Dialing in pour-over for new coffees - Page 2

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.

#11: Post by Sugssugi »

Rjreusch wrote:I like your comments Sugssugi. In my first post, I mentioned that I had basically gone to a set procedure only varying grind. My confusion was just that I looked at brew time rather than just using taste to decide if a grind adjustment was necessary. It actual works until I got to some natural processed beans and then brew time did not act "normal" as grind size was adjusted. So I will take your advice. I have one go to method and a starting grind size for natural processed and for washed. Then I will make adjustments mostly by taste. I think with washed I can also look at brew time to help with the adjustment decision. Many thanks!
Glad I can try to help here. I forgot to mention about brew time. I think it is the least important aspect of pourover. Others might not think so but for me there is a specific range of time to hit when doing pourover. And as long as I fall in that range, it is good enough. For example, you don't really want to brew for longer than four minutes or shorter than two minutes (if your average dose is 15-20g). That being said I sometimes hit above four minutes and the coffee still turned out amazing. This is one of the things why I love coffee. They are just unpredictable and give you surprises at times :mrgreen:

This is just my way of simplifying things so that I can get to enjoy brewing and consume my coffee. I put priorities on the different factors of my brewing adjustments so it makes my brewing enjoyable. In the end after many reading and trial and error I decided that grind size and temperature are the two things that will have huge impact on your coffee. There are just so many factors to consider and in fact I will list them here.

1. Coffee to water ratio
2. Temperature
3. Grind size
4. Water quality
5. Filter
6. Brew time
7. Brew recipe

And these are mostly the ones that will have a significant impact on your coffee. There are still others such as room temperature, altitude, etc but not going to mention them as they are not that significant for most of us. So you need to choose from this list which ones you value the most. Or the easiest to adjust so that you can get your dial in as quickly as possible and painless. Cheers.

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#12: Post by Rjreusch (original poster) »

I can't control temp to well, I just have a plain gooseneck kettle. So I just try to have a very repeatable procedure. I agree with brew time, it's what got me messed up to start with. I look at it but I don't fret too much anymore. I still have a lot of work to do. I have fun with the trials but I do get frustrated when I make some pretty bad cups from very expensive coffee. I will eventually reduce that problem. I bought 4 oz. of a cup of excellence coffee (a natural from Ethiopia) and was still dialing in when I ran out! My (new) top two factors are coffee to water ratio (initially hold constant) and grind (which I adjust to dial in). In rare cases when I get the right grind for balance, I might adjust the coffee dose some. For temperature, I boil my water in a separate vessel and then pour into my kettle. The temp drops into a pretty good range. I then immediately start the rinsing process and then brew. I know, not perfect. Probably more investment in my future!


#13: Post by Sugssugi » replying to Rjreusch »

Temperature is very tricky because it can affect both brew time and extraction rate. I always try to use 92 degc. Rarely changes it. I do change sometimes depending on roast level. If bean is very lightly roasted I usually go 93-94 degc. If it is darker, 89-91 degc. And in the rare cases such as going hotter for more extraction if I want to keep my grind size for brew time or duration of drawdown.

It also works if you keep pouring into kettle after boil as long as you do it consistently. But I would recommend you to buy a thermometer and stick it into your kettle. It is not expensive.

Not long ago I always tried to seek out the perfect way to brew pourover and like you I almost always run out of coffee before I think I might get the perfect cup. I even asked for advice on getting a perfect brew recipe here. But I realized the change in taste is always very negligible and I can end up with bad coffee sometimes. So I decided to just stick to a simple repeatable method that I can use to always enjoy my cup every brew and not frustrate myself on getting the "perfect" cup because it only existed in my mind.

I believe the way to brew pourover is to keep it simple because there is no right answer.

Rjreusch (original poster)

#14: Post by Rjreusch (original poster) »

I like your philosophy. Many thanks for the inspiration and knowledge. I enjoy the pursuit of the perfect cup but it can get out of hand so I agree with all you're saying. Eventually a temperature controlled kettle will come my way (that's not getting out of hand!).

Rjreusch (original poster)

#15: Post by Rjreusch (original poster) »

Ok, I've been implementing suggestions that were made on this thread and have a basic pour-over method that offers very easy small tweaks of the extraction + or -. Then I use grind setting changes if bigger tweaks are necessary. I was still grinding quite coarse for a typical pour-over and that's when I made a discovery that drastically changed my grind settings. My Lido 3 even though in nice adjustment and less than 1 year old, produces a large amount of powdery fines. Between 20-25% of the total. I used a 45 mesh (354 micron) analytical sieve to discover this. I was using a +10.5 to +11 from zero (or tight point) on my Lido 3. After sifting through the 356 micron screen and some adjustment in coffee dose to get me back to a water to coffee ratio of 15 (because of waste factor), I now use a +7.5 to +8 setting. This is a big change on the Lido 3. I'm not happy with the waste and haven't totally decided what to. The resulting coffee is much better in my opinion. If anyone has any hand grinder suggestions that they have reason to believe provides a better grind than the Lido 3 for pour-overs, please let me know. My brew time (for the same coffee) at +8 is about the same as the pre-sifted setting of +10.5. I know that grind size sometimes doesn't directly relate to brew time but this is still surprising.

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#16: Post by baldheadracing » replying to Rjreusch »

I've got a Fixie, which has the same Etzinger burrs as the Lido 3. I don't have your issues when brewing V60's at the Fixie's default pourover grind setting. Maybe try the alignment procedure? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLoYX37QcIk

As for other hand grinders, my opinion is that there isn't enough of a difference in the cup between the half-dozen 38mm to 48mm conical burr hand grinders that I have in the Lido's price range or greater to justify a switch from the Etzinger burr. Among other hand grinders, the OE Apex is often better tasting in the cup - but it is $500.
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

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#17: Post by Brewzologist »

Here's a simple test to see if it helps reduce fines. Say you grind 20g in your Lido for your desired pourover. Instead, try grinding 4g at a time x5 to get to your 20g dose, or heck even 2gx10. I've heard this referred to as "unimodal" grinding and believe Hoffman has a video on it. I use this daily for V60's with both a Lido ET and Niche Zero as I don't also own a grinder more suitable for pourover technique. This may be too much hassle if you make a lot of pourovers, but I don't so it's a good compromise. I don't even measure that precisely, just tossing in a small amount of beans each time. They come out much fluffier and I see fewer fines after brewing.

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#18: Post by Yan »

Rjreusch wrote:If anyone has any hand grinder suggestions that they have reason to believe provides a better grind than the Lido 3 for pour-overs, please let me know.
Before you upgrade/change your grinder why don't you try a better water let's say Third wave Water or Aquacode I used Lido 3 around 1+ year and never had any issue regarding the results in the cups, there are some hand grinder like C40 is better but imho not significantly better until you try the APEX it definitely much better in the cups, my suggestion try to test with a better brewing water first, if you still disappointed with the results maybe you can change/upgrade the grinder...


#19: Post by Nathan_S »

baldheadracing wrote:As you're drinking Onyx, then the quickest dial-in is to follow their recipe for each coffee, and their notes for each roast lot.

If there is less information, then I use a refractometer for quickest dial-in. That's a bit excessive - but this site is "your guide to excellent coffee." A refractometer is also of more value when the person is inexperienced. These days I rarely use the refractometer, but it comes out right away if a particular roast delivers results that vary from my norm.
What is your process and target when using a refractometer for dialing in a blend? I'm the definition of inexperienced, I thought I didn't like coffee until a couple months ago, turns out I don't like bad coffee. I do have a refractometer from beer brewing though so I'd love to use it here if it helps.

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#20: Post by baldheadracing » replying to Nathan_S »

I think the first objective is consistency. Use scales to measure the mass of ground coffee used, water going in, and coffee coming out. Use a refractometer to measure the refractive index - which is probably expressed in Brix. There is a basic approximate conversion from the "Brix" number from your refractometer (which isn't actually Brix in black coffee, of course) to how much of the ground coffee ended up in your brew. This is called "Total Dissolved Solids" (TDS). From there you can combine TDS with the weights you measured to approximate Extraction yield (EY). See Refractometer use and usefulness? or any number of threads on the topic.

Once you are consistently attaining about the same TDS and EY for every cup of coffee, then your technique is consistent enough to change things to improve the quality of your coffee. I linked to one possible basic algorithm in post 4 in this thread, https://www.baristahustle.com/blog/the-coffee-compass/

Good luck!
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann