What have you all done to combat decaf coffee dripping too slow in the Hario V60s?  We use a med-dk water processed Decaf and typically grind it coarser than our other coffees, but it's been going super slow lately.  Does anyone reduce amount of grams used for Decaf?  Or is it just a matter of grinding much coarser?

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I think what I would be more interested to know is why they go so much slower.  Anyone know why that is?

We grind a considerable amount coarser and dose up.

-bry

I'm not sure why your decaf interacts diferently at all. I've only brewed a handful of decaf coffees on a v60, but each time they brewed the same as their caffeinated counterparts.

Our mountain water process decaf brews much slower than our caffeinated coffees.  Like over a minute slower if we don't compensate.  So, we grind slightly coarser and don't up-dose but shoot for a brew time 30 seconds longer than for caffeinated coffee.  This method works very well for us.  The only thing that I can think of that accounts for this variance in brew time is that a decaf coffee seems much more brittle than caffeinated coffee even when roasted to the same level.  I think this causes more fines in the grounds which in turn slows the brew time down.  This is just a guess based on my experiences.

I know that many decaf processes leave a strange texture on some green beans, almost powder like.  Decaffeinating does change how beans roast as well.  A decaffeinated bean can roast 2-3 minutes faster than an untouched counterpart. 

This speaks to the fact that the decaffenated beans are soaked in some sort of hot solvent (water, CO2, Ethyl Acetate...) then dried for a second time.  While decaffeinaters keep the specifics of their processes somewhat of a trade secret, we do know enough about the generalities of the processes to come to some conclusions. 

Any quick glance at an unroasted decaffeinated bean and you know it has been altered physically (ugly off yellow color generally).  From the fact that flavor changes, roast changes, appearance changes, texture changes...one can only assume that grind would likely change as well. 

As I am not a barista, per se, my experience has been that grind and dosing needs to be modified, as you are experiencing. 

thanks for all the comments. our decaf beans are also mountain water processed, and so avoid the harsh chemicals.  we roast them med-dk, but there is an absolute difference in how they roast compared to their fully leaded counterparts, and they still turn out a bit darker with faint oil spots.  

i think Zack's theory on the brittleness contributing to more fines might have some meat, because otherwise it doesn't make sense to me why it would extract slower.  when i think back to tests i've done on various beans for espresso, i've always had to fine up the grind for coffee that was roasted a bit darker or was older compared to my typical fresh medium roast.  i guess bottom line is in the taste, and people love our decaf, even when it brews on the slow side.

I use a sock pot for pour over and have had no problems at all with decaf.

Have you tried adjusting your grind?

as i mentioned in the original post, we typically grind decaf a bit coarser as a general practice.  perhaps it's not coarse enough tho

Jay Caragay said:

Have you tried adjusting your grind?

My question is why do a decaf pour over at all? If you're experiences are anything like mine, decaf drinkers make up a small percentage of business, as in maybe 2% on the high side. Our only decaf option is espresso. If someone wants a decaf coffee, we make a decaf americano. They're always happy with that option. Typically we charge a bit more for americanos, but we charge the drip coffee price for decaf. The vast majority of decaf drinks we sell are lattes anyway.

Jeff that logic is probably as backwards as I can figure.  The parameters for a decaf pour over aren't going to change that much from day to day so if you have a small number of decaf pour overs it doesn't matter, the parameters are the same.  You can step up to your first decaf pour over of the day and know where your parameters need to be, even if it's been 24 hours since you've made a decaf beverage.  The problem with decaf espresso, however, is that all espresso parameters, decaf or not, change so drastically from hour to hour, morning to evening, day to day.  

In order to get a decaf espresso shot within the correct parameters (depending on what your definition of quality is and how much tolerance you allow) you are probably going to have to waste 2-3 shots of espresso.  Assuming your dose is around 18 grams, that's 54 grams of total coffee for one Americano.

On the other hand, the grind settings, dose, pour pattern and timing for a pour over are going to be the same every time, so there is no wasted coffee involved.  So if you use, let's say 25g of coffee for a 12oz pour over, you only use 25g.

Also, decaf is more expensive than regular.  Why charge less for a decaf Americano than a regular Americano?

Either offer decaf or don't, but the mindset of "this is a necessary evil so let's just get it over with" needs to go away.  If decaf is truly less than 2% of your market than why offer it at all?  Why dedicate a $500+ piece of equipment and a few feet of counter space to something that is seen as an inconvenience?

Read more on this issue here. http://www.roastmagazine.com/resource...

If your decaf percentage is less than 2% I'd suggest you evaluate why that is because the market for decaf coffee is out there and it's growing.  If you're receiving that small a share of the market you may want to reevaluate both your decaf beans themselves and also your approach to them, how they are brewed and the customers who are seeking them out.

-bry

Decaf coffees always look darker on the surface. The question is how dark are they ground, that is how you tell how to dial in the roast finish temp. And taste of course. And yes, indeed they need a much gentler hand roasting. Decaf coffees also stale much faster.

yah, Jeff, that's not an acceptable option to just NOT offer a decaf pour over.  We do hand pours exclusively, so there would be no other option for those that don't want an americano. Besides, our decaf tastes fantastic; it's just a matter of working to optimize it. 

Agree w/ Bry as well... Decaf should in fact be more expensive because of the added cost of processing.  We are currently charging the same price for all our pour overs to simplify things on the register, but eventually would like to get to charging actual market price per bean.

And very true, Mike. I'm going to try a few experiments on the roasting end for a gentler approach.  In theory, decaf is one of our lightest roasted beans (end temp is only 425f), but with oil developing on the surface within a couple days, I think I have to stop comparing them to how the other beans behave.

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