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Confessions of a Brikka Lover
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 723
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Thu May 8, 2014, 8:59am
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

eddyq Said:

It may be the roaster that simply has a characteristic flavor that I don't care for.

Posted May 8, 2014 link

Bright and citrusy is precisely the flavour profile favoured in the Third Wave. Chances are that you might not like most coffee roasted by Third Wavers. There’s a few exceptions, but it’s typically one bean or blend that is roasted to a more chocolate/nut profile. For instance, 49th Parallel does an “Old School” espresso blend which is more like that. Or some versions of Intelli’s “Black Cat” were more like that. If you’re used to have milk-based coffee drinks, it makes a lot of sense that you’d prefer this kind of roast profile. Overly bright coffee in milk can be offputting to a number of people, which is something several Third Wave baristas prefer to ignore.

Bear in mind that light vs. dark is only part of it. It’s hard to have much brightness in an extremely dark coffee and it’s hard to avoid it in an extremely light one, but there are other factors including the roast profile itself (say, if the inside of the bean is underroasted) and the brewing method (finding the ideal temperature can be challenging, with a brighter coffee).

Also, while blends are often dismissed by Third Wave café people, there’s something to be said about a well-balanced blend. Even one with a tiny proportion of robusta. Those of us who actually enjoy bitterness might find some rich blends very satisfying.

Part of the philosophy behind the Third Wave movement is about expressing, in the cup, the work of the farmer. So “single origin” makes a lot of sense, especially when it’s from a specific lot (often a microlot). Part of the reason they prefer lighter roasts is that many of the most distinctive flavour and aroma compounds disappear very quickly once you reach a darker roast. It all makes sense. If your intention is to convey somebody else’s craft, you don’t want to take anything away. Barista championships are fascinating in this sense, with wouldbe “Baristars” waxing poetic about their beans’ origins and what judges will find in the cup (a significant portion of the points have to do with how closely descriptors match what’s in the actual cup being served). Many of these coffees “tell a story” and, whether or not you could have large quantities of them in one sitting, they’re a fun experience to have, similar to sampling wines with a well trained sommelier.
All good. Especially if you don’t mind a bright coffee.

Now, if your goal is to have a “go-to” coffee drink, possibly with milk and even sugar, if you enjoy nut/chocolate flavours, if you don’t want to go all geeky on every factor involved in preparing coffee, and if you don’t mind bitterness… then a more “traditional” bean or blend can make more sense than the typical Third Wave offering. Some of them go all the way to smoke/charcoal, even if you can still pick out other flavours. If you see oil on the bean, chances are it will get to that. But there are roast levels which give you none of those “burnt” flavours and very little brightness. Some people might even find bright coffees harder on the stomach, even though the measurable acidity isn’t as much as one might expect. In those cases, a Vienna roast, say, may be ideal. Especially with Central American beans. Brewed in a mokapot.

And you know what works really well to experiment with this? Homeroasting. ;-)

 
Alex
http://enkerli.com/
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eddyq
Senior Member
eddyq
Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 4
Location: USA, MA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Brikka
Grinder: Antique Burr
Posted Thu May 8, 2014, 9:38am
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

Enkerli Said:

Bright and citrusy is precisely the flavour profile favoured in the Third Wave. Chances are that you might not like most coffee roasted by Third Wavers.

And you know what works really well to experiment with this? Homeroasting. ;-)

Posted May 8, 2014 link

That really sums it up very well Alex.  And I am pleased to hear than I should keep searching for ligher roasts.
The roasts that seem to please me are currently beans that do have an oily shine.  They have a nice dark chocolate flavor.

I cannot tell you how often I think of home roasting.  My nephew followed Sweat Maria's popcorn popper method and brewed some pretty good coffee.  I gave him my Moka Express back in December and he loves it with his coffee.  His roasts are not oily, yet quite good.  I'd follow that path, but I think I need more "knobs" or "controls" of the process.  I think I need a roaster that I can control the roasting profile to some extent.  At this point, my wife thinks I have spent enough time and money on my coffee.  Can you tell she doesn't drink coffee?  But I will continue to research this and who knows what a year will bring . . . .  Meanwhile, I will persue different coffees in my Brikka!
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 723
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Thu May 8, 2014, 10:13am
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

eddyq Said:

I cannot tell you how often I think of home roasting.

Posted May 8, 2014 link

Roasted in a popper for years, then got an i-Roast 2. Control is cool, and all, but the difference isn’t as huge as you might think, in terms of the quality of the coffee you produce with a dedicated roaster as opposed to a popper. Especially not if you like darker roasts, which are more forgiving.
Much of homeroasting is about gaining experience. It’s a learning experience, in many ways, but really about getting your senses used to several things. Lots of smells, of course. And sights. And even touch or heat.
Possibly the most fun to be had homeroasting is through the “heatgun and dogbowl” method. You actually get a fair amount of control and it could even be fairly precise (if you have a heatgun indicating temperature and if you’re good at keeping the exact distance to the beans). But the experience is more important than precision. Only did it a few times, but would recommend it to someone who likes to have more control than a popper provides.

Something people don’t talk about is about sorting beans. Apparently, in Ethiopia, they sort beans just before roasting (a friend brought back some beans from Harrar and was explaining much of the thing). Sorting beans post-roast might be a bit counterproductive, especially if you throw away a significant quantity, but you can get a very nice cup by only selecting beans which reached the degree of roast you like. Takes a few minutes more and the whole process can take as much as half an hour, including cooling and packaging (measuring individual “portions” and putting them in tiny jars is a neat little trick). At least, when you’re geeky enough as to measure everything and take notes through the process. But it’s well worth it in terms of your coffee appreciation. It’s a bit hard to explain but you do get a deeper appreciation of the work involved growing coffee when you work with these beans for that amount of time.

Then, there’s the whole thing about tuning your nose and tastebuds to the coffee produced through all of this. Degassing is a somewhat controversial issue but it makes sense to think of a specific moment when beans have reached their peak. Especially if you don’t particularly appreciate the grassier side of things. Trying coffee at different stages, with different methods, and through different roast profiles, your senses get to remember a few things more specifically. You might pick out things which wouldn’t be obvious if you just had a single cup of coffee without going through the whole process.

Spousal bliss may be a key issue and there are apparently some people who don’t like some smells produced by coffee roasting. But homeroasting could even be a way to get other people interested in coffee in new ways.

 
Alex
http://enkerli.com/
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 723
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Tue May 20, 2014, 11:56pm
Subject: Brikka Geekery
 

Experimenting with the temperature of the coffee grounds in a Brikka (with or without the widget). Sent by Gábor Laczkó.
Video

 
Alex
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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 712
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 12:27pm
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

I finally got my Brikka (2 cup) after several years of thinking about it.

I was fully prepared for a fussy device and a long session of tweaking parameters, especially after the first of three initial cleaning brews leaked steam and water out the gasket and produced very little coffee. But after that it worked perfectly, with impressive imitation crema. I had to resist drinking the next two cups as they smelled so wonderful and the first post-cleaning cup was a joy. I had gotten away from drinking moka recently and had kind of forgotten how good it can be.
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Enkerli
Senior Member
Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 723
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Tue Jun 3, 2014, 3:24am
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

jpender Said:

I finally got my Brikka (2 cup) after several years of thinking about it.

Posted June 2, 2014 link

Welcome to the club!

jpender Said:

I had to resist drinking the next two cups as they smelled so wonderful and the first post-cleaning cup was a joy.

Posted June 2, 2014 link

Resistance is futile.

So glad that it’s meeting expectations! Shows that you don’t need probes to make tasty coffee.
The leaking you noticed at first is most likely normal. If it happens again, after you’ve been using your Brikka for a while, it might be more of an issue. But it’s something which can happen with any moka pot, in my experience.

 
Alex
http://enkerli.com/
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canuckcoffeeguy
Senior Member
canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 229
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Aeropress, Bialetti Brikka,...
Posted Tue Jun 3, 2014, 5:03am
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

jpender Said:

I finally got my Brikka (2 cup) after several years of thinking about it.

I was fully prepared for a fussy device and a long session of tweaking parameters, especially after the first of three initial cleaning brews leaked steam and water out the gasket and produced very little coffee. But after that it worked perfectly, with impressive imitation crema. I had to resist drinking the next two cups as they smelled so wonderful and the first post-cleaning cup was a joy. I had gotten away from drinking moka recently and had kind of forgotten how good it can be.

Posted June 2, 2014 link

Welcome to the Hotel Brikka! You can check out, but you can never leave!
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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 712
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Tue Jun 3, 2014, 8:30am
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

Enkerli Said:

The leaking you noticed at first is most likely normal. If it happens again, after you’ve been using your Brikka for a while, it might be more of an issue. But it’s something which can happen with any moka pot, in my experience.

Posted June 3, 2014 link

Yeah, I know. This happens every time I change the gasket on my regular moka pot.

The Brikka is interesting. The valve is not air tight and I can hear gas escaping as the pot heats up. Then when a little liquid coffee emerges the valve seals. So the pressure doesn't start to build until the puck is saturated with warm water and the coffee pipe is full. Then of course it all comes blowing out quickly at the end. This is so different from a regular moka pot. It's taking about 2 minutes for the first bit of coffee to emerge and then another minute before it pops. Is that typical? I've been using a grind from my LIDO at half a turn from zero which appears pretty close to the Moka grind that Illy sells.

Yesterday must have been beginner's luck. This morning I was using a different coffee and got two cups that were a little on the bitter side. It was a darker roast so the dose that fit in the basket was smaller by about 1g. I was trying to decide what to do about the bitterness when midway through brew #3, just as some coffee dribbled out and the valve sealed, the doorbell rang. I turned off the heat. When I came back a few minutes later I resumed the brew and what I got tasted great. I'm not really sure what that means.
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jpender
Senior Member
jpender
Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 712
Location: California
Expertise: I like coffee

Grinder: OE LIDO
Vac Pot: S/S Moka Pot
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Thu Jun 5, 2014, 3:03pm
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

So it turned out I'd accidentally readjusted my LIDO grinder in the wrong direction the other day. Since then I've found that an even finer grind (about 1/4 turn past zero) works very well, very espresso-like, if I'm allowed to say that in reference to a moka pot. Excuse me if this is old news to those of you who have been using Brikkas for a long time.

I oven dried samples from two Brikka cups and they measured 6.8% (total solids). That's with 16.8g of coffee producing 55g of beverage. My regular moka pot coffee is usually about one third the strength.

I have to be honest: When I ordered a Brikka I was really expecting to get a fussy overpriced moka pot that produced a little bit of brown foam. I was thinking I'd play with it for a while and then either put it on the shelf or sell it. But the Brikka has far exceeded my expectations. By miles. I'm in love.
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canuckcoffeeguy
Senior Member
canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 229
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Aeropress, Bialetti Brikka,...
Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 11:57am
Subject: Re: Confessions of a Brikka Lover
 

jpender Said:

So it turned out I'd accidentally readjusted my LIDO grinder in the wrong direction the other day. Since then I've found that an even finer grind (about 1/4 turn past zero) works very well, very espresso-like, if I'm allowed to say that in reference to a moka pot. Excuse me if this is old news to those of you who have been using Brikkas for a long time.

I oven dried samples from two Brikka cups and they measured 6.8% (total solids). That's with 16.8g of coffee producing 55g of beverage. My regular moka pot coffee is usually about one third the strength.

I have to be honest: When I ordered a Brikka I was really expecting to get a fussy overpriced moka pot that produced a little bit of brown foam. I was thinking I'd play with it for a while and then either put it on the shelf or sell it. But the Brikka has far exceeded my expectations. By miles. I'm in love.

Posted June 5, 2014 link

Nice to hear that you’re enjoying your Brikka. I haven’t been as scientific with my Brikka preparation, as I have been (and need to be) with my espresso. But I’m interested in hearing what you’re doing with your Brikka variables. I have the 2 cup version. 16.8g seems a bit low for the Brikka basket. I’m putting closer to 20-23g in the basket, if I want to fill it. Also, I use the water line inside the upper chamber to measure the amount, which translates to 150g of water going into the bottom chamber.

I’ve experimented with near boiling water, warm water, and cold water in the bottom chamber before brewing. And I’ve tried various grind sizes, from near espresso to coarse – both with my Vario and Hario Slim.

I’ve also found that if the grind is too fine, it seems to take longer for the pressure to force the water up into the brew chamber, resulting in a longer brew time and a more bitter cup. This can also allow fines to drop into the bottom chamber.

Yesterday, I experimented with less coffee, 18g at espresso grind, in the basket – less than what I normally use – and the result was watery and bitter. After opening the Brikka up, I could see the puck had been severely fractured down the middle. I assume this was the result of the semi-full basket, combined with the too fine espresso grind and medium high heat.

Have you discovered anything else that's interesting, with respect to your Brikka preparation?
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