28 Sep 2018
Today I set out to discover whether 3 and a half tablespoons was really the ideal amount of coffee grounds to use in the Moka Express. Well, if the magic number isn’t 3.5, it’s awfully close.
Today’s brew was quite fast – so much so that I’m second guessing whether I actually had the burner set to 5 and not 6. No way to find out now. Coffee started pouring into the top chamber at 3:01” and was finished in a blazing 3:08” (followed by a pretty high energy explosion that I luckily contained in the sink).
I think today’s cup has been closer to Plato’s ideal form of the Light Roast than any of my previous attempts thus far. Or, in Aristotelian terms, the essential properties (bright high notes, tangy/ bitter aftertaste) were in the foreground, while the accidental properties (those from the tap water for instance) weren’t even noticeable.
In that sense, I could this cup a success. However, it’s also helped me realize that I think I really do prefer the medium roast. My palette just doesn’t jive with the big, aggressive flavors I’ve been getting from this roast. I much prefer the more subdued, nuttier midtones of the medium roast. I suspect I’ll find my sweetspot there, in the balanced middle of the roast spectrum, rather than traversing all the way to the other side with the dark roast. But I refuse to live by that mere assumption, and, for the sake of science, make sure that the dark roast is the next bag of grounds in this house!
Considering all of the above, I grant this cup a 7/10, which I think is the max score I’ll every be able to give (at least this particular) light roast.
Now that I have a grounds volume and temperature fixed, I can start to tinker with more subtle parameters. The first one I think I’ll try (which I got from the Internet a number of weeks ago) is preheating the top chamber. Apparently, the “shocking” temperature change from the near-boiling water to the cooler top chamber affects the flavor. I’m skeptical this will make a difference because the top chamber is also sitting above the burner, and really can’t bee that much cooler; I think this trick applies more to the Chemex and other pour-over methods where the destination of the coffee is separate from the heating process.