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Hario clothdrip tastes bitter and Hario manual grinder difficult to fine tune
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virtualbartek
Senior Member
virtualbartek
Joined: 10 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Jakarta
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Hario manual MSS-1B
Drip: Hario cloth drip
Posted Tue Jun 10, 2014, 10:10am
Subject: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter and Hario manual grinder difficult to fine tune
 

Hello Night Owls and other coffee lovers!

I need some suggestions for making a better cuppa java...literally.

I live in Indonesia and have fallen in love with the coffee out here.  I am a tea lover but the tea here not good at all.  I started drinking local coffee in a press pot and really started to enjoy choosing different varieties from all over the archipelago.  The only scientific part about my brewing was that I figured out through trial and error what tastes great and could generally repeat it--but not always.  

My favourite coffee out here is packaged by JJ Royal Coffee Roasters, and my two favourite varieties are Aceh Gayo in Sumatra (which uses some sort of wet process prior to drying) and Tana Toraja in Sulawesi.  Ijen Plateau on Java is pretty good too.  But I digress..  

I wanted to find a more stable method of getting great cups and after some research of great methods and availability of products out here, I bought some gear.  I bought a Hario clothdrip woodneck 3 cup, a Hario manual grinder (the smaller one with plastic vessel (conical burr), and a Hario scale.  I still need to purchase a thermometer but there aren't any available out here so I'm waiting a week for when I visit Singapore.  

My cups are consistently bitter except when I get annoyed and use my Delicia push pot that is roughly the same size as the Hario Woodneck.  I'm using 20 grams of coffee to 300 grams of water.  I'm guessing the water temperature but I let it boil and then sit a minute covered before using the water.  I always preheat the woodneck including the filter and my cup.  I find the grinder annoying as there are no 'settings'.  Instead there is the screw that pushes on the spring loaded burr.  I tighten all the way being careful to not damage the burrs, then click in the opposite direction counting clicks.  I find this imprecise and not always repeatable.  I've tried settings between 5 and 9 clicks.  Basically, I adjust so that my brew has stopped dripping at the 3 minute mark.  I give about 50 grams of water as I start the timer to let it bloom, and poor the remaining 250 grams over the next 1.5 minutes stopping at 2 minutes.  Everything seems perfect lately except...yeah...still bitter and not very full bodied.

Does anyone have any suggestions for any part of my brewing process?

Thanks everyone!
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Eastsideloco
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Eastsideloco
Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 45
Location: Austin
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: '74 Cremina, '91 Livietta...
Grinder: Vario-W, mid-century...
Vac Pot: Cona C, Kono PR 3, Hellem...
Drip: Kalita Wave, V60, Chemex,...
Posted Tue Jun 10, 2014, 12:41pm
Subject: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter and Hario manual grinder difficult to fine tune
 

The 15:1 water to coffee ratio could account for the overly bitter brew. Try using 17.5 grams of coffee, which will put you closer to a 17:1 ratio. That's a better place to start from for typical manual drip methods.

Also, if you want to get more Nel drip nerdy, Blue Bottle has a very atypical recipe that I've always wanted to try:

http://www.bluebottlecoffee.com/preparation-guides/nel-drip
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johnnyb3
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Mar 2010
Posts: 187
Location: Anaheim, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Maestro Plus refurb
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Chemex
Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 6:54pm
Subject: Re: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter...
 

Good advice and certainly worth trying.

Just so I'm clear, though -- to get a 3-minute brew time, you bloom for a minute and a half and then pour through for another minute and a half? If you can get all the water through in that time, it seems to me as though the grind is too coarse. What puzzles me in that case is that this should result in coffee that's sour rather than bitter.

So -- maybe try a 30-second bloom, and then pour slowly to achieve the desired brew time.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,181
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 7:11pm
Subject: Re: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter...
 

In addition to the above suggestions, you might want to try letting your water cool longer.  I know you said you bring to boil and let it rest for a minute.  I'm guessing you didn't really mean exactly 60 seconds, but timing it might be helpful.  One cause of bitter coffee is water being too hot, so letting it cool longer (until you get your thermometer) will probably help you.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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virtualbartek
Senior Member
virtualbartek
Joined: 10 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Jakarta
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Hario manual MSS-1B
Drip: Hario cloth drip
Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter...
 

Thanks for the replies. First of all, you are correct Johnnyb3-I meant to say sour.  But- my bloom is thirty seconds and then slowly pour until 300g of water at 2 minutes and adjust the grind so it finished dripping by 3 minutes.  Yesterday I tried using 15g of beans in the morning and then 25 in the evening. Both brews were sour.

:-)
VB
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virtualbartek
Senior Member
virtualbartek
Joined: 10 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Jakarta
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Hario manual MSS-1B
Drip: Hario cloth drip
Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 7:13pm
Subject: Re: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter...
 

I'm starting to think it's the coffee.
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johnnyb3
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Mar 2010
Posts: 187
Location: Anaheim, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Maestro Plus refurb
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Chemex
Posted Fri Jun 13, 2014, 6:10pm
Subject: Re: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter...
 

If it's sour rather than bitter, I think most folks here will agree that the problem is a completely different one. I would recommend a finer grind and hotter water.
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virtualbartek
Senior Member
virtualbartek
Joined: 10 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Jakarta
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Hario manual MSS-1B
Drip: Hario cloth drip
Posted Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:02pm
Subject: Re: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter...
 

johnnyb3 Said:

If it's sour rather than bitter, I think most folks here will agree that the problem is a completely different one. I would recommend a finer grind and hotter water.

Posted June 13, 2014 link

Well that seems to have helped a lot although it ended up being too fine.  I find the Hario hand grinder difficult to figure out.  9 clicks seems very course and 5 clicks seems very fine.  I timed the water after a roaring boil to just 45 seconds as well.  It still had a hint of sour but then that must be the coffee.  I'll report next week after I have a thermometer.  Thanks for helping out an amateur.  

Regards
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virtualbartek
Senior Member
virtualbartek
Joined: 10 Jun 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Jakarta
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Hario manual MSS-1B
Drip: Hario cloth drip
Posted Sun Jun 29, 2014, 2:23am
Subject: Re: Hario clothdrip tastes bitter...
 

Just to update as promised..although a bit late.  With all the elements in place, testable and repeatable, I'm able to produce darn good coffee finally.  I don't know much about roasts but I think that was a big factor.  We don't have much choice out here with that and different brands don't mention roast on their bags.  So my JJ Royal is rather dark but the other coffee, El's Coffe, is super light in comparison.  I also tried Maharaja coffee which was also very light in comparison.  Both are much more 'sour' and require a finer grind and more coffee (25g instead of 20) to achieve a similar brew.  The sourness then becomes one part of the flora of tastes but is balanced, as opposed to the overwhelming sourness before.  I reckon that my water wasn't hot enough before either.  Thanks Johnnyb3 for the suggestion.  El's coffee, although sold from bulk airtight jars that obviously still have air in them...are replaced biweekly from the store with freshly roasted beans.  The bloom is amazing on this coffee.  The supermarket 'Food Hall' here in Indonesia that sells it has about 20 Indonesian varieties to choose from.  Pretty cool.
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