bloom and grind settings

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bloom and grind settings

Postby dsc » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:24 pm

Hi guys,

I remember reading/hearing somewhere that if your coffee doesn't bloom it's either too old or the grind is way off. Anyone here experienced this? I'm grinding a bit finer than usual, because I'm not brewing a lot of coffee in one go and noticed that I get quite small 'blooms'. The coffee is a week old perhaps. Anyone knows why?

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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby Jasonscheltus » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:28 am

Roast degree and age can be a factor. Very lightly roasted coffee blooms less than darker roasted coffee. This is just cause by the fact that a lot of CO2 is generated late in the roast (during and after first crack).

I'd say roast degree and age play a much bigger part than grind size.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby dsc » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:49 am

Hi Jason,

thanks for the reply. I get a bloom but it's not as big as usual (normally it looks like a freakin' muffin), perhaps freezing affects this somehow? I am working with a batch of defrosted coffee now.

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby espressomattic » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:14 am

Hey Tom

As per Jason really. Also I have found different coffes give differing amounts of bloom. Today for example, the blend I was using went off like a science experiment gone wrong, whereas others just kind of swell up a bit. At a guess I would say that some coffees give off more CO2 than others and that is what you're experiencing. I haven't noticed that grind has any effect whatsoever.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby dsc » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:56 pm

Hi guys,

the reason I was asking is because I'm getting brews that aren't very good and I'm not sure what's going on. The first thing is the bloom is kind of small which I don't mind to be honest, I know the coffee is fresh, besides as you say it changes from coffee to coffee. The second bit is that when pouring I usually get quite a lot of blond/bright colours on the top and all the grinds then to drop really fast. I've seen a few pour-over vids and each one shows a fair amount of crust on the top of the coffee bed, even while pouring and pretty much throughout the whole process. In my case it sort of sinks and I'm pouring on top of water/coffee, with only a few grinds floating about, the rest stuck on the bottom of the cone. The grind is quite coarse, but produces a brew in around 3.5min, so time-wise it's pretty good. Now I wouldn't really worry about the looks if the taste was spot on, but recently it all drifted into 'too bitterish/just simply off/can't taste any of the main descriptors anymore' area.

Perhaps I will make a few vids today with both the Chemex and the V60 to show how it looks like. Probably easier than me trying to explain:)

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby Jasonscheltus » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:35 am

from your description of "I'm pouring on top of water/coffee, with only a few grinds floating about, the rest stuck on the bottom of the cone" - it sounds like you've choked the filter paper somewhere. I'd get this if I ground the coffee too finely, how coarse would you say it is? I'd got to french press grind, then work backwards from that. You can also choke the filter by pouring down the sides of the cone - especially with certain filter cones. Pouring down the sides of the cone seems to force the ground coffee (or fines) to the very bottom of the cone, and then the weight of the water seems to compact it a clog it up.

Not very scientific I'm afraid - just from observations.

I'm also not real sure about the time of the extraction there. The longest extraction I've had, has been about 3 minutes, but these days I'm going for about 2 minutes 30 seconds. My method is quite simple - 17grams yields 240ml of coffee liquid, coarse grind, in around 2 and a half minutes, with the Monmouth filter cones and water applied similar to this video, yields around 1.2% TDS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzNd3xFl ... r_embedded


I've got to do a video too, but so busy, so busy.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby Jasonscheltus » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:36 am

Also, have you seen the charming Tom Owen's videos of pour over recently? They're pretty great..
http://www.youtube.com/user/sweetmarias ... JzMeqFpJbY
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby dsc » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:23 pm

Hi Jason,

as usual very helpful, thanks a lot!

The grind setting is...well quite coarse to be honest, as you know it's damn hard to communicate grind settings, so I can't really say much, other than perhaps post a photo?

I'm currently grinding at 4 on the Guatemala (not that this says anything, just a reference really) and I've tried switching to 6 today to try it out. Used 20g with 250ml, something that Tom used in his vid and it did behave differently, looked more like the pour in your first linked video ie. bubbles on the top when pouring, crust on top pretty much all the time. Of course that guy used a huge amount of coffee as he was pouring and pouring and pouring... with 250ml you run out of water quite fast, even when using a Buono (which is what I use). I'd say the whole brew took around 2min-2.25min with around 20s for bloom. The result was much better than the previous '4' grinder setting, less bitterness, much more sweet

The trick bit about the V60 is that it has a rather huge hole which means the water comes out very quickly. Now if you have a porcelain cone with a single 5mm hole it will slow down the whole brew even when using a very coarse grinder setting. With the Hario it's not possible as there's nothing slowing down the drain. This isn't so bad when you use more coffee/more water as you can simply pour slower, but if you use the 'lake' method (pour everything in quite quickly and leave it) or use less water/coffee it's hard to go above 2min of extraction with a coarse grind. Sure you can slow it down with a finer grind, but that changes the taste. That is one of the reason I don't really like the phrase 'if it flows too fast make the grind finer, if it's too slow make it coarser'.

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby Jasonscheltus » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:40 pm

Actually so far a lot of the Guatemala's (the Lab version anyway) I've come across, the numbers have been relatively close - weirdly! We use 5 for french press, 1 for espresso, 3.5 for pour over, and 4.5 for Clover.

I wouldn't worry too much about getting 4 minutes. You just want an extraction that tastes strong enough, without any under or over extracted flavours tainting the brew.

To get a long enough brew, around 2.5 minutes, with the three hole drippers, we have to add the water very slowly...I let it bloom a little longer too. with 17 grams I let it bloom for 30-40 seconds. at this point you can see that the surface of the coffee bloom changes from shiny to matt, it starts to look dry, just before then or then I add my water. A tiny bit at a time to the centre of the cone.

At the moment we have the same recipe for all (5) of our coffees, but this is yielding mixed results so I'm working on recipes for the different coffees now.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby dsc » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:48 am

Hi Jason,

tried it again today at setting 5, was better, but still that damn bitterness is there. Definitely sweeter (tasted like someone added some sugar to it), but something is still off. Also took some measurements of the temps under the coffee bed and...well see for yourself:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tompjagiello/4430279755/

Started pouring at around 90*C, the chart shows the phase after the bloom (which took around 30s)

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby Jasonscheltus » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:58 am

if there's still bitterness in there, then I'd suggest that there are maybe too many fines from your grinder? It's hard to say (and a bit of a cop out!) but this could be the case.

There's a technique for separation the chaff/fines from ground coffee that works especially well with coarse ground coffee.

Grind your coffee into a small receptacle- we prefer stainless steel ramekins for soufflés - but something of similar shape works well. Then tilt it on a 45 degree angle then start turning the ramekin. You kinda want to see the ground coffee roll around the ramekin, then gently blow on the coffee in the receptacle.

It takes a bit of practise, but you should be able to blow with the right force to send just the chaff and very fine coffee particles from the vessel.

Again. I'll try and get a video!

I got a video of a lovely barista called Ai from Sensory Lab showing me her Korean technique for V60. I'll edit it and post it.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby Jasonscheltus » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:32 am

Here's the video.

Interesting seeing it after listening to Tom talk about diluting a filter coffee, and how he enjoyed it so. Exactly what Ai does here.

http://bit.ly/aD9Ve2
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby kingseven » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:14 pm

200g/l? I am going to try it, but it does seem a very wasteful way to make a cup of coffee! Almost like an exaggeration of the clover style brew of updosed underexraction to hit a desired strength.

Still - worth a go!
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby dsc » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:43 pm

Hi guys,

here's a vid:

http://vimeo.com/10154115

[I know too dark, but my D90 is a bit annoying when it comes to vids, with the settings I used for this video the photos come out bright as hell, even overexposed, but for videos it seems to record 'as seen on the back LCD' which was quite dark at that time]

Here's a photo of the grind:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tompjagiello/4432433178/

went with setting 4 again. Bloom is quite small, non-existent one might say, dose 18g for 250ml so roughly 7g/100ml. First thing that hits me is the smell, it smells nothing like it should in my opinion, very hard to smell any fruits and I can't even smell the blackberries (taste notes say it should be there) which are an easy thing for me. Taste wise it's a bit on the cold side, but that's probably because I was messing with the camera for too long before pouring and the kettle went a bit cold. Bitterness again hits you sort of mid sip and I'm not sure what's going on. I did my usual sift through a tea mesh-holder thing to check for fines and I only got around 1g per 18g which is not bad I think. This is a Guatemala that I'm using, so it should be freakishly good for drip right?

James when I come over to pick up the parts can I ask you nicely to make me a cup of pour-over coffee? perhaps I'm going crazy and it all tastes good and my mouth is broken?

Regards,
dsc.
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RE: bloom and grind settings

Postby Jasonscheltus » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:48 pm

Hey Tom your pour looks fine.

If you're getting the same mid palate bitterness after changing all those things (temp, grind, speed), I'd try a different a coffee (from a different roaster) and see if you get the same kind of bitterness.

You could slow the extraction down by adding smaller amounts of water at a time. Instead of applying all of the water at once after the bloom, you could try and break the application down into three or four pours. And I'd suggest only pouring closer to the centre of the coffee bed, I know it makes the centre of the crust very pale - so it looks over extracted, but I've found that it's quite a thin crust and it's better than having the pour over choke (although yours didn't seem to).

James: It tastes surprisingly good. Very sweet, and this was actually the right strength too. I guessed the amounts of hot water in the cup and added to the coffee, so you might have to play with that. But as you can see, it wasn't very much at all!
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