Meet our ambassadors: @jeffreyhh
Based in Hamburg and proud owner of an impressive coffee-making gear collection, @jeffreyhh documents his exploration of coffee with beautiful Instagram posts
Usually, when friends or family come to visit us and I offer them coffee, I ask them: ‘What do you feel like drinking today?’ And then: ‘Any preference in brew methods?’ Most people are already at a loss when having to choose between a washed Ethiopian coffee or a natural Costa Rica, so I just pass the bags around and ask them to pick the one that smells the best to them. Then, when it’s time to brew, people have often already lost their attention span and I get to work in my little coffee corner, mostly out of sight.
On those rare occasions that someone is actually interested in my coffee set up, I am used to hearing compliments and proclamations of surprise, wonder and curiosity. To someone who generally uses Nespresso, my little collection of Aeropress, Kalita, V60, Chemex and French Press will indeed look impressive but compared to the range of items that you can find at Jeffrey Glass’ house, mine looks rather basic.
Jeffrey Glass is one of our wonderful Coffeevine ambassadors and probably one of the best-equipped home coffee brewers I’ve ever met. During a recent visit to my hometown Hamburg where Jeffrey conveniently also lives, I caught up with him over a cup of beautiful Colombian coffee from Villa Rosita with Lychee fermentation, courtesy of Nomad in Barcelona.
Alex Kitain: “As I look around your kitchen, there is literally everything that one could possibly want or need to make a great cup of coffee, isn’t there?”
Jeffrey Glass: “Yea, pretty much. As you can see, I am a bit of a collector.”
AK: “Tell me about your a-ha moment with coffee. Where and when was that and what did you drink then?”
JG: “The first hand-brewed filter coffee I had was an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe that I had at this really tiny café in Sternschanze with no seating. It was a medium roasted coffee, something that was a bit unusual at the time, but it opened my mind to coffee. Afterwards, I went and got myself some Hario scales, a V60 and a pitcher and started brewing. Instagram was actually quite a big inspiration but I never set out to make money from it.”
At this moment, Jeffrey throws some precisely weighed beans into his personal EK-43, while explaining that his downstairs neighbours can always tell when he’s brewing coffee thanks to the grinder’s vibrations.
“I certainly no longer feel overwhelmed at a cupping with eight to fifteen coffees on the table.”
JG: “It’s gonna be loud for a second.”
AK: “These are usually the sounds you only hear in cafés but also at Jeffrey’s home, thus. So, what coffees did you first explore your newfound passion with?”
JG: “The first coffees came from Kouros, the coffee place where I first had filter coffee. Later, I got my coffees from different online shops, always looking for something new and exciting, something that would broaden my horizon as it were. These days, I go to local roasters like Nordcoast or Elbgold who I know personally.”
AK: “Where did you get your skills from? Did you teach yourself everything?”
JG: “Yeah, most of it. I was lucky enough to win a sensory master class at the Kaffeeschule Hannover during the blogger breakfast at the Berlin Coffee Festival in 2018 and that really taught me a lot. I certainly no longer feel overwhelmed at a cupping with eight to fifteen coffees on the table. And the coffee community at large has been incredibly helpful and open.”
AK: “How did you build up your Instagram followers and what do you guys talk about? You must have a pretty global audience.”
JG: “Yes. I mean it’s amazing who you meet through the internet, right? I have people in Australia, Singapore and China who follow me and who I regularly chat with. Usually, it’s about the coffees I talk about in my posts or sharing recipes etcetera. I met a lot of the German coffee people through events and stuff but the key thing was that everyone kept encouraging me to keep going. One thing I did stop was to take pictures with my phone. They just looked terrible.”
AK: “How come you’re never really visible in your photos?”
JG: “For me, it’s important to offer the roasters a platform to shine. So I try to stay more in the background as it’s really about the coffees that I’m brewing and the community of followers.”
By this point, the coffee had cooled down enough to be drinkable and I have to say, the taste of strawberries and lychee was impressive.
AK: “What are your most favourite coffee origins if any? Is there one country that you drink a lot of coffees from?”
JG: “I was really obsessed with Ethiopian coffees for a long time but these days, I tend to look for coffees from other countries. Kenyan coffees are amazing, especially one from Drop Coffee that I had at Tōrnqvist coffee when it was still only a pop-up. I immediately went ahead and ordered 1kg of that coffee without really realising that this is not how you should consume coffee. It was also the first coffee where I thought to myself ‘Jesus, that’s expensive’.”
AK: “Did you freeze the coffee to keep it fresh? Haha.”
JG: “Nooooo. But for weeks on end, we only drank that coffee. For me, it’s also very important to understand where the coffees come from and the realisation that coffee-growing is a ruthless business and that you need to pay the producers fair prices to make it worth their while. That is why I try to look for direct trade coffees if possible.”
We take a few more sips of our coffees and move to the living room, which also doubles as Jeff’s studio when he takes his brewing photos.
AK: “You use your SLR camera and your tripod to take your pictures, right? How many shots do you normally take before you’ve got one that you can post?”
JG: “Normally around fifty or so and then I pick the one that I love the most. I only take pictures during the daytime to make sure that I have lots of natural light. Consistency is really important in my pictures.”
AK: “What attracted you to The Coffeevine in the first place?”
JG: “I really love the discovery aspect. Often, when I read about a Coffeevine box, I discover new roasters that I’ve never heard of, hear their stories and get to taste their unique coffees. You often have super interesting origins like Myanmar or Congo and I am a sucker for unique processing methods. That’s something I can only get from a subscription like The Coffeevine because going out there to find these coffees on my own accord would take forever. It’s a real experience and I love sharing that with my followers.”
Jeffrey then proceeded to show me where he was going to put his Linea Mini that he recently ordered and couldn’t wait to receive. His desk would have to be moved, he said. He didn’t work too much from home anyway. To give his new machine the right finishing touches, he asked Specht Design from Australia to make custom handles. Not bad at all for a hobby brewer.
I cannot help but say that I was very impressed by Jeffrey’s passion and extensive collection. If you just see someone’s static photos without getting a chance to see what’s behind the lens, you don’t get a chance to really get to know that person. I am glad that my short visit to Jeffrey’s ‘home café’ allowed me to do just that.
Here’s Jeff’s winning recipe for making a banging cup of coffee with the V60:
Take 18g of coffee and grind your beans medium-coarse. Boil your water and let it cool to 93ºC. Wet your filter and warm up your cup with some freshly boiled water.
Add your coffee to the V60 and then add 45g of water to start the bloom. After 30 seconds, add more water to reach 130g. Then, swig the vessel around once or twice and continue adding water to reach 210g by the first minute. At 1:2o minutes, add the remaining 90g to reach 300g total. By 1:40 minutes, you should have finished adding all the water and at 2:45 – 3:00 the extraction should be complete.
Now discard the water in your cups, serve and enjoy.
Follow @jeffreyhh on Instagram to keep up to date with all his coffee stories.