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Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
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Discussions > Coffee > Machines > Bunn Phase Brew™...  
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Sharpinv
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Joined: 1 Apr 2008
Posts: 10
Location: portland
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012, 11:04am
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

So I've had my Phase Brew for maybe 8 months now, but using it in a second home so probably have only brewed maybe 20 batches with it.  Coffee was weak, weak, weak, so got the replacement flow head from Bunn - no real difference.  I've thought about a gold filter instead of paper to make it stronger, but haven't seen anything posted on where to get one that would fit the Phase Brew.  Tried a finer grind, slight difference but still the coffee is as weak as from a cheapo Mr. Coffee machine.  I suppose I could get one of those expensive espresso grinders, but if I'm going to do that why not just get a $250 Techno or TWO more Newco OCS-8's or 12's that seem to work fine with my cheapo grinder.

So here I am stuck with this coffee maker that strives to produce good coffee, but it's just too darned weak tasting.  What I notice is that the filter basket hole is enormous, and when the thing finally spits out the hot water onto the grounds there is an immediate light brown stream coming from this hole (not dark like my OCS-8 drip maker).  

Has anyone ever tried restricting the hole?  I realize with too much restriction one runs the risk of overflow, but maybe slowing it down just a tad would let more of the flavor through?  I just can't believe that this thing heats the water above and beyond and brews the coffee fast  for optimal flavor, but then creates a situation where you can't make the coffee strong enough compared to other drip makers (like I said, my newco ocs-8 makes awesome strong coffee).

Has anyone that likes strong coffee figured out a way to get this thing to pump out something other than weak sister coffee?  I don't even care that much about my leaky carafe, I can deal with that (cleanup on aisle Phase Brew), but I feel like Bunn went 2/3rds of the way here to designing a good home drip coffee maker and sold me a 2 legged stool.
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BarryR
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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012, 4:32pm
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

Sharpinv Said:

So I've had my Phase Brew for maybe 8 months now, but using it in a second home so probably have only brewed maybe 20 batches with it.  Coffee was weak, weak, weak, so got the replacement flow head from Bunn - no real difference.  I've thought about a gold filter instead of paper to make it stronger, but haven't seen anything posted on where to get one that would fit the Phase Brew.  Tried a finer grind, slight difference but still the coffee is as weak as from a cheapo Mr. Coffee machine.  I suppose I could get one of those expensive espresso grinders, but if I'm going to do that why not just get a $250 Techno or TWO more Newco OCS-8's or 12's that seem to work fine with my cheapo grinder.

So here I am stuck with this coffee maker that strives to produce good coffee, but it's just too darned weak tasting.  What I notice is that the filter basket hole is enormous, and when the thing finally spits out the hot water onto the grounds there is an immediate light brown stream coming from this hole (not dark like my OCS-8 drip maker).  

Has anyone ever tried restricting the hole?  I realize with too much restriction one runs the risk of overflow, but maybe slowing it down just a tad would let more of the flavor through?  I just can't believe that this thing heats the water above and beyond and brews the coffee fast  for optimal flavor, but then creates a situation where you can't make the coffee strong enough compared to other drip makers (like I said, my newco ocs-8 makes awesome strong coffee).

Has anyone that likes strong coffee figured out a way to get this thing to pump out something other than weak sister coffee?  I don't even care that much about my leaky carafe, I can deal with that (cleanup on aisle Phase Brew), but I feel like Bunn went 2/3rds of the way here to designing a good home drip coffee maker and sold me a 2 legged stool.

Posted April 21, 2012 link

I never found the coffee to be weak. Perhaps you could check the temperature of the water coming out in case you have a defective one. Other than temperature, I can't imagine what the problem could be.
How much coffee are you using?

PS: Regarding the leaky carafe, they'll send you a new one if you call and explain the problem.
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Sharpinv
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Joined: 1 Apr 2008
Posts: 10
Location: portland
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 22, 2012, 9:51pm
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

I can tell the coffee is hot - hotter than my Newco OCS-8 puts out.  I have tried using more coffee than I use in the Newco, as much as I dare without overflowing the filter - same result (not sure of how much that is but I fill my grinder up, and it fills the paper basket about halfway).  I know I've read a couple of postings here referring to the weaker taste coming from the Phase Brew, so having tried everything but a gold filter or restricting the big hole in the basket, I'm out of ideas.  I will say that when I see the coffee first hit the carafe it doesn't have that dark look to the liquid as it does when it hits the Newco carafe - it has more of a light brown color - I think it's just running through the grounds too fast and pouring out that big hole.
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jd2020
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jd2020
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Posted Mon Apr 23, 2012, 6:23am
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

My general approach is to make a full 40oz pot and to use 65g of coffee ground more finely than I used in a conical auto drip machine (Capreso MT500). This almost always produces a good pot of coffee, though I change beans often and this machine seems very sensitive wrt adjustments for different beans.

Making less than a full pot results in a weaker brew--strength seems to be proportional to volume.  I suspect this is because water flows more quickly though the lesser mass of coffee used in a half or 30 oz pot.  This leads me to wonder whether the HG/HT basket hole is too large. The size is probably a trade off to keep the basket from overflowing....

Occasionally, I get a pot that seems a little off. Not exactly weak, but not quite up to par in body. In these cases  the grounds are not fully saturated. There are spots of dry grounds which indicates the spray head didn't work right (producing 6 streams of water). I had a bad spray head--which happily BUNN replaced--and it produced this result with just 3 or 4 streams.

So these are the two weaknesses, in my opinion: You have to make a full pot and the spray heads can be finicky.  To me, the correct brew temp outweighs these disadvantages. For less coffee I usually use a Clever Dripper.
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Sharpinv
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Joined: 1 Apr 2008
Posts: 10
Location: portland
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Apr 23, 2012, 11:07am
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

I'm brewing nearly a full pot, maybe 35 oz.  I also notice that with my Newco when the coffee is very fresh I get foam at the top when I pour the coffee into my 40 oz mug of 3/4 tablespoon equal and maybe 3 tablespoons of milk.  I get very little foam when I do the same thing with the Phase Brew coffee - same amounts, same coffee, same grinder.

Since this is my first coffeemaker that preheats the water and then quickly runs it through the grounds, I'm wondering if this process simply imparts a different "softer" taste compared to my Newco dripper?  

The best way I can describe the difference in taste between machines is "muted" - the Phase Brew tastes like when I have a bad cold and just can't fully taste the flavors, while the Newco has a sharpness to it that I'm used to and crave.

So partially plugging the basket hole might work for me if I can figure out how to do it (a washer maybe?) and not creating an overflow disaster.  Or maybe just pouring it through the grounds a second time once it's done, has anyone ever tried that?  Seems like a pain but might be simpler than trying to figure out how to make the hole smaller.

I know the coffee beans are good and fresh and the Phase Brew water is very hot, so seems like there should be something I can do to get more of the flavors to come through.

thanks
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hankg
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Grinder: Saeco Titan
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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012, 11:17pm
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

Which filter are you using? If not at least using the Bunn version, they would be too short. I don't have the Phase Brew but do have the normal Bunn machine. I also have a OCS12 and a Technivorm. All make great coffee. All taste different.

With the Bunn, I got the flow restrictor head after having done the toothpick-plugging-holes trick. That helped. The other is that I needed a taller filter. The home version of filters that Bunn makes is barely tall enough for my taste. Not sure how much vertical room you have in the Phase Brew but I've found that certain comercial filters work best. With the Bunn filters, I'm just shy of overflowing to get the best cup of coffee.

Henry
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Sharpinv
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Joined: 1 Apr 2008
Posts: 10
Location: portland
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 8:00am
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

What exactly is the "toothpick plugging holes trick"?  Sounds interesting.  I just buy bulk filters at Office Depot, 1000 at a time.  I think they are Bunn but probably a tad bigger than what would be correct for the phase brew as they kind of "catch" above the opening when I put them in the basket and slide them in - so don't think they could get any taller.

I just bought a new grinder (Capresso Infinity Burr) so will try a superfine grind and see if that improves the strength of the Phase Brew.
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hankg
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Joined: 29 Dec 2004
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Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Saeco Titan
Drip: Technivorm Thermal
Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 9:08am
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

The toothpick plugging holes-trick is plugging a couple of holes in the stock shower head to slow down the flow. Gives a person a chance with their regular brewers to see if slowing down the brew time gets them the coffee flavor/strength they desire. I did it and ended up ordering the flow restrictor head, which they sent two free.

Filter paper matters. A lot. Go to Walmart and you can buy a box of Bunn filters there for cheap. They are a tad taller but it's all about the construction and how the coffee brews through it.

I find as well, that the first half a cup of coffee that comes into the carafe is light. Not at all like other brewers I've used. But here's my theory as to why it happens: Because of the flow rate of the water through the spray head (all of the water pushing down), the initial sprinkler-like action goes closer to the edge of the coffee grounds instead of dripping down through the center. The whole idea with Bunn is that they want to have a lot of water sitting with the grounds. Oddly enough, I have found that the light start really doesn't effect the taste in the end, provided I've used the proper amount of coffee and grind type.

It took me a while to figure out how much coffee to use and how fine to grind it. If you are used to the OCS, they tend to brew on the long side of things and get a bit of bite to the flavor. The Bunn, because it brews much faster, will not give you that flavor without some work. How much coffee are you using? And having a new grinder will help with the consistency of grind. I weigh my coffee but if you are doing a full pot, which is 40 ounces, would be about 6.5 scoops (2Tablespoon scoops). If it's a level scoop, that is usually about 7 grams per scoop. If rounded, it's about 10 grams. Using this amount, you may find that you won't need a super fine grind as it would just cause overflow. On the other hand, you may use less and grind finer and see what you think about the taste.

Good luck experimenting.

Henry
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jd2020
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jd2020
Joined: 22 Dec 2005
Posts: 60
Location: Alexandria, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: GS/3, Moka Pot
Grinder: Vario, Virtuoso, Kitchenaid...
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Drip: Capresso MT500, Melita cone
Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 9:10am
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

I was thinking of a small rubber or silicon washer to slow the flow out of the basket -- but haven't done anything about this for fear of overflow and the challenge of finding the right size of washer. I think I understand what you (Sharpinv) mean by "muted" flavor. I find that some coffees come out poorly in the HT and I suspect the speed of water passing though the basket is squewing the flavor profile in a way that affects some coffees more than others.

Hankg, I'm intreauged by this "toothpick" method. However, its the flow out of the basket that i belive to be the culperate. I use what I think is the BUNN commercial filter, which i got at Staples. I don't have any overflow issues inside the basket (I.e. grounds in the pot). It seems to be the correct height. I've tried several spray heads for the HT but the green plastic star shaped one (stock version) is best. This head (ones that work correctly) produces 6 streams of water which effectively saturate the grounds.

Sharpinv, I once had a Capresso machine that heated water on top and then released it though a conical filter. It made good coffee but used a hotplate and glass carafe. That was before my MT500. If I could find a thermal carafe to replace that glass one.....
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hankg
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Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Posts: 64
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Saeco Titan
Drip: Technivorm Thermal
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 2:03pm
Subject: Re: Bunn Phase Brew™ - New Bunn Brewer
 

jd2020 Said:

Hankg, I'm intreauged by this "toothpick" method. However, its the flow out of the basket that i belive to be the culperate. I use what I think is the BUNN commercial filter, which i got at Staples. I don't have any overflow issues inside the basket (I.e. grounds in the pot). It seems to be the correct height. I've tried several spray heads for the HT but the green plastic star shaped one (stock version) is best. This head (ones that work correctly) produces 6 streams of water which effectively saturate the grounds.

Posted April 26, 2012 link

Well, the easiest way to slow down water coming out of the basket is to grind finer. Trying to find the balance of how fast the water is coming out of the shower head and how fast it leaves the basket. Adjust how fast it leaves the flow head by adjusting the flow rate. Adjust the rate the water leaves the basket by how fine the coffee is ground.
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