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Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Flambeur, Dec 2, 2009.
Even a lever won't produce the same cup of coffee as a pressurized method.
I haven't been to either of those places, but have been to the 3 Intelligentsias in LA, as well as Blue Bottle (Mint Plaza) and Sightglass in SF. I'll have to give them a try the next time.
The best pourovers I've had were a cloth filter just straight into a cup, but in one case it was actually a bit overextracted and masked many of the flavors of the coffee. I like acid, but only when in balance and when it makes the coffee sparkle instead of being a thing in and of itself (cf. most 3rd wave coffees). The delicate notes are actually not masked by CCD or even the Peet's brewing process. Florals in good Ethiopian Yirgs (from a local roaster) come through very clearly, as does fruit character like the very distinct blueberries in the dry-process Peet's Ethiopian Supernatural. The acid in Peet's kind of hits you at the end instead of the beginning like most 3rd wavers.
Are you sure? Most 3rd wave shops sell 12 oz bags for what Peet's sells 16 oz bags.
The important thing about brewing Peet's at home or any dark roast for that matter is to use really hot water: I pour boiling water into the grounds whereas with lighter roasts I use water 7-10 degrees (F) cooler. The darker roast makes the grounds harder to penetrate, so you need to be more aggressive in your extraction (hot water, longer steep, more stirring). It was counterintuitive to me initially, but I believe underextracting a dark roast makes it more bitter because the roast character dominates, and you don't get any of the good flavors of the bean.
Y made me a believer of Peet's beans. Could never get my head around the brewed coffee in the shops though.
So you believe that darker roasts require hotter water? I rarely alter temp from one bean to the next, sticking with 200.
I'm sure you've done it before, but can you give me a rundown of what you alter (temp, grind size, immersion time, agitation) and in what order to dial a bean in?
No sweat if it's too much trouble.
I'm not a fan of Blue Bottle or Sightglass. Blue Bottle roasts too dark for me and, although I don't mind Sightglass beans at home, I don't care for pour over at Sightglass.
I realize I am in the minority, but I like the acidity up front. I don't care for coffee with a lot of body. The first thing I ask at a new pour over spot is for their most acidic roast.
My recommendations of Four Barrel and Paper or Plastik may do nothing for you because we are after different tastes from our coffee.
You know, you're right about that. Allegation retracted.
Interesting if too late for me now.
I have the acidity issue when I buy beans from a highly respected roaster (most recently coava, previously heart) and from what I consider to be the best coffee shop in Seattle - also hands down beats Four Barrel in SF, etc. - Milstead & Co. When I brew at home using my Chemex, hand ground aforementioned beans, and 200 h20 the coffee produced is so acidic the half and half practically curdles.
suggestions or, is this truly a matter of taste when it comes to brewed coffee?
Yes, try it next time you make a cup. So many hipster 3rd wavers are so worried about overextraction, and I think it's actually pretty damned hard to overextract, especially with dark roasts.
BTW, the Peet's Columbia Nabusimake is pretty good. It's not quite as characterful as their best beans, but it's very pleasant (lots of chocolate notes, not much else).
On the things that I do to dial something in, there's no particular order, so I just do the easiest things first.
In the following list, do "a" if the coffee is boring or sour. Do "b" if the coffee is too bitter. Coffee is always bitter --- the bitterness just needs to be balanced with the other flavors.
1. Grind size (If you're using a whirlyblade, just grind longer for finer grinds, but you should really get a burr grinder if you care this much)
a: grind finer
b: grind larger2. Steep time (We're talking minimum increment of 30-60 seconds. Don't sweat things down to single-digit seconds.)
a: longer steep time
b: shorter steep time.3. Water temp (This is inside a 20-degree window from boiling; don't try much below 190F unless you like really sour coffee.)
b: cooler4. Stirring
a: longer and/or faster stirring
b. less and/or slower stirring
1&2 can cause the biggest range of changes, while 3&4 can make smaller, but still meaningful differences.
That's the basics, and there are other things you can do. Two of which are:
1. Brew ratio. Standard doctrine is 60 grams of grounds per liter of water. It turns out this figure is completely arbitrary and derived from a survey taken over 50 years ago.
a. Increase brew ratio. I use between 75-80 g/L these days (25 g coffee in 318 g water in a CCD)
b. There's no b. Maybe you just don't like coffee.2. Drink the coffee cooler. Don't drink so hot that it's almost scalding your tongue. Don't drink it lukewarm either. A lot of the flavors can't be perceived if you drink it too hot.
I really appreciate the information, and I'm going to try to get to those places. I didn't think Peet's was drinkable a couple of years ago, and now I'm defending them. Maybe I'll change my mind again.
Try the "a" actions above before giving up, and be aggressive about it. Have you tried the Coava Kilenso? It's a dry-process bean that is less acidic, and is one of the best light-roasted beans I've had. Lots of chocolate and blueberry in it.
Great info from A Y. My tips for pour over for those still wanting to try. This was over a year of trying various methods.
Ratio - 20 grams beans to 300ml water (Woodneck or V60) or 40 grams beans to 600ml water (Chemex). I find my favorite cafes (Four Barrel, Stumptown) use this ratio.
A burr grinder is HIGHLY recommended.
Thoroughly rinse the filter with hot water before adding grounds.
After dumping the ground beans into the filter, shake it several times to force the grounds to settle. The idea is to eliminate channeling.
I personally do not divot the grounds, stir the grounds or do anything to the grounds other than pour hot water.
Start in the center and pour in outward circle, but not all the way to the edge. Ideally, I end up with grounds that look like a volcano (edge higher than center) when done draining.
Never let the water level get higher than the outer edge of the grounds.
With 300ml of water in the Woodneck, I aim for the stream to turn to drips around the 3 min. mark (includes 20 sec. of pre-bloom). With 600ml in the Chemex, I aim for the 5-5:30 mark (30 sec. pre-bloom). I adjust my grind accordingly.
Also, I found a flow restrictor for my Buono kettle to really help with the woodneck.
I've only ever had CCDs from gimmee and I was never a fan. It had too much of the sitting on a coffee plate too long taste and I felt like it masked a lot of the flavors. But maybe it was how they brewed it.
This is the nicest video on milk steaming I've seen so far.
Y what is it that makes one darker roast better than another. There seems to be this overall hate for dark roasts. Is it simply because they need to use hotter water like you outline? Or is it because generally darker roasts drunk are done so with crappy beans unlike Peet's? Also, would a french press be a bad way to enjoy dark Peet's roasts, or would you just have to adjust one or more of the variables?
Affogato al caffè. May not look like much but it's delicious and perfect for the weather (90°F which feel like 100°F).
Isn't that espresso with ice cream?
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