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Over-extraction in a pour-over coffee cone
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JustAcoffeeDrinker
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Joined: 11 Jul 2010
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Sep 16, 2012, 11:32am
Subject: Over-extraction in a pour-over coffee cone
 

I read that coffee releases different flavours as brewing time passes.  If your grinder (say, blade grinder) creates nonuniform chunks of ground coffee, the smaller pieces can over-extract while the larger chunks under-extract.

I use a Melitta #2 single-cup plastic cone that I put a paper filter into, then place the whole thing on top of a cup.  The grounds go into the filter-lined cone, then I pour water through.  The recommended grind is fine.

  1. It seems impossible to over-extract because the coffee goes through once and the extraction time is pretty constant.  It depends marginally on how fine the grind is, but not much.

  2. Assuming that the extraction time is roughly constant, then I guess I can over-extract by grinding too fine, since optimum extraction time decreases with the fine-ness of the grind.

  3. Also, sometimes I make a *large* cup of coffee, and I find it necessary to fill the cone up twice with water to fully fill the cup.  I guess I can over-extract that way too, since this doubles the extraction time.  Wouldn't this mean also that bigger pour-over cones are at risk of over-extracting as well, since they also increase the extraction time?  Unless there are more holes at the bottom of the cone to increase the water throughput and maintain optimum extraction time in the face of a greater volume of water going through.

Do the above 3 points seem reasonable?  (I'm enjoying my large cup of coffee nevertheless).
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Netphilosopher
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Posted Sun Sep 16, 2012, 2:27pm
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JustAcoffeeDrinker
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Joined: 11 Jul 2010
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 8:08pm
Subject: Re: Over-extraction in a pour-over coffee cone
 

I was doing it Starbucks style.  It tkes around 3 minutes for coffee to pass through.  The total volume is 2 cups.  I pour in a ladel to wet the (fine) grounds thoroughly for about 20 seconds, then fill up the cone (1 cup).  As the water drains, just before the grounds stopped being fully immersed, I pour in the 2nd cup (after ensuring it's 94C (201F).  Sometimes, the first cup has fully drained through the cone before I can get the 2nd cup up to temperature.

What's wrong with drowning the coffee grounds?  Isn't that what a press does?

I looked up CCD: Clever Coffee Dripper (http://www.sweetmarias.com/clevercoffeedripperpictorial.php).  Looks quite advanced.  I think I'll try experimenting with my primitive pour-over before venturing into more advanced equipment.

Thanks.
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Netphilosopher
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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2012, 6:41am
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JustAcoffeeDrinker
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Joined: 11 Jul 2010
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Sep 18, 2012, 11:13pm
Subject: Re: Over-extraction in a pour-over coffee cone
 

Thanks for that scientifically intuitive explanation.  I couldn't hep but notice your rather scientific looking avatar.  I bet that a rather complicated many-body simulation could be done on the extraction, but it would require a good model of the actual relinquishment of flavour by the grains of ground coffee, the diffusion of the flavour upward through the immersive hot water, and the flow of water through the bed of grounds.  But I got the gist of it from your much simpler explanation.
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Netphilosopher
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Posted Wed Sep 19, 2012, 10:35am
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JustAcoffeeDrinker
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Joined: 11 Jul 2010
Posts: 35
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Sep 19, 2012, 8:11pm
Subject: Re: Over-extraction in a pour-over coffee cone
 

So that's what I'm guzzling....cool.

Hey, I use to work in an electro-optical characterization lab....never thought to test my coffee that way.
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