Hi, I use a Yama glass 20oz pour-over pot with a conical cloth filter with a Hario Buono . I use a small initial pour/bloom/wait/slow pour technique I've copied off of the many excellent pour-over how-to videos and which I've seen at coffee shops that use a similar set up. When I dump the used grinds, however, I always find a small pocket of dry grinds (think 1/3 a thimble). This probably comes from somewhere close to the tip of the filter cone as it is pretty easy for me to find the dry patch on the top of the discard pile. Is this typical? More water for the initial saturation (to induce the bloom) causes the water to drip through the filter prematurely. Should I be shaking the filter a bit to try to get the first pour to saturate everything more easily? Or is this verboten? Any suggestions to better saturate all grinds initially? My suspicion is that the dry pocket may be obstructing the water flow to the tip of the filter, which probably isn't a good thing. I'm probably way over thinking things (and my technique is probably poor)...but in the off chance that anyone has run across this! Many thanks,
I use a hario woodneck, same as your setup, near as makes no difference. I have not noticed this pocket of dry grounds... my initial pour for the bloom goes all in the center and I usually do it by weight (35grams water for 17-19g coffee, sometimes it drips, thats ok). I used to dimple the grounds on my paper pourovers, that may help get water the the end of the cone easier.
also, are you washing/rinsing your filter before putting grounds in? I just cant imagine that the bottom of the filter would have any chance of staying dry...
Super interesting, many thanks. A couple major differences pop out: a) I do dimple in the middle, and that is where I start my initial pour but then I spiral out to saturate everything but the sides b) I'm using a lower water/coffee ratio in the initial pour than you (about 60g for 42-44gms of grinds) as I've been trying to avoid the drip.
Yes, I rinse/preheat my filter before putting in the grinds. You are right, it probably isn't the extreme tip that is dry in all likelihood, but a plug a little bit above it.
Fresh beans (2-7 days post roast) are so gassy, getting the initial pour and bloom right seem critical to getting a good, even extraction.
I'll try more water initially and restrict the first pour to the center tomorrow am and report back. Got to give pour over technique due respect!
Have to say, although I don't use the cloth filter set up you use I would use about 60_70ml of water for the initial bloom in a V60 with paper filter and 35g of coffee. Even then the only way to ensure the grounds are saturated is to STIR.
There's almost a mythology out there re pour over, maybe even more so for the cloth pour overs. Have to say there is no way you can saturate the coffee without having water drain out the filter during the bloom. It's like watering a pot plant - you only know that the soil is saturated when it starts to drain out the bottom.
You can dimple the coffee bed by all means but the most effective way to saturate the coffee is to add the initial water quite quickly and stir. I resisted stirring the grounds for years because it just didn't seem elegant and few people recommend it and emphasise the pour technique. I guarantee you will be surprised just how much dry coffe you dig up if you try stirring just once as an experiment.
Finally if you notice large intermittent bubbles during the pour (ie not bloom) this is air from pockets of dry coffee and you have not saturated the coffee bed initially.
Thanks for the awesome suggestions, even at risk of flying in the face of mythology! Al_b you are ever so right about the occasional bubbling during the main pour, it is clearly water making its way to a dry pocket which then de-gasses.
I tried 80g of water for the initial pour with 44gs of grinds in the filter, with a dimple. Surprisingly, I only had a tiny drip that started right before the end of my 30s bloom period. I didn't pour from my Hario, poured from a pyrex measuring cup to be sure of the amount, and of course with the poor pour control I had no choice but to dump it all into the center.
All seemed fine during the main pour - a little less bubbling than normal perhaps? But plenty of bubbling nonetheless. I was very careful dumping the grinds when done, and dissected the steaming pile (sorry, couldn't help myself) with a chopstick. Sure enough, the offensive and persistent dry plug was there, about 1/2 a cm from the tip of the cone (no other dry spots though)
I'm left with Al_b's advice to stir, much as it disturbs me... Actually, I'll try a bit of a shake/vibration during the pre-infusion/bloom phase to see if I can't get the water to better to permeate all the way through. That would be a decent compromise if it works, though I do worry about having all the fines settle at the tip. Cheers,
44grams of coffee, i think that may be the problem, that is a huge amount of grounds to deal with, this method of brewing is generally for single serve efforts. I'm not sure if I could even get it to fully saturate with that much grounds...
another thought, how fine is your grind? maybe too fine a grind would allow coffee to create small water tight colonies that revolt against the flood, or they have quickly educated a group of engineers within their ranks to build a "sea wall", keeping out the water.
Yeah, I've been creeping higher and higher on the dose. Started at 35g, but it seemed a bit light, so rationalized a jump to 40g based on 20oz out with retention in the grind...then said what the heck, I just prefer a heavy brew...and somehow find myself around 44gms most days. You are absolutely right, I should probably try to tone down the dosing, maybe play with the grind.
Grind size: hard to describe. I bulk grind with a Rocky, settings usually range from 24-25 depending on bean/roast etc. I guess a better way to describe it is that from start of pour (including the initial pour and 30s for the bloom) to finish is usually about 7mins for the full 20oz. Too long? What is a typical total start to finish time for this amount of liquid?
Many thanks again, this is such a blast for me, my wife thinks I'm mad (that said, it is the only hobby I've had that she really approves of!) Cheers, Aaron
for my water to coffee ration I try to stay around 0.057 so for 40g of coffee that would be about 24oz water... if your not getting a dark enough brew for your taste, grinding finer would help, I've heard that there are some places that double up on grounds to make a really "bold" cup. I like bright, citrusy, complex cups, so over dosing does not lend anything to that for me. Rocky will do just fine to get you whatever grind size you want, the number settings dont mean much from one machine to another, but I usually grind medium fine for my pourover, as if that translates...
if you like the result youre getting, keep doing what youre doing... there are no wrong ways to do this.(to an extent)
Yes, without a doubt my high grind/water ratio is the major culprit (doh!) I reduced the dosage to 38gms (just couldn't drop as low as a 1/16 or 1/17 ratio), pre-infused enough to have it drip a bit during the bloom, poured away, and found no dry plug in the grinds when all done. Interestingly, my pour time dropped dramatically, by about 35%. However, after trying the resulting coffee, my wife broke out the tea kettle and made some green tea (double doh!)....Guess I'll stick with the old recipe and try shaking or stirring! Many thanks for all of the help and input.
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