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Topic: vacpots: a stirring tale (2 msgs / 70 lines)
1) From: Douglas Hoople
Hi All,
I've been spending the afternoon following up on my recent vacpot findings,
trying to figure out the whole stirring thing.
In the implosion thread, I indulged in a bit of skewering of James Freeman
at Blue Bottle, with his 4 months of practicing his stirring stroke before
dipping his toe into the real pool (pardon the metaphor mixing). While I
think some of the specific practices are over-the-top and maybe
over-precise, being concerned about how to stir seems legitimate after all.
I tried a couple of different mixes of stirring, and discovered that a lot
of stirring will bitter the brew.
I found the following link, which actually cleared up a lot of questions in
my mind. The particulars of stirring are probably not critical, but how you
stir your brew does make a pronounced difference:http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num31919711I'm hoping that I'm not violating SM message board guidelines, but I found
this thread to be extremely informative. It definitely provides a framework
for making sense of stirring and extraction rates. You have to read past the
vortex/no-vortex controversy (which still strikes me as a red
herring) before getting to the good stuff.
As a practical matter, I just made a pot, exactly like the one that was too
bitter, except that I minimized the stirring. Lo & behold, it was a much
nicer, cleaner, sweeter brew. I used a lot of coffee, but limited the
extraction, giving me the higher solids/less extraction profile that they
discuss in the thread.
Leads to a whole new avenue of experimentation, and gets me a little closer
to a consistent and consistently good brew.
Any thoughts here on the SM board? This has to be old news for some of you!
Thanks.
Doug
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2) From: Jeff Bensen
Doug -
I have not read very much on the stirring issue, but have come to a similar conclusion just based upon my several years of experimentation with daily vac pot brewing.
I am currently using the following technique in my Cona. I wait until all the water is in the upper half, then dump in the grounds and stir briskly and briefly to rapidly wet all the grounds. When I do this, the spoon is just barely breaking the surface of the water, which seems to make the wetting occur more rapidly than a slower 'spoon fully immersed' stir, although this is probably not a critical point but just my personal preference. At the one minute mark I gently break the crust with a spoon in about 6 places. At a minute and a half I cap the alcohol burner. About 15 seconds later the draw-down begins and I give the grounds a gentle stir (about two revolutions of the spoon around the upper globe). At two and a half minutes the vac cycle is finished.
I am using about 1.25 grams of coffee (weight after sifting out the fines, as I outlined in the recent vac pot implosion thread) per ounce of water, ground at +25 on my Rocky. To my taste buds, this seems to yield the best tasting coffee.
- Jeff Bensen
  Palm Bay, FL


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