Why doesn't coffee get over extracted on a cupping table?

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Why doesn't coffee get over extracted on a cupping table?

Postby Piero Cristiani on Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:23 pm

It doesn't make sense that coffee over extracts on a, say, french press, but not on a cupping table. Coffee can sit on a cupping table for over an hour and it still tastes fine while the grounds are still on the bottom.
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Re: Why doesn't coffee get over extracted on a cupping table?

Postby Andy Schecter on Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:17 pm

Piero Cristiani wrote:It doesn't make sense that coffee over extracts on a, say, french press, but not on a cupping table.


IIRC, at least part of the explanation was given to me by Vince Fedele: in cupping, the open-top cup loses temperature rapidly. Lowered temperatures slow down the extraction process. The size of the typical cupping cup allows a happy balance between the over and underextraction temperature range.
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Re: Why doesn't coffee get over extracted on a cupping table?

Postby Alistair Durie on Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:06 am

I think extraction can increase with agitation of grinds 'resting' at the bottom of a press or cup. When brewing a press I let rest for 5 minutes after the plunge, then carefully pour. I encourage cuppers to be gentle not to agitate the grinds resting on the bottom.
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Re: Why doesn't coffee get over extracted on a cupping table?

Postby Wendy De Jong on Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:12 pm

Thanks for the encouragement Alistair!
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Re: Why doesn't coffee get over extracted on a cupping table?

Postby Philip Search on Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:52 am

Just like Alistair i let the french press sit, another trick is to grind for a french press closer to a cupping grind, and seep for 3 minutes instead of 5. At coarser grind settings, on most grinders, at fracture you get a higher concentration of very fine particle sizes, go a couple of notches finer, and this problem is lessened. At a cupping grind, on the grinder I am using (a highly modified Bunn), percentage of very fine particles is less that 10%, where as at just two notches coarser the percentage of very fine particles jumps to around 22%.
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Re: Why doesn't coffee get over extracted on a cupping table?

Postby PatrickSmith on Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:33 am

Good initial question, Piero.

Philip Search wrote:At coarser grind settings, on most grinders, at fracture you get a higher concentration of very fine particle sizes, go a couple of notches finer, and this problem is lessened.


Brilliant! I have often been annoyed at the percentage of fines on a coarse setting, and casually noted a lower percentage at slightly finer settings. To my shame, though, I never thought of simply reducing the contact time and using a slightly finer setting for presses. Thanks.
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