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Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
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Pfunk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2002
Posts: 34
Location: So Cal
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013, 5:47pm
Subject: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

I finally broke down and got a VST refractometer.   I thought I would post my findings in dailing in my V60 brewing.

First brew went as follows.  I had a feeling I've been underextracting so I ground finer with this brew.

Coffee:  Kean Coffee Nicaragua La Sorpresa
Grind on Bunn G1:  Between autodrip and fine, just to the right of the line inbetween
20g coffee, 330.2g (aiming for 1:16.5 ratio)
Brew water at 202 degrees

45 second bloom, poured until 2:26, stopped brewing at 3:10

Coffee volume = 289.9g
Brew water TDS = 0.01
Coffee TDS = 1.44-0.01 = 1.43
Extraction Percentage = 20.7%

I was still recovering from being sick when I tasted this brew and couldn't really smell or taste much but it did taste a little bitter to me and on the strong side.
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Pfunk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2002
Posts: 34
Location: So Cal
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jan 28, 2013, 5:53pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

Second brewing:

Coffee:  Klatch Guatemala Antigua Covadonga
Grind on Bunn G1:  Right on autodrip setting
20g coffee, 328.4g brew water (1:16.5 ratio)
Brew water at 202 degrees

45 second bloom, poured until 2:06, brewed until 2:48

Coffee volume = 279.5g
Brew water TDS = 0.01
Coffee TDS = 1.43-0.01 = 1.42
Extraction percentage = 19.8%

This cup tasted pretty good to me, a little strong still.  I want to shoot more towards 1.35 TDS and 19% extraction.
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jrjunior
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Oct 2011
Posts: 33
Location: Pasadena, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Drip: Chemex, V60
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 1:15pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

Very cool. I wish I knew what all those #s meant. Are there ideal target points for optimal extraction? Or is it somewhat subjective in that some people prefer a stronger cup etc.

I use 24g : 360g on my v60 so a 1:15 ratio. Intelligentsia, Handsome, Barismo and other roasters recommend closer to a 1:15 or stronger ratio for v60. Have you experimented at all with 1:15?

My bloom is usually 30-35 sec unless the beans are 1-3 days from roast then maybe I would go to 40+ sec. But my bloom will start to collapse and get dry past 35 sec mostly.

My pouring and final brew times are very close to yours. I usually pull the filter out at anywhere from 2:55 - 3:05...

It's interesting to see all the different techniques and ratios people use for V60. This is the greatest thing about pourover, all the different variables to tinker with. Fun to experiment in search of the perfect cup...
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Pfunk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2002
Posts: 34
Location: So Cal
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 5:05pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

jrjunior Said:

Very cool. I wish I knew what all those #s meant. Are there ideal target points for optimal extraction? Or is it somewhat subjective in that some people prefer a stronger cup etc.

Posted January 29, 2013 link

The TDS number is a reading of the percentage of total dissolved solids in the cofee, the higher the number the stronger the coffee is.  Yes, you're right different people have different preferences for strength.  

The extraction percentage is how much of the ground coffee's weight you're extracting into your brewed coffee.  The general consensus here is 19-20% is ideal.  If you extract less it results in a sour tasting underdeveloped cup, if you extract more it results in bitterness.
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Pfunk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2002
Posts: 34
Location: So Cal
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 6:28pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

jrjunior Said:

I use 24g : 360g on my v60 so a 1:15 ratio. Intelligentsia, Handsome, Barismo and other roasters recommend closer to a 1:15 or stronger ratio for v60. Have you experimented at all with 1:15?

Posted January 29, 2013 link

Intelligentsia recommends 1:16.  Others like blue bottle coffee recommend a really high ratio like 30 grams of coffee per 10 oz of water which is probably higher than 1:15.  The SCAA ratio is more like 1:18.  I think about 1:16.5 is best for me.
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Pfunk
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2002
Posts: 34
Location: So Cal
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 29, 2013, 6:33pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

Today I tried two more brews.

1 -  Went slightly to the left of the autodrip dot on the Bunn G1 for grind and used a 1:17 coffee to water ratio.

Poured until 2:00, brewing stopped at 2:49.

I got 1.28 TDS and 19.1% extraction.  Flavor was right on but was a little weak for me on strength.

2 - Went one step coarser on grind, between drip and autodrip but still closer to autodrip.  Used a 1:16.5 ratio.

Poured until 1:58, brewing stopped at 2:40.

This resulted in 1.33 TDS and 19.3% extraction.  Really happy with the resulting cup, nice balanced flavor and strength was right about where I like it.
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jrjunior
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Oct 2011
Posts: 33
Location: Pasadena, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Drip: Chemex, V60
Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 1:38pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

Pfunk Said:

Intelligentsia recommends 1:16.  Others like blue bottle coffee recommend a really high ratio like 30 grams of coffee per 10 oz of water which is probably higher than 1:15.  The SCAA ratio is more like 1:18.  I think about 1:16.5 is best for me.

Posted January 29, 2013 link

On the Intelligentsia iPhone app the v60 instructions say to use 28g of coffee and 415g water. This comes to roughly 1:14.8 ratio if I'm undersanding it correctly. In any case every roaster seems to have a different brew recipe, it really comes down to experimentation and finding the strength that WE prefer.

I have noticed though that alot of roasters are closer to 1:15 then the SCAA recommended 1:18. Is this because at 1:18 more of the nuances in the bean can be tasted, for cupping purposes? I'm currently drinking a four barrel guatamalen and I must admit I'm getting very little sweetness at all. Not sure if it's the bean or perhaps the 1:15 ratio is too strong, overwhelming some of the characteristics. I don't remember this issue in the past with other beans (and all the same variables) so I'm leaning toward thinking it's the beans.

Thx for the clarifications on all of your stats. Is it an involved procedure using the refractometer? What are the steps exactly?
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squaremile
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Posts: 86
Location: Portlandia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:12pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in V60 brews with refractometer
 

You can get good coffees from all of these ratios if the rest of the variables are also altered (water temp, grind, agitation, contact time, etc). For the past year I brewed only on the v60, and ended up using a 17-17.5: 1 ratio to hit the sweet spot most consistently. The coolest thing about the v60 (and all of these cones really) is how many routes you can take to get excellent coffee, which is why I assume there are so many variations in the formulas.
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