My adventure for a good cup of coffee...

R010159

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Jan 17, 2019
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After going through literally pounds of coffee beans, I found a technique to brewing coffee that works for me. At first, I thought the fault was with the coffee I was using. Then after trying out different coffee beans, manipulating temperature, ground size, time for brewing, and using a couple different brewing techniques, I found an approach that works for me. I have ended up using the “pour over” technique. This coffee ends up being very flavorful, and “clean” tasting.

Here is my technique. I am using a french roast, therefore, I am using a temperature of 190 degrees. Normally this would be up to 205 degrees for lighter roasts. I first fill my Chemex and cup with hot water from the faucet. I do this to warm both of them up. I then measure out 500 plus grams of filtered water. I add the extra water for what is taken up by evaporation, wetting the filter, and what the coffee grounds retain during the “bloom”. So lets say this is at least 600 to maybe 650 grams of water. I then place my “pour over” kettle on the stove at the “high” setting. Meanwhile, I hand grind the coffee beans to a very coarse grind. This makes for allot of powder which I try to filter out using a hand screen. I grind 40 grams of coffee for 500 grams of water.

By this time, the water in the kettle is above my target temperature of 190 degrees. So I take the top off and let it cool down. This takes a couple minutes. I pour some of this water on the filter paper to wet it. I then fill it up with the coffee gounds. I next pour additional water to wet the grounds. Soon afterwards, I empty the Chemex and pour the rest of the water into the filter full of coffee grounds. I remove the filter, and then decant the brewed coffee into my coffee cup. I let it sit for a few minutes before drinking. This makes for a couple cups of coffee. I have never had flavor like this from a french roast coffee bean. Goodbye to Dennys.

Do any of you have thoughts on my technique?

Update: Starting out with 650 grams of water ends up making about rwo cups of coffee. It tasted a little bitter this time which is usually not the case. I did not wait the usual 30 seconds for the “bloom” to finish. I also did not empty the Chemex before pouring the rest of the water in.
 
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Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
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Thoughts on your technique - I always brew as close to 200-202 degrees. SCA guidelines are 195>205. I typically will take my kettle off boil - use the hottest water to flush the filter and let the 'filter water' warm up the Chemex while the kettle water cools to 202. After dumping the 'filter water' I tare my scale and add coffee, bloom then brew. I typically use 1:16 or 1:17 ratio vs. your 1:15 (40g:600g) - but each coffee will have a slightly different ratio requirements.
 
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R010159

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I thought darker roasts require cooler temperatures? I tried 205 degrees, but ended up with a bitter taste. However, much has changed with my technique. So next time, I will use 200 degree water to brew. This should be interesting. Also I find the first few sips bitter, which then subsides with respect to the flavor of the coffee. I wonder what is causing this? For now once the water is finished draining from the filter, I remove it while still dripping. This may help.
 
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Hotheart123

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Jan 19, 2019
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Oh, I don't really have a technique for making coffee. I just use what I can based on the current conditions.
 
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R010159

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Not having ones own technique takes all the fun out of a mornings cup of coffee. :)

I discovered that dark roasts like french roasts work better for me brewed at lower temperatures, like 195 F or even less. There is not as much of that “burnt” flavor to the coffee which masks the better flavor that is there to be tasted. Still less than an ideal brew of coffee for me. So today I picked up Peets Major Dickensons Blend. Given that I cannot afford the finer coffee beans, this has made for a better cup of coffee. Even though it is considered one of the darker roasts, I like this one best when brewed at 205 F. Just a difference of five degrees can alter the flavor of the result. As a side note, even when I hand grind my coffee beans to a coarse grind, I lose about 20% by weight when I filter out the dust left by the grinding process. A finer grind can make this as much as 25% or perhaps even more.
 

Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
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Kansas City
Not having ones own technique takes all the fun out of a mornings cup of coffee. :)

I discovered that dark roasts like french roasts work better for me brewed at lower temperatures, like 195 F or even less. There is not as much of that “burnt” flavor to the coffee which masks the better flavor that is there to be tasted. Still less than an ideal brew of coffee for me. So today I picked up Peets Major Dickensons Blend. Given that I cannot afford the finer coffee beans, this has made for a better cup of coffee. Even though it is considered one of the darker roasts, I like this one best when brewed at 205 F. Just a difference of five degrees can alter the flavor of the result. As a side note, even when I hand grind my coffee beans to a coarse grind, I lose about 20% by weight when I filter out the dust left by the grinding process. A finer grind can make this as much as 25% or perhaps even more.

What kind of grinder do you have? That seems like a lot of fines...
 
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R010159

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What kind of grinder do you have? That seems like a lot of fines...

I am using a hand grinder that is set up to produce a coarse grind. A finer grind size will produce even more fines. Recently I have made the grind size one step smaller, and now about a third instead of a quarter of the result are fines. The specific hand grinder is called “Hario Skerton Plus Ceramic Coffee Mill”. Due to the high percentage of the fine particles, I cannot afford higher priced coffee beans. Now if I switch from the Starbucks French Roast to Peet’s, the amount of fine particles is proportionally smaller.

I wonder if a good electric grinder can do better? Those things are expensive at over $100. I have read that the less expensive models do not produce a consistent grind at their more coarse settings.
 
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R010159

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That's TOO hot... it will cause over-extraction and bring out the bitteness in coffee. Good guides (with research behind them) can be found here:

[snip]

Thank you for the reference. I try to get as close to 205 F as possible. For example, when I wet the ground coffee for the bloom, I set the kettle back onto the burner of my electric stove, after having turned the burner off. After about half a minute or longer, I then pour the rest of the water into the Chemex flask once the water is again at 205 F.

BTW I have today tried Peet’s French Roast brewed at 205 F instead of the Starbucks version. At least to me, there is now no “burnt” aspect to the flavor. Interesting. Maybe I have done something wrong? ;) Anyway, I still find the Peet’s blend a bit “blah”. Not interesting enough to me.
 
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Musicphan

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You have a decent hand grinder and seem to be gaining the concept of manual brewing...

Keep in mind each coffee, each bag will brew a touch differently.
 
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R010159

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Why oh why are the first couple mouthfuls bitter? I wait a full minute for the bloom, and them empty the pitcher before pouring the steamy hot water in, with a maximum temperature of about 205 degrees.
 
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