personal random nonsense

Coffee Talk

Last night I found my lil mini French press, which brews but one cup at a time! and this morning I used it to make coffee. My normal, to-go method is pour over. My reasoning is thus: out of all the methods one can use to make coffee1That don’t include a machine., pour over is the easiest. All you do is grind the beans, heat the water, put the grounds in the cup with the paper strainer, pour the hot water over the grounds, the end. You got coffee.

But recently I’ve been watching James Hoffman‘s coffee videos on YouTube, specifically one that I can’t find right now2Side note: James’s videos are great. He is a very pleasant sounding man and he is rigorous with his research and experiments. Highly recommend if you’re into coffee.. The gist was that the finer the coffee is ground, the better it tastes in immersion brewing (i.e., French press) vs filtration brewing (i.e., pour over). The problem with filtration brewing is that when the coffee grounds are too finely grounded, water makes a channel in the grounds which prevents it from thoroughly steeping in all the grounds. I’m saying grounds a lot. Water is super lazy and once a channel opens up for it to travel through, it just does it. Immersion brewing, on the other hand, means that all the grounds are immersed in the water and thus you get a more even brew.

At this point you’re probably thinking, “Josh, buddy, you said that pour overs were super easy, but this immersion brewing sounds even easier!” Well the problem with immersion brewing is time. You have to time the immersion. Too short and the brew is weak. Too long and the brew starts to taste like an ashtray. The latter is not as big a deal if you add things to your coffee, like cream and sugar, but if you’re a black coffee drinker like myself, it makes a huge difference.

Pour over, on the other hand, you just pour and let it strain. There are variables to consider, yes, but none of them are time related. It’s more temperature based, for me at least.

Since I hadn’t had a French press coffee in a long time, I made one this morning. Since my lil guy only makes about 8oz of coffee when done, I ran it twice, using the same grounds both times. I also paid absolutely no attention to any of the rules because, in my mind at the time, it was easy: grind, pour into French press, add hot water, stir for about 30 seconds, let steep for four and a half minutes. But I think I screwed a couple of key factors up.

First, brew time should’ve been a minute less, I think. Also, according to Stumptown’s French press brew guide3I think this would make a decent band name, by the way., you should heat the glass with hot water first to have a more stable extraction temperature. I didn’t do that and I think the brew suffered a bit from it. Nothing that, again, would come through if you added milk and/or sugar, but straight black, it was definitely more on the ashy side.

Somehow, I also had a lot of fine grounds in the bottom of my cup, something that never happens with filters because, well … they’re filters. So that was annoying. That might have also been caused by me brewing twice with the same grounds; something something the grounds disintegrated further into finer bits. Drinking the filtery little fine grounds is kind of gross, so I just had to toss the bottom bit of my coffee. Oh well.

Speaking of lil, I went for a lil run today. Not even with the C25k app, just a 5 minute run followed by a couple of short jogs. Just to test out my legs, you know. Results: still kind of tense. I’m not sure entirely what’s going on. They’ll feel fine before the run, they felt fine for about half of the 5 minute run, and then my shins started to feel tense again. I’m sure it’s something like shin splints caused by that damnable Mt. Tabor run. The fact that it goes away and mostly stays away when I’m not running is a good sign, and I’ll just keep that going by not doing any significant runs until my next 5k in two weeks. Just long walks to keep the circulation going!

That was my running update on running.

  • 1
    That don’t include a machine.
  • 2
    Side note: James’s videos are great. He is a very pleasant sounding man and he is rigorous with his research and experiments. Highly recommend if you’re into coffee.
  • 3
    I think this would make a decent band name, by the way.