My batch brew sucks. Why?

This questions seems boring and obvious but I’m sick of googling things and thought maybe someone could offer some insight into my frustration.

I’ve just started at a new place as head barista brewing on a Bunn Smart Wave.
The recipe I was left with by the last barista was 1:10 ratio EK setting 7 for a 1L batch. My last place brewed 1:16 ratio EK 9-10 for 2.5L and I thought, there is no way that that recipe is going to taste good and that it’s going to be way too strong. But I tried it and it was probably a bit weak if anything. So now I’m using 1:10 EK 6 and I’m struggling to get any sort of sweetness without also getting bitterness.

A few options I have thought of:

  1. Get over it and make the average filter
    - My current course of action
  2. I’ve never worked with this roaster before maybe it’s just different coffee
    - I’ve tried it at home and it seems to be ok with my usual kalita recipe
  3. The EK struggles to grind fine enough for espresso, maybe the grinder is the issue?
    - This seems the most likely to me as an uneven grind would explain the flavour I’m getting
  4. Different brewer
    - There are 4 different brew cycle and I’m currently set to the longest one.
  5. Is it something to do with the smaller batch?
    - I dunno…

Is there anything I’m missing? Please help me make tasty batch brew tasty.

Thanks in advance coffee people

Give this handy link a read. It will encompass things you already know, but maybe some things that trigger a solution.

Hi Owen!

Short Version: Try to scale your Kalita recipe to your brewer. Total contact time should be 6-7 minutes for batch though. EK should be set to the coarsest 15%.

I hope the following details are helpful:
Batch Brew Basics
On Extraction Measurement Batch Specific Info at 27 minutes

If those basics alone aren’t helping:
EK43 Alignment

I am not familiar with Bunn brewers but I have worked with them enough to know they are rarely great. Make sure your brew cycle provides a sufficient pre-wet volume AND delay. Pre-wet makes the biggest difference in extraction percent in an otherwise well-designed brew cycle.

Apply these changes and let us know if they’ve helped!

I use the Curtis batch brewers, and when I have all the parameters right it comes VERY close to matching a well run French Press in quality… and no, my frogpot does NOT do the 4.5 minute standard recipe. Very smooth and sweet, no bitterness.

Not familiar with the grinder you use, so can’t guess at where that setting lands you. I typically ise Baratza, usually the Encore. My grind setting is one to three notches toward coarse from the middle mark on the scale.

For a 2.2 litre airpot I use 100 grammes of coffee, ground as above. These are starting points, after first batch on a given coffee I may tweak does or grind particle size. The brew cycle time start to finish on the D 500 Curtis is five minutes. A nice bloom pre-wet is part of the standard brew cycle. The stock cycle is so good I’ve never bothered to play with building a new one. Maybe someday…

Your optioin one: unacceptable. It CAN get better. Option two, not likely. Unless it looks and smells like Charbux, or loaded with underroasted citrusy rawness, in either case find a new roaster… optioin three, likely. See above notes for how I grind for the batch brewer. Your option four, quite possible. I’d switch back to the “standard” brew cycle… how long is the cycle you’re now using? If its much over five minutes, try shorter ones. Overextraction leads to bitterness. Brewing too long over time will do that. Optioin five, try the standard recipe on the 2.2 litre batch size, using a medium grind as I describe above If it is still too harsh/bitter, go to a larger grind size, or perhaps a lighter dose. Again, overetraction seems to be what you are getting.
DO NOT give up… believe it or not, today’s well-designed batch brewers are amazing. I use mine for weddings and other events, and ALWAYS get raves. People expect “gas station coffee” when they see the airpots on the table. I’ve had dozens approach me during such events and inform me they’ve just had the best cup of coffee they’ve ever had anywhere. And ask to buy some of the beans I am brewing… so I always make sure I’ve got a few bags along with. . I’d far rather have their money than my coffee. I can always roast more…

Hey All,

Thanks so much for the comments. I am happy to report that since moving to a 2L batch size my batch brew no longer sucks. I’m using roughly 60/L and 10 on the EK43 which is in line with what I’ve done in the past. The coffee is tasting great and I am well pleased.

Thanks again BH team and special thanks to my new coffee based hero Scott Rao

1 Like

That’s great that this easy variant helped you, and now your coffee is tasting great. When I’ve had a similar problem, I had to change our grinder. Frankly speaking, it was, unfortunately, cheap and surprisingly had electric blades instead of electric burr (I don’t know where did they buy it, maybe according to this review or similar).