OK... time to geek out a bit. I'm proposing a group experiment to characterize the effects that different brew methods (and variations of those methods) have on coffees.
This discussion is sort of a spinoff from a few other discussions that have happened here. A few of us were looking for some information on what sort of differences in flavors of coffees resulted from using different methods. There were some sorta answers, but nobody could really point to a complete information source. There seemed to be interest in pursuing this. So, here we are.
Here's what I suspect should be done:
1. Each of the participants picks a brew method and a coffee to work with. For starters, I think we ought to stick to straightforward, balanced coffees - nothing really crazy.
2. Prepare a cupping sample (the control) AND a batch using the target brew method (the experimental). The samples should be ready for tasting at the same time.
3. Taste the control sample and record the various flavor elements observed.
4. Taste the experimental sample, record the various flavor elements observed, AND note specific differences vs the control (higher acidity, less body, different flavors, etc.)
6. Report your observations.
I would hope that we would eventually get a set of general ideas about what sort of effect each method has on the coffee. These ideas could be summarized here and captured for posterity's sake.
Some other thoughts on this:
Lets use the "standard" approach for these methods for starters. If you have a different variation on the technique we can examine that too... but we probably should have some more standard data points first.
Lets try to be as detailed as possible when discussing parameters and results.
We probably should evaluate each of these methods with some radically different coffees, to see if the same effects can be seen.
These are just my initial thoughts. Please jump in with suggestions, etc.
So, any thoughts? Anybody interested?
Oh, and if someone is aware of this having been done before (and where we could view the results) please let us know to avoid our having to totally re-invent the wheel. There are other things that we could invent instead...
Brady, we did this exact experiment this morning with our Roastmaster Chad, Jay and Emily. We used our Guat, which is really good right now. We used a siphon, french press, and our newest gadget, the AeroPress. The siphon produced a cup that was very well balanced, almost a little too balanced. It didn't have alot of that sweetness the Guat usually has, but was smooth. The french press gave us a cup that had alot of the brightness I usually expect, alot of the sweetness, but was almost too perky. The acidity was overpowering, and led to the twang that you couldn't really enjoy the good flavors of it.
What we were looking for was the balance of the siphon, and the brightness and clarity of the french press. That's exactly what we got out of the AeroPress. Surprisingly, Chad said it was the best cup of coffee he has had all year. Everyone agreed how much better it really was. It had the balance, body, and all around flavor profile that really made the Guat shine. Quite simply one of the best ways I have ever had coffee. Easily. And as much as we were surprised by the quality of the coffee, actually I would consider an Americano, the thing that most surprised me was it's use for espresso. I was very skeptical when I read that it could be used to make a good latte. But, that's exactly what it did. Very little crema, obviously, but a latte that's better than what you might find at most shops they said. Not better than our own shops, or some of the other shops I visit from time to time like Octane in Atlanta, but a decent latte. Interesting.
Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!