James Hoffmann Aeropress Extravaganza - Page 2

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
mgrayson
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#11: Post by mgrayson »

One possibility for the "why some things matter sometimes but not other at other times" is that this is a high dimensional space. Mr. Hoffman is changing one variable at a time, which is excellent, but it doesn't necessarily get you to the best solution. It's entirely possible that from THIS starting point, blooming won't matter, but from THAT point it will. Even worse, suppose we're trying to find the optimal, say, grind and temperature. Neither optimizing them individually nor sequentially will necessarily get you close to the best combination.

Imagine a nearby canyon running from southwest to northeast, but with a lowest point directly northwest of where you are. If you search to the west, you find one low point. If you search north, you find another. Changing one variable at a time just won't get you to go in the northwest direction. This is a famously difficult problem, and finding ways to solve it is the basis of modern AI (deep learning, whatever).

This is why his suggestion that you do experiments for YOUR setup and coffee is so important. You're almost certainly starting your search from a different point, and will therefore likely find a different "best combination" of parameters.

I look forward to the next installment!

PIXIllate
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#12: Post by PIXIllate »

mgrayson wrote:One possibility for the "why some things matter sometimes but not other at other times" is that this is a high dimensional space. Mr. Hoffman is changing one variable at a time, which is excellent, but it doesn't necessarily get you to the best solution. It's entirely possible that from THIS starting point, blooming won't matter, but from THAT point it will. Even worse, suppose we're trying to find the optimal, say, grind and temperature. Neither optimizing them individually nor sequentially will necessarily get you close to the best combination.
If you take this logic to it's conclusion NOTHING is ever knowable. Coffee is a little complicated but we're not talking about dark matter. You can learn from the experiments of others if they are well conducted. You can build on parameters. You will need to pay attention to the order in which you change things if you want to come up with a repeatable system for dialing in ANY kind of coffee beverage. This is why Matt Perger suggests a triangle where
you start by choosing a dose and leave it alone while you dial in your yield and then grind.

If nothing is ever repeatable by two people then it's chaos.

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Auctor
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#13: Post by Auctor »

MikeTheBlueCow wrote:My only concern is that the community will use this as "the definitive proof" for why not to do many of these things in an AeroPress recipe, when I feel it should rather spur experimentation and conversation.
I find his videos similar to eating comfort food. He's not particularly controversial, he approaches coffee in a simple, elegant way, and at the end, he's never particularly declarative about anything. I sense that if he does have a "definitive recipe and approach", he'll caveat the crap out of it at the end.

I also don't think his target audience is coffee geeks - I think it's regular coffee drinkers who'd like to learn a bit more without becoming experts or emptying their pockets. The plus side for him is he stays relevant in the coffee community and build his public brand as he does his side projects. his insights are moving the coffee industry in the right direction because he's introducing "the masses" to the hobby, and avoiding an approach where he acts as a wildly opinionated guru (which you can see with others who make videos).

I'm excited to see if he does something big with the e61s. The coffee community desperately needs unbiased content on who should buy an e61, what kind, and at what price, and what are the trade offs and maintenance requirements. Frankly, I wish HB would do it because it could leverage the massive community, but I think it would be a big undertaking.

mgrayson
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#14: Post by mgrayson »

PIXIllate wrote:If you take this logic to it's conclusion NOTHING is ever knowable. Coffee is a little complicated but we're not talking about dark matter. You can learn from the experiments of others if they are well conducted. You can build on parameters. You will need to pay attention to the order in which you change things if you want to come up with a repeatable system for dialing in ANY kind of coffee beverage. This is why Matt Perger suggests a triangle where
you start by choosing a dose and leave it alone while you dial in your yield and then grind.

If nothing is ever repeatable by two people then it's chaos.
It's completely repeatable, but you have to start from the same point to get the same results. Or check every point in that triangle, which I don't know if he recommends or not. I'm certainly NOT saying there's no point in these experiments. Every one will get you better results. I'm just wondering if the "same recipe gives different results" or "sometimes X matters, sometimes it doesn't" is due to it being a higher (and by higher, I mean 3 or 4) dimensional problem. Our one-dimensional intuition fails badly in these situations.

DamianWarS
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#15: Post by DamianWarS »

Rickpatbrown wrote:Are you serious???!!! Two MORE episodes? What a freak!
God I love the modern coffee community. Especially James. He has really been putting out amazing content for the past year or two. The industry was ripe for this. He is basically grabbing all the low hanging fruit and packaging it in a way that would be hard to out do.
In reply to a comment about metal filters in ep2 James is quoted "I'll cover metal filters (a bit) in episode 4. It'll be part of a bigger video but I should make sure I answer some of these questions in it". So it seems I've underestimated the series and James has what appears to be 2 more episodes (at least) in place before he reveals his method. I never knew the areopress had so much to talk about but I think this is the reason why he has never done a video before because there's too many questions that need to be answered. Unquestionably the add ons and accesories will be covered (perhaps in ep3) because these mods are very much a part of areopress lovers (for example I only use the prismo with mine)

jpender

#16: Post by jpender »

I love watching Mr. Hoffmann's videos. He's fun and his subjects are often thought provoking. But his tests are never all that rigorous. That takes too much time for a video. In this latest one he covers a lot of ground but doesn't delve deep enough to be convincing. He started out by saying how Aeropress champions seemed to have a lot of trouble with consistency. What made him think he could figure it all out with a battery of quick tests?

He might be right about most of the things he said. Or maybe he's wrong about them. Each of his assertions needs to be tested by others, his experiments replicated.


Let's take one: preheating.

This is something that I experimented with nine years ago. At that time I saw a very significant difference between a preheated vs unpreheated Aeropress. My Aeropress back then was made out of copolyester. My current one, like James's, is made out of polypropylene.

So here's a simple test. First I soaked the Aeropress in 16°C cold water each time so it would be at the same starting temperature. For the first case I added 15g of coffee and 218g of just-off-the-boil water to an inverted Aeropress. In the second case I did the same but preceded it by filling it with 240g of boiling water and leaving it for 1 minute.




A pretty obvious difference. And, although I didn't blind myself, I thought the taste was noticeably different as well. I'm not saying James didn't measure what he measured. But he didn't tell us precisely what he did. And he didn't explore any further. So his conclusion that preheating has little effect is possibly limited to the specific case he tested, whatever that was exactly.

I can't help but extrapolate this to his other conclusions. Not to say that he's "wrong", just that his results must be taken with a grain of salt, maybe even a tablespoon of the stuff. His experiments need to be replicated by others, not naively swallowed whole.
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Cuphead

#17: Post by Cuphead »

I appreciate James's quest to figure out a simple repeatable method for the Aeropress. I wish this was available when I was getting deeper into coffee.

I believe this series will serve as a much needed guide for a lot of coffee curious people out there. I'm sure that a lot of places like r/coffee will treat this as gospel but the true geeks will always do their own experiments and draw their own conclusions.

It's been a while since I used my Aeropress but today I made a delicious and balanced cup with the guidelines from this video. I especially like the swirling instead of stirring, I never figured where I should put the damn thing without making a mess :lol:

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Rickpatbrown (original poster)

#18: Post by Rickpatbrown (original poster) »

jpender wrote:I love watching Mr. Hoffmann's videos. He's fun and his subjects are often thought provoking. But his tests are never all that rigorous. That takes too much time for a video. In this latest one he covers a lot of ground but doesn't delve deep enough to be convincing. He started out by saying how Aeropress champions seemed to have a lot of trouble with consistency. What made him think he could figure it all out with a battery of quick tests?

He might be right about most of the things he said. Or maybe he's wrong about them. Each of his assertions needs to be tested by others, his experiments replicated.


Let's take one: preheating.

This is something that I experimented with nine years ago. At that time I saw a very significant difference between a preheated vs unpreheated Aeropress. My Aeropress back then was made out of copolyester. My current one, like James's, is made out of polypropylene.

So here's a simple test. First I soaked the Aeropress in 16°C cold water each time so it would be at the same starting temperature. For the first case I added 15g of coffee and 218g of just-off-the-boil water to an inverted Aeropress. In the second case I did the same but preceded it by filling it with 240g of boiling water and leaving it for 1 minute.

image


A pretty obvious difference. And, although I didn't blind myself, I thought the taste was noticeably different as well. I'm not saying James didn't measure what he measured. But he didn't tell us precisely what he did. And he didn't explore any further. So his conclusion that preheating has little effect is possibly limited to the specific case he tested, whatever that was exactly.

I can't help but extrapolate this to his other conclusions. Not to say that he's "wrong", just that his results must be taken with a grain of salt, maybe even a tablespoon of the stuff. His experiments need to be replicated by others, not naively swallowed whole.
This is interesting. He (and you) did mention the difference in previous generation Aeropress composition. But your point is an important one. None of these things should be taken with blind faith. I do give him a lot of faith. I assume his coffee skills and palate are far superior to mine (and 90% of the people who claim that many of things make a difference).

Seems like a simple experiment to repeate with the new polymer material. Generally, each experiment should be repeated in triplicate with the mean and standard deviations provided ... if you actually want to get scientific about it.

jpender

#19: Post by jpender »

Rickpatbrown wrote:Seems like a simple experiment to repeate with the new polymer material. Generally, each experiment should be repeated in triplicate with the mean and standard deviations provided ... if you actually want to get scientific about it.
This *is* with the new material. I did this test this morning. Sure, it's just two runs. Sure, my thermometer isn't carefully calibrated. But it's an obvious difference and, really, not that surprising. The cylinder weighs about 82g and polypropylene has a specific heat of about 1.8 J/g-K. So the thermal mass is about 150 J/K. Compare that to 220g of water which has a thermal mass of around 920 J/K. So the cylinder is roughly 1/6 the thermal mass of the water. If the cylinder is hot it will matter, eventually. It comes down to how fast it heats up. And while the thermal conductivity of polypropylene is not very high the cylinder is also not very thick.

Anyway, I used to regularly preheat my Aeropress because the brew water was hotter that way. I measured it many, many times. And the thermal properties of copolyester are similar to those of polypropylene.

Please, repeat it. Do it different ways. James Hoffmann isn't going to. He's going to design a gold standard Aeropress recipe that doesn't require preheating. Or rinsing the filter. It will be at a high temperature, definitely not at, say, 92°C. And there will be a swirl instead of a stir. Or at least that's what I expect to see.

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baldheadracing
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#20: Post by baldheadracing »

jpender wrote:... He's going to design a gold standard Aeropress recipe that doesn't require preheating. Or rinsing the filter. It will be at a high temperature, definitely not at, say, 92°C. And there will be a swirl instead of a stir. Or at least that's what I expect to see.
I'm expecting the reverse. I'm expecting the big reveal to be that the ideal AP recipe is the one that makes you coffee that you like to drink, and to experiment, etc.

It seems to me that he's using the AP to demonstrate all the factors that can affect extraction, i.e., he is demonstrating why an ideal AP recipe cannot exist. He's made this point multiple times in the past and even came up with the AP dice. I will honestly be shocked if there is one "gold standard" recipe, unless it is just a starting point for experimentation.

That being said, we know that it won't involve the inverted method! :lol:
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann