Best Steeping Brewer and Brew Technique - Page 2

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
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Postby another_jim » May 06, 2013, 10:11 am

[quote="Bob_McBob" I gather the "cup" measurement Sowden uses is not the standard 120 ml tasse à café. The "2 cup" brewer is supposed to hold 400 ml. [/quote]

I have the smallest one, and it does hold about 400 grams of water. I use 200 grams at a time and it does a fine job with that.

Jim, do you typically lift the filter out of the Softbrew at the end of brewing? The manufacturer seems to intend it to be used like the Eva Solo, pouring the coffee out with the filter in place.

I lift the basket out. It does drip a little, so if you are at the table, place it on the pot's upside down lid. It fits, and the rim of the lid contains the drips.

From the other poster's entries, it looks like there are two or three brewers out there better suited for the steep and lift technique than the old French Press.

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Postby Netphilosopher » May 06, 2013, 12:33 pm

One method/technique to consider: separate the infusion step and the extraction step.

I do something called MJA (Mason Jar AeroPress). I just use a Mason Jar because sometimes I experiment with extremely long (overnight) infusions and weird things like that. They're convenient.

However, you could use a pyrex measuring cup as well for the infusion.

In Dave Walsh's "homework" from his 2012 NBC talk, He does a Pyrex-Hario variant, with a microwave heating step during the infusion.

The AeroPress is an excellent forced-percolation extractor, and if you are gentle with the press, use a paper disc filter, and allow a few seconds for the grounds to create a filter-cake before pressing, you can easily create coffee that is as clarified as any drip coffee. The extraction step is significantly faster than allowing it to percolate in any gravity dripper.

You can also use any gravity filtration method, but nearly all of them will have very slow percolation.

So, like yesterday morning, I boil ~475-500g of water in one Pyrex cup. While that's going, I prepare my other Pyrex cup by preheating with hot tap water, and grind LIDO-2.0 about 25g of coffee. When the water is almost boiled, I take my preheated 2nd cup (empty), add the coffee, and then add the water at desired temperature (if I wait 30s after it is boiling, I get somewhere around 204°F or so).

Toss a square of 1/2" blueboard insulator on top, allow to steep for desired time (enough to reach equilibrium, usually 3-4 minutes). If desired, you could do Dave Walsh's low microwave during this time - I don't find it necessary.

Prepare the AeroPress with a filter.

Inspect to make sure there's no floating grounds (if there are, then it's not done steeping yet - there's still grounds for the brew water to saturate).

When steep is finished, stir it up and pour about half into the AeroPress. Allow to settle for 30 seconds or so. Insert plunger, press VERY gently. When air is passing through grounds, carefully withdraw plunger, stir up the rest of the coffee in the Pyrex cup, and pour all of the rest of the slurry into the AeroPress. Allow to settle, then press the rest.

Makes about 360g of coffee, and the strength and extraction (dissolution percent) is based pretty much on the grind you choose. With evaporation and such, the effective brew ratio is somewhere around 16.5 or so (end up with about 425g of brew water in the end). You could let it steep for 6 minutes, 12 minutes, or 24 hours and you'll still get pretty much the same strength for most grinds up to approximately French Press (Ditting 9).

If I'm doing something really long infusion, that's where I use the Mason Jar - cause I can add the top and prevent any evaporation. Evaporation changes the effective brew ratio in the end.

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Postby Netphilosopher » May 06, 2013, 12:53 pm

Lots of people believe that percolation and paper filters magically remove oils, but more accurately is the filtration and absorption by the grounds bed is actually what removes oils (actually, retains them from getting to the cup). The temperature at which the grounds are percolated also determines how much oils get into the cup. (hotter reduces oil viscosity, and running near boiling water through grounds multiple times will pull more oil into the coffee).

The generalized conclusion that methods that boil or are full contact and metal filters have more oils are based on studies with percolator or French Press coffee, or Norwegian decoction. It's a classic confounding of effects and error in conclusion. These methods are immersion/infusion methods, but they allow oils into the cup not because they don't have paper filters, but because in one case near-boiling liquid is continually washed through the grounds bed, whereas in the other method there is no filtration cake (or the latter, where there's neither).

Yes, the paper filter does absorb [i:2wff7izz]a little bit[/i:2wff7izz] of the oils. You can, however, use an AeroPress to show how much variation in oils you can get in the cup - yet it's still all infusion brewing.

Brew a cup with the AeroPress inverted, strike temperature 206°F. Install the filter cap with paper filter, and press a little bit of coffee through the filter BEFORE re-verting and completing the press.

Now repeat with a metal filter.

Now repeat both with strike temperature 170°F.

Now, repeat all of these runs with normal position (non-inverted), allowing the grounds to settle for a few seconds before pressing.

What you'll find is the most oil is gotten by pressing hot brewed coffee through a non-absorbing filtration barrier. You can usually see it floating on the cup when you're done.

Change the filter to paper, and you still get oils, but slightly less than with the metal filter.

Lower the strike temperature and you lower the oils in the cup.

When you brew normal, a little bit of oil gets through the non-absorbing filter but then the grounds settle against the filtration barrier and create an oil-absorbing cake filter. If the filter is paper, then the initial coffee that leaks through has the least amount of oils because the paper filter helps absorb it before the rest of the grounds act to absorb the oils.

Then, if you lower the strike temperature, you get even less to very minimal oils because they are to viscous or haven't been washed out of the grounds particles because the heavier oils aren't hot enough to flow well.

If you still doubt what's going on, then just boil the spent grounds (plus the paper filter if you used one) in a mason jar with some more water, and subjectively look at the oils left behind. You'll find the ones filtered through a bed of grounds will have the most oils, while the brews done with hot water and inverted with a non-absorbing filter will have the least oils left behind.

The non-absorbing filter and no cake bed (inverted AeroPress) is like a French Press - the oils are liberated by the steep, they float on top of the produced coffee, and they immediately pass through the press screen and end up in the cup.

Want to get rid of the oils in a French Press brew? Instead of inserting the screen/filter of the French Press at the end of the steep time, just percolate it through it's own bed of grounds.

In the end, it isn't the overall brew method (steep/infusion vs. drip/percolation) or the choice of filtration barrier that determines the oils in the cup. It's actually the method of extraction (as in physically separating the beverage from the spent grounds) that largely determines the oils in the cup.

Here's another interesting thing to check out - when you have a lot of oils in the cup, try centrifuging the coffee. You'll get an oil slick on top of the sample. Taste it. For me it's like licking an oily bitter chunk of chimney creosote.

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Postby Boldjava » May 06, 2013, 12:55 pm

another_jim wrote:...
So list you favorite steeping devices and methods here:

Along with Yakster, I am a fan of Yama vacpots though I am not sure it cleanly fits the "steeping brewer" category here.

For true steeping, hands down the Espro is the go-to pot in our home. I gave away most of our French presses. The Espro prepares a cleaner cup, without the sludge, and showcases flavors much more clearly. I use both the small (11 oz) and large one (1 liter), using 2 x finished amount of liquid coffee in grams of grinds. For example, with the liter pot, I use about 61-64 grams of coffee to yield a liter of coffee.

I grind just a tad finer than a French press, steep 3.45 min and slowly plunge. Mercy, it is a dream machine. One issue is the clean-up is a bit tedious. Worth it, to me. Grab one if you need a press preparation.
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Postby jedovaty » May 06, 2013, 2:47 pm

I do the microwave method, too, maybe once or twice a week.

2 cup pyrex
15g coarse ground coffee
250g boiling water
4 minutes in microwave at low power (20-30%)

Pour through filter after microwaving - paper, swiss gold, whatever. It's fun to watch.

Note, you need a microwave that cycles power during the programmed time, not one that provides the constant buzz.

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Postby increasingdelight » May 06, 2013, 7:30 pm

TomC wrote: I have to ask myself "do I really think I need one more method of coffee preparation?" And the answer is; no, not now. I'm not going to reach coffee "nirvana" with one more proprietary brew method. I've got enough equipment cluttering up my place. Maybe if I downsized a bit, but for now, I'm not building any more coffee museum exhibits.

I just like collecting different brewers for kicks. Half of them I've only used 1 time and then just put it up with the rest of my display/collection 8)
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Postby TomC » May 06, 2013, 7:57 pm

I used to think the same way. It just wore out after a while. If I had seen something like this before buying the Espro, I'd probably bought it instead.

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Postby the_trystero » May 06, 2013, 8:57 pm

For single cups I keep returning to inverted Aeropress with the Able Disk Fine. I actually preferred the Kaffeologie S Filter until the nano-spot welds failed around a third of mine. I haven't asked for a replacement yet but while I was using it it was even cleaner than the Disk.

I use a fairly coarse grind with the Lido and I end up with a pretty clean cup. With the inverted method I can go with coarser grinds which I barely have to use any force to push through. Using temps around 206-207 °F, 2-3 seconds of stirring, 1:45 inverted and then a 30 second push down.

If I could make 4 cups at a time I would never use the Brazen.
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Postby DJR » May 26, 2013, 11:42 am

I've been using this Not-so Clever Dripper at least twice a day for about two years now. It hasn't failed and produces what I think is an entirely repeatable, delicious cup. I use the Melitta No. 6 paper filters and let the coffee flow into a carafe. Or if making iced coffee directly into a mason jar.

Water comes from a Japanese air pot at 208 F, but that is reduced a bit since I use a spoon to deflect a spray over the grounds. 2 minutes steeping time and then it takes maybe 30 seconds to drain.

My current one uses two corks since it is a No. 6 porcelain cone.

No museum piece, but I like it because the only plastic involved is silicon rubber corks and so far nothing has gone wrong...

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Postby Arctic Mama » Jul 23, 2013, 3:41 am

yakster wrote:Since my favorite brewer often seems to be the most recent one I purchased, for argument's sake I'll say that the Impress Coffee Brewer fills the bill. It's a travel cup with a fine mesh metal filter screwed into an inner sleeve that pushes the grounds out of the way and allows you to drink the coffee. The resulting coffee has great body and flavor, and the sediment is minimal. I haven't noticed the coffee getting more bitter in the cup while drinking it over long periods of time and I love being able to make a cup on the way out the door to have a cup of hot coffee to take with me.

The only real drawback for me is that the coffee is very hot when brewed and stays quite hot for a long while. Pouring the coffee off into another cup would solve this, but defeat the travel brewer niche. I've managed to workaround this by watching my brew water temperatures going in and letting the coffee cool.

Huh. That's a cool brewer! It looks fairly idiot-proof, too, which is exactly what I need. Not a bad price, either. I was looking at an Eve Solo but this is much more reasonable. Anyone know how the Impress and Solo compare?