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Topic: vacpot water temps (12 msgs / 383 lines)
1) From: Hank Perkins
Doug,
I am a drip guy. espresso is great but usually I am pressed and just do drip
coffee 95% of the time.  Although common opinion is that with drip coffee
the grind is not real important I got to tell you I bought a Rocky Rancillio
about a month ago.  The wife about blew a gasket at the cost until she had
the first cup from the grinder.  Well It has made a huge difference in our
coffee.  I always preheat my machine.  I don't have a super high end machine
it is a Cuisenart machine that dispenses into your cup.  Wife bought it I
have measured the temps coming out of it and I am in the low 200's.  Right
now I believe I have found balance.  I also believe you have to balance
coffee roast / grind / coffee maker to get it right.  My roaster is my weak
link today.  Good luck.
On Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 6:47 PM, Doug Hoople  wrote:
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2) From: Michael I
Doug,
I've been following your experiments with some interest, as I usually  
brew at least one vac pot a day.  Since I read your latest musing  
before I brewed a pot this morning (last night was a late one), I  
thought I'd see what's going on in my Hario 5T Deco with a butane  
burner.
I use the popular "let the water rise, then add the grinds" method.  I  
don't put the top on until the bottom globe starts to bubble.  When  
the water had fully risen to the funnel, it read 201.0.  After 30  
seconds, it read 201.5, where it remained until the 2 minute mark.  I  
added the coffee at that point, as I was getting impatient for my  
first cup of the day (a Rwanda Kinunu Bourbon, which I'm enjoying as I  
type this).  The temp dipped to about 198, and was right at 200 when I  
killed the heat a minute or so later.
I don't have any conclusions to draw, apart from the fact that this  
method gives me consistently outstanding results, but thought you  
might like another data point.  I am at sea level.
-AdkMike
On Apr 15, 2009, at 7:47 PM, Doug Hoople wrote:
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3) From: Doug Hoople
Hi Hank,
You're right. It all counts!
I upgraded to the Baratza Virtuoso from a tired old Krups flat-burr grinder.
There are a lot of people who say that, if it's not espresso, then it's not
critical. My recent experience indicates that it's sort of true, but not
entirely.
For one thing, even if it's not perfect, more consistent output yields
better tasting coffee. Period. The first thing I noticed with the Virtuoso
was that my coffee tasted much better. Not as chalky, and the flavors were
more defined.
So a better grinder is a must, even if it's not for espresso.
And while a decent grinder covers most of the territory, there are certain
critical applications in drip and vacuum, mostly having to do with dark
roasts, that do pose challenges.
Dark roasts are much trickier to get right. In a drip pot, too many fines
clog the filter and the extraction takes forever. And, in a vacuum pot with
a glass rod, it's even finickier. I'm at the point where I frankly don't
know if a vacuum pot with a glass rod is capable of consistent French roast
even with a "perfect" grinder. Most people tell me I'm on my own if I insist
on coffee so dark, and and then almost always say isn't it actually a crime
anyway to go so dark?
It turns out that vacpots with glass rods are, in their own way, quite
demanding in their procedures, and the challenges seem to exponentiate the
darker you get.
But yes! I agree that the taste experience of coffee changes in very
substantial ways with the quality of the grinder, and a better grinder will
yield a more satisfying cup of coffee.
My wife also rolled her eyes at the new grinder (it's only $200, so below
the threshold for flipping out!), but she did immediately taste the
improvement in her cup.
Doug
On Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 5:02 PM, Hank Perkins  wrote:
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4) From: John Borella
I don't brew any dark roast in my vac pots so can't help you there. City 
through Full City is as dark as I go for V/p brewing.
 Temp wise once the water gets up top in my NCA 3 & 5 it is around 201*. I 
reduce the flame & let it drop to 196-197 before adding the coffee. A quick 
stir to mix it in & hit the timer. 45-60 second steep for the 3 & 70-90 
seconds for the 5. Cut the heat, another quick stir & apply the wet cloth to 
speed up the draw down. Total time on the 5 runs about 2.20 from first stir 
to vacuum break.
 I'm grinding on the fine side of drip with a Super Joly & getting wonderful 
brews with either pot. The Yama 8c has been back in its box since the first 
day.
John B.

5) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John,
You let it drop to 196-197 before adding the coffee?
I've noticed that there's a temperature drop when room-temperature grounds
are added to the funnel of hot water. That drop seems to be about 5 degrees
or so. So that would mean that your effective steeping temperatures will be
around 191-192. Have you measured the temps once your steeping is underway?
BTW, I've noticed that the coffee turns out very well when the temps run
betwen 190-200. I'm pretty sure the ideal range is, as documented by The
Authorities, between 195 and 205. If I had to choose, though, between vacpot
coffee brewed in the 190-200 range and the 200-210 range, I'd go for the
lower of the two. So I'm not surprised, John, that you're getting beautiful
cups from your brewing method.
My impression is that some of the flavor is erased in the higher range,
probably quite literally evaporated. I have now definitely noticed that
there's less flavor in the cup when the steeping temp rises above 210F,
which can happen easily enough if you're not being careful about it.
Anyone who's tried to control their full-cycle temps that closely will know
that these ranges are pretty realistic as everday variations on the desired
norm.
Doug
On Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 8:11 PM, John Borella wrote:
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6) From: John Borella
Doug - Hopefully this reply doesn't take 4 days to reach the list like my =
last one. If so this could be an awfully long discussion.
  I just brewed a pot in my NCA 3 & kept track of the temp through out the =
brewing process. With the water up top I added the coffee at 196, gave a =
fast stir to mix & noted a temp drop of 2 tenths of 1F. I set the cover =
on =
& started my timer. Even though I had the butane burner turned way down the =
brew temp increased to 198F & stayed there until I removed the T/C probe=
 60 =
seconds later to give a quick stir before draw down began.
   The methods I use are typical of what I see in other vac pot brewing =
discussions such as:http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1227143744http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1228908802http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1234583926 Lots of good info in the CS threads.">http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1211700763http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1231919711http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1227143744http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1228908802http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1234583926 Lots of good info in the CS threads.
John B.

7) From: Doug Hoople
Hi John,
I'll have to go back and measure, but I'm surprised that you're getting a
drop of only 0.2 degrees. I could have sworn the drop was more.
But, if that's all the temperature drop you're getting, then it would seem
that you're hitting the sweet spot. Your description of your resulting cups
would seem to bear that out.
Congrats on a very tight procedure!
And thanks for the links to CS. I've seen some interesting vacpot insights
coming from that direction.
Doug
On Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM, John Borella w=
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8) From: John Borella
I checked temp in my NCA5 today using 40g of beans. Temp dropped a few =
tenths more then when I added 24g to the NCA3, maybe 1/2F. Once the bloo=
m =
forms the temp rose approx 2f as before so the bloom must block the heat =
loss. Temp held throughout the steep as before.
John B.

9) From: raymanowen
"...people who say that, if it's not espresso, then [the grinder's] not
critical.
My recent experience indicates that it's sort of true, but *not entirely*
..."
[According to other people for whom coffee is a passion, the grinder is
critical. What kind of dreckig Scheisse would that "not espresso" be?] Let
alone, the alleged espresso itself- I might choose to pass.
I doubt if there is  coffee around that won't respond positively to
proper roasting and a good grinder. If it doesn't, something else is
missing. Where is the line between grinder critical and grinder
laissez-faire? There is none- the grinder is always critical.
If the grinder is not critical, shouldn't the bad ones give the better
coffee drinks?
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
-- 
Persist in old ways; expect new results - suborn Insanity...
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10) From: Phil Palmintere
"...the grinder is always critical..."
I don't know about that.  A grinder with good manners is complimentary.  :-)
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11) From: Doug Hoople
Ray,
I think you'll find general agreement here on the list, and throughout the
world of coffee, that, the better the grinder, the higher the likelihood
that the coffee will taste better, too.
I think, though, that the distinction that says "if it's not espresso, then
the grinder's not critical" essentially applies to the mechanical process of
actually brewing the pot, and less to the quality in the resulting cup.
I'm pretty sure that what's being said is that you'll have no impediments to
brewing up the stuff. Thus, for press pot, drip, vacpot (cloth filter),
percolator, etc. you'll get a pot or a cup of coffee brewed.
But, with a lesser grinder, you won't even be able to pull a shot with any
kind of mechanical precision, so the grinder is absolutely critical to the
mechanics of making the coffee in ways that it is not for other methods.
I can say, without hesitation, that upgrading from an unmaintained and tired
old burr mill to the Baratza Virtuoso has yielded a marked improvement in
the flavors in my cup. My wife noticed immediately, too, and she wasn't
really paying close attention.
That's all I can say with confidence, as that's the only actual experience
I've had in grinders. But I've read enough other accounts of substantial
change for the better in the cup on grinder upgrade to believe that the
principle applies universally.
And I assume, Ray, that you also believe this, as you seem to be at pains to
repeat the mantra at least weekly, if not daily.
Doug
On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 8:20 PM,  wrote:
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12) From: Allon Stern
On Apr 22, 2009, at 8:20 PM, raymanowen wrote:
<Snip>
Goo goo muck anyone?
Mmmm mmmm, swampy.
-
allon
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