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dfk41

Coffee rituals and % change to the cup

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Now, I have a few minutes pare, and have been sitting thinking bout what we get up to in our daily routines. I have long held a belief that I make 2 sorts of drink. Ones I drink and ones I sink. I agree that some might be better than others, which got me thinking about variables.

Right, I agree that on paper differences might theoretically make a difference but can you taste them? The biggest variable we all have is our machine followed by our grinder. Yes, I have a Pid.....so what? Have you taken special scientific measuring devices to your machine and checked its output and temperature, if not, then you just have to assume that it is doing what you hope for. Your grinder, is it grinding in exactly the same way every time you use it? Are the beans you grind uniform in size and colour meaning 100% consistency?

So, before you even put some beans into the basket, you have variables coming into play that you have no control over. Next, you grind (and let us not even mention single dosing modifications etc etc) and end up with grounds in the basket that presumably you weigh, putting 100% faith in your £5 Ebay scales. But I have Brewista/Decent or other very expensive scales.....brilliant, so if you have decent scales then that is probably one variable that some people can control.

You put the handle in, presuming both that the group has come to temperature and remains bang on whilst you make one or several shots. You then rely upon your choice of scale for output. You rely upon the cup you decant into to be exactly the same temperature every single time, otherwise it immediately becomes a variable.

Ok, I could go on and on. Surely the important thing, is to decide what you can and cannot control and what is passed off as coffee bollocks. There are things that are ballpark important which go to forming the shot, but how much do so many of these small adjustments we like to make really affect things

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Interestingly, I've always had different tasting/flow of shots on the same batch of beans dependent on whether the bean is frozen, or whether it has been kept in an airscape. Personally, I think the biggest variable is the beans degassing, as the beans you use will only ever be the same at that one point in time. You can limit it (freezing, airscape, vac sealing etc.), but can't ever fully prevent the beans degassing and gradually becoming more stale. That, and the fact that our taste buds do change, so perfect changes almost constantly.

I don't think I've ever been able to replicate the exact same tastes in a cup from one to another, only ever "get close", so when people suggest that they regularly get 10/10 shots, I'm not 100% convinced that they are always the same flavours being pulled out in dominance, rather the balance is just there, and therefore so is the taste. Also, these people likely have their preparation etc. etc. down to a tee, and have mastered the art of limiting variability (but not completely omitting it). Surely, beans would taste different in winter to summer too - humidity levels and light exposure etc. 

Interesting point you raise though - has there ever been any fully controlled, extremely limited variability experiments on the % yield in the cup, and how different factors affect it, and which are the biggest influencers (and I'm talking particle sizes measured from grinders etc. to be exactly the same).

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Let's try and put this into perspective, for comparison of sorts I have just stopped reading my daily dose of Japanese knife forums as this was another rabbit hole I went down, I spent hundreds of pounds on artisan hand made knives imported from Japan from makers such as Mazaki and Tanaka now these are things of beauty but I soon realized I'm not a pro chef just a home cook that wasted too much time and money on researching kitchen knives, got nearly a grands worth of various steels sat in a drawer in now.

Now onto the coffee, I recently joined here, again mainly as a tool for information and help. I have got my kit and find it far more value for money than my knives as I use it every day.

My point is the people on the kitchen knives forum are just as shall we say "enthusiastic" as the folk here but it always gets taken too far for me.

I have my kit now and I'm just going to enjoy it for what it is without taking a scientific approach.

My coffee tastes great, grinder works great, Eureka Mignon Specialita as does my Sage DTP, I know that may be frowned upon by the purists here but I'm happy and that's all that counts.

Don't overthink things, for me anyway life is too short to worry about 1g of coffee beans or some slightly imperfectly foamed milk. And now to the kitchen for a nice coffee...

Peace.

 

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Chasing perfect consistency.........

Related image

 

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GS3 MP, Ceado E92 and E37s, Feldgrind. Niche.

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Feel free to shoot me down but sometimes I don't even bother to weigh my output!
Trying to remove all variables is fine for troubleshooting but for day to day drinking, I enjoy a bit of variety to how the taste comes out.

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Laissez les bons temps rouler

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A few thoughts....

You need a machine/device to make espresso, be it a Flair or a Slayer, or anything in between. So the machine you have is what you have, not a variable.

Same goes for grinders.

If you have lots of machines, lots of grinders, you want a very specific type of shot, then you have more variables & a narrower preference, but it's all espresso.

No grinder makes grinds that are uniform in size, let alone the beans. Some grind in a narrower distribution than others, but all make a  spread (which in turn affects overall fineness, which then makes basing ideas on uniformity tricky too).

100% consistency, in an objective sense, isn't possible...you'll have to change something at some point screwing up your datum for "consistency". Swapping a Kenyan for a Brazil should do it most of the time, all other factors being equal. You probably don't want 100% consistency anyway, for the same reason - 2 very different origins may not both taste great extracted the same. Beans alone probably make ~90% very good.

It's not a driving test, do what you like if it gives you good enough results, enough of the time.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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I live with the variables, I weigh in, never out, I know what a double shot looks like. 

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@MWJB

Mark, if you cannot control something, then it becomes a variable, or something that produces a variable output/result, so the machine or grinder you have is the machine or grinder you have, but what it produces might well vary every time. The point I am making is that people seem to hone in or fixate onto a couple of things that will adversely effect their shot output, but in reality, do they?

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Never underestimate the braiń´s capacity to self delude - the biggest variable of them all. 

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4 hours ago, dfk41 said:

@MWJB

Mark, if you cannot control something, then it becomes a variable, or something that produces a variable output/result, so the machine or grinder you have is the machine or grinder you have, but what it produces might well vary every time. The point I am making is that people seem to hone in or fixate onto a couple of things that will adversely effect their shot output, but in reality, do they?

A little variation is normal for everyone.

Your point is a bit moot, if you don't know how much coffee you put in vs shot out,you can't have a basis for tracking any difference or otherwise & impact.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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3 hours ago, Nikko said:

Never underestimate the braiń´s capacity to self delude - the biggest variable of them all. 

Sure we're all susceptible to this to some extent, but perhaps not so much that we're ready to rely on our brain's delusional capabilities & drink instant, while listening to our favourite music under a sunlamp :-)


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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17 minutes ago, MWJB said:

A little variation is normal for everyone.

Your point is a bit moot, if you don't know how much coffee you put in vs shot out,you can't have a basis for tracking any difference or otherwise & impact.

But that is exactly my point....we try to control certain variables whilst ignoring others....so, make a cuppa and enjoy it. I make ballpark coffee.....am not bothered about 0.5 gm here or there.....if the coffee is rank, I have enough experience to play around to get it right (hopefully)

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Great. But why is a coffee that is normal/known to you rank in the first place? Are you playing with it to make it differently, or to get it back to normal. You don't measure, so you don't know.

I don't think there are many ginders that can dose to much better than +/-0.5g (without intervention), so 0.5g difference is half that (+/-0.25g), so normal variation.

FWIW I dose with 0.01g sales, not because I think this accuracy is essential, but because they don't cost any more & react much faster than my 0.1g scales (which rarely go up/down in 0.1g increments) & save me time.

Of course, I do make rank cups from time to time, but this is usually because I am experimenting/dialling in a grinder/brewer. Not day to day variation.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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On 27/11/2019 at 19:15, ashcroc said:

Feel free to shoot me down but sometimes I don't even bother to weigh my output!
Trying to remove all variables is fine for troubleshooting but for day to day drinking, I enjoy a bit of variety to how the taste comes out.

 

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