Scott Rao's New Book - Professional Coffee Brewing Techniques

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
Abe Carmeli
Team HB

#1: Post by Abe Carmeli » May 02, 2010, 4:48 pm

Scott's first book, The Professional Barista Handbook, received rave reviews on this site, and a big following among home baristas and professionals alike. It is a very concise overview of the espresso making technique knowledge. His new book, Everything But Espresso - Professional Coffee Brewing Techniques, picks up where the first book left off and covers all other brewing methods.

Being a practical guide, the book is concise and full of excellent tips on how to improve any brewing method, from French Press to automatic drip and everything in between. It looks with a critical eye at all the things we thought we knew, re-examines them with the help of some science, and presents a fresh and updated method. The ExtractMojo is used throughout the book to assist in getting the desired 20% extraction, but there is plenty of advice in the book to improve our brew even without it.

I spent this afternoon following Scott's tips on how to use the steep & release brewing method, and the improvements clearly showed up in the cup. I highly recommend it.
Abe Carmeli

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erics

#2: Post by erics » May 02, 2010, 9:01 pm

As I wrote to Scott, it takes a clever guy to discuss "steep & release" brewing methods - I also await my recent order of this book. Thanks for letting us know Abe.
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#3: Post by RapidCoffee » May 05, 2010, 1:37 am

Everything But Espresso is another fine work from Scott Rao. After covering the fundamentals of coffee extraction, Scott clearly and concisely guides the reader through most of the popular nonpressurized coffee brewing methods. There are chapters on automatic and manual drip filtered coffee, steep-and-release, French press, and siphon/vac pot (but not AeroPress or moka pot). Scott writes in an engaging, no-nonsense style, and makes use of the latest technology (ExtractMojo) to determine brew strengths and extraction levels. A slim volume, but packed with useful information, this book is recommended for everyone who enjoys non-espresso brew.
erics wrote:As I wrote to Scott, it takes a clever guy to discuss "steep & release" brewing methods.
Not to mention a "clever" coffee dripper to implement it. :lol:
John

Vad

#4: Post by Vad » May 07, 2010, 8:04 am

I have just ordered it :) Can't wait.

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alyce

#5: Post by alyce » May 08, 2010, 6:35 am

I absolutely LOVE the fact that coffee-brewing (non-espresso that is) is back in specialty coffee. I'd love to get my hands on this book, as I love the cross-over between manual "labour"/art of making coffee and the science of extraction and consistency. (i'd also love an extractMojo and... an iPhone :? )

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another_jim
Team HB

#6: Post by another_jim » May 16, 2010, 8:00 pm

I had my doubts about some of the assertions Scott made in his book. In particular, it was my experience that getting over-enthusiastic with the brewing coffee: stirring the drip cone or top vacuum chamber, stirring and pressing the French press, added skunky flavors. Moreover, it seemed using coarser grinds and brewing slowly worked better than using finer grinds and brewing quickly.

Turns out that this is another instance of "It's the grinder, stupid."

My results were true of using espresso grinders for brewing. I found that even after sifting out the fines, vigorous and fast methods were not as tasty as slower and gentler ones. This is not the case when using the Bunn. Slow and gentle translates to very clear flavors but a weak brew, while fast and vigorous gets the same clarity, along with more pop in the flavors, and as an added bonus, more sugars and caramels.

I suspect the solid fine grinding ring at the outer/lower end of espresso burrs (in bulk grinders the burr ridges are cut all the way to the outer/lower end). Perhaps this creates more irregularly shaped, flattened particles for a given particle volume than on a bulk grinder, which may produce more spherical particles.

If two grinders produce particles with an identical volume distribution, but one's are more spherical, it will brew more slowly due to reduced surface area, and pack less well, due to a lack of interlocks, than the one with irregular shapes. Therefore, if the burr designers have any control, they would engineer a bulk grinder to produce more spherical particles and an espresso grinder to produce more irregular ones. If that is the case, it would explain my experience.

In any case, I strongly recommend Scott's book with the minor caveat that some of the advice may require bulk or non-espresso grinders to work properly.
Jim Schulman

Vad

#7: Post by Vad » May 18, 2010, 10:06 am

The book has arrived yesterday. The funny thing was, that the thickness of the book's cover (combined, front and back) is almost the same as that of the pages in between. But nevermind, the book looks to be very interesting and valuable, and it is now the size that matters, but quality. :)

akallio

#8: Post by akallio » May 19, 2010, 4:00 am

another_jim wrote: I suspect the solid fine grinding ring at the outer/lower end of espresso burrs (in bulk grinders the burr ridges are cut all the way to the outer/lower end). Perhaps this creates more irregularly shaped, flattened particles for a given particle volume than on a bulk grinder, which may produce more spherical particles.
This is intriguing. When looking at very coarse grounds from an espresso grinder, they indeed have large flat particles. If you compare very coarse grounds from a bulk grinder to similar coarseness from an espresso grinder, is there a visible difference?

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another_jim
Team HB

#9: Post by another_jim » May 19, 2010, 5:02 pm

I don't think eyeballing can help on particle shapes. An SEM takes great pictures, but only of a few particles. I think the only way would be to use a stereo microscope and look at several hundred coarse particles to get a sample survey of sorts. Easier than surveying busy people on the phone or in a mall, but still a lot of work.
Jim Schulman