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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 722
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Fri Mar 24, 2006, 6:35am
Subject: Ibrik, Brikka, Espresso
 

People tend to compare moka pot coffee with espresso. My point is usually that the comparison isn't that accurate but a Brikka may produce something similar in complexity of aromas. Can't really compare with Turkish-style coffee, having only drank some at a few cafés in Switzerland and Quebec. My hunch would be that the similarity has more to do with body than anything else, but that could be off.
Of course, you're not supposed to get grounds in your cup so, if you do, it might be the case that you grind too fine for the pot. You might want to try as coarse as a drip, at least to try it.
Still, moka pot coffee is very homey to me. And Mediterranean cultures are closer to my own than, say, Hoosier culture. So it kind of makes sense.
Anyhow, do experiment with the Brikka. If you feel a need to add sugar, you might have too much grounds for the pot, producing too "strong" a cup. The Brikka does use much less than espresso!
A bit of spices might also fit.

 
Alex
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kbuzbee
Senior Member
kbuzbee
Joined: 2 Feb 2006
Posts: 568
Location: Mentor, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: I don't drip
Posted Sat Mar 25, 2006, 7:53am
Subject: Re: Ibrik, Brikka, Espresso
 

Alexandre, you are exactly right, it is the body, not the fines in the cup I am comparing. The cup is essentially clean. Rich, robust. You may be right that grinding more coarse would reduce this but I'm liking it. Having a really intense cup that works with 1/2 teaspoon of great dark sugar is a very good thing. I'm sure I'm missing some of the subtleties I could fine by not extracting quite as much.

How much coffee do you use? I would say this grind is about equal to the preground Illy (fine). I'm filling the funnel to heaping then leveling off exactly across the top. I tried one with about 1/16" less and didn't notice much difference. I will continue to experiment with various amounts and grinds. It is a fun little pot.

Ken
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 722
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Sat Mar 25, 2006, 8:41am
Subject: Brikka Quantities
 

Experimented with many different quantities and still do. But basically, some of my most enjoyable cups were made with less than 10g of coffee. Even as little as 6g. Seriously!
Overall, half the amount for espresso seems about right. More than that, you get into ristretto territory in terms of hiding flavours and aromas. But you may also get extraction issues.

Had very few cups made with too little coffee. As long as you cover the bottom of the basket and have something of a mound, you probably have enough for a palatable cup in which you can discern many aromas. It's getting much further from espresso. Well, come to think of it, not so much. You'll get less body and more varietal, IMHO.
Of course, this is all about taste, much of which is individual, personal, subjective. But it's not a bad suggestion to try with very very small quantities of amazingly fresh coffee, put it on the stove's lowest setting, and wait for the magic to happen. It might take a few shots, but it might be quite fun.

BTW, 10g seems to be quite close to my usual dose for a 6 cup moka pot so it's still pretty intense, IMHO.

And, come to think of it, Vienna roasts seem to work best with moka pots in general, including the Brikka. Lighter roasts bring up some typical light-roast off-flavours (don't have the vocabulary to describe them) while darker roasts quickly become toasty/roasty/burnt.

 
Alex
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 722
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Sat Mar 25, 2006, 9:54am
Subject: Re: Brikka Quantities
 

At the risk of belabouring the point...
Just made myself a cup with the Brikka:
-100ml water (100g)
-10g coffee grounds (medium-coarse, loose, about half the basket)
-72g liquid coffee

Quickly dissipating crema, fruity aromas, medium to low body, nutty flavours, some background notes of toast, some greenish flavour (roasted yesterday), crisp bitterness, bit grapefruit-like. Not the best ever but certainly enjoyable and flavourful.

 
Alex
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 722
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Sat Mar 25, 2006, 10:41am
Subject: Re: Brikka Quantities
 

Yet another set of notes. Has anybody been banned for overposting? ;-)

The end of the previous cup had some ash and metallic flavours. Didn't notice them at first. But they remained in the aftertaste minutes after the cup was empty.

This time:
-104ml water (104g)
-8g coffee grounds (medium-coarse, loose, about half the basket)
-80g liquid coffee

No crema (well, no "crema-like emulsion"). Fainter aromas, bit cherry/nut-like. Body seems in fact bigger, perhaps because of flavours. Less bitterness. Still in the nut range (walnut, say), bit roasty. Finishes rather crisp /fresh after a kind of fruity note popping up briefly. Maybe a tiny bit of metal somewhere in the aftertaste. Again, feels kind of green. Not grassy per se but there's a flavour in there that degassing tends to smoothen out. Bit of spice/herb. Ah, yes! Olive oil! Not the overpowering Californian type, but a kind of mellower olive oil with just a bit of somewhat harsh remaining aftertaste at the very back of the mouth, almost in the throat.
Just a bit of grounds at the bottom of the cup, although the grind wasn't finer than the previous one.
Overall, a bit more enjoyable than the previous one. A more mature roast would have really worked, IMHO.

 
Alex
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kbuzbee
Senior Member
kbuzbee
Joined: 2 Feb 2006
Posts: 568
Location: Mentor, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: I don't drip
Posted Sat Mar 25, 2006, 11:59am
Subject: Re: Brikka Quantities
 

Enkerli Said:

Yet another set of notes. Has anybody been banned for overposting? ;-)

Posted March 25, 2006 link

Doubtful but after all, we seem to be the only two interested in this thread so 'what the heck!'

I will try some pots with less coffee and let you know. I really suspect the fully loaded then sweetened cup is where I'll wind up though. It's quite wonderful (and has a full head of "crema" on it that seems to last 5 minutes in the cup.

Cheers,

Ken
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 722
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Sun Mar 26, 2006, 9:06am
Subject: Brikka Notes (26 March)
 

To follow up yet again. Who knows, it might be useful for someone else later on. Besides, it's fun to do.

First coffee of the day. Haven't eaten anything yet, did drink a lot of water.
  • 108ml water (108g)
  • 10g coffee grounds (medium-coarse, loose, about half the basket)
  • 96g liquid coffee

Had darker "crema" in the pot but that quickly dissipated in the cup. Aromas are still in the nutty range, bit of roast, some faint musk, maybe just a bit of cherry and some spice. Mouthfeel is round and generous. Rich flavours of dark chocolate mousse with a bit of fruit and a rounded bitterness which dissipates in the aftertaste leaving a crisp finish. My "discovery" of olive oil in one of yesterday's cups seems to condition me to find it again, but it's way back in the background and doesn't leave a sensation in the throat. Can't perceive any acidity/brightness whatsoever. Sweetness is more present than before but not too prominent. Roast character comes through in the flavours along with some wood and maybe a tiny bit of grass, but this cup is all about mouthfeel. Very typical of a moka pot cup. Really rich, syrupy even. A tiny bit of sugar could work but there's only brown sugar here and that wouldn't work, IMHO. Wood comes through more clearly, deeper in the cup. Just a tiny bit of grounds remaining at the bottom of the cup. No metallic or burnt flavour. Just a bit of olive-like bitterness remaining, washed down fairly quickly with water. Some wood lingers. Maybe some faint smoke somewhere way back in the background.

Overall, a typical but intense moka pot cup.

 
Alex
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kbuzbee
Senior Member
kbuzbee
Joined: 2 Feb 2006
Posts: 568
Location: Mentor, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: I don't drip
Posted Sun Mar 26, 2006, 11:38am
Subject: Re: Brikka Notes (26 March)
 

Enkerli Said:

Rich flavours of dark chocolate mousse with a bit of fruit and a rounded bitterness which dissipates in the aftertaste leaving a crisp finish. ... Roast character comes through in the flavours along with some wood and maybe a tiny bit of grass, but this cup is all about mouthfeel. Very typical of a moka pot cup. Really rich, syrupy even. A tiny bit of sugar could work but there's only brown sugar here and that wouldn't work, IMHO. Wood comes through more clearly, deeper in the cup. ... Overall, a typical but intense moka pot cup.

Posted March 26, 2006 link


Just made my 4th little cup today. The process is getting smoother and quicker. I'm really enjoying the cups (and the discussion btw). You are exactly right, it is all about the mouth feel. It is a very deep, rich cup. I get the wood, the roast and the smoke. Haven't come across the olive oil yet... Not getting any fines in the cup (which is okay by me, it's the one thing I never did care for in "my" Turkish pots) so the grind I'm at is working well for me.

I do have to disagree about the brown sugar though. I usually only have Demerara and Rapadura sugars here. Both are brown but very different from each other. The Rapadura is made without separating the molasses from the sugar (most seem to add it back in after refining). It looks more like dirt than crystalline sugar. It is by far my favorite for things like this. The deepness accents the Moka coffee nicely. Some might find this "too much" but, for me, it is just wonderful. Just a touch though.

What do you measure your grams of water and grams of coffee with? A kitchen scale of some sort?? I do it by volume. I use the little measuring cup to the line every time. The coffee I fill to heaping then level off with the scoop handle. Seems to work very well. I always feel I should know things like grams, brix and such. More scientific but I treat it more like an art than a science. It tastes good. That's all I need to know.

Ken
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 722
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Sun Mar 26, 2006, 9:55pm
Subject: Re: Brikka Notes (26 March)
 

The olive oil was kind of a discovery for me, that time. Thought back to an olive oil tasting in Northampton, MA by Alejandro and Martin. Some of the more bitter oils were hitting you way back in the throat, kind of like a harsh and grassy feeling. In my coffee, it wasn't that strong, but my realization that it was the same type of bitterness really helped me.
Got some moka pot cups which were very different from this. Much fruitier, wine-like, bright, etc. What's really interesting is to compare with the same blend as an espresso shot. It terms of "strength," a 19g updosed 60ml (well, 60g) espresso shot seemed almost exactly equivalent to the 10g 96ml (96g) cup of a few minutes prior. But some flavours were muted in one and accented in the other. Didn't do a side-by-side comparison yet (at least, not recently), but it'd be interesting.
About fines, it's not a frequent occurrence for me. Can't say it implies anything about the cup's quality. But for the sake of completeness...

Your points about sugars are well-taken. These and other sugars (panela, jaggery, turbinado, candi, piloncillo...) are used to good effect in beer brewing and surely add something to coffee. But my adding coffee to such a cup as that one would have been less for flavour than for balance and white sugar is still the most neutral one. This from someone who's used about 100g of white sugar in four months and most of it in cooking. Eating some oatmeal with generic brown sugar right now and it works quite well. Though genuine amber maple syrup from Beauce (Qc) enhances flavours much more readily. Speaking of which...
...Hmmm! This is good! Maple syrup goes well with anything.

Been weighing stuff with a cheap Nexxtech electronic kitchen gram scale. About 20$CAD at RadioShack (now called "The Source by Circuit City" in Canada). It does both ounces and grams up to 3kg (6.6lbs.). Been using it for just about anything. Roasting (tare the popper, add the beans, note the weight, roast, pour the beans in a tared container, weigh...), homebrewing (hops, grains, spices...), espresso (tare the basket, fill and tamp, weigh), Brikka brewing (tare the Brikka, add water, weigh, tare with basket, fill in the basket by putting it directly under the grinder, weigh), etc.
Have done it fairly consistently while adapting my methods and getting used to amounts. Was always able to eyeball the amount of grounds necessary for a 6cup moka pot but had a harder time adapting to the Brikka. Been trying different amounts of coffee for espresso and at my grinder's finest setting, 16g to 19g really seems optimal. Eyeballing it isn't that hard but getting some practise with a measurement helps me. And it's kind of interesting. Like beer brewing, it's connecting creativity with some degree of precision/consistency.
For instance, weighing roasted beans has been instructive to me. Haven't looked at the numbers very precisely but the loss in mass seems fairly consistent with degree of roast for a given bean variety and even between bean varieties. Continuous monitoring during roast has been impractical for me but it does seem that some of the loss in mass happens even before the onset of first crack.
Yeah, this is pretty geeky. Or, actually, pretty nerdy. Is my pocket protector showing? ;-)

As for the art... Been thinking about this a bit. As a musician, can associate some dimensions of coffee/espresso making with, say, doing scales. Getting the muscle memory and, more importantly here, the sensory memory. Even without much book knowledge, my feeling is that my practise is getting me somewhere and that my experience is improving. Still wouldn't become a good barista or professional roaster, but it's been helping me to understand other dimensions of coffee "internally." Still can't name many things, still don't know much about the chemical issues, but got some fun out of it all.

Now, to go back to measurements with the Brikka. My usual method is to get a small mound of loose (untamped) grounds in the middle of the basket. Much less coffee than heaping, most likely. And trying out different amounts really demonstrates how flexible the Brikka can be. For espresso, the range in coffee grounds is quite small as the espresso is undrinkable if there aren't enough grounds and updosing has its limits. A ristretto will expand the range a little bit but only in one direction.
With the Brikka, my notes are for palatable coffee made with anything between 5g and 12g of coffee for a cup anywhere between 75g and 110g (with coffee and water amounts not necessarily proportional to one another).
Besides, measuring things like this is almost part of my ritual, at this point.

You mention Brix. Homebrewers mostly talk about specific gravity by taking hydrometer measurement. (A hydrometer is a small and cheap device which looks a bit like a long glass thermometer.) The main purpose there is to determine the alcohol content of the final beer. The problem with coffee is that the amount is too small to get a hydrometer reading. So the only solution would be a refractometer which only needs a drop of liquid. But refractometers are expensive and fragile. Been dreaming about it, though. One would think that a Brix/gravity reading would be a good way to measure something of body/strength in coffee.
Uh-oh! You're giving me an idea... ;-)
Ah! There we are: Alan AeroPress Adler and Brix measurements with interesting comments about significance and reliability
"Measuring Coffee Strength With A Brix Meter"
Yes, Geeky as True Geeks can be. But rather informative. An inexpensive optical refractometer would come in handy. But 10 Brix (1.040 SG) would only work for very light beers. Ah, well...

 
Alex
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kbuzbee
Senior Member
kbuzbee
Joined: 2 Feb 2006
Posts: 568
Location: Mentor, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: I don't drip
Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006, 6:52am
Subject: Re: Brikka Notes (26 March)
 

Alexandre - you are so right... Maple Syrup does improve just about everything. I use it quite a bit in my braising pot (among other things)... We product a fair amount of Maple Syrup around here. In fact the local Maple Syrup festival was just last week.... We didn't go this year. We make it about every other year. I know the very, very light MS is supposed to be the highest grade but I really enjoy the darker versions...

Well, three little cups today. delicious. Now off to the roastery.... I may have to get a little stand so I can run the Brikka on Butane. (the burner I use with the Cona pot).

I didn't realize Circuit City owned Radio Shack... Interesting. I know I should get a scale like that... One of these days.... But your discussion of mass loss during roast - which I agree with - raises an issue I've always wondered about when weighing coffee. 10g of French Roast is way more "coffee" than 10 g of cinammon roast. Is mass of coffee more important or is volume of coffee?? Or do you find a mass per roast??? I've found pretty good consistency working off volume, so far. And you are right, there is significant loss of mass before first crack (although the greatest loss seems to occure in the latter stages of second crack - which is the darkest we go)

So you're off to buy a Brix meter?? Let me know how that goes ;-).

Ken
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