Coffee Everywhere

One of my favorite coffee places in the whole world is Cafe Dulce in LA’s Little Tokyo district. In true Southern California fashion, this gem is in a mall, specifically the Japanese Village Plaza around 1st Street and Central Avenue. They not only serve the best pour over coffee I’ve ever had, so much so that I ultimately became a Chemex loyalist, but they also bake some of the most creative donuts south of the Pearl District.

Tanabata Festival - Nisei Week 2012

On my recent trip over the holidays, I noticed Cafe Dulce was selling a five-pack of single-serve, portable pour-over packs. These are made by an Arcadia, California–outfit called The Humble Cup. Each single-serve pack consists of a sturdy paper filter that sits on a cup. To brew, you pour hot water into the filter, similar to a Hario-style dripper. It includes locally roasted coffee, finely ground for the paper filter.

I brought a pack home and brewed a cup yesterday to stave off jet lag.

The Humble Cup Comes

Brewing a cup is the same as a pour-over, except that you need to constantly keep pouring due to the filter’s small capacity. Because you’re not weighing and grinding coffee beans, the process is considerably quicker. However, because your coffee is already ground, you’re sacrificing freshness. The instructions recommend starting with a small amount of water, presumably to allow the coffee to bloom, and then pouring about another six-to-eight ounces of hot water. I didn’t measure the water like I do with the Chemex, but I eyeballed it to a little less than the volume of my usual cup.

The coffee was a tad stale, undoubtedly due to the coffee being pre-ground, but it held up well. The Humble Cup’s developer, Leon Li, insists he wanted to use good coffee, and it shows. The coffee was a pleasant departure from burnt, dark roast coffee that one endures with Starbucks VIA. The Humble Cup five-pack I bought came with three different single-origin coffees: El Salvador, Colombia, and Ethiopia. I drew the latter in my first brew and found it having a pleasant chocolate flavor to it with hints of citrus. (And here are the official cupping notes.)

Along with a pack of mixed nuts and a hand-sanitizer bottle, I’m adding a Humble Cup to my travel backpack.

Also, let me know when it comes to New York, as it is currently available only in Los Angeles.

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