07 Sep 2018
Today was my first day playing with the temperature of the burner. I’d noticed the Express was feeling a little sluggish, and on one day couldn’t even push the water through the grounds without a little boost from the burner.
So today, I cranked up the heat (from 4 to 5 on my gas range). While I totally forgot to time the brewing, I can say that it at least felt quicker.
I also had a little hiccup in the brewing. I screwed everything together snugly as I always do, but noticed that the flat surfaces of the top and bottom chambers didn’t quite line up (like they usually do). I didn’t think much of it, but once the water was hot enough to start being pushed through the grounds, it started leaking though the seams between the chambers (water, not coffee fortunately).
This seemed to slow down the drip rate considerably. I consider this an experimental error, so I think I’ll try the same conditions tomorrow.
This incremental bump in heat seems to have sped up the brewing (though I can’t say for sure until I time it tomorrow) without burning the grounds or the brew. I think this will be the balance to strike when playing with temperature: how hot can we go without having an effect on flavor?
The volume of grounds I used was roughly comparable to the first couple days, and so it seems were the rest of the properties of the cup. Calmer aroma, controlled bitterness, though something of an unfamiliar aftertaste (not sure what that’s about).
Backing off on the grounds also seems to have fixed yesterday’s problem with the odd, tangy bottom half of the brew (or at least reduced it back down to acceptable levels). It also left me with considerably less grounds sludge.
Overall, I give today’s cup a 6.5/10, though do remember that I’ve declared a mistrial and will try today’s parameters again tomorrow. Speaking of:
I can’t say for sure why my careful, snug attachment of the two chambers didn’t seal properly today. If I had to guess, maybe it’s because I didn’t level off the grounds in the filter, and the protruding bump didn’t want to be pushed down by the top chamber.
Because of this, and the fact that I forgot to time the brewing process this morning, I’ve decided to try today’s parameters again tomorrow. Specifically, those are a slightly under-full filter, lid open, and stove set to 5. As usual, the bean and grind will be the same.