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HorsemanSix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Location: California
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 10:23am
Subject: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

Hello Everyone,

I'm fairly new to working with new techniques of brewing coffee and I've run into an issue. I recently ordered "The Heavy" whole beans from barefoot. I brewed a cup of coffee the day after receiving the beans and the flavor was fantastic. However, over the next couple days I haven't been able to recreate that same taste and the coffee tastes slightly sour. I'm note quite sure what I'm doing wrong. Below you will find my setup,

Bodum Bistro French Press
Bodum Burr Grinder (Not the best grinder out there but it seemed to get fairly decent reviews. I'll be upgrading to a Virtuoso soon)
Electric Kettle with temperature

My method for 24 ounces of coffee,

Boil water (212 degrees and let settle)
6 Heaping tablespoons of coffee after grinding
Put the coffee in the french press right after grinding and pour in the water, slowly (water settles to a temperature between 204 and 208)
Let the coffee sit for about two minutes and then use a wooden chopstick to stir the grounds
Wait for another two minutes and then plunge the coffee slowly
Pour into a cup that has been warmed with boiled water

Note:

I did read a few impressions that the Bodum Bistro grinder is great but that it's grind is maybe too fine at the French Press setting. Could this be why I'm having the issue?
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sgnoobie
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Jun 2011
Posts: 59
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I live coffee

Grinder: HMMS
Drip: v60 02
Roaster: Blue Bottle, Ritual,...
Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 11:26am
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

Heya, can you let us know the roasting date of the coffee on the barefoot package? Also, how many days after the first cup did you notice it tasting sour?

Sure it's sour and not "bitter"?
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barkingburro
Senior Member
barkingburro
Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 183
Location: Irvine, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Vac Pot: Trifecta MB, CafeSolo,...
Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 12:05pm
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

If you are brewing consistently, there can be little doubt that the beans simply became a bit too stale after opening the bag and time passing.  But that doesn't solve your problem, other than to recommend better air-tight storage if you're not already using a suitable container.

The finer the grind, the more fully extracted the results.  Acidity or sourness tends to be released earliest during brewing, followed by additional oils and other flavors, including flavors of chocolate, carmelization, and nuttiness, and finally, increasing ashy flavors deriving from the charred solids being dissolved, all with increasing bitterness the longer the particles are saturated in hot water.  Acidity is also greatly drawn-out somewhere near the lower end of the recommended brewing temperature range... or a bit lower.

Grinding finer will increase the non-acidity flavors, so you're probably not grinding too fine.

With the slow water input to the vessel and the 2 minute delayed stir, you might just be hitting the acid releasing temperature sweet spot right when you stir.  But if you've measured the temperature at that point and everything is still within the optimal range, one can doubt this is why your brew is sour.  Still, I recommend adding the water much more rapidly, then stirring once after 30 secs., and then if you feel the need, again after 2 minutes.  If you really didn't stir the pot until 2 minutes in previous brews, it's possible you're getting inconsistent results by not addressing the bloom, which can prevent grounds from getting saturated until that 2 minute stir, when the temperature has already dropped and the first true saturation occurs, releasing acidity, etc., etc.

 
- Michael
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VernS
Senior Member


Joined: 6 May 2012
Posts: 42
Location: Kitchener ON
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (strength) AeroPress
Grinder: Bodum Bistro, GSI camping
Vac Pot: Espro, Bodum, camping...
Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 8:12pm
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

I have the same grinder and french press (except for the handle and lid) as you do and enjoy using them every day.

You do not specify, but I suspect you are leaving beans in the hopper as I initially did as well. Even though the lid has a seal, containers with much better air tight seals are available and worthwhile.

Measuring coffee by "heaping scoops" is quite inaccurate compared to using a scale. Weighing the beans before grinding will certainly help your repeat ability, improve your fine tuning adjustments and slightly extend freshness.

There is a good chance that your initial water strike temperature is to high. I used to set my temperature controlled kettle to 95C but found that I prefer 90C.

I used to do a stir after 2 minutes as well, but found all I really seem to need is an initial stir with light spoon to submerge the floating grounds in the bloom.

You mentioned preheating your mug, but did not mention your press. I preheat the press and use an insulating wrap to help stabilize the brewing temperature. This also makes it more like the more expensive insulated presses.

I have wished that the Bodum would grind coarser already when experimenting, but it does grind noticeably coarser then the pre-ground french press coffee I have compared it to. For most coffee I use around a 5 minute steep. The slightly coarser grind that my ceramic burr manual camping press will give me, works well with a 6 minute steep and brings out flavors on some coffees that I did not know were there.

Many others on this forum have far more experience than I do and will have excellent advice. Have fun experimenting as you narrow in on what tastes best to you.
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HorsemanSix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Location: California
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 9:39pm
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

sgnoobie Said:

Heya, can you let us know the roasting date of the coffee on the barefoot package? Also, how many days after the first cup did you notice it tasting sour?

Sure it's sour and not "bitter"?

Posted April 21, 2013 link

April 15th, just got it a few days ago.

Also, it's not bitter, it almost has a slightly metallic taste.
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HorsemanSix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Location: California
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 9:40pm
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

barkingburro Said:

If you are brewing consistently, there can be little doubt that the beans simply became a bit too stale after opening the bag and time passing.  But that doesn't solve your problem, other than to recommend better air-tight storage if you're not already using a suitable container.

The finer the grind, the more fully extracted the results.  Acidity or sourness tends to be released earliest during brewing, followed by additional oils and other flavors, including flavors of chocolate, carmelization, and nuttiness, and finally, increasing ashy flavors deriving from the charred solids being dissolved, all with increasing bitterness the longer the particles are saturated in hot water.  Acidity is also greatly drawn-out somewhere near the lower end of the recommended brewing temperature range... or a bit lower.

Grinding finer will increase the non-acidity flavors, so you're probably not grinding too fine.

With the slow water input to the vessel and the 2 minute delayed stir, you might just be hitting the acid releasing temperature sweet spot right when you stir.  But if you've measured the temperature at that point and everything is still within the optimal range, one can doubt this is why your brew is sour.  Still, I recommend adding the water much more rapidly, then stirring once after 30 secs., and then if you feel the need, again after 2 minutes.  If you really didn't stir the pot until 2 minutes in previous brews, it's possible you're getting inconsistent results by not addressing the bloom, which can prevent grounds from getting saturated until that 2 minute stir, when the temperature has already dropped and the first true saturation occurs, releasing acidity, etc., etc.

Posted April 21, 2013 link

Maybe it's because I'm leaving the beans in the bag (although I am making sure to roll it very tight). I'll try your tips tomorrow and will let you know.
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HorsemanSix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Location: California
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 9:57pm
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

VernS Said:

I have the same grinder and french press (except for the handle and lid) as you do and enjoy using them every day.

You do not specify, but I suspect you are leaving beans in the hopper as I initially did as well. Even though the lid has a seal, containers with much better air tight seals are available and worthwhile.

Measuring coffee by "heaping scoops" is quite inaccurate compared to using a scale. Weighing the beans before grinding will certainly help your repeat ability, improve your fine tuning adjustments and slightly extend freshness.

There is a good chance that your initial water strike temperature is to high. I used to set my temperature controlled kettle to 95C but found that I prefer 90C.

I used to do a stir after 2 minutes as well, but found all I really seem to need is an initial stir with light spoon to submerge the floating grounds in the bloom.

You mentioned preheating your mug, but did not mention your press. I preheat the press and use an insulating wrap to help stabilize the brewing temperature. This also makes it more like the more expensive insulated presses.

I have wished that the Bodum would grind coarser already when experimenting, but it does grind noticeably coarser then the pre-ground french press coffee I have compared it to. For most coffee I use around a 5 minute steep. The slightly coarser grind that my ceramic burr manual camping press will give me, works well with a 6 minute steep and brings out flavors on some coffees that I did not know were there.

Many others on this forum have far more experience than I do and will have excellent advice. Have fun experimenting as you narrow in on what tastes best to you.

Posted April 21, 2013 link

I'll measure with a scale from now on and I'll double check the temperature and preheat the mug.

I also just purchased the airscape 32 oz container and an aeropress. I'll try those out too.
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HorsemanSix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Location: California
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 5:56am
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

So I tried a couple different things today. I used a scale (which I believe to be accurate) and measured out 8.5 grams per every 4 OZ. I also measured out my water first, I was boiling a giant pot of water and then putting it into a warmed measuring cup first, so now I did this in reverse. I also warmed the french press and I quickened up the motion of going from grind to pour water, I then stirred after 30 seconds and once again after two minutes. I think the 8.5 per OZ was a bit more than usual and I should have let it sit longer than I did. However, there was less sourness, but the flavor wasn't as good. I'm going to attribute that to the fact the beans are now about a week old and aren't in a proper container.
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HorsemanSix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Location: California
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Apr 22, 2013, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

I'm going to try less coffee this time around, 7 Grams instead of 8.5 per OZ.

I also have a new set of unopened beans that were roasted on April 16th. I'll see if those taste better.
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greenbeanmachine
Senior Member


Joined: 8 May 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Oregon
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Posted Wed May 8, 2013, 9:49pm
Subject: Re: Slightly Sour Coffee
 

Sounds like you got some beans in there that might have an inky taste to them.  Could just have been some sours as well.  Not all the beans could have been ripe when picked which causes sours.
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