April 2015

The Kindness of Strangers.


That’s right! Some Intelligentsia coffee – so exciting! A wonderful and unexpected gift from a lovely new visiting customer. Fresh too; they had picked this up at the cafe roastery on their way here from the States! So kind. A rare treat (and delicious filter coffee, of course)!


New coffees.

Recent filter profile arrivals coming through the cafe via JGC are/have been: Baudilio Cordoba micro-lot Finca Merlin Timana Colombia, Finca El Carmen ‘La Montana’ micro-lot Guatemala, Bolivia Asencio farm, and we still have the lovely Ethiopian Lekempte Operation Cherry Red Negosho farm.

These are all beautiful, light roasts, that are juicy, fruity, clean, and sweet. I think beans like this are a thing of beauty!


OCR Negosho




Merlin Baudilio Cordoba

I’ve also tried a little (lots!) of this longberry from Wahana estate, which has been really lovely at home via Chemex, Clever, French Press, and wedge filter cone. Considering where in the world it’s from, this might be surprisingly good, but considering it’s more specifically from the Wahana estate, it’s not surprising at all, as we’ve seen great, perception changing coffees coming from here before. A really interesting coffee with clean, green, herby elements, licorice stick, and an asparagus note described by our roaster that is subtle yet distinct. Despite some of these flavours sounding more savoury, this is also so sweet.





We try to manage flow to maintain shots within parameters that keep the coffee tasting as close to when it was first dialled as possible, as things change throughout each day. The ideal is to choose routes that provide you with the most consistency, and the least negative impact on shot flavour. The received wisdom is that we should change grind settings finer and finer to maintain shot flow and parameters, and to maintain a set recipe, in a daily cafe environment as grinders heat up and the conditions change.

This Colonna and Smalls article cropped up recently (plus the previous post).


The shifting fines production at different grind temperatures and it’s effect on flow rate (offering an explanation that is fundamentally different to the theories that are usually offered to explain the reasons why flow alters as burr temperature changes), immediately resonated with me and made a lot of sense in relation to things I’ve been observing and experimenting with over the last year.

If these reports are correct, with this information in mind, the consequential effects (on grind profile, distribution, and flavour) of changing the mode particle size as people usually do becomes more clear, and is brought into question.

I think the consensus, or one popular theory, has been that the grind gets coarser as burrs heat up, meaning adjustment of the grind setting is in a way simply a recalibration to keep the grind essentially the same, (atmospheric conditions aside). But if this isn’t actually the case, it’s conceivable we have a situation where the grind was good, and then we actually are making it finer and finer… Although there are other possibilities again.

One way or another we can be fairly sure the grind profile, or elements of it, is constantly being reshaped as temperatures change, so it seems sensible to entertain the possibility that when we adjust in the conventional way, and fix everything else in pursuit of a recipe, we will still end up with shots that are not actually completely the same. It might conceivably be worth experimenting with looking at things from different perspectives (however unfashionable), where different parameters are fixed, and others are opened up and allowed movement. Different sorts of recipes; ones that move in predictable patterns, to rhythms, but which are not always fixed at the usual points, that shift, and are allowed to. Something outside the box.



We make single shots too, with an actual single basket, and naked PF. This is one (although mine’s always a double!).

4 Responses to “April 2015”

  1. Matt Sayler Says:

    Next time I’ll bring something from http://www.greenwaycoffee.com/

  2. wr Says:


    As a recent owner of a Tanzania I wanted to see if you had any recommended settings as a starting point for a variety of filter methods (V60, Woodneck Nel, Kalita Wave, Chemex)?



    • thebeanvagrant Says:

      Hi, It really depends on the calibration of your individual model, and on how you brew (technique, brew time, recipe, etc), so the best thing is to just experiment and see. Also, the settings on the Tanzania correlate to Ditting grinders which are often written about online – so you search for references to settings used on those too.
      People generally talk about 5 upwards for drip methods, with V60 being towards the finer end, but in my experience significantly coarser than this is better for most drip, unless you are using very short brew times. Chemex tends to be good in the 7-8 range, but again depends on the size of Chemex, batch size, etc. 8-9 for French Press.
      Best wishes.

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