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The Mod Musings Coffee Bar



When you (aka Matthew Encina) have the opportunity to design the ultimate personal studio from scratch, you need to ensure you have the essentials. A space to work, spots to film, a place to relax, and a dedicated caffeination station aka a coffee bar.


A huge thanks to Cliff & Pebble for making this collaboration happen. Most of the gear featured today can be found at Cliff & Pebble!

Matt and I have been chatting for the last few months on how to best outfit this space to fulfill 3 main objectives:


One, it needs to fit into the aesthetic. This means keeping colors coordinated, wood types matching, and something that feels modern and cozy.


Two, it needs to be practical. Unlike my own previous coffee corner, which was designed with intent to film and serve as a backdrop, this coffee bar needed to be just that. A coffee bar - with a smooth workflow that allows you to re-caffeinate quickly and minimize the mess.


And three, it needs to be able to brew everything. From filter and pour overs to espressos and lattes - this bar should be able to satisfy the individual but also entertain a group when needed.


To put this to the test, we had a small group of us including Jaicob, one of the co-founders of Mode Designs which is where I currently work full time, Taeha, blacksmith of some of the internet’s most famous custom keyboard builds, and of course Matt and myself.


 

BAR BUILD


So over the last few months, our ideas for this setup have evolved from a simple shelf-top setup to a full blown DIY coffee cart that should support the weight of all the gear including the 47lb espresso machine.


To accompany Matt’s aesthetic, we went with a cloud white bar cart with DIY’d white oak panels to match the other wood accents throughout the studio.


Choosing a bar cart also allows this station to be mobile to be moved around to best fit the space depending on what may be happening - whether it's filming solo, as a group, or hosting an event.


To help with cable management, we also mounted an extra long surge protector along the back of the cart, similar to my own solution at home. We also added a smart plug to be able to remotely trigger the espresso machine to turn on so it's ready to go at a moment's notice.


With the bar cart built out, we’re ready to outfit this station with all the necessary coffee essentials.


 

COFFEE WORKFLOW DESIGN


The coffee cart is designed very similarly to my own bar at home in terms of workflow. Because we have a limited time to film together in person, everything had to be planned in advance down to the minute details.


This included working with Raymond of OptikalBlitz on a custom designed filter holder, the team at Cliff & Pebble for the espresso gear, and between Matt and myself of planning out how it all comes together.


Designing the workflow starts with using a tool like Adobe Illustrator and have each item’s footprint mapped out along with the countertop.


I can then start to move things around to figure out how to best place items. And surprise surprise, it almost looks exactly like my own coffee bar. Maybe because my space was already so intricately planned with workflow in mind.


So that being said, let’s first start with the filter coffee brewing station on the left hand side of the cart.


 

FILTER


For filter, we went full Fellow here with the Stagg EKG kettle and Ode grinder - a perfect combo in my opinion for a great compact pourover station. The Ode gen 2 has some significant improvements over the original that I think make it a worthy upgrade. Especially with the new anti chaff tech integrated - something all future grinders need.


We worked with Raymond of OptikalBlitz to create a one of one custom designed filter holder to store everything you could possibly need for filter brewing in a compact and clean design.


This unit is designed to house V60 filters in both an 01 and 02 size, Kalita 185 or 155 filters, Aeropress filters, spoons and stir sticks, RDT bottle, and a Melodrip.


In addition to that, we got some risers that allow us to insert the Acaia Pearl underneath.


All of this comes together for a little filter station that can brew V60s, Kalita brews, stagg brews, and have all the necessary components in a nice little spot.


 

ESPRESSO


For espresso, our friends at Cliff & Pebble hooked us up with a Eureka Mignon Oro, a great single dosing grinder for espresso with 65mm flat steel burrs.


For the machine of choice we went with the Lelit Mara X, a compact heat exchanger machine with a PID and E61 group head.


This will be a great first machine for Matt to brew for himself as well as entertain any guests that pop in and out of this space.


And finally to complete the espresso accessories we’ve got a simple wooden tamp station to match the other wood elements in the set up, a matching wood tamper, a black knockbox, a black aluminum WDT tool from Sworksdesign, and of course some Mocha Mondays Puck Screens.


 

DIALING IN


Once that was done, all that was left to do was to start teaching Matt how to dial in some coffee, and start brewing.


So once again, thanks to Cliff & Pebble for making this collaboration happen. If you’re in the market for your first or next espresso machine, grinder, or coffee accessory - be sure to check out Cliff & Pebble. The Chicago based team has a huge selection of machines from some of your favorite brands including Rocket, Lelit, Eureka, Baratza, and more. They provide excellent pre and post-purchase service and can you rest assured knowing they’ll help you out with your coffee brewing endeavors.


Matthew Encina is a creative director, content creator, and educator creating content about living by design. You might have seen some of his gorgeous desk setup videos and home renovation projects on the internet.


I’m super excited to be working with him on this project, and as a fellow enjoyer of all things aesthetic, it’s been a great experience learning how much intent Matt puts into not only his content, but also his personal life and work life.


If you want to learn more about Matthew Encina and check out some of his work, I’ll leave his channel linked here. You can learn more about the DIY process behind this bar cart over on Matt’s channel!


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