee routine consists of either going to Starbucks or dumping espresso powder into microwave-heated water, walking into the Aroma Craft pour-over class was a little intimidating — the only knowledge I had about pour-over coffee were the pictures on the website where I booked the class. I felt like someone who’d never watched “Cinderella” finding themselves in a room full of Disney adults. 

Thankfully, the friendliness of the staff — instructor Ken Lin and his assistant, Evan Vanderlinde — and the rest of the students quickly made me feel at ease. We started off with a round of introductions, then moved into a presentation about the history and different varieties of coffee, which Lin called the boring part of the day. He had a trick up his sleeve to keep our attention, though, by providing trays of complimentary bread. I must admit it was a very effective strategy. 

After the brief overview, we moved on to the hands-on part of the class. The setup wasn’t too complicated, with equipment like a scale, gooseneck kettle and dripper. It seems relatively simple to replicate at home although it was still a substantial upgrade from my usual equipment of spoon and cup. 

We watched Lin demonstrate the proper technique for pour-over coffee, which was a lot more detail-oriented than I expected; there were certain quantities of water we were supposed to pour in by a certain time, and we had to pour in a clockwise direction to follow the ridges of the dripper. 

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For our first couple of trials, we used the Aroma Classic, which is a mixed medium to dark roast coffee ground. The first couple of steps were pretty formulaic, but pouring the water inside the dripper required some finesse. Because the long spout of the kettle formed a pressurized stream of water, it was difficult to maintain a consistent speed. After all of that, I was able to try my own pour-over coffee for the first time. 

It was a bit underwhelming, to be honest. It just tasted like coffee, though I’m sure this is because of my own underdeveloped coffee palate (thanks to too many Starbucks frappuccinos in my time) and not any deficiency in the instructions or materials. 

We were encouraged to try each other’s coffee, which helped to maintain the friendly atmosphere. Lin and Vanderlinde also walked around, tasting each of our pours. During this coffee peer review process is when I realized that baristas have a language all their own. I was informed that my coffee had notes of nuts and a smooth ending. They also told us to slurp our coffee, which helps the taste spread evenly to tastebuds throughout the mouth. 

Though I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means, I had a lot of fun taking this class. Lin and Vanderlinde went out of their way to make sure this process is accessible to beginners and entertained us with stories of their times at Aroma Craft. The price at $50 is not cheap, especially for high school students without disposable incomes like me, but I think it’s justified factoring in the cost of the materials, instruction time and personnel fees.

Overall, I’d say taking the Aroma Craft pour-over class was worth getting up at 10 a.m. on a Saturday — at least you’d have access to more than enough coffee to wake yourself up. 

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Cathy Li, Print editor-in-chief
Hi everyone, my name is Cathy Li and I’m in the 12th grade, serving as your Print editor-in-chief. Though I blame Pubs for my irrationally strong hatred of Oxford commas and at least 23% of my stress-induced breakouts, I wouldn’t trade journalism for the world. I’m glad to have found an avenue in which my natural nosiness is celebrated.
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