HB member Yakster and I ended up hanging out yesterday in the east bay doing various coffee stuff and our last stop was at Scarlet City Coffee in Oakland. Jen is one of the few roasters in this area roasting dark and her espresso game is rock solid (not to mention the amazing affogato). She had a new Peruvian La Florida that sounded great from the flavor descriptors, so I grabbed a bag to take home.
First batch thru the Brazen at work, with the temp at 192 yielded your stereotypical roasty, bitter and flat and not very interesting brew, with just generic "coffee" tastes. The tasting notes that drew me to the coffee was "white blossoms, and cake" posted at the cafe. 190 is the lowest I could go on the Brazen. So taking inspiration from Lucio Del Piccolo's idea of using a cold water start for mocha pot brewing, I attempted to do the same with the Brazen and the results are spectacular.
This was a minimal effort work-around. All it took was for me to use enough of my cool temp brewing water to soak the coffee bed/ brew basket, with the remainder going into the brewer.No stirring or agitation needed. I've been simply using a 1.25 liter bottle at work that I fill with cool filtered water. Temp set at it's lowest, 190 and fire away. I watched to see the temp climb closer to the 190 point before I placed the carafe under the basket. I figured that I may not want to have the initial soaking water immediately just dump out into the carafe while the rest of the brewer was coming up to temp. But I'd caution others to monitor it, because it can quickly overflow the basket otherwise. I imagine this would be a method that would work on any drip brewer.
The cup results are stellar. Much, much sweeter, deeper and softer traces of those developed caramels, toast and other maillards, gentle blackberry and spice up front backed by chocolate notes that have clarity and structure, nothing's hidden or murky. And none of the bitter, flat, ashy or roasty tastes at all. For well developed roasts, I doubt I'll ever go back to what I was doing before. This is what dark roasted coffee is supposed to taste like. The finish is deliciously sugary sweet still.