The beautiful failures of coffee experimentation

This morning I learned the beautiful lesson of messing with a dialed in coffee recipe and the difference that 50 grams of water can make. Let me tell you, it is quite a difference my friends. I have always been told about the subtle balance that is going on in the coffee brewing process and I feel that I have a good understanding of it. It is something that I always keep in the back of my mind as I develop my recipes. Today I was reminded of that balance and how when it’s off it can seriously bite you.

I like to make a French press every morning before work. It is a simple process that my newly awoken brain can handle at 6am while still being challenging enough to help me awake and begin my day as I need. I have been using my 34oz French press which makes more than enough coffee for myself and my wife. Lately I have been thinking about how much I have left over when I leave for work. There is coffee available at my work, so I don’t think to pack the remaining coffee in a container of some kind to continue drinking. Although I really should. As an alternative to this I have been thinking about how I can make enough coffee to drink in the morning for my wife and I, but also not have any left over once I’m done. My first thought was to tweak my French press recipe to produce slightly less coffee. This seemed like a reasonable idea, so I gave it a shot this morning. Today I tried using only 750 grams of water instead of my usual 800 grams. My mistake was still using my usual 45 grams of coffee. This blew my ratio to pieces and the coffee came out bitter and gross. The really sad part is that it was the holiday blend from Victrola Coffee, which is incredibly delicious this year. If you haven’t tried it I suggest grabbing some if you can.

Victrola Coffee being my favorite coffee in all of Seattle I was especially disappointed to create such a travesty using their stuff. If you can hear me Victrola, I’m sorry. Looking back on it I realize that I don’t need to tweak my recipe. What I need to do is to work out a recipe for my other, smaller French press. It is a 12oz size and can easily be two solid full cups of coffee. At least, I’m pretty sure it can. I will have to experiment, but I have a good starting point. This should hopefully provide better results as it is much more appropriate to the situation. Plus, it will be good to have a solid recipe for this smaller French press anyways.

In the end really, this can all be taken care of if I just get a good travel situation going for bringing coffee to work, so that I can continue to enjoy the stuff I make in the morning. But, that will have to be another blog post. Feel free to leave your coffee making experiences in the comments!


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