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?
Bryan, I'm not sure if you were asking a question there, but I will offer this much. I will sacrifice profit margin, not quality, for a happy customer. That said, in my market, a decaf pour over would not fly. If your market demands it, I agree that my suggestion would not be acceptable. I have not tried a pour over with decaf before, but now I'm curious to see the results. Now then, I hope you find something that works for you.
If I may be so bold, have you experimented with other brew methods? If customers are looking specifically for pour over, then this wouldn't work either, but I'd suggest trying Aeropress. There are tons of different methods, so I'm sure there would be something that would function well and taste right.
3 espresso options- "house blend," rotating single origin and decaf
Pour over- Chemex, Clever, V60 and Beehouse
Decaf functions the same in all of the methods unless we adjust the grind accordingly. In fact because of the problems with stalling we don't offer decaf through siphon. I get increased resistance in a French press and in an Aeropress with decaf.
Why would a caffeinated pour over work in your demographic but not a decaf one? That seems extremely strange to me.
"Hi, can I please get a 12oz decaf coffee to-go?"
"Sure! Just so you know we brew each cup of decaf one cup at a time *points at pour over brewing method* to ensure that every cup is fresh. Just because it's decaf doesn't mean it shouldn't be given special attention, right?! Our decaf volume just doesn't justify brewing a big pot all at once and we think this is the best way to bring great decaf coffee to you. It'll take just a minute, but the cup will be worth it."
If a customer has a problem with that then their probably not your target market at all, decaf or not.
I think the question has become: "Because decaf functions differently, what are you doing to compensate for that?"
I've noticed how decaf brews slower as well. It seems that roasted decaf coffee is less dense than 'regular' coffee - so it grinds differently, more fines. It would be interesting to see a micro picture comparing the grinds. We've all noticed how a lighter roast (or a more dense coffee) will require a finer grind for espresso extraction than a less dense darker coffee. Typically darker roasts will require a coarse grind than a lighter. So I believe that the decaf process compromises the cellular structure of the coffee, which would also explain how decaf tend to roast quicker, especially in the last stages, and takes on heat differently. So my advice would be to coarsen the grind a bit - or it might be worth trying activating the burrs and slowly adding the coffee your grinding ... this will grind the coffee differently and may help with the fines. But that's just a guess. I'm also curious if moisture content in the roasted coffee is different between regular and decaf.
As for decaf pour-over, I agree with others' advice to just adjust the grind and trust your taste buds. You've got great tastes and I'm sure you won't go wrong. Another alternative would be to use a different type of pour-over. I haven't looked super-close at them recently, but I know different models have different size holes which influence the flow rate and extraction time. Would a pour-over with larger holes make the difference? Not something I've tried myself yet, but might be worth a look.
As for the tangent that came up regarding the importance of offering decaf, I've long thought that attitudes about decaf in this industry are all wrong - I constantly hear people say things like "who cares how the decaf tastes?" or "why bother?"
The thing a lot of people don't seem to get is that many regular coffee drinkers are feeding their caffeine addiction - they'll pick better flavor if they can, but they're gonna get their fix regardless. On the other hand, anyone who comes in and orders decaf coffee is doing so only because they like the flavor of coffee. There's no addiction there - the only reason to order it at all is because they like the taste of coffee. So why would we pay less attention to the details, buy cheaper coffee, utilize worse equipment, etc. in the preparation of decaf coffees? Decaf drinkers are the purest coffee lovers of them all! We all know that it's hard to find good decafs and that even the best rarely measure up against regular coffees, but I think we owe customers our absolute best effort to serve good decaf along with our other great coffees.