Turn your French press into a French pull - Page 2

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
Stanner

#11: Post by Stanner » Aug 24, 2009, 11:02 am

Quite timely. I had been thinking of a way to do this and, when I cracked my french press, I used the plunger to do just this last week (using a plastic 32oz cup :o ). I'm surprised this hadn't been done before.

User avatar
sweaner
Supporter ♡

#12: Post by sweaner » Aug 24, 2009, 11:33 am

I too am without espresso at home due to a kitchen remodel, taking longer than "expected". I have been using the Clever Coffee Dripper bought from Sweet Maria's. I makes a great cup, and as I have no garbage disposal, cleanup is easier than with a press.
Scott
LMWDP #248

portamento

#13: Post by portamento » Aug 24, 2009, 1:08 pm

I too am without my espresso setup due to a recent move. I was struggling with bitterness using a French Press and newly-acquired Baratza Virtuoso. The Virtuoso creates quite a lot of fines (even after being swapped out by Baratza).

I have found the only acceptable solution to be sifting, which is extremely effective. You can get a Ditting-like FP grind from a Baratza this way. The downside is that I lose about a third of the coffee! But I would rather have those fines in the garbage than in my cup.

In my opinion, fines are detrimental whether or not there is any stirring, pressing, or agitation of any kind. Fines are also detrimental even if they are adequately removed after steeping (i.e. pulled, skimmed, etc). After steeping is just too late to try to remedy fines, in my opinion.

I am now brewing using the Abid Clever Dripper. So I get a "clean" cup (i.e. no sludge/suspended solids) whether or not I sift the grounds. However if I don't sift the grounds, I get a lot more bitterness. Sifted grounds give me more clarity and sweetness.

I have no doubt that Dave's method has improved his results by a large margin. However, I would recommend taking things even further with the sifting method. Obviously your mileage may vary depending on your grinder and taste preferences.
Ryan

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#14: Post by another_jim » Aug 24, 2009, 2:16 pm

In my experience, fines are getting slandered. At least I've never been able to detect a difference triangle cupping the sifted and unsifted grinds of any reasonable grinder.

This is unsurprising, since the weight of fines is less than 1% of the total ground coffee weight, it's the same coffee, and the limits on extraction without hydrolysis is about 25% rather than 20%. In other words, the addition of fines adds about 5 parts in 10,000 of slightly overextracted coffee to the dissolved solids in the cup. If you've played with the taste of over and underextracted coffee, you'll realize there is no way anyone will ever taste this difference.

Now, the water being absorbed into the cell walls of the larger particles does pick up that great instant coffee skank (instant coffee is about a 50% extraction, and includes the hydrolyzed cell walls).

So my guess is that the off flavors people notice come from agitating the large particles, not from getting fines in the cup. Grinders may make a difference if the shape of the large particles varies, and some grinders create particles that hold any water absorbed into the cell walls better than others.
Jim Schulman

noah

#15: Post by noah » Aug 24, 2009, 2:21 pm

another_jim wrote:So my guess is that the off flavors people notice come from agitating the large particles, not from getting fines in the cup.
This does not bode well for vac pot brewing. Any tips?
LMWDP #263

User avatar
dsc

#16: Post by dsc » Aug 24, 2009, 2:57 pm

Hi guys,
of any reasonable grinder
for example?
So my guess is that the off flavours people notice come from agitating the large particles, not from getting fines in the cup.
You've got a few people definitely noticing difference between fines/no-fines in this thread, including myself. I can definitely tell the difference between coffee brewed from my Guatemala and my Macap.

Regards,
dsc.

User avatar
RapidCoffee
Team HB

#17: Post by RapidCoffee » Aug 24, 2009, 3:21 pm

another_jim wrote:In my experience, fines are getting slandered. At least I've never been able to detect a difference triangle cupping the sifted and unsifted grinds of any reasonable grinder.

This is unsurprising, since the weight of fines is less than 1% of the total ground coffee weight, it's the same coffee, and the limits on extraction without hydrolysis is about 25% rather than 20%. In other words, the addition of fines adds about 5 parts in 10,000 of slightly overextracted coffee to the dissolved solids in the cup. If you've played with the taste of over and underextracted coffee, you'll realize there is no way anyone will ever taste this difference.
These numbers may be correct, but I think you're ignoring the impact of fines actually appearing in the cup itself. In presspot coffee, you don't only overextract fines, you drink them. That may have a significant impact on taste as well as body and mouthfeel.
John

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#18: Post by another_jim » Aug 24, 2009, 4:27 pm

My fines point is simple: using the same grinder, removing the fines on some samples, and not others, then filtering the resulting brews, will yield indistinguishable cups, even with high fines producing espresso grinders. This is easy to confirm over and over in blind taste tests.

Obviously, some people dislike the mouth feel of fines in the cup. But they will probably prefer a paper filtered FP brew to a fines screened, unfiltered FP brew.

The issue of brew grinder testing apart from fines is not so simple.

Different grinders taste different brewed, and are always distinguishable in triangle tests. In the past, this has fooled me into announcing one grinder as better than another for brewing. However, the further tests are never consistent, and have more to do with subtly unequal grind settings and extraction levels, which will favor one grinder with some coffees, and the other grinder with different coffees.

This observation is borne out by espresso grinder tests too. The best tasting espresso grinders are the ones that produce the most forgiving and best flows, regardless of other particle distribution characteristics. But this is precisely the grinder characteristic that is not at issue in other forms of brewing.

Here's a mental experiment. We have one ubergrinder that produces a uniform, goosestepping grind size. And we have one slacker grinder that produces a wide, dithering particle distribution. Which will brew better coffee? Ubergrinder would march to victory every time if one could brew the coffee to a precisely set, optimal extraction level in real time. There the grinder with the tighter tolerance would do better in each round. But if the precise extraction level is unknown or uncontrolled, slacker grinder with the wide distribution has a 50/50 chance of winning any taste test. All real world brewing has this unfortunate uncertainty in actual and desired extraction levels. And this is the reason my ubergrinders have never convincingly beaten my regular grinders in brewing tests.

Finally, there's a reason so few people do and publish blind tests. Nobody really wants to put their latest piece of very expensive gear, and their justification for buying it, on the line.

Of course, this reasoning won't stop people from buying expensive brewing grinders. It will just motivate them to design even more expensive real time extraction controllers :wink:
Jim Schulman

User avatar
shadowfax

#19: Post by shadowfax » Aug 24, 2009, 4:39 pm

portamento wrote:In my opinion, fines are detrimental whether or not there is any stirring, pressing, or agitation of any kind. Fines are also detrimental even if they are adequately removed after steeping (i.e. pulled, skimmed, etc). After steeping is just too late to try to remedy fines, in my opinion.
I really want to agree with you, but I am having trouble with my experience, mostly with the Baratza Vario. I have never been able to get very excellent French Press... almost always a muddy cup with more bitter than I want there. Doing the break and clean method helped significantly, but never really eliminated it completely.

Using the same grinder for siphon brewing (different grind, however) definitely yields a cleaner cup. I'm really thinking there might be something to Jim's idea that squeezing the overextracted water from the large particles by compressing the grinds may be a pretty significant factor to the bitterness in French pressing. I'm sure that nothing's pure here--the end result is a combination of many factors. But Jim's post reminded me of the first batch of "kit beer" that I home-brewed in college. We steeped the mash (I think that's what it's called) in a muslin sock during the boiling phase of the brewing, and when we finished, we squeezed the sock to get the water out of it thoroughly. Moments later, we read this was a pretty stupid idea, because it effectively sponges out a really tannic flavor that can have a negative impact on your brew. Sure enough, 6 months later that beer had a weird woody funk and and unpleasant bite.
Nicholas Lundgaard

User avatar
RapidCoffee
Team HB

#20: Post by RapidCoffee » Aug 24, 2009, 9:53 pm

another_jim wrote:My fines point is simple: using the same grinder, removing the fines on some samples, and not others, then filtering the resulting brews, will yield indistinguishable cups, even with high fines producing espresso grinders. This is easy to confirm over and over in blind taste tests.

Obviously, some people dislike the mouth feel of fines in the cup. But they will probably prefer a paper filtered FP brew to a fines screened, unfiltered FP brew.
Aha, now I understand your methodology. Given the extra step of filtering, the results of your taste tests are easy to believe. Integrating peaks in laser particle sizing shows that the percentage (by weight or mass) of fines is surprisingly low, even for classic espresso grinders. But the presence of fines gives (unfiltered) FP brew a characteristic "muddy" personality. Kudos to Dave for suggesting a simple remedy.

I'll have to give Dave's method a try, as soon as I get a replacement carafe for my FP. Glass has a half-life measured in weeks at my house. :oops:
John