El "Muchacho" - Low-Tech for a slow brew

July 11, 2022

We have been brewing coffee in the machine since time immemorial; filter, espresso, Nespresso, etc. Of course, good coffee requires good technology and the best coffee requires the best method. But what options are there and what may they cost? For Good Coffee we need a slow brewing method, some patience and actually not much technology. Low-tech brewing methods were revived a few years ago by third-wave coffee roasters, but the practice of slow brewing has always been a daily routine in different cultures and countries like Ecuador. My grand mother, Aída Pavón, is from northern Ecuador and she says that her grand parents used the "muchacho" to brew coffee. A spoon full of freshly ground coffee is placed in a cotton bag "chuspa" and then boiling water is slowly poured over it; so that the coffee flows into the cup or bowl. Even now, at the age of 91, she will use her" muchacho" to brew her coffee. Aída took us to her town of Tulcán, where we bought some examples of these "muchachos" at one of the many colourful markets.They are beautifully made of eucalyptus wood, use no electricity, no capsules, no disposable filters. It is a very simple and original method of brewing good specialty coffee.

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