Batch Brew - how can we make it better?

Another thing that I neglected to add apropos of prewet is that it is best to have the shallowest bed depth possible to aid with saturation; the biggest problem spot is the bottom of the basket above the hole.

the issue is the size, I could fill the full 6L carafe with water and 1.) steam wand doesn’t go in enough and 2.) the health and safety concern is too much

Here’s my check list every time I go to one of our stores I go through this whole list. I’ll throw in some of my personal notes as well to help you guys out.

I. Equipment Check
A. Level
Is the batch brewer level? Main points to check are the spray head and bottom of the filter basket. I use a bubble level app on my phone since it’s easier then carrying a bubble levle with me
B. Temperature
Is the brewer spraying out hot enough coffee and is the saturated bed staying hot enough? We have a special filter basket that has a probe that we use to check the temperature in the basket during the brew. Ideally you want your water at 200-202 and the bed 195-200. If your bed isn’t staying hot enough, you might have to wrap your basket in some insulating tape such as the type used on car exhaust.
C. Water Quality
Does the water fall within our recommended PPM for our coffee. Double check mineral content by isolating magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate with a titration kit.
D. Grinder Burrs
Are the burrs in good condition? Visual inspection and double check using a sieve stack.
E. Bed Depth
Ideally we want something between 2.5 and 5 cm in bed depth. Easiest way I found to do this is to use a post-in note. Embed the sticky note into the dry bed after grinding with the stick side perpendicular to the ground. The grinds will stick to the sticky part of the note. Length of grinds on the sticky side of the note = depth of bed.

II. Brewing
A. Batch size
Are the batches small enough that the coffee is staying less than an hour old?
Can we make batch sizes small enough that we can maintain freshness without having a bed depth that is too shallow? If we can’t, advise on smaller brewer or alternative basket. Batch size should satisfy both coffee <1hr old and bed depth >2.5cm
B. Extraction % and Strength
What’s our brew ratio? Aim for 1:15-1:18 for lighter roasted coffees, 1:17-1:19 for darker roasted coffees. Shoot for 19-21% EXT and 1.15-1.4 TDS (depending on flavor)
C. Prewet
If possible, program a pre-wet cycle on the brew equal to 2ml per gram of coffee (11-13% of the brew volume). This useful for moistening all areas of the bed & drives off some CO2 which tames the bloom. Pre-wet should have a 30-60second delay, bigger batches/deeper beds need a longer delay (45-60 seconds) to allow water to filter through the whole bed of coffee
D. Brew Time
Aim for a brew time between 5 and 6.5 minutes. Brew time is total programmed time + time until brew starts dripping from the basket. Larger batches should have shorter programmed brew times (4min) to as water takes longer to filter through. The longer it takes to filter through the bed, the longer the coffee will come out from basket after brewing is done.

Although I’m not a believer in puckology, I think examining the bed of grinds can be quite useful. A perfectly flat bed indicates even extraction during the draw down. Excess grounds stuck to the sides of the filter is not good. Grinds stuck to the side will be underextracted in relation to the grinds in the bed. If grinds are stuck to the side, extend brew time. If you are already at the limit of 6.5min for brew time, coarsen your grind then re-adjust dose and yield to maintain TDS and EXT% target


What’s the health concern?

There literally won’t be a more sterilised or food safe area in your cafe than that carafe at that moment.

@MattPerger Spilling a 6L Carafe of scalding hot water is my main worry, I tried to put the steam wand in an empty one today and I have to hold the carafe at a very slanted angle, I don’t feel safe trying it out with a steam wand on full power and a Carafe filled to its holding capacity.

Does anyone have thoughts/opinions on plastic vs. metal brewing baskets? Specifically for the Fetco XTS Series, but I’m sure the same theories would apply across most brands.

I prefer steel even though I reckon plastic is probably better with respect to temperature equilibrium. I think steel is more durable & definitely prettier.

Can you take that base off of the top portion. I couldn’t see why that wouldn’t be possible. It could make it a hell of a lot easier to do Matt’s method.

Hey everyone! (First time posting a comment)

I would like to know your opinion on Curtis vs. Fetco. I’m deciding between this two for my store. I’ve work we both of them and they seem very similar to each other? What do you guys think?

Thank you!

1 Like

This may be a naïve question, but what are people’s opinions on Bunn? What are some key differences in the difference batch brewer brands?

1 Like

I’m interested in people’s take on Marco too! What’s the general consensus?

Hey guys! I’ve gotten some great brews out of my fetco. But I never have success with a half batch. Reading this article sheds a lot of light on WHY, but my question is, has anyone had any luck finding or making a smaller brew basket for the Fetco 2032. We’re a lower-volume shop, and it pains me to dump out full batches of coffee every hour. Does anyone have a link, or site with smaller baskets for a bigger brewer? Just dreaming of a solution over here…

How low a volume? maybe manual brew options would be a better solution when it comes to wastage? i’d check omega coffee for supplies if you’re in the UK, they seem to stock absolutely everything!

Although I’m brewing on a 2131, we also have a relatively lower volume shop all things considered. I’ve had great success running (roughly) 2L batches into the 1.9L carafes. We usually don’t have a pot sitting for more than one 1/2 hour and we have little waste on the occasional pots we do dump. Attached below is the link to those.

What are your parameters for Full batch vs Half batch?

What are peoples thoughts of how long you can leave a batch in a carafe? Does taste change over time? Taking over a cafe soon that doesn’t have space for hand brewing so thinking of putting a batch brewer in the kitchen.

Plus one for feedback on Marco batch brewers. In particular the Bru f60m and how it compares to Fetco CBS 2131 XTS.

I’ve noticed that it depends on how much temperature stability your carafe offers, and also how much coffee you have left in it. For example, I’ve noticed that the more coffee you have sitting in your carafe the longer it will likely keep. Stay on top of it though, in my shop we try to taste the batch every 15 min or so during a slow period. Don’t be afraid to dump pots that aren’t still up to par!

1 Like

Question for D. Brew Time.
Do you mean to say Brew time is total programmed time + time until brew stops dripping from the basket?

Hi @yungpacemaker,

Head over to Scott Rao’s blog for some great insight on this exact topic.