My Kenya AA Cups Have no Crisp Acidic Taste

(Sinan Sahin) #1


I tried to make my title a bit interesting and hope it works. I’ve got some lightly roasted Kenya AA beans from here.I have a Sette 270 with coarse burrs and a V60. I am trying to get a delicious cup of coffee. I like the fruity and acidic notes. Here are some experiments I made:

1- I tried Matt Perger’s method using a fine grind (10 macro). It took about 2:20. However, I didn’t get the taste I wanted.

2- I tried Tetsu Kasuya’s 4:6 method using very coarse grinds. However, I didn’t get the taste I wanted. Again.

3- I tried a very under-extracted brew (a few grams - a few grams water - 10 seconds). This might be a stupid one, but I still didn’t get a sour or acidic taste.

The temperature is always just off the boil. Also, I don’t use a water recipe or anything. My water comes from a water dispenser in a store.

What do you think might be my problem?

(Mark Burness) #2

We don’t really have enough to go on. 10 macro won’t really mean anything to anyone who doesn’t have their Sette calibrated with yours.

Don’t keep flitting from method to method & different brew weights, pick one & stick to it, just change grind setting.

A few grams of water every 10sec, if followed through to a 60g/L brew ratio, sounds more likely to over-extract than under extract.

Being a Kenyan, this coffee is likely to give up its solubles pretty easily. You say the Perger (St Ali?) method took 2:20, it could be that you don’t need quite so much brew time. Brews could be say +/-15sec and still extract similarly, so try again, going progressively coarser until you get a noticeable shift in flavour & note the time this took. Once you think you are getting there by flavour, try a few identical brews, don’t keep changing the grind to keep brew times the same, change the grind to change the flavour balance. I’m not saying don’t worry about time, or don’t record it - do - but we need to see what is realistic variation at a constant recipe & grind setting.

You might not need a bespoke water recipe, but you might want to be aware of the stores water bicarbonate content. High bicarbonate (or HCO3) can flatten off acidity, see if you can find some water that is 40-75mg/L bicarbonate/HCO3.

(Jack) #3

When were your beans roasted? I noticed on the roasters website you can pick and choose how you’d like the beans roasted (which is really odd to me)?

I’ve experienced something similar when beans haven’t been left to rest for long enough OR have been opened and left to oxidize for too long.

(Sinan Sahin) #4

Should be around January 29.

(nicolas) #5

are ya burrs sharp? if they’ve gotten dull that could be a cause?

(Sinan Sahin) #6

I suppose they are pretty sharp.

(Chuck Nigash) #8

It sounds like you have a freshness problem. And I am late to this post. Religiously buy roast with a roast date. Use it all within 2 weeks of roast date. Squeeze all the air from the bag when you put it away. Little things go a long way to getting the cup you paid for.

(Sinan Sahin) #9

Hmm. I don’t think it is stale though because it still blooms like crazy

(Chuck Nigash) #10

If you are in that 14- or 21-day window, great. If you have stored properly, another checkmark. If it were me, and I had brewed it within a baseline of grind to brewer (AeroPress, French Press, etc), then it would lead me to think the beans themselves just weren’t “there.”

Myself, if my first brew isn’t nice, I’ll turn it around. If I went fine with an AP brew, I might go coarse with a clever dripper. I find that some coffees taste better at different spectrums of grind.

(Tio Nico) #11

The Setté are new enough to market unless he’s run a few hundred pounds through that machine, they are plenty sharp. I’d say VERY unlikely that is the issue. Others are much closer to the mark.

(Tio Nico) #12

Te advice to change ONE variable at a time to understand the individual variables is spot on. Go outside, pick up one rock, throw it somewhere it will land somewhere. Do it again, throw it in a differnt direction, you never will hit anything significant. BUT if you stand in one place with a handful of rocks and begin throwing them at something specific, you will eventually tune your throwing arm to hit that point every time.

Maybe go find some brew recipes from competitioins. I’ve seen these. Take one of them, learn to duplicate what was done. Its a pretty good bet the roaster (as in machine operator not the machine itself) is the issue… how the heat applicatioin is modulated through the various parts of the roast curve makes all the difference. Too much heat right out of First Crack can break down the citric and malic acids, the ones taht lead to the “bright” sensation in the final cup. Citric breaks down first, malic starts at the same point but breaks down more slowly than citric. Thus carrying the heat for too long after Crack can easily break down both… and the coffee is flat. My personal preference is to break down a lot of the citric (I DO NOT like “lemony sour” in my cup) but leave much of the malic. That results in a bright but not sour cup. I did not look to see who your source is, but I’ll bet the issue is right there.