Artifact Coffee’s Secret to Making the Perfect Cup

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The perfect cup of coffee!

Each morning, 80 percent of us start our day with a cup of Java that brings us joy and caffeine. With one-third of us getting our coffee from a single-cup brewer, or Keurig-type machine, this super-convenient habit is getting ‘sputtered on’ for generating too much trash, harboring mold, and not dripping the tastiest cup of Joe.

The inspiration to re-think your morning drink may come from Dave Anderson, Artifact Coffee’s Coffee Director, who reveals the simple recipe to making the best single cup of coffee in about the same time as a Keurig pour. It’s even cleaner, and less costly. You may even find yourself pushing the single-brew system aside?

Artifact Coffee, located in Hampden, is part of the Woodberry Kitchen family. Woodberry Kitchen is a leader in sourcing local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients. Their tagline is “friends around the table,” and strong partnerships with local farmers is a key to their vision. Artifact Coffee also offers home-made and locally-sourced food and coffees. 

When Dave and I sat down to drink the perfect cup of coffee, it dawned on me that we may have messed up this coffee thing with pumpkin spice flavor, pods, and sugar. My cup of coffee was so flavorful that I actually tasted cherry and a citrus flavor. It was a far cry from what I’ve been drinking lately.

“Just like great food, the key to a great cup of coffee is simple and pure ingredients,” Anderson said. “Artifact Coffee sources from Counter Culture Coffee in North Carolina, and the name of the coffee farmer is written on our menu board. The highest quality ingredients are often organic, or real without the artificial chemicals and processes.”

How the pros make the perfect cup

Dave poured filtered boiling water over freshly ground coffee in a paper filter that dripped into a Chemex glass pot ($30). Real baristas grind their own beans and use a burr grinder – a mill that squishes beans between two discs. Use one to two tablespoons of grounds per eight ounces of water. The Counter Culture variety we drank was shade-grown and organic, which means the farmers don’t use pesticides, they practice sustainable farming and didn’t clear cut forests to make way for large-scale farming operations (bye-bye birdies). 

I asked about the benefit of using a paper filter versus a French Press plunger system. “The paper filter removes oils and sediment, but a French Press with high quality ground coffee makes a great cup of coffee, too,” explained Dave. If you’d like to learn more, visit Artifact Coffee’s “Coffee Cupping” every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.

Boiling water, quality coffee grounds and a glass pot. Going back to the basics avoids a lot of the baggage that comes with coffee appliances and the single-serving system.

The Single-Brew Backlash

You may have read that Keurig machines harbor mold. Truth be told, all coffee makers harbor mold if you don’t clean and descale the unit. 

As the Kill the K-Cup spoof points out, the glaring issue with single-cup brews is that Keurig engineers clearly overlooked the downstream trash impacts of their coffee pods. It’s estimated that over 60 billion pods have been trashed since Keurig launched. The pods aren’t recyclable.

Sustainably-minded Green Mountain Coffee acquired Keurig in 2006 and has committed to recyclable K-Cups by 2020. The silver lining may be a greener firm purchased Keurig and is cleaning up the pod mess.

Keurig Green Mountain does offer My K-Cups and found itself in hot water when their latest 2.0 system would not accept the re-fillable filter; sales dropped 23 percent. My K-Cups were re-launched. Consumers can also find coffee pods like Cameron’s, found at Fresh Market, that offer paper, not plastic. 

Which leads to an interesting value discussion: single-brew coffee costs twice as much as freshly-made ground drip coffee.

Using my own organic grounds in my $28 French Press costs me 43 cents a cup. I like Larry’s Coffee Decaf Twilight from Fresh Market. Using a Keurig and a Newman’s Organic K-Cup from Target (box of 16, $11.99) would cost me 75 cents a cup. 

Win Free Artifact Coffee!

Need more inspiration? Artifact Coffee donated one 12-ounce bag of Counter Culture beans to one lucky Baltimore Fishbowl reader. Leave a comment below to enter, and the winner will be selected at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15.

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Win a 12-ounce bag of Artifact's Counter Culture beans!
Win a 12-ounce bag of Artifact’s Counter Culture beans!

Laurel Peltier
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Laurel Peltier

Laurel writes the environmental GreenLaurel column every other Thursday in the Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of UVA's MBA program, she spends her time with her family and making "all things green" interesting.
Laurel Peltier
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22 COMMENTS

  1. There’s nothing like a great cup of coffee – so thanks for the tips. I love Artifact, too. My fiancee and I went there the morning after we were engaged to sit in our favorite spot and enjoy that first morning coffee together as an engaged couple.

  2. Yummm. I’m usually a French press girl, but I’m looking forward to trying out their brew method.

  3. Paper K-cups sounds brilliant, but I’ll still take mine as a pour over any day. One secret not mentioned is the importance of the ‘bloom’ pour the hot, just off the boil, water over the grounds to saturation and let sit for 40 seconds before pouring the rest. Helps bring out the favors.

    • Thank you for the idea. I’ll try it as my morning coffee has been so delicious since I went back to the basics.

  4. Good article. I’ve tried Chemex and French presses, but have settled on AeroPress as the best cup.

  5. I have been using a Chemex and grinding my coffee beans, making my morning Java for the past two years – best coffee ever. I will now start trying the filtered water. Anything for the best cup ever.
    I am going to have to come to one of the cuppings. Sounds like it would be interesting. The only better thing, having Artifact coffee to make in the Chemex !

  6. I never see mention of gold cup filters. Perhaps they strip out something important from the coffee. Who knows? I’m a coffee drinker, not a chemist. I use an individual gold cup every morning and make delicious coffee, without even the waste or expense of a paper filter.

  7. “Woodberry Kitchen is a leader in sourcing local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients” Last I checked, coffee isn’t locally grown.

  8. I’m planning on going to the cupping event at Artifact this week! I’ve been into Chemex, but I’m recently discovering wonders of french press. Thanks for an interesting post!

  9. Thank you to everyone who entered. All names were written on a slip of paper, dropped in a bowl, and my son Davis picked Bill Mc. Enjoy your pound of coffee and maybe I’ll see you all at Artifact Coffee. Thanks!

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