Cleverly winging it (i.e. don't be afraid to go coarse)

October 25, 2011


The other day I decided to brew a cup of Counter Culture’s Finca Mauritania using my Clever dripper. I did all of my usual prep., including rinsing the paper filter, but when it came time to grind my beans I inadvertently ground for the Eva Solo instead (macro setting 36 out of 40 on the Preciso). Oops! Rather than change plans I decided to go with it in the Clever and just steep longer. And I’m glad I did!



I wasn’t quite on my coffee game that morning, so other little imprecisions crept into the mix, too, but I can report that I used roughly 24 g. of coffee with about 14 oz. of water. I don’t like stirring, so I just did a 30-sec. bloom with enough water to cover the ground coffee and then added the rest, covering with a small plate. Total infusion time was 4 min., followed by a drawdown stopped at 1 min.



And the result? Great! Certainly much better than expected. Body didn’t suffer much relative to what my press-style Eva Solo usually gives me. The chocolate in the aroma was amped up, and the acidity was more muted. Somehow I managed to change the coffee’s flavor profile from fully washed to something closer to pulped natural. Eureka!



Since that day, I’ve tried using a coarse grind in the Clever twice more, both times with good results. The actual pulped natural lot of Finca Mauritania I had a sample of turned out a little flat but still very tasty when brewed this way, and EricBNC’s own roast of Klatch’s Panama Carmen Estate 1750 stood up well also (mild acidity, sweet, baking chocolate, a little “graininess,” for lack of a better term, good finish).



I’m sufficiently convinced to recommend this approach to other Clever users and would love to get feedback. The funny thing is that one of the Clever’s big plusses is the freedom it gives us to tweak all of the most important brew parameters, and yet I hadn’t taken advantage of this freedom with respect to grind until now. My next step will be to choose a coffee,  brew it both this way using the Clever and with a more typical drip grind steeped for, say, 3 min., and then compare the results. Should be fun.



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