superr Senior Member Joined: 27 Jan 2012 Posts: 2 Location: Irvine, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Tue Jan 31, 2012, 8:10pm Subject: Problems with brewing a good pot of Siphon coffee
I recently brought back a Hario TCA-2 siphon from my vacation in Taiwan and I've been having some trouble brewing a good cup. It would seem like siphons are very unforgiving as the coffee I brew consistently has a slightly burnt aftertaste; something similar to a "burnt peanut" taste. So far I've only been able to produce 2 excellent pots of siphon coffee and everything else just ranges from merely satisfactory to bitter and bad. Does anybody know what the cause of the burnt peanut aftertaste might be? On a few occasions I brewed pots that would taste great initially but then the aftertaste would still be that of a slightly burnt/ashy flavor. It seems like altering the grind and brew technique have little effect on completely eliminating that aftertaste. For reference, I'm using freshly roasted beans, filtered water, and a Kyocera hand grinder (modified by Orphan Espresso) set slightly finer than drip grind. I also routinely clean the filter every 6-7 uses with a 5 minute boil in water, 5 minute dip in light oxi-clean free solution, followed by another 5 minute boil with a thorough rising .
One of the techniques I used that produced the good cup of coffee was the Intelligentsia technique:
Pour preheated water into lower globe
Turn butane burner on high, wait for bubbling on filter chain
Secure top. Once water has gone north, center filter to prevent large bubbles
When temperature reaches ~202F in the top, add grinds and stir in a left-to-right motion
Dial down heat and start timer for 1 minute
Lightly breakup the crust and stir mildly halfway through
At ~55 secs, remove from heat and give the brew 2 quick stirs around the edges in a circular motion (making sure not to touch filter)
Drawdown time at 45 seconds. Decant and wait 10 minutes before drinking
While this technique worked once for delivering A-grade siphon brew, most of the time it produced a cup that still had that slightly peanuty aftertaste. I've also tried the japanese techniques where the grounds were placed in top before the water went up, with a total brew time not exceeding 45 seconds but that still did not work on that aftertaste. I'm looking for some help in trouble shooting the cause of the slightly burnt taste. Thanks!
Posted Wed Feb 1, 2012, 12:37am Subject: Re: Problems with brewing a good pot of Siphon coffee
The filter needs to be stored in water in between cleaning. If it dries out this can really taint the coffee.
The other factor is temperature. The TCA2 can get way too hot which gives the coffee that cooked burnt taste. Once I've added the coffee I turn the burner as low as it can go and keep an eye on the temperature. I've recorded temperatures of 96-98*C - too close to boiling for coffee really.
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