Posted Sun Sep 15, 2013, 4:11pm Subject: How to Adjust Grind/Temp/Ratio for Drip?
This is the problem I have been running into lately. I just got a Baratza Virtuoso 586 a month or so ago. I am trying to find the right setting to use with my Behmor Brazen drip brewer. At times, I think I have it dialed in correctly for the bean I'm using, but then I find that the next brew is a bit off, either a tad sour or bitter. This has led me to ponder the following:
If the brew skews sour or bitter, how do I know what variable to adjust: grind size, temperature, ratio? Is there an easy way to tell which to adjust. (For instance, if the brew is sour, I could either adjust the grind finer, use more coffee for the same amount of water, or raise the temperature.)
Up until now, I have been using 38 grams of coffee for 600 mL of water at 202 degrees. Holding these constant, I have been experimenting with setting 17-24 on my Virtuoso. Very few times does the end result taste perfectly balanced. This is leading me to wonder if the sensitivity around the grind is actually due to using the wrong ratio or temp.
Posted Sun Sep 15, 2013, 4:42pm Subject: Re: How to Adjust Grind/Temp/Ratio for Drip?
Well for starters...If the coffee comes out bitter, then the grind is too fine. Bitterness in coffee is a sign of something called "Over-Extraction". Is your coffee brewing more then 8 minutes? If so then grind coarser. If the coffee continues to brew longer then 8 minutes then decease the amount of coffee. Use this Brew Factors infographic from Clive Coffee which helps with every problem with coffee and it tells you what to do regarding bitter/Weak coffee also.
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 6:33am Subject: Re: How to Adjust Grind/Temp/Ratio for Drip?
My son and I both have BraZen brewers. The way we set up the grind was as follows:
We took a dozen new cup-cake paper cups and ground a bit (3-4 beans) at increasing levels (5-10-15-20-25-30-35-40) in our Baratza grinders and strung them out in a row.
We had another cup-cake cup with a pinch of kosher salt. Earlier on, there was a thread about all this and the standard seemed to be "slightly coarser than kosher salt". In my case, the grinder is set at 24.
After that, adjustments up or down can be made as described in previous posts in this thread.
Remember: When you brew 600ml of water (half a pot) the brew will be completed in half the time. So if a full pot completes in 6 minutes, a half-pot will only have 3 minutes of steep time. That makes a difference and you might need to grind finer to compensate.
When I make a mug with my Aeropress, the steep time might only be 60 to 90 seconds with water at (say) 180F. I grind at 12 on the grinder.
Posted Mon Sep 16, 2013, 7:45pm Subject: Re: How to Adjust Grind/Temp/Ratio for Drip?
Thanks, all, for the useful tips. I think this discussion is helping me to realize that I have been over-simplifying the difference between bitter and "over-extracted" coffee. I'll be on the look out, but to me and my relative newbness, it's hard to tell if the difference between coffee that is "too strong" and bitter, but these rules give me a good starting point.
A few follow-up questions...
Netphilosopher, you recommend starting with a 16-17:1 ratio. I know I have seen some very detailed posts of your regarding extraction, so what ratio in your experience has yielded best extraction for drip?
JKalpin, you mentioned that there was a thread earlier that referred to this same topic and the consensus was that the grind should be "slightly coarser than kosher salt." Do you have a link off hand?
And thank for the link to the brewing flow chart, Thecoffeenerd. I found it very informative. Just to confirm, yes, the brew in my Brazen is done in around 5 minutes. (I'm actually relatively glad the brew time is fixed because it's one less variable for me to get caught up on.)
Posted Sat Sep 21, 2013, 12:04pm Subject: Re: How to Adjust Grind/Temp/Ratio for Drip?
Thanks for all the tips. As always, you are a wealth of knowledge, Netphilosopher. This is exactly the information I was looking for.
As a side note, it seems that much of the issue may have been related to the beans I using. I suspect they may have been part of a poorly roasted batch. I got some of the same beans, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, from a different local roaster and the brews have been fantastic since.
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