18th December 2010

WOW! It must be nearly Christmas!

This is a coffee I will be brewing very carefully over Christmas weekend! Brewed a few V60s today with some Karimikui and (with difficulty!) managed to get some pretty sound readings of the brew temp, and feel sure I have generally been underestimating the heat loss from kettle, through pouring kettle, to brewer, resulting in lower than ideal brew temps. I am therefore adjusting the temps needed in the pouring kettle to achieve the best slurry temps (whilst also trying to take into account the current seasonal conditions!). There is a lot of debate about the various ways which might be best to use this pourover in particular (it seems particularly contentious) in order to achieve the most even, and most proper, extractions, and this is something I’m still researching and experimenting with. There are always so many questions, and things I’d like to understand better, and have the time (and the gadgetry!) to experiment with more. At work it’s espresso, as ever, and at home it’s various other brew methods. Perhaps it’s a good time to be half way through Rao’s new book at the moment, and come Christmas I’ll have fun putting this special coffee through the V60 (sizes 1 and 2), the french press, and maybe even the Aeropress and Chemex too!

One entertaining thing during those V60 brews was that to start with, I ran some now pretty stale, very dark roasted Cuban coffee through, which I had not tried in the V60 previously, just to see if I could get the thermometer placed properly, before continuing with some much fresher (although not super fresh) Karimikui thereafter. The very old dark roast produced a massive bloom which unfurled to produce a textbook, picture perfect V-shaped cone, with the thickest, most uniform sides, all the way down to the tip at the bottom of the V, all with almost no effort, and with very sloppy pouring. I have never been able to make such a neat cone before, and although this is not seen by everyone as the best shape for the spent grounds, and although it tasted rank, it was a joy to witness all the same! Then back to the still fairly fresh Karimikui, and, as usual, even the most careful pours achieve nothing like the same results!

I had previously discounted the possibility of a good enough bloom for the best cone formation with coffee even as old as this Karimikui is right now (or any craft roasted speciality coffee of the same age), but clearly other coffees can be more flexible. Dark roasts just don’t give in.

The next moves ideally are to try to get a thermocouple, probe, and meter, for less obstructive measurement of slurry temps, new burrs for my Rocky, and continued experiments with different techniques!

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