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Thread: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

  1. #1
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    Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    In order to recoup the cost of my new Rancilio Rocky purchase I have pledged to only drink plunger coffee at work rather than going downstairs to the coffee cart. 5 months of plunger should just about pay for it.

    I have been experimenting with plunger coffee to make this regime bearable (most plunger i have had has been god awful) I now make the following recommendations;

    1 Use the smallest plunger you need as there is more extraction going on if the grinds push through the water a longer way.

    2 Use as much coffee per cup as you would for espresso. Before I go off to work I grind (on about the 9-10 setting) into sealable plastic urine sample jars (labelled COFFEE). Despite the strange looks at work this amount is about right (15 grams) for a large cup of coffee (about 30 percent heated full cream milk)

    3 I give it a quick stir and brew for about 20, I said 20 seconds, before plunging. I figure this is right as that is the extraction time for an espresso shot.

    4 the old hand grinder results in a bit more sludge in the bottom of the cup than the rocky as there is much more dust in the grind. Sludge may also equate to bitterness of the brew.

    5 Lighter roast beens seem better for plunger.

    The work brew has been pretty good to date and I may be able to pay the Rocky off. With fresh beans it is quite surprising how much CREMA (like substance) you get which floats on top of the cup when you pour which gives you a nice hit of gritty richness when you start drinking.

    My question is who came up with the 4 minute rule which some threads talk about? Thats just silly.

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Gday Bh,

    You could always invest in an AeroPress (available from respected Site Sponsor "CuppaCoffee") as an alternative to a Plunger. Makes a brew not very far away from an espresso, being rich, sweet and complex. Has taken over from my Plunger as the preferred quick brew..... :)

    Mal.

  3. #3
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Good advice Mal

    I guess I could pay for the aeropress over one month...

  4. #4
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Just watched the Aeropress video.

    I could also modify my plunger by making the metal rod longer so I can squeeze the last little bit out of the grounds at the bottom.

  5. #5
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanhead link=1213958386/0#3 date=1213963702
    Just watched the Aeropress video. *

    I could also modify my plunger by making the metal rod longer so I can squeeze the last little bit out of the grounds at the bottom.
    With respect Beanhead, you can go ahead and try this but it definitely wont be the same. Basically, while it may look to be a similar process to a plunger, its entirely different. A plunger simply forces (most) of the coffee to the bottom of the unit, after it has brewed a while. I havent come across a plunger that doesnt result in suspsended coffee fines in the drink (not necessarily bad) or dregs in the bottom of the cup.

    The Aeropress uses compressed air to force the coffee through a fine paper filter well before the plunger reaches the bottom. The result is a much cleaner tasting coffee, no suspended fines, and no dregs.

    I think the only way to achieve a cuppa similar to that which the Aeropress will produce is to make/construct....another Aeropress. ;)

  6. #6
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    plunger coffe is like tea, made by infusion(time).
    the plunger is for separating the coffee grinds, not for forcing the water through the coffee
    try a course grind, let infuse for 3 - 5 min depending on taste and type of coffees
    single origin coffees generall y work best.
    using this method you will find tastes in coffees that you never had before. approx 8 grams per 180ml of water
    graham

  7. #7
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Its not surprising that you need such a short steep time; you seem to be using an espresso grind. The thought is that extraction happens at the surface of the particles. With a finer grind, you have much, much, much more surface area for a given weight/volume and, so, extraction happens much faster.

    Like Graham said, steeping methods generally use a coarser grind and thats where the nominal 4 minutes comes from. Thats not to say that you cant do as you are doing, but its worthwhile at least giving a coarser grind a try. Id try something like grinding 30 notches coarser and steeping for 3 minutes if you havent already. Dont forget to purge the leftovers from the previous grind out of the chute after switching to the coarser setting!

    Its worthwhile noting that the roasters technique of "cupping" to evaluate coffee is generally done by putting some relatively coarsely ground coffee into a cup and adding hot water. This is left to steep for a few minutes, then the "crust" is broken, the floating bits are skimmed and the coffee is slurped. The bulk of the ground coffee falls to the bottom of the cup and continues to brew and extract as the cup cools and is tasted, sometimes over periods of up to an hour until it is stone cold. Cupping can bring out some very delicate flavours and, for some reason, never really seems to taste overextracted. Note that in cupping, one skims off and throws away the "crema" like substance, seeing as it tends to taste pretty bad.

    The whole steep time/particle size thing allows you to get a lot of control over the resultant cup. It sounds like you have gone for the "ristretto" extraction ratio extreme. Thats all well and good if thats what you like. But its worthwhile experimenting with the other alternatives. Personally, I like using brewed coffee methods to bring out flavours that are more like what Id get when cupping.

    At the moment, Id rank the the cup produced by the various brewing methods in the following order: siphon, pourover drip (paper filter), french press, aeropress. All of them make different cups and Id expect people to rank them differently. The filtration seems to make a lot of difference, to me at least. The cloth filter in my siphon has the virtue of letting some oils through, whilst keeping out all of the ground coffee. The paper drip filter holds the oils back, but delviers a very clean and enjoyable cup. French press lets everything through, but if you pour slowly you dont get much sediment. Aeropress also has a paper filter and also holds back a lot of oil. (I havent yet tried using aeropress with more water, a coarser grind and a longer steep time, but I might like that more than the espresso-like steep time.) Im keen to try eva solo and swissgold drip filter. Without a doubt, Aeropress and drip are the easiest to clean up and use at work. Just throw away the plastic filter and youre done.

    Dont stop experimenting and have fun with it!

    Cheers,

    Luca

  8. #8
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Good points.

    I will play around with the extraction methods.

    I have used the paper filter too and enjoy the lack of murk in the coffee, but it does seem like a very wasteful and difficult to control extraction method. It appears with the paper filter some of the coffee in the filter hardly has a chance to extract and if you use a coarser grind it is pretty obvious that there is still a lot of flavour in the remaining grounds. It seems that with the french press the oils have a chance to get into your cup (hence the crema like substance), whereas with the paper filter the crema like substance is part of what goes in the bin.

    The variability of plunger coffee is enormous, even more tricky than espresso perhaps to get something like a "god shot"

  9. #9
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Re: Only misers plunger brew for 4 minutes!!

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hi all

    > The variability of plunger coffee is enormous, even more tricky than
    > espresso perhaps to get something like a "god shot"

    I would not agree fully with the above. I think in terms of variability there are more factors that are under your control with plunger coffee. There is no tamping variable that comes into play after weighing and grinding the coffee. You can control the temp of the water and the infusion time precisely. There is no pressure variable or channelling.

    But I do agree that a God shot is probably more elusive as I dont think a plunger extracts anything like an espresso. I wonder if a God shot, the equal of an espresso one, is at all possible?

    Mike



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