Is some French press mud normal even for a Mazzer Mini?

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
MOSFET

#1: Post by MOSFET »

Trying to nail down source of consistent bitterness. I wouldn't think it's the grinder, but I'm open to all possibilities. I never see flying powder or static cling. Adjusting the grind is not a problem. Burrs are not worn. But could abnormally fine particles be the source of bitterness in espresso? When doing French press on a very coarse setting I still get sludge at the bottom. Does anyone use a Mini and not get this sludge?

thanks

Keith

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iginfect

#2: Post by iginfect »

I get a minimal amount of sludge, no bitterness, using the coarsest grind on my MM and a Swiss Gold filter screen, no longer available. It's probably not possible to get no sludge. Are your beans fresh? I doubt you can buy fresh beans on L.I.: if you can I'd be interested so as to let my sister know.

Marvin

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another_jim
Team HB

#3: Post by another_jim »

Two issues: sludge and bitterness

Sludge will be present at the bottom of the cup regardless of grinder or filtering method short of paper. The only way around this is to grind so coarse that the coffee is either weak or bitter from excessive brew times.

There's conventional wisdom on bitterness and my personal unconfirmed wisdom (although Sean agrees).

The 2 bits of conventional wisdom, with which I agree:
1. Bitterness is reduced by finer grinds and shorter brew times. This will increase the sludge. I do a grind between drip and french press and brew for 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Some coffees can get very bitter if you pour on the water at 95C or more -- do your FP coffee at 90C to 93C, and it pays to measure. **Do not brew in a thermos or heavily insulated vessel** since this will also screw up the brew temperatures.

My personal wisdom came from wondering why open bowl cupped coffee always tastes better than FP. My conclusion is that the plunger action of FPs adds a lot of bitterness. Try this: brew your coffee as usual in an FP vessel leaving the plunger out. Decant half of it, plunge the remaining half, taste blind, and see for yourself.
Jim Schulman

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iginfect

#4: Post by iginfect »

Jim, Bodum is supposed to be releasing soon a new glass for its FP as used in the pavina cups. This has improved heat retention and MP on his cgpodcast said, I believe, this should make better FP. What is your take on this?

Marvin

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another_jim
Team HB

#5: Post by another_jim »

iginfect wrote:Jim, Bodum is supposed to be releasing soon a new glass for its FP as used in the pavina cups. This has improved heat retention and MP on his cgpodcast said, I believe, this should make better FP. What is your take on this?
Almost a sure thing to be a lot worse, unless you get totally anal about brewtime. If the water is cooling off, the possibility of overextraction is diminished, and the window at which to stop brewing is extended. When I have 10 cups on a table, each waiting for a crust break, the last cups I break will brew 2 minutes longer than the first; I want the water to cool off. If I'm brewing coffee in the real world, while attending to other things, I also want the water to cool off.

Let the coffee steep gently while cooling off. Don't stir, agitate, roil, plunge, heat or otherwise disturb it -- everytime you do, you just add a muddy obscuring bitterness to the taste.
Jim Schulman

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HB
Admin

#6: Post by HB »

another_jim wrote:The 2 bits of conventional wisdom, with which I agree:
After a long absence, I've returned to French press coffee and your comment reminded me of Tom's Recommended French Press Brewing Method. He suggests a finer grind, a brief stir after a minute, and shorter brew time. It was bitter a one or twice due to the brew temperature. Now I measure the water temperature and start pouring around 202-203F. It's a nice change from my regular espresso habit!
Dan Kehn

MOSFET

#7: Post by MOSFET »

Thanks guys, for the comments. Actually I was asking about espresso. I don't get the bitterness in French press, only in espresso, for which I use the same grinder. Just trying to trace the source of the espresso bitterness. I wanted to see if sludge, therefore really fine particles, indicated a grinder grinding too uneven for espresso.

Ironically, tonight as I cleaned my French press, I broke it. This experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth...

Yes, the beans are fresh. Homeroasted. Not expertly roasted, though. I'm not ruling out the beans as a possible source of bitterness. But I get bitterness with all sorts of purchased roasted beans. My bitterness does not discriminate. Temp is under control, pressure fine, equipment solid. Occasional channeling, but even a healthy, bottomless pull gives me more than acceptable bitterness. I've read countless threads questioning the origins of bitterness and have experimented with all the ideas. No real success yet. However, like golf, I occasionally make a great shot, which keeps me coming back for more. My latest theory is possible overtamping, which I will experiment with tomorrow morning. Do you think 180lbs is too much? :wink:

What I really need is someone who is good at pulling straight shots to come over and use my machine, my grinder, and a variety of beans to see if they can produce good shots. Maybe it's my technique. So please, come over. Drink my coffee. Save me...

Keith

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espressoperson

#8: Post by espressoperson »

MOSFET wrote:What I really need is someone who is good at pulling straight shots to come over and use my machine, my grinder, and a variety of beans to see if they can produce good shots. Maybe it's my technique. So please, come over. Drink my coffee. Save me...

Keith
Before you invite folks over to taste your bitter brew, perhaps you should clean your equipment. Soak everything that comes off the machine in Cafiza or equivalent. Backflush with same. Clean boiler with Cleancaf or equivalent. Clean grinder with Minute Rice or equivalent. And so on. Then see if you still need help with technique.
michaelb, lmwdp 24

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another_jim
Team HB

#9: Post by another_jim »

MOSFET wrote: Actually I was asking about espresso. I don't get the bitterness in French press, only in espresso, for which I use the same grinder. Just trying to trace the source of the espresso bitterness.
Try a cool, fast, overdosed shot. If it's still bitter, a cleaning regimen, grinder and machine, is certainly the first step. Switching coffees may also be a good idea
Jim Schulman

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luca
Team HB

#10: Post by luca »

jim wrote:My personal wisdom came from wondering why open bowl cupped coffee always tastes better than FP ...
I have been doing heaps more cupping than ever before at work lately. Very interesting stuff. I'm now wondering if the Eva Solo brewer wouldn't be worth playing with ... or maybe just a nice small vac pot ... what's your take, jim?

Cheers,

Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1