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What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
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calblacksmith
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 6:21am
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

Granted it at a commercial site and ported for Bunn but the information is good and gives a basic grounding in brewing pour over coffee and is based on SCAA guidlines.
http://www.bunn.com/catalog/index.html

 
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Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

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TheSunInsideYou
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 6:54am
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

jpender Said:

It's obvious that a finer grind results in faster extraction. But assuming the same final extraction, does the grind influence taste?

Posted March 27, 2014 link

Well, yes, but obviously it's more complicated than a simple "yes." I think the most quantifiable taste difference would be in the concentration of the beverage. Achieving the same extraction with a finer grind will also mean a higher TDS%. Because of this, the concentration, or strength, of the beverage will be higher, and therefore the flavor will be more "intense." It's a little bit of a double edged sword, though, as increasing the strength usually also decreases the clarity. The flavors will be more intense, but perhaps a bit harder to distinguish.

-Dave-
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 8:57am
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

Sometimes it's difficult to read "tone of voice" in a post.  Some of my answers might "sound" curt, because they're terse, but trust me -- I think they're great questions.  

jpender Said:

I think you're making an assumption about the solubility of the various compounds in coffee.

Posted March 27, 2014 link

No.

You're implying that saturation has an effect in immersion brews. But are there data to support that?

Your inference was not my implication.  I don't know what data are available, as I've never surveyed the literature.  Things being what they are, I imagine there's been at least one study.  

I was under the impression that a relatively coarse grind is used in traditional French press in order to minimize grit passing through the screen whereas drip grinds are chosen with an eye toward total percolation time.

"Under the impression" was great word choice. :D Bravo, sir.  Bravo.  

Pun appreciation out of the way, you're right.  But... even though the motivation behind choosing the grind size might not have much to do with extraction rate, the extraction rates are as they are.  We work with or around them by varying things like immersion time, flow rate, and brew-water temperature.  

A problem with FP is that many grinders don't actually do coarse without a lot of fines -- the coarser, the higher percentage of fines.  So, coffee drinkers are left with the irony that the coarser the grind the more mud.  FP workarounds for controlling sediment from those grinders have emerged, involving grinding finer, like the "French Pull," or the "Just Live With The Mud, There's Actually Less of It" techniques.    

Aeropress, also an immersion method but with a different filtration scheme, is often done with a grind much finer than drip.

True, or at least true sometimes.  There are too many Aeropress brewing variations for me to keep track of.  The point being, that there are a lot of variations which involving grind size, immersion time, flow rate, and temperature.  Without isolating the variables, you can't do much in the way of drawing valid conclusions.  

It's obvious that a finer grind results in faster extraction. But assuming the same final extraction, does the grind influence taste?

Don't know.  

There are a lot of different "in the cup" characteristics, including nuance, complexity, clarity, flavor separation, and mouthfeel as well as the acidy, fruity, "high end notes," and nutty-choco "low notes."  I'm guessing that the extremes of grind sizes do matter to taste -- but just guessing.  

Also, other things -- including temperature -- control extraction rate.  For instance, I've just started "ice  drip" brewing, grinding to the same size ("5" on the Trifecta dial of my Bunnzilla) I grind for Chemex +  Kone and balance-beam siphon.  There's a huge difference between the three hour, fruit-free, ice-drip, and ~4min, juicy, hot-brews (juicy).  But there's also a rather large difference in taste between the pour over and immersion methods -- which I don't think is entirely explicable by yield.

Rich
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MWJB
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 10:25am
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

But there's also a rather large difference in taste between the pour over and immersion methods -- which I don't think is entirely explicable by yield.

Rich

Posted March 30, 2014 link

You are confusing the measurement of yield, with the sensory evalation of taste & detection of a multitude of available compounds in the same coffee. Yield alone never has fully dictated taste, more 'balance of taste' assuming good protocol.

Pour over - we're looking really to rinse solubles from the grinds, it has been suggested that in these scenarios we are primarily washing solubles from around the surface of the grinds. Grind size dictates the level of extraction...evenness of grind/extraction may affect where the ideal yield is for that grind/grind quality/brewer. Also, as we are washing out solubles, we are washing them out in order of solubility, grind size seems to affect how they layer/stratify in the cup (subject to stirring). Paper has an effect on taste too, not simply in contributing "paper taste" but also in what the filter let's, pass compared to what it doesn't (assuming equivalent yield & reasonable evenness).

Immersion yield is measured a little differently to extraction yield these days. But with immersion there is little to suggest that grind size has a big/significant effect on speed of extraction. I have more questions about grind shape in this respect. If you grind too coarse you may clamp the upper limit of extraction, but normally this is in the region of 21-23% (immersion yield). Finer grinds seem to give a more evenly extracted beverage (less stratification). Comparisons with percolation are utterly pointless (e.g. a fine grind extracts in 30 seconds). If anyone can provide a reliable guide to how fast 'espresso' grinds extract in a French press (excluding agitation & assuming comparable speed in wetting of grounds), compared to coarse grinds, I'd love to see it.

French pull has little significant effect on silt, in itself (unless you augment filtration, which it's possible collecting the grinds in a puck above the brew can affect somewhat), it's more aimed at killing the extraction dead & removing grinds from the beverage so they can't extract further...beyond taste preference (which is personal & entirely valid), this is pretty much unnecessary, your coffee will normally be cold before it overextracts (in the CBI/SCAA sense) in a French press (though you may well have a subjective preference for the coffee before this point).
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jpender
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 11:16am
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Your inference was not my implication.

Posted March 30, 2014 link

You said: "The actual contact time for a particular volume of water (say each 50ml out of a 750ml pour) in a pour over is considerably less than that for the same volume of water in an immersion brewer.  It makes sense then, that most drip brewers function best with medium grinds and most presses with coarse grinds."

Why would it matter whether the coffee was repeatedly exposed to fresh water versus immersed in a solution of ever increasing concentration of dissolved solids?
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jpender
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 11:28am
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

TheSunInsideYou Said:

Achieving the same extraction with a finer grind will also mean a higher TDS%.

Posted March 30, 2014 link

I don't know what definition of extraction you're using. For a percolation method like pour over it's usually equated to the ratio of the yield of dissolved solids in the cup to the initial ground coffee. In that case, provided you produce a cup of coffee of the same weight, achieving the same extraction guarantees you'll have the same %TDS.

%TDS = %extraction * ground_coffee_weight / beverage_weight

The standard SCAA brew chart is a graphical example of this relationship. On the x-axis you have the extraction and on the y-axis the %TDS.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 11:55am
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

jpender Said:

The standard SCAA brew chart is a graphical example of this relationship. On the x-axis you have the extraction and on the y-axis the %TDS.

Posted March 30, 2014 link

That is why I linked to a reference that has it in it.
http://www.bunn.com/catalog/index.html
In specific
Click Here (www.bunn.com)

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 1:08pm
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

MWJB Said:

You are confusing the measurement of yield, with the sensory evalation of taste & detection of a multitude of available compounds in the same coffee. Yield alone never has fully dictated taste, more 'balance of taste' assuming good protocol.

Posted March 30, 2014 link

Mike,

Read more carefully.  I'm not confusing yield with taste.  On the contrary, I said -- very clearly -- that my opinion was that yield was not responsible for every aspect of taste.  You're confusing what I said with something someone else may have said.

Rich
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MWJB
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 2:20pm
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Mike,

Read more carefully.  I'm not confusing yield with taste.  On the contrary, I said -- very clearly -- that my opinion was that yield was not responsible for every aspect of taste.  You're confusing what I said with something someone else may have said.

Rich

Posted March 30, 2014 link

Apologies, I interpreted your intent wrongly. We agree on that front.  

I do think it can be tricky to totally normalise yield expectation/targets accross different protocols, brewers & drinking temp, especially at the same brew ratio. So (all things being equal, if that's possible) big shifts in acidity & sweetness can be yield related, more nuanced shifts may be detectable closer to parity.
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TheSunInsideYou
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Posted Sun Mar 30, 2014, 2:49pm
Subject: Re: What is the relationship between the grind setting and coffee flavor?
 

jpender Said:

I don't know what definition of extraction you're using. For a percolation method like pour over it's usually equated to the ratio of the yield of dissolved solids in the cup to the initial ground coffee. In that case, provided you produce a cup of coffee of the same weight, achieving the same extraction guarantees you'll have the same %TDS.

%TDS = %extraction * ground_coffee_weight / beverage_weight

The standard SCAA brew chart is a graphical example of this relationship. On the x-axis you have the extraction and on the y-axis the %TDS.

Posted March 30, 2014 link

Right, I concur with that. But wouldn't a finer grind produce a heavier cup because of the increased solubility of the coffee and therefore more solubles in the output (i.e. a more concentrated beverage)? Perhaps that would be impossible without changing the extraction.

-Dave-
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