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Sour pour-over brew
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jroach
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Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 4:49pm
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Why is a blade grinder a problem.

A burr grinder controls the size of the 'grain' coming out.  The size will be consistent based on the spacing between the burrs.  (Dull burrs will require more pressure and cause the burrs to push away from each other.)  

A blade grinder just cuts whatever meets the blade.  It may cut off a sliver or it may cut the 'grain' in half.  You have a whole lot of cut stuff but no control.

Think of it this way, with a burr grinder it is like going to the quarry and getting screened pea gravel.  It has been sifted to remove anything that was too big or too small.

A blade grinder is getting a bunch of fill, my be sand, may be stone, may be silt, may be a little of everything.  

If you have inconsistent particle size you will be over extracting on the finest particles and under extracting on the bigger particles, and hitting all points in between.  With the blade grinder you may get drinkable occasionally and may even get a good shot once in a while but at best you will be wildly inconsistent.  

One final thought, espresso is a very demanding extraction of the coffee so control and consistency is paramount that is why, if you cruise around the site, you will all ways see the axiom of Grinder First, then everything else.  

Hope this helps you understand.

Good Luck
Jim
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Frost
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Frost
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Posted Fri May 24, 2013, 9:42am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Pepster Said:

I'd like to push on this a bit; not because I disagree, but because I don't understand

I fully believe the consensus here that a burr grinder will yield a superior grind, and thus superior coffee.
I agree with you that a blade grinder is therefore inherently inferior.

What I don't get is how it could be so inferior that it is downright impossible to get drinkable coffee from it,
..............

Posted May 23, 2013 link

The simplest way is to just taste test for yourself;  find a local source of fresh coffee that will sell both whole bean and quality grind. Take both home and waste some coffee taste testing. I think you are better off using a blender over one of those whirly-whackers.
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Pepster
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Joined: 23 May 2013
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Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri May 24, 2013, 7:32pm
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Intrepid510 Said:

You ratio is way off, for 60 oz of water you will need about 120 grams of water or a little over 4 oz of coffee.

Try with 24 oz of water to your 1.5 oz coffee, first grind 15 seconds in your grinder. When you pour stir the slurry around the entire time too. Shoot for ~4 min brewing time.

Posted May 23, 2013 link

That is the ratio I am using: 700ml (24 oz) of water, 1.5oz coffee.

I just made a batch. Cracked open a fresh bag of beans, 1.5oz on scale.  For the record, 1.5 oz of whole bean coffee is almost exactly 8 TBS or 1/2-cup.  I spun it for 15 seconds in the grinder, actually timing it this time.  Water temp: 205*F at first pour.  Brew time - just over 4 minutes with pretty constant stirring of the slurry.  (I pulled the brewer off even though there was still some water in it.)

First sip - anticipation - and it's crap. Probably one of the worst I've made.  

I think I see what you are referring to as "acidic" - I was calling it "sour" but your term captures it better.  It's definitely not bitter, it's something else.


Len - I'm going to try upping the coffee for the next batch.  12 TBS would be closer to 2 oz coffee.  Thanks for measuring.  

Intrepid: I'll grab a bag of Peet's next time, but I've had this problem with multiple brands.

Next batch: More coffee, Coarser grind.
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hfw
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Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 8:18am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

A couple of thoughts.

I've always been pretty picky about coffee--will usually order tea when out rather than risk the almost always crummy coffee. I agree with others that blade grinders are inferior, but I've made decent coffee with them. I didn't grind by time, but rather by sound and texture. As the nature of whirlies is that a finer grind will be more even, I ground it pretty fine. You can hear the pitch change lower as the particles get smaller and more even. Uneven particles make for uneven extraction. As the water speeds through the uneven particles, the extraction is really only coming from the finer particles--in essence, it's as if you were using only a fraction of the coffee. So, instead of the 2 Tbs : 6 oz you think you're using, effectively it may be only half that.

How is your water? Bad water will make bad coffee. Softened water can be awful. The answer is not distilled water, but may be spring or mineral water. Most unsoftened tap water should be okay, though. (It's not usually about the softness itself, but about the chemicals used.)

What are you using for a receptacle? I'm terribly sensitive to stainless steel, not for everything, but definitely for coffee. Glass, porcelain, stoneware, aluminum(!), and even most plastics are fine, but I just can't do stainless. I'm told it's a genetic thing, pretty unusual but very real.

Hope something here helps!
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Pepster Said:

That is the ratio I am using: 700ml (24 oz) of water, 1.5oz coffee.

I just made a batch. Cracked open a fresh bag of beans, 1.5oz on scale.  For the record, 1.5 oz of whole bean coffee is almost exactly 8 TBS or 1/2-cup.  I spun it for 15 seconds in the grinder, actually timing it this time.  Water temp: 205*F at first pour.  Brew time - just over 4 minutes with pretty constant stirring of the slurry.  (I pulled the brewer off even though there was still some water in it.)

First sip - anticipation - and it's crap. Probably one of the worst I've made.  

I think I see what you are referring to as "acidic" - I was calling it "sour" but your term captures it better.  It's definitely not bitter, it's something else.


Len - I'm going to try upping the coffee for the next batch.  12 TBS would be closer to 2 oz coffee.  Thanks for measuring.  

Intrepid: I'll grab a bag of Peet's next time, but I've had this problem with multiple brands.

Next batch: More coffee, Coarser grind.

Posted May 24, 2013 link

I measured it out myself today:  9 tablespoons fine grind to 24 oz. water.  Brewed in my Technivorm at full immersion setting until about 1/4 inch to top of gold filter, then 1/2 drip setting for remainder of brew.  Came out excellent.  Beans again were Nicaraguan City Roast.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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Intrepid510
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Location: California
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Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 9:54am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

I am not sure what to tell you at this point. You should be getting something that is at least drinkable imho. Yes a burr grinder would be better, but not mandatory. My only other guess would be the beans you are using. Where do you get good coffee out that you would like to emulate?

 
Less water, more grounds.
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Pepster
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Joined: 23 May 2013
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Location: USA
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Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 6:43pm
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

hfw Said:

I agree with others that blade grinders are inferior, but I've made decent coffee with them. I didn't grind by time, but rather by sound and texture. As the nature of whirlies is that a finer grind will be more even, I ground it pretty fine. You can hear the pitch change lower as the particles get smaller and more even. Uneven particles make for uneven extraction. As the water speeds through the uneven particles, the extraction is really only coming from the finer particles--in essence, it's as if you were using only a fraction of the coffee. So, instead of the 2 Tbs : 6 oz you think you're using, effectively it may be only half that.

Posted May 25, 2013 link

I hadn't thought of that.  I was afraid to go too fine for fear of over-extracting. Perhaps I am over-extracting the finer particles because I am not going fine enough.

Just made a fresh batch with a full 2oz of coffee (50% more than before, go big or go home) - but I only pulsed it 15 times because I was afraid I was grinding it to fine.  It was pretty coarse, and the water ran through it in just under 2 minutes, most in the first 60 seconds.  Results: It's not bad - so progress. At least I can confirm that over-extraction was my problem.  

hfw Said:

How is your water? Bad water will make bad coffee. Softened water can be awful. The answer is not distilled water, but may be spring or mineral water. Most unsoftened tap water should be okay, though. (It's not usually about the softness itself, but about the chemicals used.)

Posted May 25, 2013 link

Under-sink filter for the win.  

hfw Said:

What are you using for a receptacle? I'm terribly sensitive to stainless steel, not for everything, but definitely for coffee. Glass, porcelain, stoneware, aluminum(!), and even most plastics are fine, but I just can't do stainless. I'm told it's a genetic thing, pretty unusual but very real.

Posted May 25, 2013 link

I'm brewing into a 24oz travel mug, the interior is plastic.  


I'd like to thank you all for your help!  I have a few more things to try, and Ill report back when I figure it out.  

- Pep
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steamer
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steamer
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Posted Wed May 29, 2013, 2:08pm
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

In my time, I use two TBL spoons of whole beans for 16 oz of water. Yes the spinning grinder is the pits, but you can get a cheap $25 burr grinder from Black and decker that will do better. Also you do not want beans from the roaster, that will give you (IMO) a crappy cup also. Coffee that is more than 14 days from roasting may taste like cardboard. Ground coffee gets bad from the day it was ground and gets worse everyday.
Pour your water slowly over the grounds.
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