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Hustling with a Clever Coffee Dripper

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Hustling with a Clever Coffee Dripper

The quest for a better cup. Making filter coffee is so simple, isn’t it? using that french press or Clever Dripper should be elementary, but what if you change a few simple things up?

Simple Question: what if you wet the coffee before brewing? If so how wet? for how long, at what temperature?

Geeky ask: The question that we asked ourselves, was essentially, if blooming (see below) coffee grinds makes coffee taste better, what is the optimum bloom (or is this really pre-infusion)?

Quickly this became an exercise in cold water pre-infusion.

The idea was to wet coffee grinds with various water qualities for various times.

Blooming def: to wet coffee grinds in order to dissolve and release trapped CO²

The shortcut & spoiler (not an alert) Infuse your fresh grinds for 5 minutes with 50ºC water before making your Abid the usual way. May we suggest a total of 60-70g of coffee per litre of water as a starting point? Final brew water at 100ºC

pre-infusion before brewing with mildly warmed water for a few minutes improves the extraction quality.

Too much heat causes weird extraction. Too cool, does not fully utilise the benefits of pre-infusion, and shortish (5 minute) pre-brews work best.

So to the pre infusion test 1:

infuse for:

16 hours

1 hour

5 minutes

immediate

each of those was brewed with three protocols

12g of coffee

“Mud”: liquid emulsion, mud-like consistency 30g cool water

“Wet” : wet coffee, visible liquid 50g cool water

“Visible”: watery, looks like small brew 80g cool water

we made the final “brew” topping up to 200g water

3 minutes infusion

Same packet grinder, settings and brew used, grinder unused in-between

Outcomes in order of ranking best cups overall and by method:

16 hour wet was the sensory preference unanimously.

5 minutes it was mud

these two were head and shoulders best

then:

immediate was mud

1 hour was the visible

So, all over the place really.

Then we did round two:

Then we decided to compare 18 hour pre-infusion and 16 hour.

we also added 1 hour and 5 minute for reference. 18 & 16 hour were both “wet”(50g) 1 hour “visible” (80g) 5 minutes “mud“ (30g)

We added the one hour as we had an anomaly. When hot 1 hour tasted crap, but great when cool

results: 5 minute won! sweet with good body

18 hour next, lacked body,

1 hour came in next with sweetness, no body

16 hour was now fourth.

Third Round

retest 16 hour and 18 and a new 12 hour all one “wet” (50g) we also did the 5 minute mud (30g) as reference

5 minute was again the winner with the 16 hour second best. there, bad cup round two?

Then we did a final Round

10min/5/3/1 comparison all “mud“ (30g)

Results:

Winner 5 min

10 minutes in second with HUGE sweetness, lacked body relatively

3 & 1 very similar. In comparison, like sex in a canoe (fucking close to water)

TDS on 10 and 5 min: 1.47% and 5 min 1.62%

Curious, we then took Salami slices of a 5-minute brew:

1st cut, the “coffee below the filter” only – watery and tasteless as expected. TDS 1.18%

2nd, half the main brew- well balanced great body, sweetness, and overall best

3rd , second the other half, surprisingly similar, 5% “worse”

we mixed these tow “cuts” 2 & 3 and had a great result TDS 1.77%

4th was the dregs, that which was slow to drip out – heavy body, surprisingly sweet TDS 1.53

So what did we learn?

long (multi hour) pre infusions produce sweetness, but are probably not worth the effort. Timing matters, more study required.

For a great filter, 5 minutes of pre-infusion is supremely worth it. We wonder if drip machines should be tested for this? easily done

Q&A from Barista Hustle:

Q: why is the bloom with cold water?

A: we needed a protocol that was maintainable. Further testing would seem worthwhile.

Q: how much water?

A: see test one

Q: Are you stirring?

A: yes, aeropress paddle used, one swipe forward through initial “mud” one swipe back, we have not tested for other methods yet. Next test @alyssa?

Q 1.) Does blooming -as usually practiced- make a difference?; and if so 2.) what is the optimal blooming time? Having answered those two basic questions, many other sub-questions concerning details can be considered: 1.) hot or cold water? more or less water? etc.

A 1.) yes blooming makes a difference 2.) 5 minutes, with a (weight still to be narrowed down) ~ 3 x coffee weight of warm water

The water, thank you (Thomas) that we pre infused with was 14ºC and room temperature was Cape Town winter, probably 18ºC (get a life)

Water added after was 100ºC before it left the kettle.

Detailed Details

 

To detail it up…

1COFFEEVENGEANCE BLEND
2GRIND SIZEA LITTLE FINER THAN MEDIUM
3AMOUNT OF COFFEE12g
4AMOUNT OF TOTAL WATER200g
5AMOUNT OF BLOOMING WATER30g – MUD

50g – WET

80g – VISIBLE

6AMOUNT OF ADDED WATER170g – MUD

150g – WET

120g – VISIBLE

7TEMPERATURE OF PRE-INFUSION WATER14 DEGREES CELSIUS
8TEMPERATURE OF ADDED WATER100 DEGREES
9TIME OF PRE-INFUSIONVARIES PER GROUP
10STIRS2 STROKES
11TIME OF EXTRACTION3 MINUTES

We came across a few snags on the way.

  • With two instances throughout the experiment, we noticed that because of the filter paper that naturally folded in a strange way during pouring (I’m assuming) they look a little longer to filter through. Hence a slight over-extraction in Round 4.  

ROUND 1

16 HOURS
WETMUDVISIBLE
GREAT BODY

GREAT FLAVOUR

MODERATE BODY

SOME FLAVOUR

LOW IN BODY

LOW IN FLAVOUR

1 HOUR
WETMUDVISIBLE
FLAVOUR

SOME BODY

BODY

SOME FLAVOUR

LACKING IN BODY

SOME FLAVOUR

5 MINUTES
WETMUDVISIBLE
NO BODY

FLAVOUR

SWEET

BODY

FRUITY FLAVOUR

SOME SWEETNESS

NO BODY

DRY, ASHY

GO!
WETMUDVISIBLE
SWEETNESS

NO BODY

LACKING FLAVOUR

BODY

FLAVOUR

NO BODY

JUST FLAVOUR

THE CONCLUSION :

 

   

ROUND 2

18 HOURS16 HOURS1 HOUR5 MINUTES
WETWETVISIBLEMUD
SWEET

LACKING BODY

WINE GUMMY FLAVOURS

LACKING SWEETNESS

MODERATE BODY

SUPER SWEET

LACKING BODY

SWEET

MODERATE BODY

GOOD FLAVOUR

ROUND 3

10 MINUTES5 MINUTES3 MINUTES1 MINUTE
MUDMUDMUDMUD
SWEET

GOOD BODY

SWEET BUT NOT AS SWEET

MORE BODY

WATERY

THE LEAST FLAVOUR

LACK OF BODY

SOME ACIDITY

CLOSE TO WATER

NO FLAVOUR

LOW BODY

 

Out of curiosity, we decided to take the TDS reading for the two leading cups in this round.

10 minutes = 1.47%

5 minutes = 1.62%

With Round 4 we compared the following

  • 18 Hours (wet) – comparing to 16 & 12
  • 16 Hours (wet) – I still had hope for this one
  • 12 Hours (wet) – comparing to 16 & 18
  • 5 Minute (mud) – because it has done so well so far
  • 5 Minute (mud) Salami Slice into 3 parts – To see how the taste develops as the coffee filters through.

 

ROUND 4

18 HOURS16 HOURS12 HOURS5 MINUTES
WETWETWETMUD
QUITE SWEET

MODERATE BODY

LOWER IN SWEETNESS THAN 18 HOUR BUT STILL GOOD SWEETNESS

WITH A GOOD BODY

SLIGHTLY OVER EXTRACTED

A WEIRD FINISH TO TASTE

GOOD BODY

SWEET

THIS WAS STILL A WINNER TO 3 OF THE 4 TASTERS.

GOOD BODY

GOOD FLAVOURS

MODERATE SWEETNESS

TDS reading for the two leading cups in this round.

16 HOURS = 1.55%

5 MINUTES = 1.47%

5 MINUTE SALAMI SLICES

PART 1PART2PART 3
MUDMUDMUD
ALMOST NO FLAVOUR OR BODY TO IT. BALANCED

GOOD BODY

GOOD SWEETNESS

OVERALL BEST PART

SWEET

GOOD BODY

Out of curiosity we decided to take the TDS reading for each stage

PART 1 = 1.18%

PART 2 = 1.77%

PART 3 = 1.53%

PS Alyssa @ Truth Coffee did all of the hard work!

Further Testing UPDATES:

For this next test, we tried pre-infusing with  4 different temperatures of water. 30g of water used each pre-infusion and final weight of water 200g total. Added water 100ºC. Pre infusion for 5 minutes and final brew 3 minutes 12g of coffee.

Pre-infusion at 100ºC left weird flavours, lacked sweetness body is ok-ish

Pre-infusion with a 50/50 blend of 50ºC water and 100ºC water approximating 75ºC a lot more body, our second favourite. Sweetness was good, overall flavour complex and interesting

50ºC water, clear winner. Really good body, great sweetness. Most complexity, really let the flavours shine through

room temp water ~18ºC lacked body, mildly sweet.

Our conclusions:

pre-infusion before brewing with mildly warmed water improves extraction quality.

Too much heat causes weird extraction. Too cool, does not fully utilise the benefits of pre-infusion, and shortish (5 minute) pre-brews work best.

5 Comments

  1. Trysie de Jager says:

    Very interesting

  2. Kirk Hutson says:

    I’m still wrapping my brain around this. Have you tried anything similar with a French press?

  3. Benjamin Chia says:

    This is amazing! I have got the best results from this method. Previously using V60 which I felt I had mastered but was too inconsistent. Few questions:
    1. Are you putting the lid on: a) after pouring the 50deg water in, b) after pouring the 100deg water in, c) while drawdown is occuring?
    2. What sort of pouring technique/pattern do you use for the 100deg water, and are you stirring the slurry after this?
    3. What kind of stir of the water do you do before placing the dripper on the carafe/cup?
    4. Would a 30g to 500ml water (150ml at 50deg for 5mins and 350ml at 100deg for 3 mins) likely require a coarser grind?
    5. What TDS (given 60g/L ratio) range was tasting good? Higher than usual V60 TDS range?
    6. Where is the Barista Hustle discussion of this?
    Thanks so much, great work!

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