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Pepster
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Joined: 23 May 2013
Posts: 6
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 6:42am
Subject: Sour pour-over brew
 

Okay coffee gurus.

After much reading, and a long history with K-cups I've started experimenting with pour-over brewing.  I have not met with success.

I consistently produce a sour nearly undrinkable cup of swill.  Despite having the ability to control most aspects of the process,  I cannot produce something that even rivals the coffee at the local gas station.  Time and time again I get crap that pales in comparison to my Keurig brewing K-cups I bought a year ago on sale (I know you all just shuddered, go ahead and judge me).  

I started trying pour-over because I could brew an entire "pot" (50-60oz or 8 "cups")  at once into my thermal carafe. I poured as much coffee down the drain as I consumed. All of it sour and simply put - nasty. I changed grounds multiple times, then bought a grinder and bought whole beans. no dice.  I triple checked brew temperature, adjusted the grinds/liquid ratio with minimal and inconsistent results.  I watched the clock to keep my brew time consistent... nothing.  Finally, I got a 24oz thermal mug so I could brew smaller batches, but I have yet to get a cup I like.

My current process:

Setup:
  * Cosco 24oz thermal travel mug
  * Melitta plastic pour-over funnel
  * Melitta #4 white paper filter cone
  * Krups 203 blade grinder, used only for coffee
  * ChefMate electric kettle and Thermapen
  * Digital scale

Ingredients:
  * Whole bean, medium roast.  Various brands (8 O'clock, etc) purchased recently from supermarket.
  * Filtered Water
  * Cream & Splenda

Technique:
  *  Measure 1.50oz whole bean coffee into grinder
  *  Put ~0.75 liters of water into hotpot (It measures in metric, this is about 24oz of water)
  *  While hotpot comes to near-boil, grind coffee for about 10 seconds
  *  Pour grinds into filter. (I've experimented with adding a pinch of salt, per Alton Brown)
  *  Stop hotpot just before boil or allow to sit for 90s - check temp to ensure it is 200-205 F
  *  Pour water over grinds, stirring slurry to ensure saturation. It usually takes 2-3 installments.
  *  Allow coffee to drain through grounds, add cream and splenda, stir.
  *  Drink
  *  Frown. Hang head in shame.

Now, I KNOW I should be using a $75 burr grinder on beans that I just pulled directly from the roasting drum in order to get the "best" coffee... but I refuse to believe that I can't get a drinkable cup of coffee with this setup.  The coffee I get has a powerful, up-front sour flavor that just overwhelms the palate. At first I thought the brew temp was too hot (I was using "Just off the boil" water) or that I wasn't using enough grinds (I started at 1 TBS ground per 6oz cup) or the brew time was too long (when I was brewing a whole carafe).  I've run out of things to fix!

I'm not a connoisseur. I don't savor each sip, or focus in the finer floral notes that differentiate between various ban varietals. I enjoy a standard cup of coffee from the local diner, Dunkin' doughnuts, or heck even the Citgo station on the way to work.  I know these are often from bags of pre-ground coffee run through a drip machine and often left to sit in the pot/carafe for hours.  And yet I cannot do any better!  

What should I try next?  I'd love to go drop 20 bucks on super premium beans, but I'm convinced I'll just ruin them too.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 8:47am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

For my Clever coffee maker (an immersion - release type of pourover) I use the 5 cup setting on my Breville Smart Grinder (set to fine grind) to 11 fluid oz of hot water.  Excellent results all the time.  Off of the top of my head I think the 5 cup setting comes out to a total of 6 tablespoons of coffee grounds.

I believe your 1.5 oz of whole beans is much too little of an amount of beans to use with the amount of water you are using.  Try my ratio and see how it works for you.

When I first starting using whole beans years ago I often purchased 8 o'clock.  I roast my own now; in a pinch I bought some 8 o'clock a couple years ago and then found them to be a bit acidic.  

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

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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Pepster
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Joined: 23 May 2013
Posts: 6
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 9:40am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Depending upon where I look for a reference, my 1.5oz of beans is somewhere between 8 and 10 TBS of grounds for 24 oz of liquid, so our ratios may not be that far apart.   Before I started weighing, I was using a 2 level TBS - 6oz water ratio, which is shy of what you are using. I'll measure my next batch and shoot for 12 TBS and 22oz Water.  (I'll also confirm how many TBS in 1.5oz)

Any rules of thumb for judging grind?  What should "Fine" grounds resemble?  When you pointed out the grind setting, it occurred to me I'm simply running the grinder until the beans look like coffee grounds. The 10s figure is pretty ballpark.  

Also - do "Acidic" and "Sour" equate, or are they different dimensions?

Meanwhile, I'll check my ratio and report back. Thanks!
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
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Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 10:17am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Pepster Said:

.......
  * Krups 203 blade grinder, used only for coffee
..........

Posted May 23, 2013 link

I stopped readying when I got to this problem.
You can't grind coffee with a blade grinder.
You will never get a good extraction with the vastly uneven particle sizes.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,360
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Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
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Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 11:18am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Pepster Said:

Depending upon where I look for a reference, my 1.5oz of beans is somewhere between 8 and 10 TBS of grounds for 24 oz of liquid, so our ratios may not be that far apart.   Before I started weighing, I was using a 2 level TBS - 6oz water ratio, which is shy of what you are using. I'll measure my next batch and shoot for 12 TBS and 22oz Water.  (I'll also confirm how many TBS in 1.5oz)

Any rules of thumb for judging grind?  What should "Fine" grounds resemble?  When you pointed out the grind setting, it occurred to me I'm simply running the grinder until the beans look like coffee grounds. The 10s figure is pretty ballpark.  

Also - do "Acidic" and "Sour" equate, or are they different dimensions?

Meanwhile, I'll check my ratio and report back. Thanks!

Posted May 23, 2013 link

Frost makes a good point about the grinder.  Because of varying particle size due to the blade grinder you use you likely are getting overextraction on some particles.   Acidic and sour are a related taste sensation, however I think that a better definition of sour is more of an overpowering acidic taste, like sour apple acidic instead of orange juice acidic.

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

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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Pepster
Senior Member


Joined: 23 May 2013
Posts: 6
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 11:26am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Frost Said:

I stopped readying when I got to this problem.
You can't grind coffee with a blade grinder.
You will never get a good extraction with the vastly uneven particle sizes.

Posted May 23, 2013 link

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, especially given their incredible popularity. I'm not looking to make the finest cup of coffee on the planet, just a drinkable mug of joe.  I can't quite explain it, but I can understand how the quality of the coffee might be slightly compromised, I can't fathom how it could be ruined. Especially when there are folks doing side by side tests like this. Go take a look, the blade ground coffee was reviewed as "caramel, buttery, light, lacking rich flavor profile" and "light flavor, tea like, faint notes, no real acidity or finish",  not "coffee was undrinkable mud".  

Put another way:
   It makes sense to me that "Burr grinder" is the answer to I make OK coffee, how can I make great coffee?
   It does not make sense to me that "Burr grinder" is the only answer to how do I make OK coffee?

What am I missing?
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Pepster
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Joined: 23 May 2013
Posts: 6
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 11:41am
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

Frost makes a good point about the grinder.  Because of varying particle size due to the blade grinder you use you likely are getting overextraction on some particles.  

Posted May 23, 2013 link

So the Acidic/Sour flavor is a symptom of OVER-extraction?

Am I right in thinking coarser grind and less brew time are things to try?
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,360
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
Grinder: Breville Smartgrind,...
Vac Pot: Vintage Silex, Nicro...
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster...
Roaster: javaPRO-CRC AIR Fluid Bed...
Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 12:38pm
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

Pepster Said:

So the Acidic/Sour flavor is a symptom of OVER-extraction?

Am I right in thinking coarser grind and less brew time are things to try?

Posted May 23, 2013 link

Bitterness is typically a result of overextraction.  Here is a good article on extraction of coffee:
http://www.gallacoffeeblog.co.uk/overextracted-coffee/

Are you getting any bitter notes that when combined with the acidic 8'oclock coffee is resulting in a sour taste?

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

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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Intrepid510
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Joined: 30 Dec 2010
Posts: 344
Location: California
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 2:05pm
Subject: Re: Sour pour-over brew
 

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.

Also try a PEET's roast, like Major Dickenson's

 
Less water, more grounds.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Senior Member
CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,360
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
Grinder: Breville Smartgrind,...
Vac Pot: Vintage Silex, Nicro...
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster...
Roaster: javaPRO-CRC AIR Fluid Bed...
Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 4:00pm
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.

Also try a PEET's roast, like Major Dickenson's

Posted May 23, 2013 link

Whose is off, my ratio or the OP's?

I am drinking a clever right now.  My wife made it for me using our smart grinder.  She said the coffee grounds (ground fine) measured between  1/3 cup and 1/2 cup dry measure.  Steeped that for 4 minutes in 11 fluid oz. of water.  Gold filter.  Came out great as usual.  Full body, not bitter, not sour.  Beans were a Nicaraguan roasted to City.

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

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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