Spotlight! Manual Brew Masterclass - A Recap
Posted by Hook Coffee on Oct. 23, 2017, 12:27 p.m.
We here at Hook Coffee are always looking to spread our knowledge of specialty coffee to the rest of the world. One of the best ways we go about doing that is through our Masterclass Series. In the past, we’ve educated others about a variety of topics, be it a coffee bean’s journey from “farm to cup” or the importance of “cupping” to hone one’s sense of taste.
We’ve helped both novices and experts better understand the world of specialty coffee in a way that is both technical yet understandable. As the world’s interest in coffee grows, an understanding of these methods and strategies become increasingly necessary.
A critical part of this knowledge involves manual brew techniques. We’ve talk about some of these techniques and variables in past posts, and will continue to talk about them in the future, This post is for the benefit of those who missed out on our sell-out manual brew masterclass here is an overview of what we covered and some important pointers to help improve your brews at the comfort of your own home!
AUTOMATIC VS. MANUAL BREWING
First, one needs to understand is the difference between automatic and manual brewing.
At quick glance, the differences seem arbitrary. Surely, automatic brewing just means it happens automatically and manual brewing means you do it yourself.
While that’s technically true, it’s a bit of an oversimplification.
Manual brewing offers more than extra variables. It offers control.
Where automatic coffee machines are optimized for speed and ease of use, manual brewing gives the individual the freedom to finetune the variables of their brew in very specific ways.
In what ways?
There’s simple variables like time and temperature, and then there’s more complex ones like grind size, flow rate, agitation and water distribution.
TECHNIQUES TO MANIPULATE BREW VARIABLES
Agitation is used to increase the extraction rate of flavor solubles.
- Stir your bloom. This will make sure all grounds are wet, and it will prepare your coffee for brewing. Initial agitation increases overall extraction.
Temperature is imperative when brewing - it effects rate of extraction and time.
- Keep your temp anywhere from 94 - 96 degrees Celsius. This is optimal for brewing.
Grind changes the extraction rate of ground coffee THE MOST.
- Use a burr grinder. Burr grinders exhibit a narrow particle size distribution (which means that the grounds are similar to one another), giving the barista control over the brewing process!
Coffee to Water ratio:
Studies indicate that the optimal brewing ratios are 1:15 - 1:18. For instance, in a 1:16 ratio, there are 16 parts water for every part of coffee (360ml of water divided by 16 equals 22.5 grams of coffee!).
- Use a measuring scale to measure coffee and pour your water. This lets the barista repeat brewing processes accurately.
It’s important to realize that any one of these variables can dramatically alter the outcome of the brew. Even a simple variable like the temperature of the water immediately affects the extraction rate of flavor solubles.
It’s easy to see how this interplay of variables can become very confusing, yet very rewarding when properly understood. Controlling extraction variables via brew techniques will give you the power to properly dial in delectable flavor notes. These techniques are invaluable, and they will assist you on your journey to becoming a formidable barista!
Let's look at different methods of manual brewing. Over the last decade or so, countless individuals and companies have produced specific apparatuses as substitutions for automatic brewers. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on two of the more prevalent groups that these devices fall into.
POUR OVER VS. IMMERSION BREWING
Pour over methods involve one “pouring” hot water over beans which are typically placed in a filter inside a brewer. Pour over methods include brewers like the Chemex, V60, and Bee House. These brewers offer a greater level of control over certain variables like flow rate and agitation.
Immersion methods are on the opposite side of the spectrum. These include the French Press, Clever Dripper. In these methods, coffee is completely submersed. Here pour technique becomes much less relevant and greater attention must be paid to the respective brewer. Immersion methods give the barista control over coffee body and depth of clarity.
We have a whole range of both pour over and immersion brewers at https://hookcoffee.com.sg/gears/essentials. Remember, a barista is only as good as his coffee and gear! We’re proud to offer some of the best around!
Whole books have been written on the differences and intricacies on just these two different methods, and they simply represent two variables.
Details such as these are what one needs to learn to thrive in the specialty coffee industry. At the end of the day, coffee and its various parameters and methods are what drive the industry forward. At Hook, we try to make that process a little easier with blog posts such as these and our Masterclass Series. The best baristas in the world spend countless hours learning the science of their craft. We’re here to help you do the same.
Whether you’re a novice trying to learn more about the world of specialty coffee, or you’re an experienced barista hoping to differentiate yourself from the crowd, understanding these terms can help you reach your goals.