Grind science

David Walsh – research scientist by day, investigative brewer by … well, I assume that’s by day as well – has the latest word on the science of the pour-over brew in his recent post entitled At odds with unevenness.

In admirably deliberate fashion Mr. Walsh produced eight brews using four different types of pour-over devices and then proceeded to slice each of the resulting collections of spent grinds in half, finally subjecting each of the now sixteen different spent grind samples to testing in order to ascertain which of the brew methods produced the most evenly extracted cup.

God bless ‘im. Mr. Walsh is one patient and methodical man.

The results of the experiments are not to be reproduced here. Click through the link mentioned previously and give Mr. Walsh and his blog “The Other Black Stuff” its due (TOBS needs to be added to the blogroll and stat) but the results, as all good studies are want to do, provoke more questions and instances of speculation than they give answers. To wit:

  • I would be curious to see each brewing device put through its paces, producing several cups, each being the the product of a different technique i.e. (and as mentioned in one of the post’s comments) instead of a straight-through pour that fills up the cone on the V60, utilizing a technique that kept the grind bed low in the cone for the duration of the pour.
  • What role is the water quality playing in the levels of extraction?
  • What role is the filter playing in extraction levels given that each of the devices used utilize a unique filter design/contruction?
  • Man – and this might be considered a spoiler (alert!) for those of you who have not read At odds … yet – wouldn’t it be somethin’ if, after all this time spent hopping from one pour-over brew method to the next, the ubiquitous Melitta dripper actually produced the best brew of the bunch?

I’m sure, given time I could think of more.

A fine read. One to place on the virtual bookshelf and I can’t wait to find out what sort of additional experiments Mr. Walsh’s work inspires others to perform.

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