Gates Senior Member Joined: 23 Aug 2012 Posts: 1 Location: San Antonio, TX Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Thu Aug 23, 2012, 8:56am Subject: Burr grinder bitterness
After about 50 years of using a blade grinder and perfecting my recipes for a wide variety of coffees, just a week ago I purchased a Capresso burr grinder. Without exception, every coffee has been bitter in the extreme.
I have adjusted the grind from medium to coarse, with no significant improvement. I have increased the amount of water to no avail. Before I go back to the blade grinder, does anyone out there have a solution to my bitterness problem? Many thanks, Gates
Aside from the fact that the Capresso is more of a bean "crusher" than "grinder", and hence probably creating excess fines wo you're overextracting (just quick diagnostics), information of what coffees and how fresh they are, what brewing methods (pourover, press, siphon, etc.), other equipment, and range or water temperatures you're brewing with will be helpful in more accurately pinning down the problem.
Also your "recipes" - bean/water ratio, etc. will help in pinpointing issues.
However, as I said above, the Capresso is not a good grinder by any stretch of the imagination. The burrset is designed to pulverize, not grind, and pulverizing leads to excess fines, and hence to the bitterness of overextracted coffee.
Adjusting water:coffee ratio is adjusting the primary control for overall strength for a given extraction, but for a given extraction will have little effect on the extraction.
Extraction is primarily controlled by grind level (particle size) and contact time.
Semantics, I know, but this means that if you have a consistent flavor artifact that SEEMS like overextraction, it's highly likely you are doing exactly that (and the fact that grind level doesn't change this overall defect points to the likelihood of presence of quickly-overextracting fines of sufficient amount that it is affecting the flavor).
Some things to try that will alter the extraction itself:
-If you can adjust it, use a lower brewing temperature. This will help stretch the extraction over a longer period of time, and help reduce the amount of bitter flavor extracted. Try something around 190°F or even 180°F just to see what happens.
-If percolating, then reduce your brew water amount on the absolute coarsest grind (if auto drip). This will reduce the time the extraction is happening.
-If press pot, then stop the extraction earlier. Same if CCD, or Eva Solo, etc. (any of the immersion methods).
-Try lower temperature and shorter contact time together.
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