VST are not saying this, there is no single variable/one size fits all protocol for every method -they are actually saying, "Follow these guidelines (in the same spirit as people have regarding CBI/SCAA/SCAE/NCA & numerous on-line recipes/brew ratio suggestions), taste & measure what you get, adjust accordingly to optimise & make repeatable". Nothing is written in stone, you can adapt the software to reflect your brew modes & temperatures, target TDS and extraction yield, you are not locked into a single, inevitable path. They are saying that yield is the major driver of flavour, this is not news - note that TDS preferences vary from place to place, but for most protocols, everyone largely concurred on the 18-22% ideal range before VST came out with their products (you can actually select targets from 15% to 25% on the software I have, which should cover most eventualities & tastes, results plotted will show up a little beyond these points).another_jim wrote:These appear to be the claims made by VST and its fans.
Good coffee is about getting several dozen things roughly right. This is something that cannot easily be described or put in a recipe; instead, it is attained by practice and experience. So, for as long as I have been doing this, there have been cults to the single variable: "do this drill with completely monomaniacal precision, get this one thing 100% absolutely right; and god shots will inevitably follow." I've seen it maybe a half dozen times already, and I've occasionally been guilty of it myself. I think the refractometer drill is just the latest go round of this mindset.
It's a tool to measure your result, you're still free to incorporate clumsy human error (Damn my puny human attributes! Oh why do precision & technology mock me so...oh, well human attributes & senses are all I've got, so let's crack on... ). Like any tool, you have to know how to use it. I don't know how Slayer, LM, Bunn, FETCO, Marco & Curtis etc., etc., would feel about the assertion that machinery spells the end for specialty coffee? Isn't espresso itself a brew method that relies specifically on design, precision engineering & technology to deliver parameters unavailable in the manual brewing world? Specialty coffee is what goes into & hopefully comes out of a machine, whether that "machine" is simple, or not.another_jim wrote:I suppose at some point, someone might really come up with a simple, ultra-precise procedure for perfect cups and shots. But simple, ultra-precise procedures are the province of machines; so it would be the end of specialty coffee. Moreover, until that happens, hobbyists are sabotaging their own acquisition of experience by obsessing about each latest and greatest master variable.
You want to throw out the machines, go rustic on us & brew all your specialty coffee with a log fire, pestle & mortar, clay pot...go ahead, you may get great results, but I can't help feeling the novelty will soon wear off...
Specialty coffee is the quality grade of the bean, we expect those beans to be skillfully roasted & extracted to a nominal target range for them to be most enjoyable & representative of their origin...if you (not you specifically Jim) are unwittingly underextracting your coffee every time you are brewing it, for instance, is your cup reflecting "terroir", or merely your shortcomings in brewing that coffee/using that brewer? I hate to see people glibly recommending "change your beans" (unless they are obviously way out of the realms of what we might recognise as a recently roasted, quality product) because nominally extracted, good quality coffee, usually tastes good.
Can we perhaps get back to understanding/defining brew ratios now as this is really something that relates to, but does not require specific, brew by brew, TDS/ext. yield analysis (of which your personal thoughts have been aired many, many times now), it just requires scales (....another machine ).