Tart Twang - Totally Troublesome To Taste

verevi

New member
Apr 10, 2007
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I''m relatively new to the joys of coffee. That said, I''ve been searching for the perfect cup and I can''t figure out something...

I started making French press.. I like the strength, but I didn''t like the sediment and sometimes bitterness.

Well, I recently got an AeroPress and I really like it. I even made a near-perfect cup with it... Very tasty.

But, very often, my coffee comes out with a bit of a twangy tartness in it. Not sure how else to describe it. I''d love to know where its coming from, because I''ve had cups without it being there and I want it out.

My Process:

I typically use beans roasted within a few days from WholeFoods (roasted on site). (Typically, I get a light or medium roast of some sort... Like a breakfast blend. I''ve also done kona). I use the recommended 180 deg filtered water (microwaved) for the AeroPress. I wash everything with warm water by hand. I clean out (as best I can) the entry level capresso burr grinder. I grind at setting 2 (out of 10) for a finer grind.

I stir for about 10 seconds, then press through and drink immediately. 19 out of 20 times, there is a tart twang. When its not there, its amazingly good. The last time it wasn''t there, I was using some Peet''s major dickinson.

My thoughts are maybe:

1) The beans aren''t good from Whole Foods
2) There is residual oil and old coffee in the grinder, that I haven''t been able to clean out.
3) Coffee is supposed to have that twang, apparently I don''t *really* like coffee
4) I''m not getting the kind of bean suited to me.
5) I''m using too hot or too cold water
6) The burr grinder is heating the beans too much, I need to get a conical (nore expensive) one.
7) ?????

Thanks for your thoughts!
 

CafeBlue

New member
Dec 8, 2006
121
0
Toronto
brewing and roast selection

Hi;
Lots of factors involved in making great coffee, as you have noticed. Some observations and facts that will help you find the path to your best cup.
Your grind is way too fine for French press brewing. Try a coarser setting like for percolator type brewers - yield a sweeter cup that is not over-extracted (harsh taste) and has much less sediment. I have not used your model grinder but guess a setting around 7 is more appropriate, your manual should give a suggested setting for percolator -- or a scale ranging from finest (Turkish/Greek), to espresso, auto drip (paper filter) medium, permanent filter, percolator/French press regular, finally urn coarse.
Brew time for French press and filter drip is best at 3 to 4 minutes.
Optimum flavor and aroma extraction occurs at 205 Fahreheit (95 C). I know most industry experts say 185 to 205, but the closer to 205, the better. Water that is not hot enough under-extracts and may make the brew sour.
The most prized coffees frequently exhibit high acidity (not acid - the ph of coffee is about the same as a banana). High acidity taste is only found in fresh, high grown, arabica coffee that is carefully processed, roasted well, ground and brewed promptly. Poor growing conditions, poor processing, poor handling, poor roasting, staling and oxidation can all destroy the acidity and overall cup quality. Acidity is the bright, sunny, citrus, floral, fruity, fresh, crisp taste at the front of the palate.
Darker roasting styles may mute the acidity while enhancing the coffee sweetness, body, mouthfeel, caramel and chocolate characteristics. Peet's coffee roasting style typically trends to the "dark side" and that may be why you liked one of their most popular blends. You may also like coffees that are typically lower in acidity - such as natural preparation (also called 'dry process') coffees, and coffes from lower altitude growing regions, from bolder varieties of arabica tree species, from regions famous for bold yet low acidity taste. Try Sumatra (Lintong, Aceh, Mandheling regions), Papua New Guinea, Java, Brasil (Pulped Natural Process can be very nice), Northern Colombia, also top quality coffee from Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, to name a few most likely to suit your taste. Look for fresh roasted coffee in a dark-medium to medium-dark roasted range. To a 'roaster' that is early to mid second crack range. Many espresso roasts would likely fit this description, but some dark roast styles are ashy and scorched tasting. Avoid coffee that shows obvious signs of 'tipping' - scorched ends of the coffee bean caused by poor roasting style.
You might need to increase the coffee to water ratio. Two level tablespoons coffee per cup of water is my recommended starting ratio for specialty grade coffee.
Let us know what you think after trying a few variations.
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,724
11
Boca Raton
agree 100% with Cafeblue. You might want to shop around and try different shops...some people do not like coffee that is "air" roasted like they do at whole foods. Keep us updated!
 
OP
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verevi

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Apr 10, 2007
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Thanks so much for the response. I'm definitely going to try your suggestions. Also, I wonder where I can try non-air fresh-roasted coffee to see if there is a difference there.

I've also started a coffee log to make this more scientific. The following are the criteria that I am tracking. Anything that should be added or removed? How would you rank the importance of these?

Bean Origin
Roast
Water Temp
Wait Time
Stir Time
Press Time
Grind
Roast Date

Also, I just started storing the beans in an air-tight plastic container away from sunlight. I've read that ceramic is better. I will probably find something ceramic soon, or does that matter much?

Thanks again for the insight.
 

Davec

New member
Oct 18, 2006
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Old England (UK)
1. Roast
2. Bean Origin
3. Water Temp
4. Grind
5. Wait Time
6 Stir Time
7 Press Time
8 Roast Date (only because the tartness is probably diminished, by the increasing cardboard flavour :wink: )
 
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verevi

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Apr 10, 2007
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Davec said:
1. Roast
2. Bean Origin
3. Water Temp
4. Grind
5. Wait Time
6 Stir Time
7 Press Time
8 Roast Date (only because the tartness is probably diminished, by the increasing cardboard flavour :wink: )

Also thought I should add:

9. Water Volume
10. Coffee Volume
 

ElPugDiablo

New member
Jul 16, 2004
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Hartford and New Haven, CT
There is residual oil and old coffee in the grinder
Chances are you are buying dark roasted coffee. You should pay attention to roasting date, darker roast in particular. When expose to air the shiny oil on beans surface will eventually go rancid. If the bins are not clean regularly, fresh beans are contaminated by old coffee oil. I would not buy beans from bulk bins from supermarkets.

I think Whole Foods beans are roasted by their subsidiary, Allegro Coffee. Allegro is a good medium size roaster. I am going to suggest it's not Allegro, but the way the beans are handled after they left the roastery.

You can find well roasted coffees in http://coffeereview.com/ most are drum roasters, but there are air roasters as well.
 
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verevi

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Well, the coffee I got was roasted on-site in Whole Foods. I'm not sure if any other Whole Foods does that, but the one in downtown Austin does.

They do put them in bins.

Maybe this is a whole other thread, but was is good, accessible coffee? Like the Sam Adams of coffee. I'm a beer snob and love micro brews, but in a pinch, Sam Adams does a pretty good job and is available almost everywhere. Do any of the new gourmet brands fit that bill: Peets, or Allegro, or Seattle's Best......


ElPugDiablo said:
There is residual oil and old coffee in the grinder
Chances are you are buying dark roasted coffee. You should pay attention to roasting date, darker roast in particular. When expose to air the shiny oil on beans surface will eventually go rancid. If the bins are not clean regularly, fresh beans are contaminated by old coffee oil. I would not buy beans from bulk bins from supermarkets.

I think Whole Foods beans are roasted by their subsidiary, Allegro Coffee. Allegro is a good medium size roaster. I am going to suggest it's not Allegro, but the way the beans are handled after they left the roastery.

You can find well roasted coffees in http://coffeereview.com/ most are drum roasters, but there are air roasters as well.
 

ElPugDiablo

New member
Jul 16, 2004
991
0
Hartford and New Haven, CT
verevi said:
Well, the coffee I got was roasted on-site in Whole Foods. I'm not sure if any other Whole Foods does that, but the one in downtown Austin does.
Should have read your original post more carefully. Any idea what kind of roaster?

If you usually get light or medium roast, then Peets is too dark for you.

verevi said:
Maybe this is a whole other thread, but was is good, accessible coffee? Like the Sam Adams of coffee. I'm a beer snob and love micro brews, but in a pinch, Sam Adams does a pretty good job and is available almost everywhere. Do any of the new gourmet brands fit that bill: Peets, or Allegro, or Seattle's Best......
If you usually get light or medium roast, then Peets or Seattle's Best are too dark for you. They probably will give you that bitter ashy taste. If I were you, I'd find a few good local roasters, Cuvée Coffee, for example.
http://www.cuveecoffee.com/index.htm
 
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