How to be your own barista: tips, tricks and tools of the trade



Credit: Caffe La Tana

Shahnee Zaver gives you tips for making a cup of Chemex coffee at home.

Creating your own caffeinated drink is cheaper, safer (# thanksCOVID-19), and more brag-worthy than going to your local café; unfortunately it is also much more daunting. Shahnee Zaver, general manager of Caffe La Tana in Vancouver, offered us her wisdom to be our own baristas. “You can have a really good bag of beans, and in a few simple, repeatable steps, you can have a really satisfying experience,” says Zaver. Follow their instructions below to make your own perfect Chemex coffee mug. “It takes a little longer, but it really offers a cup with a fuller flavor,” he explains. You can prepare the beans you choose: Zaver uses La Tana’s Caffe Ululato Espresso blend.

You can find the Ululato mix and other favorites in Caffe La Tana’s new Caffe E Alimentari online store. They collect and deliver (they get fresh pasta while you do it).


Credit: Mark Yammine

Shahnee Zaver, General Manager of Caffe La Tana

How to make a Chemex coffee

Step 1
Grind your coffee to a medium grind. I suggest using a burr grinder because it produces a more consistent particle size, allowing for more even extraction and a fuller cup of coffee.

Step 2
Dampen the filter with warm water to rinse and preheat the coffee maker. Once the water has completely drained through the filter, pour it out of the coffee maker while keeping the filter sealed against the Chemex wall.

Step 3
Put one round tablespoon of ground coffee for each five-ounce cup in the filter cone. Feel free to use more if you prefer stronger.

Step 4
Once the proper amount of water has been boiled, remove it from the heat and bring it to a vigorous boil. Pour a small amount of water over the coffee beans to moisten them, and wait about 30 seconds for them to “bloom”, releasing the most desirable coffee elements from the beans.

Step 5
After the soils flourish, slowly pour the water over the soils while keeping the water level well below the top of the Chemex. Slowly pour the remaining water over the soil, using a circular or back and forth motion as you pour to ensure even soaking of the soil. Once the desired amount of coffee has been brewed, lift the filter with the used grinds out of the coffee maker and discard.

Step 6
Pour your freshly brewed coffee into your favorite mug and enjoy.

Shahnee’s favorite things

These are some of the best gadgets of La Tana’s coffee queen:


Old Faithful Shop EKG Kettle Companion, $ 210


Barter Design Barter Glasses, $ 22


Aaron Probyn mugs from Crate and Barrel, starting at $ 8


Espressotec Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder, $ 189


Old Faithful Shop Chemex Coffee Maker, starting at $ 55


Old Faithful Shop Chemex Coffee Filters, $ 15