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Topic: Grinding for different roasts (21 msgs / 489 lines)
1) From: Frank Parth
After reading Tom's most recent e-mail this whole discussion titled "my rod has me reeling" has got me to thinking 
(something that happens too rarely).
I grind primarily for the press pot during the week (espresso on weekends). Should I be grinding more coarsely for dark 
roasts than for light roasts to reduce any powder out of the Rocky?
Frank
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2) From: Doug Hoople
If you're grinding for press pot, aren't you already grinding coarse to
begin with?
If not, try one pot with your grinder on its coarsest setting, and give it a
taste. My pot at very coarse was the best press pot I've had in a long time,
and for once it didn't taste muddy.
Give it a shot, and let us know how it worked out for you!
Doug
On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 1:28 PM, Frank Parth  wrote:
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3) From: Frank Parth
Well, this doesn't answer my question. But in response, no, it's not set on the coarsest setting.
What works best for me on the French Press is a setting of 30 on my Rocky and brewing at 200 degrees for three 
minutes,45 seconds. I came at those numbers by brewing at different grind settings for different amounts of time. If 
you read Tom's French Press recommendations on the SM's web site you'll see he recommends a fine grind, not a coarse 
one.
My original question was: Should I grind more coarsely for darker roasted coffees than for lighter roasted ones?
Frank
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4) From: Doug Hoople
I don't remember the specifics of Tom's press recommendations. But what I do
remember is that he suggests that, given a quality grinder, everything can
be finer than with a run-of-the-mill (pun intended) grinder. Note the
emphasis on the comparative (finER, not finEST).
That doesn't strike me as a recommendation for grinding fine for press, only
finer than before.
Of course, the final answer is in the cup, and it sounds like, whatever
grind you've arrived at, you're happy with where you wound up.
I haven't dialed it in yet, but I used to get very muddy press pots with the
old grinder, and gave up on press altogether. My first press pot with the
new grinder was done at the coarsest setting (40 on the Virtuoso), and it
made a really nice cup of coffee that put press pot back on my radar again.
My next pot was ground at 30, which is still pretty coarse, and I could
taste the silt. Some people like the silt, but I don't really.
YMMV.
But if Tom's observations about dark vs. light are to be taken at
face value, I'd say that he's 1) suggesting a coarser grind for the darker
roasts, and 2) implying that it might not matter because of the increased
fragility of the dark-roast bean structure.
Doug
On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 3:59 PM, Frank Parth  wrote:
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5) From: Sam49
The specifics of Tom's French press grinding recommendation is:
"Use the finest /even/ grind coffee you can, but coarse enough to avoid 
having the grind pass through the filter. I use a grind just a few 
notches coarser than filter drip, and nowhere near a coarse multipurpose 
or perc grind. They key to avoiding sediment is in the evenness of the 
grind, and a burr grinder will give you this."
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6) From: John A C Despres
Frank, from Tom's recently posted note, I take grinding a notch or two
coarser would be the thing to do as darker roasts tend to grind finer on
their own.
I hope this helps.
John
On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 7:22 PM, Doug Hoople  wrote:
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7) From: Frank Parth
John,
That was the kind of opinion I was looking for. NOW~ I'll have to just test it for myself and let the group know the 
results of the testing.
Frank
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8) From: John A C Despres
Grinding for espresso, I typically grind darker roasts a notch or two more
coarse. I thought it was because of the more oil on the surface. Guess not.
As to grinding for the vac pot where fines really make a difference, I use
my Zass set at it's coarsest, which isn't terribly coarse. I think that
particular Zass setting may be a bit too fine for the press. It is for
Chemex, that's for sure.
John
On Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 8:55 PM, Frank Parth  wrote:
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9) From: Doug Hoople
What I'm wondering is whether there's a cliff, meaning a particular point of
darkness beyond which the grind becomes more problematic. The espresso
aficionados here will probably have a better handle on this than others.
What I mean is that a C+ grind behaves quite normally at the standard
settings (30 out of 40 on the Virtuoso), and I feel like I could easily go
finer without stalling, although how much finer I don't know. But in the
really dark roast that caused this particular ruckus (essentially a full
French roast), the coarsest grinder setting yields grounds that are
unmanageable, or barely manageable.
Does anyone know if there's a roasting "cliff," and at what point of roast
that occurs?
Thanks.
Doug
On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 7:10 AM, John A C Despres wrote:
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10) From: Michael Dhabolt
Doug,
<Snip>
I very seldom grind anything dark enough to approach having this
problem (if the cliff is actually there).  When I do, It is not really
a conscious concern due to the fact that re-adjusting the grind is
part of the dance.  It may be due to rapid and frequent changes in
relative humidity in my area.  Whatever the causes may be, when my
pull takes 35 seconds - I adjust one bump coarser on the mini, when my
pull takes 25 seconds - I adjust one bump finer.  As you can see, my
target is a 30 second pull (IMHO the 35 second pull is preferable to
the 25 second pull).  Hmmmm, that reminds me -  another shot sounds
like a good idea, right about now.
Mike (just plain)
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11) From: Doug Hoople
Hi Mike,
"I very seldom grind anything dark enough to approach having this problem
(if the cliff is actually there)."
I'm getting that a lot. And it's not my intention to stay exclusively with
French roasts, either. But I probably will brew them occasionally, just as
John says he does, and that's where the problem is, so that's why all the
focus on this particular point.
My problem now is that I'm out of bumps. Given the French roast, I'm at 40
out of 40 and still stalling. I've gotten some relief using a different
grinder, which suggests that I should just get that grinder. Problem is that
it's a big commercial grinder (horrors, I bought a bag at the bigs and had
them grind it in-store!), so I need something in the middle.
Or I need to put John's procedure into practice, and, if it works, problem
solved.
BTW, I didn't think a mini had bumps, that the glories of stepless
adjustments are among its selling points. Virtual bumps?
Thanks for the feedback.
Doug
On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 1:58 PM, Michael Dhabolt
wrote:
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12) From: miKe mcKoffee
Gee Mike, 30sec target shot sure is long! I mean, way longer than my current
29sec (17.3g dose, 199f, 1.75oz) target at the café:-) But that's for
Delirium. Ah oh, currently running SO grinder Ethiopia Sidamo Guji City+
finer grind same dose same temp lower 1.5oz volume and 31sec target...now
who's pulling long! Straight shots can be a wee bit extreme but way killer
macchs and caps.
Work to do...
Slave to the Bean Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.NorwestCoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIIhttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/=">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVII.htmSweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/=
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13) From: Michael Dhabolt
Doug,
<Snip>
;~)  Mazzer Mini grinders have 10 little bumps on the periphery of the
adjusting ring in between each number on the top surface.  Seems like
a one bump change gives about a four to five second difference in the
shots pull time.  They are stepless, it's just a way of identifying an
amount of adjustment.
I think you're on the right track with John's suggestion.
Mike (just plain
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14) From: Michael Dhabolt
miKe,
Speaking of grinders.  How have your grinder stories (both of them) turned out?
Mike (just plain)
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15) From: miKe mcKoffee
Doug,
Mazzers are indeed stepless. The grind adjustment collar has bumps on the
outside to grip. Bumps can be used as reference points though no click or
indent involved. Depending on bean/blend/humidity/dose/rest/mazzer model one
bump ~3sec shot time difference.
If your coarsest grind is still a bit too fine try down dosing a hair. Or
upgrade grinder:-)
Slave to the Bean Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.NorwestCoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIIhttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVII.htmSweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
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16) From: Michael Dhabolt
miKe,
Pretty sure Doug just bought a new Virtuoso and I don't believe he has
been wooed into conversion to the dark side ..... yet.  So I think
he's in pretty good shape for a grinder .... and the half life for the
onset of Up-Grade-Itis is down the road a ways.
Mike (just plain)
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17) From: Doug Hoople
Yup, Mike, dead on. I've even gotten in touch with the good folks at SM, and
they've given me a couple of things to try, knowing that I'm really close,
and that the case I'm trying to solve is pretty extreme (French roast in the
largest Yama vacpot with glass rod).
So I'm going to fiddle a bit more, and definitely try John's trick of
levering the rod in the early drawdown. It's my current caffeine haze, I'm
sure, but I've even got an idea for a device to build to make John's
procedure easier... but I've said too much prior to consulting with my
patent lawyer. Wouldn't want to let this worldbeater marketing idea out
before it's ready! :-)
Thanks for checking in, everyone! These little knowledge-acquisition
excursions are a lot more fun with this group chiming in!
Doug
On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 5:06 PM, Michael Dhabolt
wrote:
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18) From: John A C Despres
Virtuosos are indeed good grinders. I did quite well with mine until I
upgraded from my cartoon espresso machine to a better cartoon espresso
machine. About the same time, I designed a coffee shop stage set for a
corporate client's annual meeting, and was able to upgrade to a Mazz Mini.
Life is good now.
It's in the espresso area the Virtuoso doesn't do well. It produced more
fines than I cared for, but never used it for vac pots with a Cory rod. The
vac pot came along after the Mazzer and now I use a Zass for the vac pot
exclusively.
Interesting thing about Cory rods, is age and the amount of use they've been
put through. I have 4 and each acts a little differently. In fact all four
rods have different patent numbers. One in particular stands out as no good.
Inspecting the rough surface where the filter portion nestles against the
bottom of the funnel, I see the rough bumps have been worn away, leaving it
smoother than any of the other rods. Draw down with this rod is painfully
slow. And once all the water has moved into the upper bowl, it dances with
very little heat allowing coffee and griunds back into the pot prematurely.
John
On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 8:06 PM, Michael Dhabolt
wrote:
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19) From: raymanowen
"Should I grind more coarsely for darker roasted coffees than for lighter
roasted ones?"
No. For darker roasts, just turn up the heat / time in your roaster.
Never take the adjustment knob on your grinder as an excuse to experiment.
Some other opinion of How to Roast, Grind and Brew a particular coffee
always trumps your own taste experience.
There must have been dozens of expressed opinions re: Execrable Vietnamese
coffee beans. Judging from others' dire comments on the VC beans, I knew
Karen and I were both misteaken when we thought the press brew had a
tantalizing hint of spice after some of my earliest roasting and brewing
adventures this century. After the beans sat a few months, my ingrained
fears were realized.
Happily, I was able to repeat those original flavor misteaks more intensely
two weeks ago in a couple of double shots. Very slight Cinnamon kick to a
clover honey spice.
Just for grins this morning, I set the grinder down to 15, from 15.5,
instead of a more normal grind of 18 - 19.5  The spice has been returning on
the current roast, but this grind brought out a lot more caramel and buttery
smooth- body? with the spice held in check.
I was no slouch on this shot, but maybe it could have been >finer< and more
packed yet? A little paper filter disc on top of the coffee kept most of the
Cap out of the presso, but I still had to flush and back flush 7 times to
blow most of the grounds out.
Maybe the IMV would like to go finer too...
For grinder suggestions, start in the middle of the adjustment range, brew a
cup for reference.  Set it half way up and brew Test #1. Set half way down
from the reference and brew Test #2.
#1 or #2 will be monumentally better than the other, and is the New
Reference. If you keep setting half way up and down from each new reference,
you should quickly determine a good starting point for any particular bean/
roast/ brewing method.
New lots of the same origin, atmospheric conditions, fresh roast or
different rest won't take such gross changes to find the flavor peak. You
should appreciate daily tweaks to peak the flavor, more often when your
palate demands.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
If it tastes only good, keep trying.
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20) From: Michael Dhabolt
John,
<Snip>
I fully agree with your appraisal of the Virtuoso, and the Mini.  The
new kid on the block, the Baratza 'Vario' has IMHO changed the grinder
landscape for the home espresso enthusiast.  I still have the Vario
setting alongside my Mini and am continuing a little longer time
horizon normal use testing - hoping that continued use doesn't
identify problems that aren't obvious at first blush.  So far, I
continue to be very positively impressed with the Vario.
Mike (just plain)
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21) From: John A C Despres
Mike, You're the first I know to buy one. Thanks. Keep us posted on the
studies.
John
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 1:45 PM, Michael Dhabolt
wrote:
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