HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Aeropress arrived tonight (26 msgs / 951 lines)
1) From: Bill Morgan
Executive summary:  I like it!
Well, Brown finally showed up between 7:30 and 8:00 this evening, so I
now have a couple of (decaf) Aeropress cups on board.
I brewed two batches of Sumatra Mandheling Decaf, one according to the
package instructions (~175 deg water), one according to Tom's
instructions (~195 deg water, a bit longer steep).  Same grind,
somewhere between fine drip and French Press (in a cheapo Cuisinart
burr grinder with too much dust).  Tom wins, of course.
As I've mentioned lately, nearly all of the coffee I've roasted and
brewed for weeks has tasted too bright to me, with a bitter, sometimes
metallic finish.  The Aeropress completely solves that problem.  The
batch brewed to the package instructions was a bit flat even to me,
but better than I've made in a long time.  The batch made to Tom's
instructions was delightful.
Those of you who like really bright flavors will possibly find that
this gadget produces too flat a brew, but I'm really pleased.
If any of y'all in the Austin area would like to sample some Aeropress
brew, just drop me a line and we'll figure out a time to get together.
Bill

2) From: Scott Marquardt
But . . . but . . . Tom is just WRONG!   ;-)
I seriously have a hard time believing the 195 thing. But then I seriously
have a problem with the notion that anyone would use a grind coarser than
drip with this thing.
I just don't understand!
Seriously, what possesses you to use a grind not finer than drip? The
temperature I'd argue as well, but the mind-blowing thing to me is the use
of a coarser grind.
Why, oh why?
OK, my crisis has passed. I'm fine now.
;-)
- Scott
On 2/13/06, Bill Morgan  wrote:
<Snip>
--
Scott

3) From: Turbosimba
Scott,  But what did you think of the coffee it made?
 
Jeff

4) From: Lissa
On Tue, 2006-02-14 at 00:48 -0600, Scott Marquardt wrote:
<Snip>
Simple. A fine grind didn't work for me. It made the plunger way too
hard to push down (I actually couldn't get it all the way down) and the
result tasted funny.
Temp I've been less careful with, although I've been closer to Tom's
temp than to the instruction's.
Be well,
Lissa
-- 
Sweat saves blood, blood saves lives, and brains saves both.
Erwin Rommel

5) From: Scott Marquardt
http://www.marquardts.org/Coffee/aero1.txtI link to that quote from private correspondence because Alan's trying to
strike a balance between addressing product concerns and avoiding commercia=
l
advocacy (he's participating at Coffeegeek but not here). As you'll read in
that link, however, my own interest in his device is related to the
challenge its cup quality at lower brew temperatures poses to "thermal
orthodoxism" in the coffee world. If my remarks following his comments are
not clear (probably the case, alas), I'd love to explain further (hint: can
anyone show me a device that explores the thermal range between Toddy and
conventional brewing?).
In short, I have my own reasons for advocating lower temperature brewing in
the case that some device comes along and purports to work ideally in that
range.
But there's also a "let the chips fall where they may" quality to this. If
the Aeropress indeed works best at cooler temperatures, that'll be
vindicated within months among those who challenge the product's claims in
the cup. So although I'm enthusiastic to have a brewing system that permits
exploration of unconventional temperatures, I'll agree quickly that there's
little point in arguing a lot about it.   :-)
Happy brewing!
- Scott
On 2/14/06, Lissa  wrote:
<Snip>

6) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
I agree with you in terms of experimentation and letting the results 
justify the process - I don't argue that all brewing must be done at 
a 195 to 205 window. One thing I like to point out as a variable is 
temperature loss - you drop down by staggering amounts when your pour 
a small amount of 200 degree water into a room temperature brew 
chamber and room temperature grinds. I think it is the bane of small 
batch brewing. I tend to use an IR thermemoter for meaturing brew 
tems in cupping since it seems accurate, and I dont like sticking a 
thermocouple in my coffee! This records that temp drop pretty well.
Back to the aeropress; I found that there was a large range in the 
cup results when I played with the variables (ambient temp, water 
temp, volume brewed, steep time, stir time, pressing time, pressure 
exerted etc). (BTW: I had the aeropress for 6 weeks, playing with it, 
before we offered it. So I thought about it a lot, maybe too much)
  Rather than see the variability of the aeropress as a bad thing, It 
actually makes me like it better. What it means is that the human is 
a big part of the results, and can customize those to suit your 
desires. That is what coffee is all about, and why a lot of us like 
roasting.
Anyway, my criticism of the aeropress is not all the things it does 
well; it is the claims about espresso, cheesy packaging with quite a 
bit of unprovable exaggerations (smoothest, richest, blah blah...). 
It is not a personal criticism against the company, or Alan. I was 
irked by the coffeegeek thread, it is true. I feel like it is fine 
for someone to address issues, and be informative, but I also notice 
coffeegeek has a policy against commercial posts. (for different 
reasons than us, since they sell advertising to support the site). I 
felt that thread violated the policy, and that worried me a bit. I 
don not participate in coffeegeek for the reason that we don't 
advertise there (well, we don't advertise anywhere, and cg would be 
the first place I would go if we decided too, but we are kinda proud 
to be a word-of-mouth business. You will also notice we don't pay for 
any google placement either, so I am also a bit proud of how high we 
rank in searches based on "honest" web interest in our site... 
anyway, enough of that). I like the aeropress in my own way, and can 
advocate it in that way. I cannot for a minute imagine offering it as 
an espresso maker, and would rather lop off my tongue and drink 
flavored tea the rest of my life rather than do so! Okay, THAT's an 
exaggeration, but you know what I mean. :-)
Tomhttp://www.marquardts.org/Coffee/aero1.txtI link to that quote from private correspondence because Alan's 
trying to strike a balance between addressing product concerns and 
avoiding commercial advocacy (he's participating at Coffeegeek but 
not here). As you'll read in that link, however, my own interest in 
his device is related to the challenge its cup quality at lower brew 
temperatures poses to "thermal orthodoxism" in the coffee world. If 
my remarks following his comments are not clear (probably the case, 
alas), I'd love to explain further (hint: can anyone show me a device 
that explores the thermal range between Toddy and conventional 
brewing?).
In short, I have my own reasons for advocating lower temperature 
brewing in the case that some device comes along and purports to work 
ideally in that range.
But there's also a "let the chips fall where they may" quality to 
this. If the Aeropress indeed works best at cooler temperatures, 
that'll be vindicated within months among those who challenge the 
product's claims in the cup. So although I'm enthusiastic to have a 
brewing system that permits exploration of unconventional 
temperatures, I'll agree quickly that there's little point in arguing 
a lot about it.   :-)
Happy brewing!
- Scott
On 2/14/06, Lissa 
<qibhom> wrote:
On Tue, 2006-02-14 at 00:48 -0600, Scott Marquardt wrote:
<Snip>
Simple. A fine grind didn't work for me. It made the plunger way too
hard to push down (I actually couldn't get it all the way down) and the
result tasted funny.
Temp I've been less careful with, although I've been closer to Tom's
temp than to the instruction's.
Be well,
Lissa
--
Sweat saves blood, blood saves lives, and brains saves both.
Erwin Rommel

7) From: Scott Marquardt
Good comments, Tom -- thanks!
One thing I've been wondering is this: the specialty market celebrates
distinctive flavors so much, that I'm wondering if this is going to get to
be like dog breeding, where several generations yield dogs that begin to no=
t
even look like dogs. I mean, if everyone cups out a "fruity cup, all the wa=
y
down to room temperature", the growers will reinforce that until we're
someday drinking something that doesn't even taste like "coffee" any more.
What does "coffee" taste like? Ask what a "dog" looks like today -- you'll
get quite a different answer than you would have a couple thousand years
ago.   ;-)

8) From: Spencer Thomas
And why should all coffee taste the same?  Look at wine, for goodness
sake.  Nobody would claim that a Premier Cru Bordeaux tastes anything
much like a (French) Chablis, and they're both pretty far from a
Canadian Ice wine.
Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.  I'm all for more of it.
=Spencer
On 2/14/06, Scott Marquardt  wrote:
<Snip>
o
<Snip>
not
<Snip>
way
<Snip>
.
<Snip>
l
<Snip>
--
=Spencer in Ann Arbor
My Unitarian Jihad http://tinyurl.com/6valr)Name is:
Sibling Dagger of Mild Reason
What are you?http://homepage.mac.com/whump/ujname.html

9) From: Scott Marquardt
Whokay, had an interesting thing just now.
I've had a lot of complaints about my Huehuetenango (El Injerto) over the
past several months. I'll take the blame for bad roasting. That's an
assumption, mind you. I don't take it too deep, but it comes out harsh and
bitter. What -- I need to dump this thing right after first crack?
Anyway, I did an Aero at 180 degrees -- bitter. Not astringent mind you --
bitter. So I did another one this morning -- same thing. Doggonit. So
immediately, with all other variables remaining the same, I did another at
160 degrees.
Perfect.
!!!!!!!!
Needless to say, these kinds of results prompt further experimentation!

10) From: Maryann & Dave Schellenberg
Here's another data point.
I hadn't heard about AeroPress until reading about it on 
forums.sweetmarias.com.
Turns out I missed some of the early discussion, because not all the 
list messages made it to the forum.
Anyway, I ordered one and it arrived this morning.
My first try was using Uganda Bugisu coffee roasted yesterday (I know, 
it will be better in a few days).
I ground it to the same size grind as I use for the SwissGold One-Cup 
(takes between two and three minutes to drip through the SG).
I was surprised that using the AeroPress scoop consumes exactly twice as 
much coffee as my normal scoop. (0.5 oz vs .25 oz)
I normally make a 12 oz mug of coffee, so I used two (AeroPress) scoops.
I used water at the same temperature as I use for the SG, probably 
around 195F.
Measuring the amount of water to the scale on the cylinder was 
inaccurate, because of the foam, but I aimed for the middle of the "2" 
scale.
The plunger pressed down quite easily, so didn't take 25 seconds - more 
like 10. This indicated to me that I should grind finer next time.
I added the rest of the 12 oz of water to my mug, and drank it.
Good body, smooth, but somewhat sour.
Second cup.
Same coffee, ground two notches finer on my Capresso Infinity.
This time I preheated a glass measuring cup, poured the hot water into 
it, and measured temperature on a digital meat thermometer.
I waited until it cooled to 175F, then poured in to an approximation of 
the middle of the "2" scale.
Pressing was harder than last time - perhaps 25 seconds or a little less.
This cup is better, to both my taste and my wife's.
Less sour, more "middle notes" coming through.
I think I like it.
Cleanup is easier than with the SG.
I like being able to drink to the bottom of the cup, without the dregs.
I plan to keep trying it.
I probably should do a side-by-side test with the SG, which has produced 
my favorite flavoured coffee so far.
Dave S.
Bill Morgan wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
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11) From: Matthew Price
It's this kind of stuff that makes my head hurt.  Coffee has almost as
many variables as weather prediction, except that the rules of weather
are well understood :-(.
On 2/15/06, Scott Marquardt  wrote:
<Snip>
d
<Snip>
-
<Snip>
t
<Snip>

12) From: Scott Marquardt
Dave -
The battle lines are being drawn for The Great AeroPress Temperature Wars o=
f
2006. Now is not the time for the faint of heart to draw back in fear of th=
e
sysop and his evil, hot-watered minions. Are you with us?
;-)
Actually, there are coarse-grind minions out there, too. They must all be
defeated!
;-D
With a mind to advancing the conversation, however -- was your second grind
finer than you'd use in a drip?
Yeah, the scoop thing . . . I just measured and it turns out that two of th=
e
standard blue scoops of whole bean -- if you round them -- are pretty much
an even two of the Aero's big black scoops. I'd been doing two Aero scoops
before grinding, which was making the result a bit stronger. Darn the
luck.   ;-)

13) From: Cheryl Alexander
Amen, brother!
I'm going to keep roasting in my dirt-simple Poppery, grinding with the Zass, and brewing in my FP or Scanda.
cheryl, sipping a lovely Guatemalan Huehuetenango-La Something :) .
 
so many pens...so little time... 
 http://www.gcwr.org/
----- Original Message ----
From: Matthew Price 
To: homeroast
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:44:37 PM
Subject: Re: +Aeropress arrived tonight
It's this kind of stuff that makes my head hurt.  Coffee has almost as
many variables as weather prediction, except that the rules of weather
are well understood :-(.
On 2/15/06, Scott Marquardt  wrote:
<Snip>

14) From: Maryann & Dave Schellenberg
Hey, I'm still in training - I couldn't possibly go to war yet! 
:-)      Well, perhaps as a spy.
Yes, I'd say it was quite a bit finer than I'd use for drip.
In fact, for my automatic drip machine, I tend to go almost as course as 
I can with my Capresso Infinity.
My second cup was really in the middle of the scale, where SG1C is 
between those two.
I haven't checked the size of Tom's blue scoop.
I have been using scoops that came with various coffee makers - we have 
three identical ones with round bottoms on them.
I fill them level with beans, so that a side-to-side (gentle) shake 
won't lose any more.
Dave S.
Scott Marquardt wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
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Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.1.375 / Virus Database: 267.15.8/260 - Release Date: 2/14/2006

15) From: Lissa
On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 14:19:13 -0600, Scott Marquardt wrote
<Snip>
With all due respect, Scott, who cares? If I make coffee that I like drinking,
and you make coffee that you like drinking, it doesn't matter what the
technique is.
There is not one true way to brew coffee. There is not one true brewing
method. Or one true roasting method. We roast to get coffee we enjoy drinking.
We brew for the same reasons. We can share what works best for us, but any
attempt to enforce rules of brewing or roasting is, at best, counterproductive. 
Of course, it is pretty damned funny. Not your wording (which is trite), just
your evangenlical fervor.
Be well,
Lissa

16) From: Maryann & Dave Schellenberg
Wow! "who cares"? That's your question?
I would say, the straight-up answer is that everyone who is using or is 
at all interested in the AeroPress might care.
Isn't that why we correspond on this list?
Or is it just that you don't get hyperbole?
We aren't actually talking about rules, here.
I think what we are talking about is the experimentation that goes into 
figuring out how to make the best coffee with a new device.
With all the variables involved, the more people who experiment and 
report, the sooner we'll find the optimum method.
And if you really believe that "it doesn't matter what the technique 
is", you probably also don't care about COE competitions, or the whole 
idea of cupping and scoring different coffees, because you might like 
something entirely different.
Perhaps you're just having a bad day.
Dave S.
Lissa wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.1.375 / Virus Database: 267.15.8/260 - Release Date: 2/14/2006

17) From: Scott Marquardt
I *try* to stake out a playful argument with the marks of hyperbole, but I
fail.
Time to adopt the "tragic figure" persona and play the victim.    ;-)

18) From: Peter Zulkowski
Got my Aeropress last Monday, and had to hide it for a bit.
Don't ask.
But yesterday I tried it with some aged - after - roasting Monsooned 
Malabar.
Tried to make merely 3 cups, not 4.
So I used 3 heaping scoops of beans, and ground them. This filled the A 
almost half full.
I almost boiled some water, and then poured that into the measuring part 
of the plunger to the 3 cup oval.
Then I poured that into the grounds!
Very silly thing to do.
Lots of foam rose up over the top!!! So I rushed to the sink.....
leaving a trail of coffee that was coming out the bottom through the filter!
Well, I thought you had to PRESS it!
So, back to the cup, (more coffee trail) and now grounds are up over the 
top a bit, but the level is going down.
Decided it is time to stir it..
keep focused on the process!
No idea of time now..
it must be 10 seconds right?
Wet the plunger and force it past all the grinds along the top of the 
thing..
This is going smooth now.. pretty fine..
I am not sure how much to compress this thing..
well, the cup is sturdy (I hope), so I REALLY lean on it. (50 lbs?)
Yup, puck is compressed now!
C says, would you mind making me a half a cup if you are making coffee?
Well, it looks like all there IS is a half a cup.
Put a A scoop of this liquid into her cup, and added water to half way.
Did the same for me with the rest.
Not bad coffee C says.. a bit weak....
hmmmmmm..
Mine was just fine.
I am geeky enough to weigh for every pot, in grams.
So I was curious as to how much 3 rounded scoops of Aeropress type scoop 
weigh.
45 Gr is the answer.. enough for me to make about 20 oz of afternoon coffee.
That is my cup, and some for she who must be obeyed.
PeterZ
This thing will be mastered, here in LHC.
Maryann & Dave Schellenberg wrote:
<Snip>

19) From: Lissa
On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 15:49:04 -0600, Maryann & Dave Schellenberg wrote
<Snip>
Perhaps you aren't reading slowly enough. I questioned making rules for how
one uses an AeroPress, not sharing techniques. There is no one true way. For
anything. That does not mean that data is useless. Coffee making, like life,
is not a zero sum game.
Be well,
Lissa

20) From: Maryann & Dave Schellenberg
R e a d i n g   v e r y  s l o w l y, I  c a n ' t  f i n d  a n y  r e 
f e r e n c e  t o  r u l e s  i n  S c o t t s  m e s s a g e .
What I read was a humorous (accompanied by smiley faces) question as to 
which technique I supported.
Why do you find grounds for criticism in that?
Dave S.
Lissa wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.1.375 / Virus Database: 267.15.8/260 - Release Date: 2/14/2006

21) From: Edward Rasmussen
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Don't worry Scott.  I "got" it and read it in the spirit in which you =
wrote it.
 
Ed

22) From: Scott Marquardt
I'll set forth this proposition: the bell curve for brew temperatures
yielding preferred results from the Aero, will have its mean far below 195
degrees, when many coffee lovers' opinions are considered in the aggregate.
To say this is to aver that the inventor's studies among coffee drinkers,
using blind testing, will be borne out in the market.
That's still an unproven opinion -- but not an unprovable one. Expert and
user reviews thus far seem to bear it out, though my own exposure to them
only counts as anecdote (I haven't been tabulating -- though I'd suppose
that the inventor is). And note that my claim doesn't imply that a good cup
of coffee can't come from a coarser grind with hotter water (as the OP
experienced). Somewhat inexplicable to me, still, is Tom's use of a
sufficiently fine grind (it seems) with hotter water. I suspect his palate
was compromised by having consumed yet another piece of that cake he
mentioned.   ;-)
To my mind, though, it might be a disservice to new users of the device to
counsel beginning their use of the brewer with the temperature in its upper
register. It's almost unheard of that some new brewing method challenges
orthodoxies regarding fundamental variables; manufacturers are too busy
fastidiously hewing to the unassailable standards we've all relied on to
deliver a good cup, so they're loathe to risk their slender market shares b=
y
venturing anything novel. So when a product comes along and claims to
deliver better brew at outrageously low temperatures (not just the good cup
Bill experienced, mind you -- no, allegedly something better than that), it
seems tragic to counsel conventional parameters and miss the chance to find
out if, miracle of miracles, it might be true. Or, of course, come away fro=
m
a good faith attempt with our cynicism about novelty intact.
It's not that I'm offended, Lissa, or think everyone MUST drink coffee a
certain way. It's that innovation deserves to have its day of proof, to be
taken at its word. Trounced, if necessary -- repudiated, if warranted
(remember cold fusion? ;-)  -- but tried, certainly.
I think there's good reason to work through disagreements on such questions
in a good-natured way. Tom is definitely an authority on coffee. Without
Tom, I wouldn't be home-roasting today. Without Tom, I wouldn't be
home-roasting as successfully as I am today. Without Tom, I wouldn't have
gained what literacy I've gained about great coffees from all over the worl=
d
(though I have a long way to go!). And of course without Tom, I'd have a bi=
t
more money in the bank. How can I resist his greens?  ;-)
Because Tom is an authority on coffee (and if he chimes in with
self-deprecating humility, I'll argue him under the table on this
characterization ;-)  I listen carefully to what he says. That care in
listening, however, makes it darned easy to hear gaffes when I think he's
made them. And I happen to think this is one of them. And because I'm darne=
d
secure in continuing to deem Tom a worthy coffee authority, I'm equally
comfortable and pleased to air such disagreement.
It'd be claiming too much to deem the Aero a "revolutionary" device. But
something about the nature of paradigm shifts (see Kuhn) is attractive, and
the hope that the Aero can open new lines of inquiry and experimentation is
a winsome one. But it has to be tried in it's own possibility space to see
whether colder brewing, if not colder fusion, just might be possible.  ;-)

23) From: Lissa
On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 18:06:50 -0600, Scott Marquardt wrote
<Snip>
Irrelevant. What you like is what is important to you. Taste is mutable.
<Snip>
It is a disservice to new users to suggest anything but that they experiment
to see what they like, and to give them your data points.
You are still insisting there is a right way to use the device. There is. For
you. There is another right way for me. 
<Snip>
I brewed at 165 degrees F. Flat. Boring. I brewed at 180F. Better. I did the
same thing I do with FP - brought to a boil, unplugged the kettle, counted
slowly to 10 and poured. Best. All with the same group of beans from the same
roasting group (I combine a number of popper roasts, and stir before using).
You like it at 165F. Great. I don't. What this means is that people should
experiment. Not that there is a conspiracy of coffee experts to not look
stupid at the hands of amateurs.
<Snip>
But, you are leaving out a critical variable - that peoples' senses taste vary
greatly. If they did not, I would agree that you can test and come up with the
Best Way (aka, the One True Way). Since individual taste is not a constant,
your method is flawed.
Cold fusion is in the news again. The scientific news, not the popular media.
It won't cure cancer, fix my dinner and power my car, but it might turn out to
be useful in certain specific applications.
Be well,
Lissa

24) From: Robb Walker
I believe that both opinions are true: that it is necessary and useful to
have sound standards (rules) by which to brew coffee, and yet, it is equally
important to experiment and adjust to suit your individual tastes.
If there were no "standards" for brewing coffee, then no one would have a
starting point from which they could adjust to their tastes.  Also, without
standards, you couldn't have any sort of rating/scoring system by which to
judge the quality of beans.
Whenever I roast and brew a new bean, I first always try to brew according
to the industry standards (3.75 oz coffee to 64 oz. water or 7.25 grams
coffee to 5-6 oz. water).  This provides me with a basis by which I can
compare one bean against another.  It also gives me a starting point from
where I can start adjusting variables that produce the best cup according to
my tastes.  By no means would I always brew my coffee according to the
industry standards.  It produces too strong of a cup for my tastes.  
Professional tasters (like Tom) have standards that they use when sampling
beans.  They almost always sample beans at a city roast and brew the coffee
using specific measurements.  It's these standards that allow them to
consistently compare one bean against another.  These standards are
quantifiable and repeatable by anyone willing to take the time to do so.
Now, that does not mean these standards are optimal.  "Optimal" is a
subjective term and is subject to an individual taste.  That is why in Tom's
tasting notes/reviews, he will give his opinion on the best roast level for
a particular bean, because that bean may not have optimal flavor at the
standard city roast.
I will assert that the same holds true for the AeroPress.  Now, I have never
used the AeroPress.  However, if I were to try it, I imagine my first
attempt would involve applying the known industry standards to this new
brewing method.  I would probably then try it again using the recommended
methods provided by the manufacturer.  These first two attempts would give
me the basis by which I could start to individualize my AeroPress brewing
methods to suit my particular taste.
I whole-heartedly agree with trying various brewing methods and adjusting
the brewing variables however you like.  Variety is most definitely the
spice of life.  As my wife always says, "I like it the way I like it!"
However, we all need a standard reference point to which we can compare our
results.  Otherwise, we would never be able to convey our experiences or
effectively explain our results to others.
----------
Robb W.
 
<Snip>

25) From: Scott Marquardt
On 2/15/06, Lissa  wrote:
<Snip>
.
The latter is not in dispute -- but since the topic of discussion is the
Aero I don't think the claim I'm making can possibly be irrelevant. When
speaking about a device and not individual users, one has to pitch to some
median of users' experience. If statistically it's been shown to work best
for people using a particular grind and temperature, then users who haven't
yet tried it are statistically likely to find that grind and temperature
closer to their own preferences than if they used outlier grinds and
temperatures. Obviously if their tastes fall outside the norm, there's
nothing wrong with that and statistics don't serve them well, That's what i=
t
means to be an outlier -- and heck, all of history's geniuses were outliers
of one kind or another. This isn't putting down outliers.
And it's not as if Tom is depriving users of information. He's not removing
the instructions from the kit and substituting his own. I think much of the
value of the SM site is the depth and scope of Tom's findings on brewing
equipment and roasters he's thoroughly vetted. I'm just disagreeing with hi=
m
(actually, oddly enough the jury could still be out on even that assumption=
)
on a technical matter, whereas you and I seem to be in more of a dispute
about how such disagreements should -- or should not -- be aired.
<Snip>
- It is a disservice to new users to suggest anything but that they
experiment
- to see what they like, and to give them your data points.
No judgments? I disagree. As I indicated, I value Tom's expertise. I've
profited from it. If I had been left adrift last summer as a noob with
nothing but data points, I'd have spent a lot of time gleaning elsewhere
what I found happily concentrated at the SM site. It's a great service to
offer judgments and assert opinions. In fact, I think doing so is so
important that when I disagree with one of his informed judgments -- amateu=
r
that I am -- I'm going to raise the issue. It's precisely because I think
it's important to offer opinions that appropriately carry more weight than =
a
noob's guesswork, that it's worth hammering out disagreements concerning
such opinions. Yes, a lot of the time people will have to agree to disagree=
.
But that's a decision that may be best made only once rational discourse
doesn't get anywhere.
Tom himself says: "The instructions that come with the brewer are good, but
I have made my own AeroPress pictorial instructions to show the way I think
it should be used to make a good cuppa!"
"The way I think it *should* be used." If Tom is willing to be prescriptive
instead of merely supplying data points, then I should think alternative
notions of how the Aero works best should be respected as a reasonable case
to be made. Obviously no one's trying to be an enforcer, Lissa. Let's not
imagine that I'm doing that any more than Tom is.
Tom does go on to describe temperature as a "subjective" judgment -- but he
proceeds to give analytical reasons for his preferences. That's a mixed
message. There's no way I'm going to hold Tom accountable for writing
perfect reviews, though frankly I think they're all exceptional -- includin=
g
the one for the Aero. But I do think he's using the term "subjective"
carelessly, here -- a nod to the experimental character of this temperature
territory more than an acknowledgement that "it doesn't really matter --
whatever." That he goes on to cite reasons for his preference is my reason
for believing that.
- I brewed at 165 degrees F. Flat. Boring. I brewed at 180F. Better. I did
the
- same thing I do with FP - brought to a boil, unplugged the kettle, counte=
d
- slowly to 10 and poured. Best. All with the same group of beans from the
same
- roasting group (I combine a number of popper roasts, and stir before
using).
It 's not even clear, yet, that we disagree. Where was your grind? If it wa=
s
coarser than I'm using, it may well be that I'd thoroughly agree with your
temperatures. "Your grind was that coarse? Why yes, I see why you used that
temperature."
It's hard to talk about how coarse a grind is when we all have different
grinders, but I think we have a means to do so -- and it relates back to th=
e
good answer you gave earlier in the thread when you said "the grind" was th=
e
variable I left out. Tom says "steep, then stir." I said "stir, then steep.=
"
One obviously doesn't steep grounds that aren't thoroughly wet, so I infer
that Tom's brew was easily wetted in short order, with no need for stiring
to completely wet the grind. Therefore, he could steep first. In my case, I
don't get thorough wetting at all without serious stirring -- so it's
evident that I'm using a finer grind which doesn't permit me to steep first=
,
then stir.
Obviously my inferential engine could be in idiot mode and dead wrong, but
the logic of steeping and stirring under our differing experiences tells me=
,
to my satisfaction, that Tom is using a much coarser grind than I (though,
doggonit, he says he's using finer than drip -- how much finer than FP is
Tom's drip? I dunno).
Coarser grind = longer steep/slower press and/or higher temperature to ge=
t
the same extraction as a shorter steep/faster press and/or lower
temperatures with a finer grind. I think that's what's at issue.
I'm not arguing that coarse/hot is wrong, as much as that it misses an
opportunity to try something the Aero uniquely permits -- the chance to
explorer the territory of cooler brew temperatures. This is NOT an argument
that you're not getting a cup you enjoy.
-You like it at 165F. Great. I don't. What this means is that people should
-experiment. Not that there is a conspiracy of coffee experts to not look
-stupid at the hands of amateurs.
Your inferential engine is in "slightly missing my point" mode -- but that'=
s
OK.    ;-)
<Snip>
-But, you are leaving out a critical variable - that peoples' senses taste
vary
-greatly. If they did not, I would agree that you can test and come up with
the
-Best Way (aka, the One True Way). Since individual taste is not a constant=
,
-your method is flawed.
I don't think that's fair. If Alan's research showed that most coffee lover=
s
he sampled liked the coffee a particular way, that's the appropriate
starting place for experimentation. It woudn't be fair to recommend
parameters appreciated only by outliers in the sample population. It's not
flawed to commend methods that have proven appealing to most people. I agre=
e
that it would be flawed to assert that no one will enjoy coffee not brewed
in ways most other people enjoy -- but I don't think you'll find I've
hinted, much less asserted that.
Best,
Scott

26) From: Scott Marquardt
But what do you do when the manufacturer's claim is that the SCAA
recommended temps produce results not emjoyed by the majority of coffee
lovers and experts tasting the device's brew? Is it proper to use the SCAA
standards to rate a device whose sole claim to fame is that it works best
when those standards are set aside?   ;-)
One of the problems is that Alan seems to be posing a hypothesis as much as
he's saying "hey, here's a way to brew coffee that I think you'll like," Th=
e
hypothesis is far more radical than just another way to brew coffee. Good
grief, there's a gazillion gizmos out there -- what's one more? No, he's
actually saying "this method changes the rules." As a hypothesis, then, one
has to say "OK, assume the rules he's asserting supplant (or qualify) the
old ones, and find whether the results support or do not support that
hypothesis." One cannot say, "OK, assume the rules still apply as before,
and test the hypothesis using them." That doesn't work, because the
hypothesis is that the old rules are at best only a partial picture of
Coffee Reality.
I don't think Alan's posing a "Copernican Revolution." 195 degrees is not a=
n
epicycle in Alan's order of things. I think it's more like "hey, we've neve=
r
explored this deep in the ocean -- whodathunk there was life down here? Coo=
l
life! Geez!"
;-)
On 2/15/06, Robb Walker  wrote:
<Snip>
e
<Snip>


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