Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Coffee: Questions and Answers
How to test TDS in coffee?
Barista Tools
Large selection of tampers, pitchers, milk frothers and much more!
www.espressozone.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > How to test TDS...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 2 of 3 first page | last page previous page | next page
Author Messages
Thecoffeenerd
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2013
Posts: 215
Location: N/A
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: N/A
Grinder: Baratza Encore, Bodum Bistro...
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Bunn Phase Brew 8 Cup, Hario...
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Feb 5, 2014, 1:20pm
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

Well, I'm waiting to get a newer grinder. And yes, I love to use the best and freshest beans possible, but in the past my coffee has always been off. And I think it's because of my proportions and or brewing equipment including the grind size. Now I own a commercial coffee brewer and use far more coffee, and i'm always determined to use the right grind every time. I just wanna be sure my coffee extraction percentages are correct. Some kind of TDS meter should help me determine that. But I realized they don't go through the range I need them to, so I figured why not look at a digital refractometer?

 
"You can't make good coffee, without good coffee" -Thecoffeenerd
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
andys
Senior Member
andys
Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 813
Location: NY
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Speedster, Londinium 1
Grinder: EK-43,Robur, HG One, M3
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: various
Roaster: PIDed Popper
Posted Wed Feb 5, 2014, 6:00pm
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

DavecUK Said:

I just don't know where to start....

Posted February 5, 2014 link

That is obvious. Out of kindness, I'll make a suggestion. :-)

You start by trying things out diligently for yourself, instead of simply repeating other people's prejudices.

 
-AndyS
picture page:  http://flickr.com/photos/andy_s/sets/
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,326
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 6:46am
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

andys Said:

That is obvious. Out of kindness, I'll make a suggestion. :-)

You start by trying things out diligently for yourself, instead of simply repeating other people's prejudices.

Posted February 5, 2014 link

Andy, you know nothing about me and whether I am repeating other peoples prejudices or not and have quoted 6 words of a longer post. People like  So out of kindness, I'll also make a suggestion, unless you have something useful to add and not a personal attack on me..STFU.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 8:44am
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

DavecUK Said:

I just don't know where to start....

The only rational way that makes any sense for testing coffee is to taste it.

TDS - conductivity based (useless)
Refractometer - also useless

The above 2 instruments readings are meaningless in telling you anything useful about the coffee, because of the way both of them work and their inability to measure the interaction of a number of complex compounds/conditions that greatly affect the taste of coffee. I don't know when or how all this stuff got started, but seems to have become a shared belief (even by the SCAA) akin to religious faith.

Posted February 5, 2014 link

Dave, you seem so adamantly opposed to the idea that a refractometer can be useful to any degree.  Have you ever used one? I've read some interesting comments regarding how some people have fround them useful, and some of those people have added some stipulations of what criteria need to be addressed to make them useful. I find you very knowledgeable, but at the same time, you seem to be reluctant to accept ideas that you don't already subscribe to (sorry, I don't mean this as an attack)...so I'm wondering if you've come to your conclusions about the utility of a refractometer through experience or reading?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,326
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 1:18pm
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

emradguy Said:

Dave, you seem so adamantly opposed to the idea that a refractometer can be useful to any degree.  Have you ever used one? I've read some interesting comments regarding how some people have fround them useful, and some of those people have added some stipulations of what criteria need to be addressed to make them useful. I find you very knowledgeable, but at the same time, you seem to be reluctant to accept ideas that you don't already subscribe to (sorry, I don't mean this as an attack)...so I'm wondering if you've come to your conclusions about the utility of a refractometer through experience or reading?

Posted February 6, 2014 link

Yes I have used one extensively during my time in research. The device has limitations on what it can measure, especially when measuring combinations of complex substances and coffee...no that's not the right sort of thing to measure with one. They also have other limitations when measuring hot liquids that are rapidly cooling, settlement of suspended particles/colloids will be another problem. However, I'm not going into it any further as that's a part of my life that's behind me now. ..I am also not reluctant to accept ideas I don't already subscribe to...far from it. That said, I won't necessarily go with something just because it's a shared belief and the SCAA use it (I believe).

I'll say again

TDS meters conductivity based = useless for telling you anything about coffee (however you will see them sold puporting to do this very thing)
Refractometers = Will tell you something, but not the something you need to know

Sometimes a gadget just isn't required and it does appear that that many Amercians (sorry trying not to be insulting), like scientific sounding solutions to simple problems, often over engineering a solution where it's not required. It's something that, unfortunately, has increasingly become a trait in the UK. I put this down to marketing (powerful marketing) and pseudo science.

Take a modern factory prepared cake using the latest technology, hi tech ingredients, hi tech thermometry, special hi tech ovens mixers and sterilization procedures and then Grandmas fruitcake....I know before I taste it which one is better. Now give that same factory all the ingredients grandma used and ask them to make the cake (obviously they need to scale the ingredients)....Grandmas is still going to taste better. Give those same ingredients to you and Grandmas recipe and...probably...grandmas will still taste better. Sometimes simple is best and when it comes to coffee, simply tasting it, because that's what the person you give it to is going to do, they're not going to stick it in a refractometer or do anything else funny with it.

Coffee roasting is an art, I remember seeing a large Coffee Roasters home page website picture of white coats and clipboards walking round large steel boxes with pushbuttons and computer screens. I felt it was not somewhere I would want to buy my coffee from. Making Coffee is an art. Machines don't make great art. A major coffee retailer introduced push button machines for making coffee and apparently it was better...but that's only because it was so bad to begin with.

When something new is presented to me, I research it, sometimes I read, actually try it, even buy something and test it...sometimes all 3. I draw on past experience and I often conduct tests. I never dismiss it out of hand without any knowledge I see many things discussed on here, equipment, roasters etc.. a lot of which I have tried and a lot of which is shite, There was a particular roaster that is being sold that I tested. I told the retailer/importer concerned it was unsafe and could catch fire. They thought I was biased and sent it to someone else to use....and it caught fire! They now always listen to me. Unfortunately I am often not allowed to disclose my thoughts about much of the equipment I have tried...because it's never published and usually doesn't enter the UK market through any retailers I work with. On of whom actually wanted to sell this stuff for analysing coffee.

However....if people want to go out any buy this stuff to test their coffee, rather than just taste it.....fine, because I'm not bothering with the thread any longer.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 2:24pm
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

DavecUK Said:

Yes I have used one extensively during my time in research.

Posted February 6, 2014 link

glad to hear that

DavecUK Said:

I am also not reluctant to accept ideas I don't already subscribe to...far from it.

Posted February 6, 2014 link

glad to hear this too. This is why I said seem to, but I think that's at least in part from the nature of communicatinig via a forum, rahter than in person.

DavecUK Said:

That said, I won't necessarily go with something just because it's a shared belief and the SCAA use it (I believe).

Posted February 6, 2014 link

I fully agree and support this concept.

DavecUK Said:

Sometimes a gadget just isn't required and it does appear that that many Amercians (sorry trying not to be insulting), like scientific sounding solutions to simple problems, often over engineering a solution where it's not required. It's something that, unfortunately, has increasingly become a trait in the UK. I put this down to marketing (powerful marketing) and pseudo science.

Posted February 6, 2014 link

I understand where that first part came from and don't take it as an insult. Marketing sucks!  In the coffee sense of things, I couldn't agree more with your grandma example and the concept that nothing's going to help you more than tasting what your making.  Afterall, that's entirely why we make it.  Aside from that, I have been curious if a refratometer is an instrument worth having ("worth" being subjective).  If I were to align my entire thought process parallel to yours, I'd have to say no, but I have seen some people purporting to get some benefit from one.  Does this mean it's going to be worth it to me?  I don't know. I choose not to decide for the next year or two. If, at the end of that process, I decide no, I won't buy one. If I decide yes, then I'll either waste a lot of money or get something out of it.

DavecUK Said:

However....if people want to go out any buy this stuff to test their coffee, rather than just taste it.....fine, because I'm not bothering with the thread any longer.

Posted February 6, 2014 link

OK, Dave, take your ball and go home...your choice. I prefer to discuss coffee with people who like discussing coffee anyways.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
hankua
Senior Member
hankua
Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 238
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Salvatore One Black
Grinder: Pharos,Rossi RR45OD, Lido,...
Drip: CCD
Roaster: Yang-Chia 800n
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 5:21pm
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

Ha Ha! Pretty funny and good to hear opinions or research on coffee measuring tools. Dave brings up a good question; is there a repeatable correlation between refractive index and brewed coffee taste?

Can the OP achieve more consistency in his coffee prep using a refractometer?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 6:12pm
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

yeah, Dave often brings up good points, he sometimes expounds on them, he also sometimes gets annoyed with everyone else and decides he's not going to participate in the discussion anymore.  I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that this occurs when he gets tired of explaining the rationale behind his comments...like we're all supposed to take it on face value that he's right.  He often is right, but not always, and despite that some people want to know why.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
andys
Senior Member
andys
Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 813
Location: NY
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Speedster, Londinium 1
Grinder: EK-43,Robur, HG One, M3
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: various
Roaster: PIDed Popper
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 8:53pm
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

DavecUK Said:

Andy, you know nothing about me and whether I am repeating other peoples prejudices or not and have quoted 6 words of a longer post. People like  So out of kindness, I'll also make a suggestion, unless you have something useful to add and not a personal attack on me..STFU.

Posted February 6, 2014 link

You're right , I know nothing about you, so I searched a little on coffeegeek. You seem to be quite knowledgeable about coffee machinery and you've taken a lot of time to answer people's questions. For those things, you have my respect.

On the refractometer issue, your arguments against it are really weak -- simply a list of unsupported personal opinions.

Obviously, coffee refractometry is controversial -- we all see it regularly disparaged by the self-righteous internet "taste police" -- of which, apparently, you are a member.

But...this is a tool used enthusiastically by many of the finest baristas, cafes and roaster working today. So when you say this...

DavecUK Said:

The only rational way that makes any sense for testing coffee is to taste it.

TDS - conductivity based (useless)
Refractometer - also useless

Posted February 6, 2014 link

...AND offer no rationale or evidence to back up your claim, you imply these baristas, cafes, and roasters are idiots and/or some kind of deluded religious zealots.

You should expect some pushback on that point.

These people are not idiots, and if you don't address their refractometer usage with at least some curiosity and respect, you should not expect any respect back in return.

 
-AndyS
picture page:  http://flickr.com/photos/andy_s/sets/
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Feb 7, 2014, 9:30am
Subject: Re: How to test TDS in coffee?
 

DavecUK Said:

Yes I have used one extensively during my time in research. The device has limitations on what it can measure, especially when measuring combinations of complex substances and coffee...no that's not the right sort of thing to measure with one. They also have other limitations when measuring hot liquids that are rapidly cooling, settlement of suspended particles/colloids will be another problem. However, I'm not going into it any further as that's a part of my life that's behind me now.

Posted February 6, 2014 link

So, I've decided not to let this go after all.... When was this research?  As you are well aware, technology changes a lot of things over time, and many things become useful in ways they previously weren't. Also, it seems clear to me that you have taken principles from your research in one field and applied it to another.  Was your research even in coffee? And I'd like to reword my question...Have you ever used a VST refractometer as it was intended? I think in order to say something is useless, one needs to give it a fair chance throughout the process of getting to know it - like you do when you review a new machine. My suspicion is that you would likely find it has some use and benefit, and if it were...say...$50 maybe you'd even back it as a helpful instrument.  Then again, maybe not. As has been said many, many times, "worth" is subjective.

As Andy showed me in another thread a while back, sometimes we forget important things we once knew quite well. So I, personally, won't make that mistake again. Hopefully, you're not making it now.

Oh wait, I just remembered...you're not participating in this discussion anymore.  Oh well.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 2 of 3 first page | last page previous page | next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > How to test TDS...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
LavAzza Espresso Machines
Awesome capsule espresso machines. Perfect for home, office and restaurant applications.
www.espressozone.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.399035215378)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+