So, before we start claiming that 25% extraction is acceptable, perhaps we should be a bit more accurate on the coffee and water measurements. In my mind, if you're using volume to talk about extraction or dissolution, then I cannot in good conscience accept these as valid observations, they are only anecdotal to me. Unless you know your coffee density (and if you know that why not just measure coffee mass?) and the height/diameter ratio of your liquid measurement device is 10:1 or you're using mass for brew water, you really can't talk about extraction or dissolution in anything other than in general terms.
But not if Alan was determining he had a Gold Cup brew with his PAL-1. It has too much uncertainty to really say what the extraction is. In that case those numbers could mean anything between 17% and 28% extraction.
Who here really worries about efficiency that much?
I like small cups of stronger coffee and so I brew to about 2.1% strength in the Aeropress and don't dilute. I estimate I use ~12% more coffee beans in an Aeropress versus what I use in a moka pot or drip cone. But the tradeoffs of ease of use, forgiveness in technique, and speed make it worth the cost increment to me.
I could experiment with rinsing out what's trapped in the puck. By pulling the plunger after pressing, adding a small amount of additional water, and then pressing a second time I think I could halve the loss, assuming doing so doesn't affect the taste.
I have to definitely agree with this. Alan's responses have always been extremely helpful to the discussions at hand without pushing his product. He is the epitome of great customer relations. I could only wish for such interaction with other products that I own. I realize this is your site Mark and you have to keep a happy relationship with your advertisers, but I hope you can see the value that this brings to the discussion.
If I felt that Alan was starting to promote instead of offering help as he has, I would be less inclined to follow this post as I have for the last seven years (has it really been that long, I had to look it up).
How about this? When a thread bears the frakkin' name of a product, the manufacturer's participation is automatically ruled non-advertising. I mean, seriously. Think about it for a minute.
If one wishes to be really consistent, one shouldn't be allowed to name a thread with the product's name. That is, after all, a form of advertisement. I'm not being sarcastic -- it IS.
The line is obviously when the manufacturer is involved. But to some extent, involvement in a thread bearing their product's name should be a free-for-all. First of all, if what they say in-thread is true about their product, it's useful information. If it's not, they're going to have literate users jumping down their throats. And to some extent, I can't imagine how a manufacturer's participation in such a thread would compete for advertising dollars. The manufacturer has already sold to the people participating in the thread. No? Well then, the chatter in the thread by the device's enthusiasts sells the darned thing to any thread visitors.
Personally, I wonder how effective advertising is at "geek" sites. True geeks tend to know what they're looking for, or seek out chatter. Or, if we're I.T. geeks, we use ad blockers and don't see the darned ads anyway. In my case, it's superfluous to use blockers because I'm blind to ads anyway. I think I'm weird that way. I utterly tune them out when they're visual elements.
But I digress.
Mark's site, he can do as he wishes. I'm a guest. But I seriously think if a thread bears a product's name . . . geez. A manufacturer will be up against critics if the product sucks -- so let the manufacturer "advertise" however he wishes. He'll be preaching to a mutinous choir in such a case. And if his product's great, then any "advertising" he'd be doing would be superfluous -- visitors to the thread would see the product's fans swooning left and right, and a manufacturer adding "hey, buy my great product" would add nothing of import to such user testimony.
Alan takes a whole lot of guff from a whole lot of opinionated geeks in this thread and anyone lurking here wondering whether to buy an aeropress has seen the inventor used as a punching bag. Yet Alan is unfailingly courteous, (if resolutely stubborn). And he's contributing to the conversation. He's an asset to CoffeeGeek, in my opinion (but then, yes, it's not my site. It's Mark's)
But I've been around the rest of the site. This is the one thread I keep track of. Why? It's not just because of Alan, because he was gone for a while. But it has a lot to do with his participation (and, come to think of it, when he was gone, this thread was pretty quiet)
My pressings were with one heaped scoop (13-14g) and 175F water to about 2 or 2.5 on the chamber scale (about 115g). Brix of the pressed concentrate was in the 3 to 3.6 range. I only measure by weight - never by volume, not even water. When I said that I get 8 ounces of 1.25% TDS (1.5 Brix), that's after dilution. Here's a formula for computing how much 1.25% diluted brew your concentrate will make:
I think that if Netphilosopher is having trouble reaching 25% extraction, it's likely due to one or both of the following factors:
My grind is finer than his
My beans have more sugar than his. Brix is extremely sensitive to sugar content. That has long made me suspicious of Brix as a measure of strength. It always seemed insensitive to the source of the beans. But lately I'm beginning to notice a sensitivity to beans.
For example I consistently get 24 to 25% with my home roasted Guatemala beans, which make a very sweet cup. But recently I tried some blends from a Northwest artisan roaster. I brewed exactly the same but got 22 to 23% extraction. Both roasts are full city. I suspect that my beans have more sugar which caused higher Brix readings and higher (apparent) extraction.
Of course we needn't obsess over the exact math. Better to just view the numbers as an approximation.
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