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Water thermometer?
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JPDyson
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JPDyson
Joined: 12 Apr 2011
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Posted Mon Jun 25, 2012, 8:04am
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

We have a Thermapen and love it. Fast and accurate. Never would have bought it (gift from my Mother-in-law).

I've also got a much cheaper OXO thermometer that's holding up well; I enlarged one of the outlet holes in the lid of my Hario Buono and just sit that thermometer in that hole while the water is heating. I only turn it on after the water is mostly heated (I've gotten really good at predicting 195F by sound) and this eliminates read-time lag. The lead is already hot, and it keeps up pretty well as the water continues to rise up to 200-207F (which I then use to rinse or pre-heat the vessels I'll use for brewing, and it cools down to brew temp). I think I paid $20 for it at BB&B, and you can certainly get by like this.

I have a friend who brews tea and can get within 5F by sight... puts me to shame.

 
--Josh
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JPDyson
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JPDyson
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Location: Durham, NC
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Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 8:16am
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

Oh, btw my OXO has just decided to drop a couple segments from the LCD, so it's harder to read now (is that a 3 or an 8?). Guess you get what you pay for in the long run. Still got that Thermapen...

 
--Josh
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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 10:39am
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

JKalpin Said:

An accurate thermometer is an essential tool for anyone working with coffee.

Posted June 23, 2012 link

How accurate?
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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 10:42am
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

EvanOz85 Said:

http://www.thermoworks.com/products/thermapen/

It's expensive, yes, but it is ridiculously fast and accurate. It uses an actual thermocouple rather than a thermistor which is why it's more expensive, but also why it works so much better than the cheap ones.

Posted June 23, 2012 link

That's a very nice looking probe. But thermocouples are not inherently more accurate or faster than thermistors. If anything thermistors tend to be more accurate and more stable over time. Thermocouples have a wider temperature range but that isn't important for coffee brewing. The main disadvantage with a thermistor is that its output is non-linear so the electronics have to be more complicated.

You can buy a tiny thermistor bead for $3 that is accurate to +/-1C at brew water temperature and has a very fast response time. It can easily be made into a small, flexible, waterproof probe and still retain fast response. If you calibrate it the accuracy can be improved. For $10-15 you can buy one that is accurate to a fraction of a degree out of the package. All you need is an ohmmeter to read one. Admittedly, using a table to convert to the temperature would bug most people, but for cheapskates it's a viable option. And a small flexible probe can reach places that a rigid thermometer can't.
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JKalpin
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JKalpin
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Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

jpender Said:

How accurate?

Posted June 28, 2012 link

At the ice-point and boiling-point it is within 1F degree.  It is repeatable to within 0.5F.  The resolution is 0.1F.  For cooking (and coffee) that's probably OK.

 
Jerry
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jpender
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Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

JKalpin Said:

At the ice-point and boiling-point it is within 1F degree.  It is repeatable to within 0.5F.  The resolution is 0.1F.  For cooking (and coffee) that's probably OK.

Posted June 28, 2012 link

That's good to know. I almost bought one of those a few months ago but hesitated since the packaging (and even their website) said nothing about the accuracy.
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TheBigDripper
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Posted Mon Jul 2, 2012, 5:19pm
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

*hangs head in shame*

I've used a Pyrex meat thermometer before...
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jpender
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jpender
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Posted Tue May 21, 2013, 3:04pm
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

JKalpin Said:

An accurate thermometer is an essential tool for anyone working with coffee.  

I have a Taylor Instruments 9847N, look here.

I bought mine in a kitchen store, around $15.  

I checked it at the boiling point and the ice point and it was very accurate.  Also, it is very fast.

Posted June 23, 2012 link

I bought one of these $15 Taylor 9847N probes at BB&B a number of months ago. It's a little slow to reach a stable reading but has otherwise seemed satisfactory for brewing coffee. Recently I purchased a second one to implant into my moka pot. I took the time to check the accuracy of these two as compared to a US Sensor KS103J2 precision thermistor, which is guaranteed to be accurate to 0.1C up to 80C 70C. Above that temperature US Sensor makes no claims.

The thermistor in the Taylor probe is a tiny glass encapsulated bead of unknown make. It has a resistance of 1 kohm at 25C.

The two Taylor probes differed from one another somewhat consistently by a fraction of a degree. More interestingly they both read low compared to the precision thermistor up to about 60C and read higher than it for higher temperatures (see graph). So it appears that I had been brewing about half a degree Celsius cooler than I had thought.

To prepare it for my moka pot I carefully removed the tiny thermistor from the metal tip of the second Taylor probe, and then protected the wires and thermistor with a thin coating of epoxy. This had a pronounced effect on the response time. The factory version takes ~25 seconds to go from room temperature to a stable reading when immersed in water above 90C whereas the stripped down probe is stable in under 10 seconds. There's too much metal in the Taylor probe tip.

jpender: Taylor.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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JKalpin
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JKalpin
Joined: 28 Dec 2008
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Location: Thornhill, Ontario Canada
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Posted Tue May 21, 2013, 8:52pm
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

I notice you used 0C to test both Taylor thermometers against your precision thermister.  Was that in an ice-water bath?

It seems that the variations of each were within 0.9C which is probably OK for coffee (and other cooking).

I wonder if those thermisters have the same error up around 100C which is where you would be doing a lot of testing for coffee.  

I tested mine in boiling water and found a source of error in the gradient between the bottom and top of the boiling pot (currents?) and wonder if my ice-water bath had a similar gradient between the top and bottom.

 
Jerry
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

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Posted Wed May 22, 2013, 5:42am
Subject: Re: Water thermometer?
 

I use the Taylor NSF digital unit, it is inexpensive and works well for me in all my kitchen duties. Nothing against the Thermalpin, they are great but a bit more on the expensive side.
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