Oh, coffee… how do I love thee? For many of us, brewing a piping hot cup of joe is one act of kindness we do for our loved ones every morning. Though I consider myself to be quite the coffee junkie, I’ve had more instant coffee and Keurig cups than I care to admit… so along with a few other ladies from our team, I thought it was high time I learned a thing or two about making a real cup of java for my sweetheart. There seem to be countless brew methods out there these days, so we turned to our friends Samantha and Daniel at Houndstooth in Austin to learn how the pros really do it. Click through for the details shot by Paige Newton, plus a few handy pointers to help jump start your home-brewing!

Houndstooth is a multi-roaster coffee shop that has soared to the top of every Austinite’s ‘favorites list’ since opening last year. They believe that being a barista is a title that must be earned and requires continual training… and they’ve got the coffee to prove it! Serving multiple espresso and coffee options daily, they’re my go-to destination for an afternoon caffeine fix.

Samantha set a gorgeous table for our class, with these flowers that she arranged (!) front and center. Master florist and clever barista… could there be a more winning combination?

The Clever Dripper is a paper filter steeping method that results in a big body flavor. Use a pre-wetted filter and pour water over coarsely ground beans. Allow to steep for 2 minutes then set the dripper on the opening of your mug or glass to let the brewed coffee drip out. One Clever Dripper makes approximately one cup of coffee.

When calculating your water-to-beans ratio, there’s a simple formula that applies to all brewing methods:


Multiply the weight of your coffee beans by .06 to yield the amount of water you need.


When using the Clever Dripper, water can be poured turbulently — meaning that stream and direction of the pour isn’t super important.

The pairing of beans and brewing methods is something of an art. Though there are some guidelines and recommendations, the baristas at Houndstooth assess each roast and expertly decide which brewing method would best enhance its flavors. For this technique, we used The San Sebastian beans from MADCAP Coffee in Grand Rapids Michigan.

… then Claire and Chelsea gave it a try!

The 3 T’s of brewing:

1. Time — How long is the steep time and drip time? This varies between brewing methods.

2. Turbulence — How is water poured over the beans? This also varies by brewing method.

3. Temperature — How hot is the water? Between 195 – 200 degrees is ideal.

There’s nothing quite like caffeine to get a group of girls chatty and energized.

Samantha and Daniel set out these notecards for us to each jot down the information. Suffice it to say, we filled them up fast!

Valentine’s themed sugar cookies from Quack’s Bakery were the perfect sustenance for snacking between brews.

Camille and I tried our hand at the KONE Pour Over method, a slightly more tedious metal filter drip method. We used Baroida beans from Counter Culture Coffee.

When using a Chemex, both paper and metal filters are fair game. The metal KONE filter allows more oil and sediment through.

The water stream should be steady and into the center, and coffee should brew and drip completely in 3:30 minutes. If it’s dripping too slowly, that means the grind size is too fine.

Jeanine getting excited for round 4!

Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like ban.do accessories. We had so much fun playing dress up with their glittery heart broaches and hairpins.
Samantha & Daniel sent us home with our own container of Meritage Blend beans from Austin-based Cuvee Coffee. Of course, we appreciated the adorable tag that was carefully tied onto the mini-mason jar, too!
Look out for a Houndstooth near you! We were so excited to learn that the coffee gurus are opening their second and third locations this year in Downtown Austin and Dallas… congrats, guys!

photos by Paige Newton Photography

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Comments (13)
  1. 1
    Elise {Buttercream & Roses} February 6, 2013 at 7:25 am

    This coffee shop is beautiful. I’m a coffee junkie too. I love my Nespresso machine, but love learning about different brewing methods for coffee. Sprouted Kitchen has a great video they posted last year using this method.


  2. 2
    Jeanine Donofrio February 6, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Best coffee ever!!

  3. 3
    Elizabeth February 6, 2013 at 9:44 am

    My favorite brew in town. I’m so jealous!

  4. 4
    Amanda February 6, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Where is Camille’s blouse from? I love it!

    • Camille Styles February 6, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Thanks so much Amanda! I got it at Madewell and wear it constantly. 😉

  5. 5
    Style Sweets Magazine February 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Love that Hair Pin.

  6. 6
    tammy February 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Beautiful flowers Samantha..

  7. 7
    Lindsay {Everistta} February 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Looks lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  8. 8
    Lulu February 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Where’s the polka dot top from?!

  9. 9
    Dose of Dash February 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Houndstooth is opening a location in the Frost Tower so those of us that work downtown can get our fix during the week! Can’t wait for them to open – was supposed to happen in January but looks a little delayed. I have a feeling it’s going to be my new spot to drink coffee and read during lunch.



Chanel Dror