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Discussions > Coffee > Machines > I need it strong...  
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Anthorn
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Joined: 5 Sep 2011
Posts: 21
Location: Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Sep 13, 2013, 6:29am
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

On theories, a theory is an invention and is something which is plausible but which has not been proven in fact.

On pod machines and other machines including grinders, we now get into the price:quality ratio where to get better quality and to a lesser extent better convenience we need to pay more. While we will pay more also for a brand name, in general we get what we pay for. But we need to examine whether we actually need the extra quality for more bucks. In my own case of the Bialetti Moka Express for example, I could get the Mukka which in my view was conceived during a moment of madness or the Brikka which brews under a higher pressure and produces crema. But in both cases the end result of the coffee hitting my tongue is no better so for me the cheaper Moka Express is better. Another example in my case is that cheaper grinders work best: A Moka pot works best with a grind which is slightly coarser than Espresso so a cheaper burr grinder which grinds uniformly but unable to achieve an Espresso grind is best.

So while more expensive is generally better it's not necessarily the best for us personally.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,024
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Sep 13, 2013, 9:19am
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

WOW!  Talk about thread drift....

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 695
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Fri Sep 13, 2013, 10:35am
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

MWJB Said:

A typical steep in the Sowden or French press (I'm going to conveniently exclude CCD & Aeropress, for now, as they can be used in such a multitude of ways & both drain through the bed after steeping which *may* have an influence not seen in FP) is ~14g to 240/250g of hot brew water. Grinds added to hot water in the brewer, fold in to the water, light stir, just submerge grounds with plunger & cover. I start to look at the French press after 10-15mins, pour a little out into a cold cup, swirl till lukewarm & taste, looking to see if sweetness when hot is still retained when cool (lower TDS steeps can seem sweet when hot, but become sour when cool). Then pour through the mesh without disturbing the bed as much as possible.

The Sowden (65g to 1200g hot brew water, 1.7 on a Lido) I leave for 40-50mins. Again, test cooled & decide when to pour.

Ultimately extraction time/level is decided by taste (as I do with all steeped brews), when I have checked TDS vs taste, I get ~22% total dissolution (e.g. 53g/l on the brew chart and ~1.15%TDS).

I'm not saying that all coffees taste their best here, or are to everyone's preference for that bean, but this is certainly where I see greatest sweetness & balance. if I were to compare it in that respect to a pourover, that pourover would be in the 19-20% range (with a bit of flexibility due to method).

I can see a correlation to press pots tasting good at 19% total dissolution, and I think these dissolution levels are more common due to typical steep times, many folk may not get much above that, but I struggle to see (or taste) a correlation to 19% yield.

Posted September 13, 2013 link

Fascinating. Whereas I usually brew in a minute or two you brew for the better part of an hour! It would be very interesting to taste your coffee.

How hot is your brew water?
What kind of coffee and roast level do you typically use?
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MWJB
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Joined: 1 Jun 2013
Posts: 164
Location: UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Rocky, Lido, Porlex, Hario...
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Posted Fri Sep 13, 2013, 12:38pm
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

jpender Said:

Fascinating. Whereas I usually brew in a minute or two you brew for the better part of an hour! It would be very interesting to taste your coffee.

How hot is your brew water?
What kind of coffee and roast level do you typically use?

Posted September 13, 2013 link

I have a HasBean subscription (light to medium roasts), also Squaremile from time to time, James Gourmet, Monmouth - but also I'm presented with gifts of coffee (usually much darker roasts) from the work colleagues who share my brews, for the Sowden & FP, I keep to the same routine, the only thing that changes is the time. I look at time as 'something that passes, whilst the coffee steeps' more than a driver of extraction/dissolution in itself, if that makes sense?

I think the Sowden is able to sustain such long steeps because the grinds are contained in a smaller compartment within the brewer (retarding dissolution) & because it's porcelain & holds its heat well. Today Costa Rica Finca de Licho honey Vila Sarchi was almost too sweet...& I have a sweet tooth.

French press is sometimes good to go at 10-15min, for lighter, more floral coffees...more likely though I drink them at 20-30mins. I don't decant, if I'm left with a whole pot to myself for the day, I carry on drinking it cold, from the press, even chill it down in the late afternoon on hot days. I don't plunge, I pour through the mesh (a James Hoffmann tip).

Water is 30seconds off boil & what comes out of the tap at work. At home bottled spring water at 96-97C. I really think it's hard to overextract a steeped brew if the grinds are undisturbed. Bashing the grinds about by stirring/plunging after steeping can introduce "over" style flavours, but TDS doesn't necessarily reflect this, so it's not technically overextraction you are tasting? Also, keeping back the silt helps. Steve P and Jim Schulman really opened my eyes to this over on H-B in a thread there, relating to Scott Rao's thoughts on agitation...we all had our independent ideas on agitation...it seems there was truth (more in what they said, than I) & some dovetailing in what everyone said, even if they didn't necessarily appear to concur right off the bat.

I have also recently decided to always add the grounds to the water when steeping, rather than pour water on the grinds...some brews came our weirdly "brackish" I couldn't work out why, they have stopped now. My guess is it's the localised high agitation & extraction from a jet/stream of water around & over the bed...we aim to get an even grind size & finite time, but some grounds are moseying around in cooler brew water, whilst others are on a lava rollercoaster of brew water if you pour onto the bed, surely this is just another type of unevenness?

From the tasting of developing brew too, the early extraction can be superb, juicy, zingy & bright, often tempting to quit here. Then the brew can turn carbony/irony/blood/charred tasting...it's easy to think you have gone too far here, but more often than not, syrupy sweetness is just around the corner.
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jpender
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jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 695
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Fri Sep 13, 2013, 5:56pm
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

MWJB Said:

At home bottled spring water at 96-97C.

Posted September 13, 2013 link

MWJB Said:

Also, keeping back the silt helps. Steve P and Jim Schulman really opened my eyes to this over on H-B in a thread there, relating to Scott Rao's thoughts on agitation...we all had our independent ideas on agitation...it seems there was truth (more in what they said, than I) & some dovetailing in what everyone said, even if they didn't necessarily appear to concur right off the bat.

Posted September 13, 2013 link

What do you mean by "keeping back the silt"?

MWJB Said:

I have also recently decided to always add the grounds to the water when steeping, rather than pour water on the grinds...some brews came our weirdly "brackish" I couldn't work out why, they have stopped now. My guess is it's the localised high agitation & extraction from a jet/stream of water around & over the bed...we aim to get an even grind size & finite time, but some grounds are moseying around in cooler brew water, whilst others are on a lava rollercoaster of brew water if you pour onto the bed, surely this is just another type of unevenness?

Posted September 13, 2013 link

So you're saying that any agitation is harmful to the taste? No Trifecta in your future? Or do you just mean the initial pour? If so I wonder if that only matters if you're using 96-97C water.

MWJB Said:

From the tasting of developing brew too, the early extraction can be superb, juicy, zingy & bright, often tempting to quit here. Then the brew can turn carbony/irony/blood/charred tasting...it's easy to think you have gone too far here, but more often than not, syrupy sweetness is just around the corner.

Posted September 13, 2013 link

That's very intriguing.
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MWJB
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jun 2013
Posts: 164
Location: UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Rocky, Lido, Porlex, Hario...
Drip: Not enough room to list...
Posted Sat Sep 14, 2013, 12:52am
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

jpender Said:

What do you mean by "keeping back the silt"?


So you're saying that any agitation is harmful to the taste? No Trifecta in your future? Or do you just mean the initial pour? If so I wonder if that only matters if you're using 96-97C water.


That's very intriguing.

Posted September 13, 2013 link

"Keeping back the silt", I essentially mean letting suspended solids sink & settle, then avoiding kicking them back up in to the brew by over agitatingplunging. In his blog James Hoffmann speculated that plunging a French Press may cause additional percolation at that stage, I also wonder if it doesn't simply stir up the bed then squirt undissolved solids through the mesh into the beverage? There will be a some solids in the cup with an unfiltered French press (as with any unfiltered/metal filter brew), of course. "Minimising" would have been a better term for me to have used.

I think if you are brewing in a short space of time, some agitation early on is/can be desirable, even essential for even & optimum extraction (like  an agitating pour/stirring the bloom in a pourover, or typical short steep Aeropress method. I do agitate - even at 96/97C strike temp, just not with steeps). Maybe less wise if sustained, or after a significant/long steep? I wonder if the integrity of the grinds after a long steep (or normal steep with excessive agitation) breaks down producing undisirable, undissolved solids (given that TDS readings may be the same for a foul over-agitated brew, as for a good tasting brew with moderate agitation)?

96-97C is the temp in the kettle at pouring, rather than temp in the vessel at the time of grinds being added...which is undoubtedly less (sorry, I should have made that clearer). I have preheated Fench press & Sowden brewers, however it didn't make a significant difference to brew times, over the periods I have been discussing (I can certainly accept this is more critical for 4-6min steeps). I have seen CCD brews as low as 50-60C at the time of draw down, they certainly tasted different than at 70-80C, but whether they are still "brewing" significantly, or whether the additional time allows a reduction in stratification, I couldn't say?
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jpender
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jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 695
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:53am
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

MWJB Said:

96-97C is the temp in the kettle at pouring, rather than temp in the vessel at the time of grinds being added...which is undoubtedly less (sorry, I should have made that clearer). I have preheated Fench press & Sowden brewers, however it didn't make a significant difference to brew times, over the periods I have been discussing (I can certainly accept this is more critical for 4-6min steeps).

Posted September 14, 2013 link

What I meant when I asked whether it "only matters if you're using 96-97C water" was in reference to your method of adding coffee grounds to the water.

More commonly for an infusion the grounds go into the vessel and then the water is added. Once all the water is added the slurry temperature will be lower due to the heat capacities of both the water and the vessel. But the first grounds to be wetted will briefly be at a hotter temperature. If the brew water is hot enough undesirable components might be extracted in this short space of time, at least that's one possibility.

Let's say for the sake of argument that 97C is hot enough water to do this. If instead the water is added first it will cool somewhat before the grounds are added and so none of the grounds will ever see this temperature water.

You never explicitly said how hot the water is when you add the coffee, just that you preheat the vessels.


Suppose one were to try and replicate your method of long, slow and undisturbed brewing, but instead of a French press or Sowden, using an insulated mason jar for steeping and either a cone filter or an Aeropress for seperating the decanted liquid. What would you do?
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MWJB
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Joined: 1 Jun 2013
Posts: 164
Location: UK
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: Rocky, Lido, Porlex, Hario...
Drip: Not enough room to list...
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 12:19pm
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

jpender Said:

What I meant when I asked whether it "only matters if you're using 96-97C water" was in reference to your method of adding coffee grounds to the water.

More commonly for an infusion the grounds go into the vessel and then the water is added. Once all the water is added the slurry temperature will be lower due to the heat capacities of both the water and the vessel. But the first grounds to be wetted will briefly be at a hotter temperature. If the brew water is hot enough undesirable components might be extracted in this short space of time, at least that's one possibility.

Let's say for the sake of argument that 97C is hot enough water to do this. If instead the water is added first it will cool somewhat before the grounds are added and so none of the grounds will ever see this temperature water.

You never explicitly said how hot the water is when you add the coffee, just that you preheat the vessels.


Suppose one were to try and replicate your method of long, slow and undisturbed brewing, but instead of a French press or Sowden, using an insulated mason jar for steeping and either a cone filter or an Aeropress for seperating the decanted liquid. What would you do?

Posted September 16, 2013 link

"Let's say for the sake of argument that 97C is hot enough water to do this. If instead the water is added first it will cool somewhat before the grounds are added and so none of the grounds will ever see this temperature water." - I don't know whether the water temperature, alone, is enough to extract undesirable elements (97c works OK in pourover, straight onto the grinds), or whether it is that combined with the agitation. Sure, the brew water will have cooled some by the time the vessel is full & grounds are added, but significantly cooler, at fill up, than being poured on to the grinds in the vessel (same vessel & heat capacity)? Good technique when pouring onto grinds should see them all evenly wetted, but in reality are they all evenly wet & at the same temp, given all the floating & blooming?

I've never tried steeping in a mason jar, so that's a variable, I guess (with a tight fitting lid & insulation) it would speed things up over a single wall, glass French press (it doesn't really compare to the smaller brew chamber within the filter for the Sowden)? I would filter in an Aeropress, being careful not to disturb the grinds in the mason jar, don't pour them into the Aeropress. How would you sample the brew to decide when to separate the grinds, spoon some out into a cup (we don't have mason jars here, do they have spouts)? You can try long steeps in the Aeropress inverted, but it loses temp quickly (I have had trouble with the Aeropress long steeps going cold before the sweet spot @ ~50mins, French press type grind), maybe another spare bung in the top?

Why not just try the French press method?
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jpender
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jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 695
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 3:25pm
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

MWJB Said:

I don't know whether the water temperature, alone, is enough to extract undesirable elements (97c works OK in pourover, straight onto the grinds), or whether it is that combined with the agitation.

Posted September 16, 2013 link

That's interesting because when I try to make coffee in an Aeropress at 96-97C I tend to get harsh, bitter flavors. I don't stir other than to initially submerge the grounds.

MWJB Said:

Sure, the brew water will have cooled some by the time the vessel is full & grounds are added, but significantly cooler, at fill up, than being poured on to the grinds in the vessel (same vessel & heat capacity)? Good technique when pouring onto grinds should see them all evenly wetted, but in reality are they all evenly wet & at the same temp, given all the floating & blooming?

Posted September 16, 2013 link

I brewed two cups over the weekend as a test. The first was my usual method with a modified Aeropress (it has a pressure-sensitive release valve), adding the water at 93C to the grounds. I did not preheat the AP. After the grounds were incorporated the slurry temperature was about 82C.

The second brew was in a mason jar using your recipe of 14g of coffee (LIDO 1.7) to 245g of water. I preheated the jar and added the water at 96.8C. The water was then at about 90C. After folding in the coffee gently the slurry dropped to 87.1C. I put the jar in a pot of hot water to keep it warm and let it steep for 20 minutes. When I removed it the slurry temperature was 80C. I then decanted it into the Aeropress.

Aeropress: 18.6% immersion extraction, 1.66% TDS, 16.1% extraction yield, 11.0 brew ratio, LIDO 1.5.
Mason jar: 17.9% immersion extraction, 1.02% TDS, 15.5% extraction yield, 17.4 brew ratio, LIDO 1.7.

The Aeropress coffee was excellent, just the way I like it. I really wanted another cup of it but instead I spent half an hour making the mason jar coffee. That cup was weak on my palate but was otherwise unobjectionable. It didn't have some of the warmer flavor notes that the first cup had. But more significantly, to me at least, it didn't have any of the harshness that I expect from the Aeropress with 97C water.

MWJB Said:

Why not just try the French press method?

Posted September 16, 2013 link

For the simple reason that I don't own one.
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adelemac
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Joined: 4 Mar 2012
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Location: Vancouver, B.C.
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Espresso: MyPressiTwist
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Chemex; EsproPress;...
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 4:06pm
Subject: Re: I need it strong and I need it fast and neat.
 

brandi - my vote goes to the Aeropress - you can make it strong, fast and neat.  I recently started using the Aeropress.  Was hesistant because it recommends using a lower temperature water.  Haven't had any regrets with it - it is easy to use and also fairly forgiving to use.

I have used a moka pot and french press.  Aeropress is quicker and cleaner than those.

I don't have an espresso machine with ESE pods but have not been impressed when I have sampled coffees/espresso made with preground pods.

Aeropress would allow you to use your own coffee, and you would have control to make coffee as strong as you'd like.  The Aeropress is also not very expensive so I'd recommend trying it first.
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