Finding balanced cup in pour over (V60). - Page 12

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.

Postby tv79 » Feb 09, 2019, 3:59 pm

Alan - do you find controlling extraction via temp also works well when using fewer pours? I'm typically using 500ml and have found Tim Wendelboe's V60 method to work well, but I'm curious if changing temp vs. grind is still a viable alternative here.


Postby RyanJE » Feb 09, 2019, 4:59 pm

dale_cooper wrote:To follow up - I had a darker roast sitting around. Probably 45 days old, beans have oil on them at this point. I think it was an aged sumatra which I remember not liking when brewing and thinking I just went too dark.

I brewed them with the coarse grind and 196 starting temp (which was 191) towards the end of the pour. All I gotta say is this coarse grind and altering of temp is now a game changer for me (to be determined for my super light roasts but yeah) Is the cup still roasty? Well yes cause those beans were just ok and the roast is dark. However, there is sweetness, and its not harsh. It's again - quite enjoyable which is really all I'm looking for. WAYYYY better than what I remember in my prior methods.


So you made a coffee like beverage out of stale beans that taste like mushrooms? OK OK I Kid! Sorta.
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Postby dale_cooper » replying to RyanJE » Feb 09, 2019, 10:33 pm

Lol... I'll be glad to send you any of my roasts and critique me. :)


Postby Zephyp » Feb 10, 2019, 7:47 am

New brew. Bleached, tabless filters, 32 clicks, 96C water, 15.6/250g, 30g bloom, four pours after bloom. Drawdown 2:58.

Not the best cup. Had some astrigency in the back of the mouth and tongue and not much else. Will once again venture into the really coarse area and see what comes of it. Need something to do on a Sunday. I tried a brew at 39 clicks some pages back that was surprisingly not bad tasting, so who knows what I will find.

I think it's interesting to see how the variables affects the cup. This method Alan is using focuses on contact time and adjusting grind to account for all the other factors. By changing the number of pours and pouring technique, I can hit 2:30 with grind settings around 27-30. This means getting all the water in pretty fast. 50g bloom, 100g at 30s and 100g at 60s. This almost fills up the dripper completely.

If I increase the number of pours, I have to coarsen the grind to hit the 2:30 timings. Today, with four pours, I had drawdown at 2:58 with 32 clicks. With these tabless filters I might get down to 2:30 before 40 clicks.

This begs to ask the question: What matters most? Contact time or grind size. Alan's method says contact time since the idea is to adjust grind size until you can hit 2:30 without filling the dripper with too much water at once. This means you'll have to use around 4-5 pours. So the pours are somewhat fixed, contact time is what you aim for and grind size is what you adjust. This pretty much states that absolute grind size is unimportant and relative grind size what matters. Meaning that if I use 37 clicks on my grinder to get to 2:30 and someone else use 30 clicks to get to 2:30, both with the same pouring technique, those are the correct grind sizes relative to the brews, but they are different from eachother.

It may be that you can get good brews with both variations as long as you hit around 2:30, possibly with some differences in taste. The focus on contact time is slightly new to me, especially down to 2:30. I've been brewing with the assumption that you want to find the ideal grind size for your grinder and then adjust taste by pours or temperature. If some brews take 3:10 and some 4:00, that's because of differences in beans and variations in your pouring technique since we're not machines.

What's most fascinating about this is how people settle for very different ways to brew their coffee. Some have made thousands of cups with one method and some thousands with another one. One person brewing in 2:30 and one in 3:30, with the same dripper. Maybe both just hit different areas in the extraction range where it taste good. I'm becoming more convinced that the spectrum of taste from a cup of coffee doesn't look like a normal distribution where the top is where it always taste the best, but rather a line going up and down, maybe having multiple areas where it taste good, but with some differences to what that high spot taste like. It also explains to some degree why extraction yield isn't a solution that everyone in theory could aim for. Some prefer the taste at 22%, some at 21%. And that is of course another very important factor which is impossible to describe in numbers, videos or anything: taste. I'm not talking about notes, sweetness etc., but what taste good, or taste best. If I made an identical brew to someone else, even if I visited them and they brewed it for me, the area where they like their coffee best might not be where I would settle in.

I've pretty much given up trying to identify "overextracted" and "underextracted". Brews at both sides of what I would find the best tasting could taste the same to me, so it doesn't hold much value. Especially if a cup can be good on different extraction yields. If it's good at 21% and 22%, what would I call 21.5%? Especially when I get close to a good cup, the lines between over and under disappear. I could make two brews that were decidedly over- and underextracted. One brewed in 1:30 and one in 5 minutes and probably be able to tell which is which, but if 2:30 was the sweet spot, I don't think I could say in a blind test which brew was 2:00 and which was 3:00.

I might try taking this even further for the sake of curiosity. If I can get good brews at 28 clicks and 38 clicks as long as they finish in 2:30, what happens if I go to 23 clicks with a single pour after bloom. Or 43 clicks with more pours, maybe even a showerhead of some sort to hit larger parts of the bed, keeping the grounds saturated, but not immersed.

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Postby Almico » Feb 10, 2019, 11:15 am

Zephyp wrote:I think it's interesting to see how the variables affects the cup. This method Alan is using focuses on contact time and adjusting grind to account for all the other factors.

No. Clearly you like thinking and writing more than you like reading and comprehending.

You adjust the grind to achieve the total brew time. The only other brew variable is water temperature.


Postby RyanJE » Feb 10, 2019, 11:28 am

dale_cooper wrote:Lol... I'll be glad to send you any of my roasts and critique me. :)

Hey it was a knock against Sumatras not your roasting. Id try your roasts as I'm always down for some free coffee! Just not a fan of naturals or earthy type coffees like Sumatra, etc.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....


Postby Zephyp » Feb 10, 2019, 12:11 pm

Almico wrote:No. Clearly you like thinking and writing more than you like reading and comprehending.

You adjust the grind to achieve the total brew time. The only other brew variable is water temperature.

That's what I said...

The other variables that change from person to person and affects brew time is grind quality, filter type, bean type and somewhat technique. Temperature doesn't affect brew time. If someone uses slow filters and/or a cheap grinder, the grind setting will have to go coarser to compensate in order to reach 2:30. Meaning someone with shrink-wrapped filters will have to use a coarser setting, even if the rest of their setup is identical to yours, since grind size is all you want to adjust for brew time.

If I haven't comprehended it, it's because you haven't explained it well enough. From what you've written in this topic, there are three variables that you dictate, and two of them affects brew time.

1. Pouring technique. To achieve a somewhat shallow bed most of the brew and avoid filling over the arbitraty bloom line (which goes higher on your pours after bloom), one has to use at least around four after bloom. Anything less and you'll fill up the dripper too much.

2. Grind size. This is really the only variable you change in order to hit 2:30.

3. Temperature. That's for taste, not brew time.


Postby bpchia » Feb 18, 2019, 1:55 am

Almico wrote:I've had coffee sitting in a V60 filter for 10:00 waiting for it to draw down.

I've advocated 2:30 for a V60 filter. Early on I had many pours taking 3-4 minutes with all the water in early. The new V60 filters make this worse.

All I'm saying is pick a grind level that allows a 2:30 drawdown with a reasonable pour. Pour as it draws down so the grounds bed does not dry up or the water level doesn't exceed the bloom line. Once this grind level is found, adjust the taste by water temp instead of messing with the grind again.

Hi Alan,

Few questions about your method:

1. For denser beans eg most Ethiopians do you still find that 2.30 is your target?

2. Do you use temperature primarily to adjust extraction yield (eg if you are tasting typical under or over extracted flavors) or to balance the flavour profile (eg do you use higher temps to emphasize acidity? do lower temps if you can extract enough emphasize sweetness?)

3. Thanks for the videos, they really illustrate much better than words could...what are your thoughts on washing down the walls rather than the swirl to get high and dry grounds back into the bed? I've done both and I can't reach a conclusion (because I don't take enough notes!)'ve probably done both many more times than me! I don't think washing down the walls causes much more if any bypass...have you seen this video ... hare_sheet showing water flows down the ribs regardless? This video showed me that there is flow both towards the tip of the cone and outwards down the sides.


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Postby Almico » replying to bpchia » Feb 18, 2019, 9:53 am

1) Yes

2) I'm not convinced that highest extraction yield equates to best taste. I measure extraction yield as a baseline when I get the flavor I want; not the other way around. Then I can go back to it when I get into a funk and can't seem to make a good cup of coffee no matter what I do.

3) I'm not sure of the point of that video. If you seal the bottom, then water will only come out the sides. If you seal the sides then water will only come out the bottom. Water will penetrate the filter through the path of least resistance.

My point is to try to have most of the water being extracted come out where there are grounds present. Keep the water low in the brewer. If you fill the brewer, most of the water will bypass the grounds, taking the path of least resistance. This does not make for an under extracted cup, it does make a weak one.


Postby SpecC » Feb 20, 2019, 1:12 pm

Interesting thread. When I went to Sweet Bloom in Denver, they had a fairly similar method of keeping the water level low. It was probably the best pourover I've ever been served in a Cafe.

This is for a Chemex but it's the same for any brewer.
Rinse Chemex filter to eliminate paper taste - pour out rinse water.
Place filter in brewer, thick side of filter towards spout.
Set Chemex on scale and zero.
Add 18g freshly ground coffee (grind should be medium drip) and zero scale.
Gently pour 40g of water just off boil onto the coffee bed to form bloom.
Wait 15 seconds - a great time to smell the bloom!
Gently add another 30g of water into the center of the coffee bed, forming a second bloom slightly higher in the filter.
Subsequent pours should maintain the level of the second bloom for the rest of the brew. Gently pulse pour 25 grams of water at a time into the center of the bed in 15 second intervals, maintaining the top layer of grounds (crust) as long as possible and allowing the water level to slowly rise and fall. A very gentle pour allows gravity to be the force of the extraction, pulling the water evenly through the entire coffee bed.
Towards the end of the brew (time should be ~2:15 seconds), sink any remaining crust with a final pour to 300g.
Draw down should take 15-30 seconds for a total brew time of ~2:40 minutes.