Posted Thu May 9, 2013, 9:00am Subject: In Praise of Fines (AeroPress Inverted)
I've settled into a nice habit of making an ‘AeroLatte’ 4-5 times a week and have done gentle experimentation over the past few months with my AeroPress, Capresso Infinity, and my Utilitea Variable Temperature Kettle. The control and adjustability of the Inverted method was (and continues to be) very appealing, so that’s how I’ve been brewing. I see complaints about the ‘difficulties/mess/danger/complexities’ of the Inverted Method, but I have yet to experience any of them.
Initially I ground a few steps away from the finest setting on the Infinity, but I quickly found that finest was best for my strength preferences. Folks seem to feel it’s too hard to press, but as I press into my steel Sipp I can do it slowly and with most of my body weight. This increased pressure seems to also add to the body of the coffee.
I initially tried brewing around 180º. When I started I figured my old preference for a more ‘chocolatey’ vs. ‘bright’ cup would lean me in a cooler direction. Over time I slowly found that I liked the complexities of a hotter brew, so I’m closer to 195º now.
Being too lazy to measure quantities exactly every time, I set up initial measurements and saw how the beans rested in the grinder at that weight, and how the water sat in the AeroPress. Since then I’ve been using my containers as the ‘measure’ - Pull plunger to the top of the circle on the 4, and fill the grinder with beans so they 'eclipse' the clear plastic inverted funnel of the hopper. This has given me a bit of variability from day to day and week to week, which is a mix of gently frustrating and sorta fun.
One of the other markers of my morning coffee preparation ritual is a tendency towards efficiency. I enjoy finding ways to streamline the process and integrate steps to reduce wasted effort and time. Well, this morning I decided to alter my regimen to correct a ‘flaw’ that rubs against my cheap heart.
I’m slightly saddened to clean out the Infinity and lose that last half gram or so of coffee that clings to the top burr and pools around the hopper. My prior path was to save grinding for the last step so that it would be ‘freshest’ and dump it into the AeroPress and get water on it right away. I’d clean out the grinder as the coffee would steep.
This morning I ground, dumped, and then brushed the clinging fines from the top burr through the funnel and into the AeroPress, then brushed the clumped hopper tailings into the grind cup with the rest of the coffee for a minute or so, getting as much in there as possible before dumping the contents into the AeroPress. The Richness and Chocolatey notes are wonderful in this morning’s cup!
So, I’m thinking that perhaps the regimented push towards a more even grind may have reduced some of the interesting qualities of the brewed cup. I’m thinking it might be interesting to have a sort of ‘blend’ of extractions in the brewer, with the majority being of one ‘grind size’ strength, and a tiny component of the brew being more extracted via the fines.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 6,835 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Thu May 9, 2013, 10:30am Subject: Re: In Praise of Fines (AeroPress Inverted)
I only use an inverted Aeropress. I grind to automatic drip on my commercial bulk machine at work. I use the scoop that came with the Aeropress to measure the unground beans then press a full press into a 16 oz mug and add water to the top. This works for me, quick and easy and good. YMMV
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
Posted Sat May 11, 2013, 5:44am Subject: Re: In Praise of Fines (AeroPress Inverted)
The logic behind uniform grind is that the fines over-extract and the coarse components under-extract, changing the character of the brew and taking it out of your control. This is most apparent in a blade-type (whirled-bird) grinder.
Nevertheless, fines can do something wonderful for the cup.
I have the old Coava metal filter for my Aeropress, the one with the 300 micron holes. Using the inverted method, I get a bit of sludge at the bottom of the cup. Re-filtering this coffee through an Aeropress paper filter, then drying and weighing it I found that this sludge was only a tiny percentage of the grind, so no big deal. But a component of the sludge, which I call 'Micro-Mud' remains suspended in the coffee and gives it a 'heavier' mouth-feel which, to me, is an improvement. There might also be changes in flavour which I don't pick up.
So, for me, a small amount of fines that go through the brewing process ...but... escape into the cup, are an improvement.
Posted Mon May 13, 2013, 11:10am Subject: Re: In Praise of Fines (AeroPress Inverted)
...I get a bit of sludge at the bottom of the cup. Re-filtering this coffee through an Aeropress paper filter, then drying and weighing it I found that this sludge was only a tiny percentage of the grind...
I don't know what JKalpin got but when I did this exercise I filtered about 0.3g out of an original 18.7g dose. That's only about 1.5% of the dose but closer to 8% of the coffee in the cup. I probably filtered some of the microfines in the process but a lot of that stuff is really tiny. I recently ran some moka coffee through a 0.7 micron filter yet still had cloudy liquid. I had to use a finer syringe filter to obtain clarity in the coffee.
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