Moka Pot - A Crema MONSTER. Wait What?? - Page 2

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
cari66ean (original poster)

#11: Post by cari66ean (original poster) »

Ooops... sorry guys totally missed the activity in here for some reason.

I'll try to get into some of the replies, posts, questions, etc.
Firemission wrote: As for the tamping of the coffee basket/funnel:
Most people advise against it for two main reasons: The Moka pot is rated at 1 to 2 bar and people don't want to be sued for "negligent advice" even if it isn't actually a problem.

In my opinion (and feel free to disagree)
Technically tamping isn't a problem...The problem comes from (what I suspect) the water draw time. You used cold water which allowed for more time for the coffee to go through at a colder temperature for longer and thus not over-extracting as much(it may even be under-extracted in the beginning). As time goes on, however, two things tend to happen: channeling occurs(due to the high-pressure steam that is pushing up over time), and burning coffee(as the water gets hotter). Luckily, the Moka pot baskets aren't IMS/VST baskets!

If anything it might be a little under-extracted.

I'll put my coffee where my mouth is and give it a shot as you described, I do not personality have high hopes for the taste and although I don't particularly like the taste of crema much, but hey, don't knock it till you try it I guess.

If this is how you like to drink your Moka pot shot, who am I to tell you any different?
I doubt there would be any channeling within the puck because there simply won't be enough pressure to create the channels and you can't grind that fine without choking the moka pot in the first place.

As I think I mentioned before I didn't really notice a difference in brew time between using cold and hot water. The difference in time comes mostly from the applied heat with lower heat increasing the extraction time and thus ironically overextracting and "burning" the coffee.
jpender wrote:That video is kind of like the last few seconds of a magic trick, where a rabbit comes out of a hat. It would be more convincing to see the whole brew process, unedited. Is it real? I've never seen crema look so sticky like that from an espresso machine, never mind from a Brikka. It will greatly surprise me if anyone can replicate it. I'd love to see that.

I regularly used a Brikka for five years and despite a lot of experimentation never got the big crema thing to happen. I like a little crema both for the visual appeal and the counterpoint of bitterness to the (hopefully) sweet liquid underneath. But a whole cup full of meringue wouldn't please me. It seems weird to me to focus on that. It's almost Napoleonic. Why can't it just be moka?

What I loved about my Brikka was that it was so forgiving, so reliable a way to make a little cup of strong, tasty coffee. It's design results in an improved temperature profile as compared to a standard moka pot. I virtually never had overheated/burnt coffee from it. That said, the temperature profile is quite different from any espresso machine. And it simply isn't designed to achieve very much pressure. The top hat valve is quirky and pops open well below 2 bar; it can release as low as 0.5 bar. If you hold the top hat down to build pressure the safety valve lets loose at about 3 bar. The only way to get into espresso pressure range would be to defeat the safety valve while grinding fine or holding down the top hat -- kind of a dangerous game.

I loved my Brikka. But when I got an espresso machine it was crystal clear on day one what I already knew in my heart. It made me a little sad to put my trusty friend, my little Brikka, away in the cupboard. I've used it since and I still like the coffee it produces. But it mostly sits quietly, gathering dust, on my shelf of unloved coffee toys.
Yeah admittedly I thought so too, however I unfortunately decided to start filming after I've seen all the crema building up in the moka pot and some days later decided to post it. I've been mostly experimenting around with the new espresso machine (which in the meantime started giving me some pretty nice results too) but I'll re-adjust my grinder for the Brikka and do a complete video.

Regarding the crema... I agree. It isn't that important and my post might have sounded a bit overly focused on it. My point however was that I find many of the moka pot instructions to produce suboptimal or even terribly overextracted results (which many people believe being the "signature moka taste"). Now it might just be a coincidence in how the extraction in the Brikka works with the timings, temperature and what not but with the Brikka I do find that the shots with copious amounts of the fake crema tend to be the best tasting as well. The less crema I get from it, the more overextracted it usually is.

Admittedly, I have yet to produce shots with the same beans and taste them side by side now that I've got my espresso machine tuned in quite well. However, from memory I can say that they produce shots that are more similar than not, except for one having dense crema and the other having more but obviously the fake "airy" crema.
Firemission wrote:Update: I tried doing it this morning after my La Pavoni routine as I had leftover coffee. While I didn't have a 2 cup Moka, I did have a Single-cup so I just used about 7-9ish grams of coffee. Followed your Directions and ground a fair bit coarser than my la Pavoni likes to be roughly in line with Moka pots. I tamped it pretty hard and underfilled the chamber as you described with cold water with the hob at full blast.

And promptly waited for a good two minutes before I noticed the steam coming out the top. I thought OK, should be water coming up in about a minute or three. Waited a full 7 minutes after that and I just noped out. I don't want crema that bad.

I waited for my pot to cool down a little before checking out the basket.

Bone Dry. Pretty much completely dry except for the edges which were clearly where the steam steeped out and channeled hardcore. There was a tiny bit of water steeped in the edge.

I figured it could have been three main things: I didn't grind coarse enough and/or I tamped too hard. Or I just did not wait long enough.

Pressure vessels make people nervous for a reason and while my Pavoni is pressured, I can see the pressure in mine. My Pavoni is older and tends to be around 1.4 bar which isn't ideal, but I'm happy with it for the moment.

Braver people might try it but that certainly Isnt me!

While written directions are great and all, maybe film your routine for future reference as a baseline for grind and timing, I think that would aid the experiment better.
No you certainly waited enough. Cranking the heat up high should reduce brewing times, not increase them. It sounds to me like you still ground the coffee too fine thus choking the moka pot.

The "channel" around the puck should also be fairly normal, since the water/steam will lift the puck and press it into the shower screen on top. So there won't really be a "seal" around the basket itself during extraction as would be ideally the case in a normal espresso machine and basket. Essentially with the moka pot the extraction is upside down with the basket actually just becoming the shower screen. So no problem here and I'm assuming you just ground too fine that's all.
slow1911s wrote:I don't remember where I saw it recommended, but I kettle boil my water before putting it into the Moka vessel. You have to use oven gloves to then screw the top on. The idea being that you limit the overall time/heat exposure the grounds are subject to (I believe that's it). I've had better tasking experiences doing that then starting with cold water on the stove.
Yeah that's essentially what I recommended against. I don't think there's much of a difference in timing, however there is a very noticeable difference in temperature in the brewed coffee and the hotter water and thus causing more overextraction which the moka pots are already prone of doing. Sure, it might help in some specific situations or configurations, e.g. when maybe using very roughly ground coffee and you would thus underextract without hotter water - but still this wouldn't produce ideal results anyway, so why bother.

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jpender

#12: Post by jpender »

cari66ean wrote:Regarding the crema... I agree. It isn't that important and my post might have sounded a bit overly focused on it.
It's the title of your thread and the focus of your video.

cari66ean wrote:My point however was that I find many of the moka pot instructions to produce suboptimal or even terribly overextracted results (which many people believe being the "signature moka taste"). Now it might just be a coincidence in how the extraction in the Brikka works with the timings, temperature and what not but with the Brikka I do find that the shots with copious amounts of the fake crema tend to be the best tasting as well. The less crema I get from it, the more overextracted it usually is.
Yes, the Brikka is not a normal moka pot. Optimal technique for moka pot brewing -- for which there is no consensus -- won't be the same thing as with a Brikka.

cari66ean wrote:...I'll re-adjust my grinder for the Brikka and do a complete video.
I am very skeptical that it's possible to get crema like that, at least with unadulterated, 100% Arabica coffee. A complete, unedited video is something I'll be surprised to see. I'm hopeful though.

cari66ean (original poster)

#13: Post by cari66ean (original poster) »

jpender wrote:It's the title of your thread and the focus of your video.
Yeah... I can't deny that. Might even have been a bit of a clickbait... but then again look at it. It might not count as proof in that sense but it should be indicative enough of it tasting different to how most others might prepare their Brikka shots.
jpender wrote: Yes, the Brikka is not a normal moka pot. Optimal technique for moka pot brewing -- for which there is no consensus -- won't be the same thing as with a Brikka.
Fair point... however I think that underfilling equaling in less over-extraction should make sense in other moka pots just as much as higher heat reducing extraction times and thus equaling in less over-extraction as well.
jpender wrote:I am very skeptical that it's possible to get crema like that, at least with unadulterated, 100% Arabica coffee. A complete, unedited video is something I'll be surprised to see. I'm hopeful though.
That's understandable and I will try shooting another video in the coming days. I've always had a much larger volume of crema in my Brikka shots than what I've usually seen on youtube and so on, by cranking the heat up to the max and underfilling significantly. Tamping has increased it by a little bit as well and a big impact was then caused by going from a Knock Feldgrind to a Malwani Livi grinder with 83mm burrs. The video was actually from the first or second Brikka shot I've done with the Livi and I can't deny that this had a huge impact on that ridiculous amount of crema that resulted in the cup

Nonetheless, as has been mentioned before it's still "fake crema", which means it's bubbly, airy, foamy with a lot of air trapped inside, kind of giving the illusion of huge amounts of crema. At least when compared to the real espresso shot with the dense crema. But still... it's a Brikka.

cari66ean (original poster)

#14: Post by cari66ean (original poster) »

Ok so first try again this morning. It didn't turn out particularly well tbh but I'm not gonna hide it. I find the shot lacked acidity and sweetness. I was also close to choking the Brikka, so I assume the grind setting was a tad too fine. Also the hissing subsided relatively quickly... I remember the last time it was going on for way longer producing crema along the way.

What was very interesting however, was that the crema turned out very dense and Espresso-like, not foamy and bubbly like it usually does on the Brikka and I don't really remember getting it this way before. I also want to kind of embarrassingly admit that those are the same beans as from 3 weeks ago from the first video. I didn't really want to use better and fresher beans during dialing in but I might on the next try(/ies).

cari66ean (original poster)

#15: Post by cari66ean (original poster) »

Well so this is the second shot I just did. Actually weighed the beans to 16g this time, the first time I have used way too much - more like 17-17.5g probably. Also have set the grinder a tad coarser (not sure that it would even make much of a difference at this grind size). The rest was the same. Extraction took around 2 minutes this time (including heating up, etc.) which is more in line with what I was used to and the result is also in line with what I was expecting. A bit more acidity and certainly more sweetness. The crema is more bubbly and foamy as I was used to however not quite as much as in the first video - but keep in mind that the pack of beans was freshly opened back then and is now 3 weeks older.

Also here's is the puck from the first try today:




And this is the tamped down 16g of coffee for the second try:


jpender

#16: Post by jpender »

cari66ean wrote:...I think that underfilling equaling in less over-extraction should make sense in other moka pots just as much as higher heat reducing extraction times and thus equaling in less over-extraction as well.

I don't disagree with that. But you start off with the assumption that the coffee is overextracted. That isn't necessarily the case. Lots of people have figured out how to make excellent coffee with their moka pots and Brikkas without using a lot less water. There are other ways to adjust extraction besides the amount of water.

I measured the extraction of my Brikka, varying the grind and the time. I used the same amount of water for these tests, roughly the fill line.



Almost all of these shots tasted good. It's worth noting that I measured total solids; the dissolved solids extraction would be roughly 1% less than these values.

So the motivation to use less water would have to come from something other than preventing overextraction. A more compelling case would be that one could then grind finer and still get a good extraction and that this in turn might produce a better tasting shot. Maybe there's something to that, I don't know. There is a safety valve to protect one from disaster if they grind too fine or tamp too hard, although most people prefer not to rely on it. I've activated the one on my Brikka a number of times. It's made me jump!

cari66ean (original poster)

#17: Post by cari66ean (original poster) »

jpender wrote:I don't disagree with that. But you start off with the assumption that the coffee is overextracted. That isn't necessarily the case. Lots of people have figured out how to make excellent coffee with their moka pots and Brikkas without using a lot less water. There are other ways to adjust extraction besides the amount of water.

I measured the extraction of my Brikka, varying the grind and the time. I used the same amount of water for these tests, roughly the fill line.

<img>

Almost all of these shots tasted good. It's worth noting that I measured total solids; the dissolved solids extraction would be roughly 1% less than these values.

So the motivation to use less water would have to come from something other than preventing overextraction. A more compelling case would be that one could then grind finer and still get a good extraction and that this in turn might produce a better tasting shot. Maybe there's something to that, I don't know. There is a safety valve to protect one from disaster if they grind too fine or tamp too hard, although most people prefer not to rely on it. I've activated the one on my Brikka a number of times. It's made me jump!
I'm not necessarily starting with the assumption that it is overextracted. But it's easily the case with moka pots that the heat gets too high and makes the coffee taste more burnt and weird (which as mentioned before ironically happens when turning the heat down on the stove thus lengthening the time of the extraction and allowing the water to get hotter and hotter). Now I'm not saying that this is the case when dosing the water to reach the indicator, I'm just saying that I get a much better, more espresso like shot with more fruity notes, more sweetness and way more crema when using less water. And I'm using something between 50-60g of water vs. the 80g that is at the indicator level.

Regarding the grind fineness, tamping and the safety valve once again: I'm not recommending to grind crazy fine on this thing in the first place. For reference... I'm using 1.2 - 1.4 on the Knock Feldgrind with good results on the Brikka and I did a few shots of espresso with the Feldgrind at 1.0 which for the espresso was a bit too coarse still. Then 260-280 out of 360 (depending on the beans and the dosage of 14-20g) on my Malwani for espresso and 220 for the Brikka (higher numbers are finer here). At around 225 it's going to start having a hard time pushing the coffee through (not choking yet, but just having a hard time of pushing through). At this point I'm still not activating the valve no matter how hard I'd tamp, but since not all the water is getting through anymore and the results are starting to get weird taste wise, I do not recommend going finer than that anyway. If you do and choke the Brikka or even worse activate the valve, then that's not due to the tamping unless you're using 50kg of force or something and more to do with too fine of a grind.

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jpender

#18: Post by jpender »

cari66ean wrote:I'm not necessarily starting with the assumption that it is overextracted. But it's easily the case with moka pots that the heat gets too high and makes the coffee taste more burnt and weird (which as mentioned before ironically happens when turning the heat down on the stove thus lengthening the time of the extraction and allowing the water to get hotter and hotter).
I think that the burnt flavor of an overheated moka pot isn't the same thing as too high an extraction yield. Rather, it's a temperature error. With a regular moka pot a common approach to avoiding that is to pour the coffee (or quench the pot with water or a wet towel) before it gets to that point. It's not that hard to learn to do, but the beauty of the Brikka is that it doesn't require that kill-switch method. It's okay to let it sputter.

I think you're wrong about fast heating = lower temperature. It doesn't really make sense to me. Higher heating rate means a faster flow. A faster flow requires higher pressure. Higher pressure requires a higher temperature. In the limit, an hour long, double boiler moka pot brew would be the coolest since the pressure required would be essentially zero. At the other end, a one second brew time would require extremely hot steam.

cari66ean wrote:Now I'm not saying that this is the case when dosing the water to reach the indicator, I'm just saying that I get a much better, more espresso like shot with more fruity notes, more sweetness and way more crema when using less water. And I'm using something between 50-60g of water vs. the 80g that is at the indicator level.
Maybe you just like stronger coffee?

With 15g of coffee and 80g of water you'll get a cup somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5% TDS. By reducing the water to 50-60g, assuming equal extraction, you'll get something like 6-8% strength.

With the beans I used in that graph (a medium-dark roast) I could only fit 17g (lightly tamped) in the 50cc basket. But I usually used much denser coffee. My typical dose was 20-22g. So even with the 85g of water I most often used I got cups at roughly 6-7% TDS. Not as much crema though.


cari66ean (original poster)

#19: Post by cari66ean (original poster) »

jpender wrote: I think you're wrong about fast heating = lower temperature. It doesn't really make sense to me. Higher heating rate means a faster flow. A faster flow requires higher pressure. Higher pressure requires a higher temperature. In the limit, an hour long, double boiler moka pot brew would be the coolest since the pressure required would be essentially zero. At the other end, a one second brew time would require extremely hot steam.
image
Your analysis here is rather contradicting: "Higher heating rate means a faster flow. A faster flow requires higher pressure. Higher pressure requires a higher temperature."

Ok... so a "higher heating rate means a faster flow. A faster flow requires higher pressure". Well if this is the case, wouldn't you agree that the higher heating rate might simply be the cause for higher pressure?

Again, it's not the static temperature of the water per se that is creating pressure, but the increasing temperature expanding the water and especially the trapped air within the chamber.

It's a bit funny when you say you think I'm wrong, yet it's such an easy thing to try and clearly see the results of. Go ahead and crank up the heat on your Brikka and you'll see a rather quick extraction with a non-burnt fairly cool coffee. Turn the heat down to medium and it will take longer with a hotter coffee that might already start getting the "characteristic" (=because people are doing it wrong) burnt moka taste. Turn the heat down to low and you might wait for ages for the coffee to sputter out - if it even does and you're going to get an ultra bitter coffee for sure.
jpender wrote: Maybe you just like stronger coffee?

With 15g of coffee and 80g of water you'll get a cup somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5% TDS. By reducing the water to 50-60g, assuming equal extraction, you'll get something like 6-8% strength.

With the beans I used in that graph (a medium-dark roast) I could only fit 17g (lightly tamped) in the 50cc basket. But I usually used much denser coffee. My typical dose was 20-22g. So even with the 85g of water I most often used I got cups at roughly 6-7% TDS. Not as much crema though.
image
I like my Brikka shots fairly balanced between acidic, sweet and bitter with some body. They do get really close to "real" espresso. I don't see how that is a bad thing.

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espressotime

#20: Post by espressotime »

Looks like a river of mud.
But I don't care really much about the brown stuff on top. To me it's about the taste. I like my Bialetti coffee too.
Grind,rake ,tamp and enjoy a great espresso.( by F. G.)