Giving up on Keurig, tried stove-top perc, want to try French Press

MntnMan62

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Nov 15, 2019
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New Jersey
Everyone has their opinion of how to make coffee. Me included. Obviously. He said to grind medium/course. I like mine a bit finer. He said steep for 3:30. I steep for 4 minutes. I don't count the additional 7 minutes after scooping floating grinds and foam as "steep" time. The idea is that the grinds that are still floating are still extracting. Those that have sunk to the bottom are fully extraxted and therefore, scooping the floaties stops the brew process. What happens after the scoop effort is not brewing or steeping but something else. I'm not sure what you call it but it's not brewing. I'm going to go out on a limb here. I don't think your palette likes french press coffee. I think I recall you saying you might try other brew methods. I think that's probably not a bad idea. A Bodum or Chemex pour over carafe and filter is all of $20. You have everything else you need. Give that a try. You may save yourself a whole lot more aggravation.
 
OP
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Apr 29, 2020
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I have given thought to changing my method of brewing. I might need another kettle though; The one I've got has a 'regular' spout, not the long narrow one that is best for pour-over. I suppose it would be possible to do pour-over with the pot I own, but it's going to be a bit tricky.
I will continue with the FP for a while longer though; Perhaps going to a 1:15 ratio would make the brew more to my liking.

For this weekend though, I am skipping the coffee completely. I had far too much yesterday with my experimentation and then buying the 12oz cup at the barista. I had a bit of a rough night, and still feeling a bit off this morning, so I think a couple days away from the stuff is in order.
 

MntnMan62

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Nov 15, 2019
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New Jersey
I have given thought to changing my method of brewing. I might need another kettle though; The one I've got has a 'regular' spout, not the long narrow one that is best for pour-over. I suppose it would be possible to do pour-over with the pot I own, but it's going to be a bit tricky.
I will continue with the FP for a while longer though; Perhaps going to a 1:15 ratio would make the brew more to my liking.

For this weekend though, I am skipping the coffee completely. I had far too much yesterday with my experimentation and then buying the 12oz cup at the barista. I had a bit of a rough night, and still feeling a bit off this morning, so I think a couple days away from the stuff is in order.

You can go to 1:15 but given how often you say the coffee lacks flavor, I don't see how that will improve things for you.
 
OP
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I was thinking that it might be the strength of the coffee that is overwhelming me. I'll try one brew at 1:15 on Monday, and take it from there.
 
OP
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I brewed this morning with the following values:
Water: 240g @ 195F (measured in kettle immediately before pouring)
coffee: 16g, ground with setting of 45 (0-50 on JX Pro)
steep time: 3:30 (started timer after most of the water had been added to the coffee grinds in the FP)
Stirring gently immediately after adding water to FP.
Did not plunge through coffee; only to the point i began to feel resistance.

The coffee was neither sour or bitter, but was a bit weaker than I prefer.
I will change the ratio to 1:14 for tomorrow's brew, not changing anything else.
Eventually, I will probably add a small amount of milk, but I want to get the brew where I want it before doing so.
 
OP
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I think I've gotten about as close to my 'perfect' cup of coffee as I am going to get with the beans I have chosen.
My last brew was:
360g filtered water @ 195F
27.7g coffee - ground at setting of 42 on JX Pro
3:30 steep time.
No bloom, but stir immediately after adding water.
Plunge only to top of liquid.

I have been noticing much less sour or bitterness than earlier brews.
I am adjusting my taste expectations.

I believe that if I give myself some time, my taste will have adjusted to fully enjoy black coffee. Since I had been drinking the Keurig K-cups with Coffee Mate, it's a shock to the taste buds to be drinking it black, and a lot stronger. But just as I learned to enjoy beer (hated my first few sips when I was a teenager), and now more bitter beers, I have no reason to believe that I will not learn to enjoy a variety of black coffee.

I am currently using my 2nd bag of "Legender" from Roast'd Coffee, and will be starting on a bag of "Timor" from Indonesia when I'm done with that.
When I bought the two bags (one Legender, one Timor) I thought I was going to buy a lighter roast, but the barista did not recommend that for French Press.

I believe that in the end, I will find exactly what I am looking for. In the meantime, I am enjoying the whole process of brewing in the FP.
 

Denrael

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Sep 27, 2020
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I have the 34oz Secura French Press.

For one cup, I use a Bonavita Wide Base Immersion Dripper.
I have been using it for 8 years now.
Brews just like a French Press, but the cleanup is much easier.
Not very good reviews on Amazon, but my experience has been excellent.
I use my Secura French Press when I serve up to 4 cups.
Above 4 people I use my commercial equipment, which does a considerably worse job than either of the above methods.

Unrelated: This morning I used my Bonavita with some expensive but delicious Yemen coffee and REALLY enjoyed it.

I have a Bonavita Immersion Dripper as well, and it is excellent. I've had mine for about 3 years and never an issue. As the coffee does run thru a filter, it's not quite as full bodies as a French press, but cleanup is a piece of cake and I get an excellent cup.

My toys now include:
- MochaMaster KBT
- AeroPress
- Bonavita Immersion Dripper
- Half a dozen different French Press
 
OP
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I'm not really sure anymore what convinced me to go with the French Press rather than a pour-over. I guess it was that I read about the 'full bodied' coffee, and I compared that to the beer I love so much. I'm not so sure anymore that full-bodied is as good a thing with coffee as it is for beer. That said, I know plenty of people who don't enjoy full-bodied beers, and especially not IPA's that are my favorite.
Still, I do like the FP coffee better than what I was getting from the percolator, and I won't even compare it to the Keurig. That's not even coffee, so far as I am concerned.

I am finding that even for French Press, small tweaks in the brewing process can change the taste of the coffee significantly.
For example, this morning I decided I would go back to the grind size of 45, but keep everything else the same. But then, I was a bit slow in pouring the water from the kettle into the FP, and allowed it to cool to 193, when I wanted to pour at 195.
While only a couple of deg F, it seems to have changed the taste in a subtle way.
But in the end, I am rather enjoying the experimentation. A bit less tedious than some electronics breadboarding I was doing yesterday... But we have simulators for electronics, which can make engineering a lot easier. Too bad there are no coffee brewing sims... but then we would need simulated tasters as well... maybe a James Hoffman simulator? I should run that past him, and maybe get a laugh from him...
 

MntnMan62

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Nov 15, 2019
445
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New Jersey
I'm not really sure anymore what convinced me to go with the French Press rather than a pour-over. I guess it was that I read about the 'full bodied' coffee, and I compared that to the beer I love so much. I'm not so sure anymore that full-bodied is as good a thing with coffee as it is for beer. That said, I know plenty of people who don't enjoy full-bodied beers, and especially not IPA's that are my favorite.
Still, I do like the FP coffee better than what I was getting from the percolator, and I won't even compare it to the Keurig. That's not even coffee, so far as I am concerned.

I am finding that even for French Press, small tweaks in the brewing process can change the taste of the coffee significantly.
For example, this morning I decided I would go back to the grind size of 45, but keep everything else the same. But then, I was a bit slow in pouring the water from the kettle into the FP, and allowed it to cool to 193, when I wanted to pour at 195.
While only a couple of deg F, it seems to have changed the taste in a subtle way.
But in the end, I am rather enjoying the experimentation. A bit less tedious than some electronics breadboarding I was doing yesterday... But we have simulators for electronics, which can make engineering a lot easier. Too bad there are no coffee brewing sims... but then we would need simulated tasters as well... maybe a James Hoffman simulator? I should run that past him, and maybe get a laugh from him...

It changed the taste in a subtle way? For the better or worse?
 
OP
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It changed the taste in a subtle way? For the better or worse?
It goes both ways. This morning I found the taste a bit 'different'. There wasn't any significant sour or bitterness, but the flavor seemed to be a bit harsh. It's difficult to explain.
I'm not sure if it was the slightly more coarse grind, or the slightly cooler water temp, or both. I am going to keep the grind at 45 but make sure my water is at 195 for tomorrow and see how that goes.
I'm getting the 'feeling' that I like the taste when I grind a bit finer, but I'm not sure. There was some question as to what grind I was using a couple days back, because my grinder wasn't properly calibrated. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the 1ZPresso JX Pro, but the top section - the upper ring cap - will unscrew (it's a left-handed thread) for cleaning. If that section is not fully threaded into the main body, the grind adjustment will be off. I don't believe it was by much, but then, I've been playing with very small grind adjustments.

That said, from what I have read about French Press, small grind adjustments should not affect the brew, so there may be something else at work here.
Perhaps my timing isn't always the same. I find that sometimes it takes me longer than other times to pour the water from the kettle. I have been starting the timer (3:30) while pouring, but I could be off by up to 10-15 seconds on a particular brew.

Finally, my taste seems to vary from day to day. It is of course affected by what I am eating or have just eaten prior to drinking my coffee.
 

MntnMan62

New member
Nov 15, 2019
445
1
New Jersey
It goes both ways. This morning I found the taste a bit 'different'. There wasn't any significant sour or bitterness, but the flavor seemed to be a bit harsh. It's difficult to explain.
I'm not sure if it was the slightly more coarse grind, or the slightly cooler water temp, or both. I am going to keep the grind at 45 but make sure my water is at 195 for tomorrow and see how that goes.
I'm getting the 'feeling' that I like the taste when I grind a bit finer, but I'm not sure. There was some question as to what grind I was using a couple days back, because my grinder wasn't properly calibrated. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the 1ZPresso JX Pro, but the top section - the upper ring cap - will unscrew (it's a left-handed thread) for cleaning. If that section is not fully threaded into the main body, the grind adjustment will be off. I don't believe it was by much, but then, I've been playing with very small grind adjustments.

That said, from what I have read about French Press, small grind adjustments should not affect the brew, so there may be something else at work here.
Perhaps my timing isn't always the same. I find that sometimes it takes me longer than other times to pour the water from the kettle. I have been starting the timer (3:30) while pouring, but I could be off by up to 10-15 seconds on a particular brew.

Finally, my taste seems to vary from day to day. It is of course affected by what I am eating or have just eaten prior to drinking my coffee.

I don't set the timer until I've poured all the water for the brew and swirled it around to totally immerse the grounds. Then I set it for 4 min. Once it goes off, I don't rush to scoop the crust. I just take my time and scoop the crust and any floating grinds out. I then set the timer for another 7 minutes. I realize it's very easy to get anal about this stuff but dare I say, it's just coffee.
 
OP
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You don't want to get me started on 'anality'. I am an elite athlete when it comes to that. I get stuck on this sort of thing all the time. I get it into my head that seconds, degrees, grams, etc matter very much.
I bought a cheap scale for only $20 on Amazon, but it seems accurate enough. When I add beans to the grinder, I'm getting down to one or two beans just to get the weight spot on. I realize that this is a useless practice, since the scale isn't accurate to 0.1g, even though it displays that much accuracy.
Then there's temperature. My kettle's temp display is so far off that I'm using a multimeter with a K-type thermocouple to measure water temperature in the kettle before pouring. So far, this seems accurate enough. I bought another digital thermometer for $8 on Ebay a couple days ago. I'm waiting to see how accurate it will be.

I have been starting my timer while pouring water into the FP. I time for only 3:30, as I found that going longer makes the coffee bitter. I'm not really into the scooping bit. I do stir immediately after I have poured the water, then I just leave it until it's time to pour. I have not been plunging through the liquid; only to the top (when I start to feel resistance to the plunger). Perhaps I should also try fully plunging, but I don't see how that is going to affect the taste. It will make pouring the coffee much faster though, as it will have already passed through the screen during the plunge.

At this point, coffee brewing is my 'thing' of interest. Once I've got my process 'perfected' and I can just brew a cup of joe in the morning without worrying about the details, it will become just another daily routine.
Wait until I get into brewing beer!
 

MntnMan62

New member
Nov 15, 2019
445
1
New Jersey
You don't want to get me started on 'anality'. I am an elite athlete when it comes to that. I get stuck on this sort of thing all the time. I get it into my head that seconds, degrees, grams, etc matter very much.
I bought a cheap scale for only $20 on Amazon, but it seems accurate enough. When I add beans to the grinder, I'm getting down to one or two beans just to get the weight spot on. I realize that this is a useless practice, since the scale isn't accurate to 0.1g, even though it displays that much accuracy.
Then there's temperature. My kettle's temp display is so far off that I'm using a multimeter with a K-type thermocouple to measure water temperature in the kettle before pouring. So far, this seems accurate enough. I bought another digital thermometer for $8 on Ebay a couple days ago. I'm waiting to see how accurate it will be.

I have been starting my timer while pouring water into the FP. I time for only 3:30, as I found that going longer makes the coffee bitter. I'm not really into the scooping bit. I do stir immediately after I have poured the water, then I just leave it until it's time to pour. I have not been plunging through the liquid; only to the top (when I start to feel resistance to the plunger). Perhaps I should also try fully plunging, but I don't see how that is going to affect the taste. It will make pouring the coffee much faster though, as it will have already passed through the screen during the plunge.

At this point, coffee brewing is my 'thing' of interest. Once I've got my process 'perfected' and I can just brew a cup of joe in the morning without worrying about the details, it will become just another daily routine.
Wait until I get into brewing beer!

You might want to rethink not scooping. According to Hoffmann, the grinds that sink to the bottom have fully extracted and therefore are no longer "brewing" or contributing to the taste. Those that are still floating have not fully extracted and therefore are still in the process of "brewing". Hoffmann explains that those floating grinds can lead to bitterness or overextracted coffee. In addition, the foam that is floating with the unextracted grinds is bitter. Pouring through that will have the potential to make your coffee bitter. Jes' sayin'.
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
I really don't have much to add except to say that if you're this analytical for something rather simple as press coffee I seriously wouldn't advise you to step into the espresso world as it's THE most involved form of coffee without question. Variables can change on the hour, let alone days-weeks.
 
OP
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When I used the JH method a couple weeks ago, I recall that there weren't any grinds floating after 4:00; only foam. I found it tedious scooping out the foam using two spoons, and then the coffee was not to my liking anyway.
That said, I may try it again with the temp at 195 and steep time at 3:30, but I think I'll use a turkey baster instead of the spoon(s) to remove the floating stuff. I could use a straw, but then I'll get all that bitter stuff in my mouth :(
 
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