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Topic: French Press brewing concerns (10 msgs / 261 lines)
1) From: Ken Knott
Ok, so I had made about 40 oz of my Ethiopian batch #5 this morning and it =
was wonderful.
I bragged and made more for my boss this afternoon and it was not nearly as=
 good...  bitter...
This makes me wonder is I need to improve my French press technique.  I lik=
e my coffee strong, so I typically put quite a bit in the press, but I'm no=
t very precise about it.
How important is this?  Could I make it bitter by using too much coffee?  L=
etting it steep too long?  Not using enough coffee?
Thanks,
Ken
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2) From: Ken Knott
I just read Tom's tip sheet on French Press brewing... I think I need to be=
 more careful and precise.
One thing did catch my eye... He mentions that the coffee should be floatin=
g near the top.  And if it settles to the bottom, then you probably let it =
steep for 5+ minutes...  This is exactly what I did.  They had settled to t=
he bottom in this case.  =
What would this cause?  Could that cause the bitterness?
Thanks,
Ken
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t was wonderful.
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as good...  bitter...
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ike my coffee strong, so I typically put quite a bit in the press, but I'm =
not very precise about it.
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 Letting it steep too long?  Not using enough coffee?
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your "fix".
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ee.com
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3) From: Dan Audette
The size of the grind is very important. A very chunky grind is necessary.
And, the amount is important, depending on the size if your fp.
On Feb 18, 2008 12:39 PM, Ken Knott  wrote:
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4) From: Rich M
Hey Ken-
I think all the above will impact the final product, but I think  =
length of time before you press is the most likely culprit when it  =
comes to bitterness.  Another factor you didn't mention is the grind.  =
I understand that too many "fines" can make a bitter cup, which is  =
why so many people here espouse getting a good grinder. I, too, like  =
strong coffee, but I only let it sit in the caraffe for about 3  =
minutes max before I press and pour. FWIW, I use just under 3/4 cup  =
of unground beans, run them through the Rocky at about 45, and let  =
steep for about 3 minutes. This is for my 12-Tasse press.  Seems to  =
work for me. Good luck,
Rich M
On Feb 18, 2008, at 1:39 PM, Ken Knott wrote:
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5) From: David Daeschler
Hi Ken,
On Mon, 2008-02-18 at 14:49 -0500, Ken Knott wrote:
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Yes, leaving the grinds "soaking" too long is known as over extraction
and can cause a bitter cup.  Grind size plays a very important role here
too.  Since your extraction time is high (say 4 minutes or so with a
french press) your grinds should be much more coarse than if you were
preparing drip coffee.
- Dave
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6) From: kofi
On Feb 18, 2008 11:39 AM, Ken Knott  wrote:
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The ratio of water to coffee is important, I weigh mine to get  in the same
ballpark every time.
Equally important is the grind. What's important is a narrow distribution of
sizes in the grind, i.e., and even grind. You can do well with a whirly
blade BUT it is hard to make it repeatable, every now and then you get
lucky. Whirly blades produce a lot of dust and that will extract too fast.
The temperature matters as well, in fact everything matters. It takes a long
time for water to cool from 212F down to 200 in my kettle, so long that I
now use a PID to set the temp in the kettle catching it on the way up so I
don't have to wait. These days I usually brew down around 195-197F. For some
Guats I go even lower. Why go to all that trouble? Taste.
Press coffee tastes better, IMO, when ground very coarsely and brewed for 4
minutes. You can brew for shorter periods with a finer grind but although it
tastes ok I find the 4 minute brew tastier. There's a different flavor
profile.
FWIW I currently use 65-70 g coffee to around 40 oz by weight of water
 to produce around 32 oz by weight from a 48oz press.
Johnny
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7) From: Rich
Excessive soaking in hot watter results in over extraction.  Over =
extraction tends to make a bitter brew.
Ken Knott wrote:
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be more careful and precise.
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ing near the top.  And if it settles to the bottom, then you probably let i=
t steep for 5+ minutes...  This is exactly what I did.  They had settled to=
 the bottom in this case.  =
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<Snip>
<Snip>
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it was wonderful.
<Snip>
 as good...  bitter...
<Snip>
like my coffee strong, so I typically put quite a bit in the press, but I'm=
 not very precise about it.
<Snip>
  Letting it steep too long?  Not using enough coffee?
<Snip>
 your "fix".
<Snip>
fee.com
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2008
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ee.com
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<Snip>
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8) From: Bill
I use 30 g to 16 oz water for my french press.  I use my Maestro Plus about
half-way between "French Press" and "Drip" settings... and steep for 2
minutes.  Plenty of discussion on this list as to whether a finer
grind/shorter steep or coarser gring/longer steep results in a better cup.
 As you can tell, I like my grind as fine as I can make it so that I don't
have sludge in the cup...others like it their own way.
I really like the nylon filter that SM sells... that helps a ton.  And I
agree with what has been said: bitterness is caused by over-extraction.  Use
you chemistry precision and transfer it to your coffee snobbery.
bill
On Feb 18, 2008 12:57 PM, Rich  wrote:
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9) From: raymanowen
The well-known purveyors of coffeelike beverages make a profit by
standardizing. They can't afford to do anything that will alter the flavor
of the stuff they serve, or, they assume, their clientele will abandon them.
They work hard to maintain the familiar flavors, day in and day out. To that
end, everything in their whole production chain must be measured. They do
some offhanded measuring and get a paycheck.
Enterprising people who want to enter the coffee frontier for themselves can
do things differently and make short term changes. The adventure in coffee
may consist in acquiring some green coffee that will never again be
available that year, or decade. The roast and brewing can be varied for an
infinite variety. To avoid continual drift, notes are essential.
The financial advisers tell the chains not to upset profitable schemes, so
none of them can serve any outstanding coffee that might be here this week
and gone next.
You control every variable so you desperately need to keep notes to educate
yourself.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
What's in your cuppa?
On Feb 18, 2008 12:57 PM, kofi  wrote:
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10) From: Joseph Robertson
Ray,
Very well explained. You made this point very easy for us common folk to
understand. I'm embarking on a new Coffee Roasting (wholesale / Retail ) /
retail coffee equipment / tea / and not to forget Northwest wine shop.
The mentality in this small town is exactly as you have put it here. My
focus will be roasting. I would like to think of myself as a Speciality
Coffee Ambassador and pallet reformer.
The general consumer gets lulled into thinking they are receiving the best
there is. After all it has got to be better than the pull bins in the
supermarkets. At least this is what I hear.
We hope to bring a new model onto the market. One of the local barista's
tells me she has had it with the meritocracy of the coffee shops she has
worked in. Maybe I can offer her somewhere to work where imagination is the
only limit.
Thanks again Ray, I'm tiring to learn ways to explain like you have what is
really going on out there today.
JoeR
On Feb 19, 2008 2:22 PM,  wrote:
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