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Paper filters for espresso brewing


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Experimentation is always a good thing I think. Again, just my opinion but higher EY doesn’t necessarily correlate with better taste at all - in any brew method. Good grinders just allow us to get to higher EY without undesirable flavours spoiling everything. I wonder if the papers allow for more consistent extractions?

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Resurrecting this thread as Ive been trying this method in an effort to improve the taste of my espresso whilst my new grinder beds in (I hope things will improve) The grind from the new mignon vis

I doubt using/omitting filters anywhere can affect the chemical make-up, beyond slightly higher extractions (which were first noted some years back with papers below the puck only).    

My crude but quick method is to staple several aero press filters together, trace around the tamper base, then cut them out with scissors - this way you can get 10-12 done in one go.

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I’ve reached the same thinking regarding EK43s for espresso. I have an EK43 but only use it for filter brewing. I use a Titus grinder for espresso, with my Londinium, and I’m very happy with the consistency and taste in the cup.

 

As to your sense that using filters is mostly about flow restriction, I am inclined to agree. Just not sure about whether (for me) it leads to noticeably better taste! But I’m going to stick with it for a little longer to see...

 

Didn't get on too well with L1/EK combo either, but with Sage DB no such problems

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  • 3 months later...

I've been doing this for several years now, with the same Whatman filters (grade 4, 55mm), and a generic coffee filter cut to size on top to keep fines out of the shower. 

Purpose was different though - it was to intentionally reduce the oils - avoiding cholesterol and joint pain issues.  It's not the same mouthfeel as unfiltered, but still better than none.

Nice to find others doing this.

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  • 1 month later...

Just been experimenting with this using a cut out 48mm chemex paper underneath and a 54mm on top in the flat bottomed basket in the Cafelat Robot. It really cleans up the mouthfeel considerably, which is my preference.

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  • 4 months later...

Resurrecting this thread as Ive been trying this method in an effort to improve the taste of my espresso whilst my new grinder beds in (I hope things will improve)

The grind from the new mignon visibly contains significant fines, potentially as the burrs bed in? 

This *I believe* has resulted in migration and clogging of the PF. 
I came to this conclusion because the grind seemed far coarser for the same bean than on my other grinder (64mm flat, well bedded in). 

So I tried it! Cut Aeropress filter paper under the basket. The pour was faster, so grind made finer (I believe this is part of reason behind the increased EY). 

But the taste is impressively good! Significant reduction in sour notes, just the right amount of crema and mouthfeel. More intensity in the cup, particularly through milk. 

I'm sure someone will be along in a minute to tell me I'm a moron, but for now this has worked a treat and added a tiny amount of faff.

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  • 2 months later...

Jumping in late in the day as I'm sure you guys know the recommended extraction range for all coffees is between 18-22%, by adding filter papers anywhere in an espresso shot is going to change significantly the taste profile and the chemistry of the shot.

Paper filters trap oils and remove significant coffee solids that no metal filter screen can do, just as water being the main part if any brewed coffee can have a dramatic impact upon extraction and taste reliant upon the water chemistry, water degree of hardness also affects filter paper pore size and therefore extraction contact time and chemistry.

Adjusting any of the more common parameters I.e grind size / brewing temp / water chemistry or at least k owing your water is good for brewing will have far more impact on taste flavour profile and be more consistent than placing filter papers in a porta filter.

I'm happy with anyone playing with their brewing process but why make an espresso shot with paper if you like filter coffee then brew that, if your espresso is not to your liking it's either your recipe machine set up or just the wrong coffee any of which can be corrected .

 

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24 minutes ago, Martin R said:

Jumping in late in the day as I'm sure you guys know the recommended extraction range for all coffees is between 18-22%, by adding filter papers anywhere in an espresso shot is going to change significantly the taste profile and the chemistry of the shot.

Paper filters trap oils and remove significant coffee solids that no metal filter screen can do, just as water being the main part if any brewed coffee can have a dramatic impact upon extraction and taste reliant upon the water chemistry, water degree of hardness also affects filter paper pore size and therefore extraction contact time and chemistry.

Adjusting any of the more common parameters I.e grind size / brewing temp / water chemistry or at least k owing your water is good for brewing will have far more impact on taste flavour profile and be more consistent than placing filter papers in a porta filter.

I'm happy with anyone playing with their brewing process but why make an espresso shot with paper if you like filter coffee then brew that, if your espresso is not to your liking it's either your recipe machine set up or just the wrong coffee any of which can be corrected .

 

18-22% isn't a strict rule, it's just where most coffees achieve flavour balance, you still get coffees that taste great a little lower, or higher than that range.

Even if you're happy with your paperless extractions, there's no reason to eschew using paper if you want to try it.

Espresso is made up of a significant amount of non-dissolved solids, if you'd rather have less of them, even at a comparable extraction, why not? You might also be concerned about cholesterol & want to limit it with paper filters.

Sure all the factors you mention have an effect on taste, paper filtering is just another one.

Water affects taste but not measurable extraction.

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45 minutes ago, MWJB said:

18-22% isn't a strict rule, it's just where most coffees achieve flavour balance, you still get coffees that taste great a little lower, or higher than that range.

Even if you're happy with your paperless extractions, there's no reason to eschew using paper if you want to try it.

Espresso is made up of a significant amount of non-dissolved solids, if you'd rather have less of them, even at a comparable extraction, why not? You might also be concerned about cholesterol & want to limit it with paper filters.

Sure all the factors you mention have an effect on taste, paper filtering is just another one.

Water affects taste but not measurable extraction.

I think it's great that we play and employ many varied brewing extraction principles, I'm not suggesting anyone should not experiment, but my opinion was if you were unhappy with your extraction or you wish to push extraction beyond th range recommended to achieve Gold Cup then other factors are easier to adjust play with. If your desire is to limit like and solids then yes any paper filtration will do this.

The whole subject is very subjective with the exception of actual measurement of extraction and tds with appropriate tools, only full chemical analysis will reveal which components have been restricted or boosted by introducing filter papers to an espresso brewing method.

I don't understand why you say Water quality does not affect measurable extraction and only taste. Water quality does affect extraction when water becomes fully saturated with dissolved solids it's ability to dissolve more or less coffee solids into solution varies. If you brew with varying water qualities various TDS hardness etc and a reference brewing method (weighing volumes consistent temp grind size and distribution) varying water quality will give varying extractions with all else being equal ? When running SCA training one exercise is to brew coffee with pure water/ WBC Specification water and very hard water and I can assure each produces different extractions.

Adding paper filters may increase water coffee contact time (increased extraction)provide more even wetting potential less extraction or prevent channelling and resulting over extraction.

Totally agree if cholesterol is a concern then any paper filter is better as unfiltered coffee appears to increase LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in some studies. Two diterpenes found in high amounts in unfiltered coffee, cafestol, and kahweol, have been found to actually raise cholesterol levels.unfiltered coffee appears to increase LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in some studies. Two diterpenes found in high amounts in unfiltered coffee, cafestol, and kahweol, have been found to actually raise cholesterol levels.

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Hi Rob as advised the chemicals found in unfiltered and by unfiltered we are referring to not through a paper filter, as most other brewing methods use no paper but a metal sieve or filter do not  cause any concern the main point is that paper filtration studies have shown is healthier if you have high cholestrol.

If you have a reasonable Cholesterol level drinking Espresso based drinks or anything brewed via a metal sieve is fine.I

In my World Brewed usually refers to traditional pour over or hand brewed via V60 etc, all of which use traditional paper filtration, Espresso usually is referenced to a specific type and production style of making coffee, 9 bar pressure darker roast bean to increase solubility etc.

None of these are hard and fast rules and brewing methods like Aeropress employ a few different factors Steeping \pressure when we plunge which is greater than atmospheric\ and of course a paper filter usually.

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9 hours ago, Martin R said:

 

I don't understand why you say Water quality does not affect measurable extraction and only taste. Water quality does affect extraction when water becomes fully saturated with dissolved solids it's ability to dissolve more or less coffee solids into solution varies. If you brew with varying water qualities various TDS hardness etc and a reference brewing method (weighing volumes consistent temp grind size and distribution) varying water quality will give varying extractions with all else being equal ? When running SCA training one exercise is to brew coffee with pure water/ WBC Specification water and very hard water and I can assure each produces different extractions.

 

I say it because I have tested it, CH Hendon & Chahan Yeretzian have also found this to be the case.

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Hi Mark

I also regurly do this exercise when running SCA training and using a Marco precision brewer  (SP9) and I find that not only is the taste flavour profile of a brew is affected by balance of minerals but also the extraction % varies with just the water TDS varying.

My experience also shows that the variance in hand brewing has a much more dramatic affect on Extraction as water transfer pour time etc affects water temperature throughout brew significantly, any draughts height of pour also adversely affect the ability to consistantly brew owing to temperature fluctuations.

Can you repeatedly brew and get identical extraction and tds when tested ? I have in over 20 years of training only seen a couple of Baristas that have been very accurate from pour to pour ?

I would also note that a small variance in extraction most consumers would never even notice, sometimes we can become obsessed with the science and loose sight of why we make coffee, and that should be to obtain the best cup that we or our customers like, and get the best from the roast coffee we are brewing.

Understanding which variables are best easiest to adjust to increase flavour taste profiles to individual preferences in our brew is in my opinion the most important factor.

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6 hours ago, Martin R said:

Hi Mark

I also regurly do this exercise when running SCA training and using a Marco precision brewer  (SP9) and I find that not only is the taste flavour profile of a brew is affected by balance of minerals but also the extraction % varies with just the water TDS varying.

My experience also shows that the variance in hand brewing has a much more dramatic affect on Extraction as water transfer pour time etc affects water temperature throughout brew significantly, any draughts height of pour also adversely affect the ability to consistantly brew owing to temperature fluctuations.

Can you repeatedly brew and get identical extraction and tds when tested ? I have in over 20 years of training only seen a couple of Baristas that have been very accurate from pour to pour ?

 

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Nobody can brew with anything and hit identical extraction (we'll say to the 1st decimal point) repeatedly, this isn't reasonable consistency, it's a pipe dream. Changing your coffee can shift EY by 3%. Most folk interested in this scenario agree +/-0.4%EY over 10 brews with the same coffee is acceptable consistency. My last 10 V60s, with the same coffee were 21.3%EY +/- 0.3%, bev mass 189g +/-1.1g.

My last 146 V60s, using selection of grinders, & over 50 different origins were 20.2%EY average, +/-0.9%EY.

My last 496 drip brews, were +/-1.1%EY and there's some experimentation & dialling in in those.

I gave up looking for differences in water make up on extraction when I got to 9 brews +/-0.3%EY (bev mass196g  +/-1g) using waters as diverse as  Hildon (250GH:111KH) & very soft Icelandic (25GH:25KH).

 

 

 

 

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  • 7 months later...

Came across this thread and related YouTube videos. Has anyone tried only filters on top of the coffee puck, no filter paper below? Or are both needed in order to work? Reading this thread sounds like filter on top could improve evenness of extraction further without altering taste or chemical makeup as all this seems to do is more evenly distribute water through the puck. Would that be a reasonable conclusion?

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9 hours ago, tripleshot said:

Came across this thread and related YouTube videos. Has anyone tried only filters on top of the coffee puck, no filter paper below? Or are both needed in order to work? Reading this thread sounds like filter on top could improve evenness of extraction further without altering taste or chemical makeup as all this seems to do is more evenly distribute water through the puck. Would that be a reasonable conclusion?

I doubt using/omitting filters anywhere can affect the chemical make-up, beyond slightly higher extractions (which were first noted some years back with papers below the puck only).

 

 

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On 06/12/2020 at 00:14, tripleshot said:

Came across this thread and related YouTube videos. Has anyone tried only filters on top of the coffee puck, no filter paper below? Or are both needed in order to work? Reading this thread sounds like filter on top could improve evenness of extraction further without altering taste or chemical makeup as all this seems to do is more evenly distribute water through the puck. Would that be a reasonable conclusion?

Yes thats exactly what I do and I think it helps extraction 

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I've tried trimming what looks like the right amount with a scissors, going around the aero press filter about 3mm from the edge. It's a clumsy method that works, although the resulting disk is hardly even. I'd be grateful to hear if anyone has discovered an efficient way to do this.

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