Zeke’s Colombia Pourover

I went through my last half-pound bag of coffee beans in only 9 days, of which I drank all but two of the cups. So, if we assume that I average 1.5 cups a day, and Cathy has an occasional glass of cold brew, I can expect to use up a pound every three weeks or so. Today, I opened a new 1-pound bag:

  • Beans: “Colombia Sierra Nevada” medium-light roast
    • Roaster: Zeke’s Coffee (Baltimore, MD)
    • Roast date: 9/6/2023
  • 16g to 17g coffee / 250g water (1:15.6 to 1:14.7)
  • JX: 2 rotations (20 on the grind chart / 60 total clicks)
  • Water at 96°C 99°C
  • Recipe: A Better 1 Cup V60 Technique (see below)
  1. Preheat V60, pre-moisten filter, add coffee, and tare scale
  2. Make small indentation in center of coffee grounds
  3. 0:00: Pour 50g to 60g of water to bloom, then return kettle to base
    • 16g coffee → 50-55g water; 17g coffee → 55-60g water
  4. 0:10 – 0:15: Gently Swirl
  5. 0:45 – 1:00: Pour up to 100g total (40% total weight)
    • Hold kettle for the remainder of the brewing process
  6. 1:10 – 1:20: Pour up to 150g total (60% total weight)
  7. 1:30 – 1:40: Pour up to 200g total (80% total weight)
  8. 1:50 – 2:00: Pour up to 250g total (100% total weight)
  9. 2:00 – 2:05: Gently swirl
  10. Drawdown finished around 2:45

The local grocery store has a pretty good selection of Zeke’s Coffee, all in 1-pound bags. I chose this one partly because it’s single-origin, and I’m looking to get a sense for how some of these taste so I can figure out what regions I prefer. Zeke’s labels their roasts on an 8-point scale, and this one is graded 3 out of 8, so I’m calling it medium-light. I used the same recipe as yesterday and the day before, with just a tiny bit hotter water. It seems like it was a good starting point, as the cup was pretty good, although I suspect there’s room for a little bit of improvement. I may try my next cup with boiling water, just to see if it brings out any different flavors.

9/16: Brewed this again with water just under boil (99°C) and I do think I preferred it to yesterday’s. Flavor-wise, it was a little bit reminiscent of my most recent bag of light roast beans, which makes sense, because that was a blend that also included beans from Colombia. It will be several days before I brew this again, but I’ll likely stick with this recipe when I do. I also recently found an interesting AeroPress recipe that I’m curious to check out. The science behind it seems pretty sound, so I’m wondering if it’ll address the issues I’ve been having with weak AeroPress brews.

9/23: Brewed again this afternoon, everything the same as 9/16. It was well extracted, and the flavor was fantastic. If I were to nitpick, it might have been ever so slightly on the strong side, but that’s a good problem to have. I bet I could get away with using a little bit less coffee. Maybe try with 16 grams next time?

9/24: Brewed this evening with 16 grams of coffee and 50 grams initial bloom water. Kept everything else the same. Gets a thumbs up. It was a little bit less strong, but still robust and full-bodied. I might stick with this ratio for a while, unless I’m in the mood to make it stronger (more likely in the morning than the evening 😀).

Interesting note about these beans: after grinding them, there’s less fine “dust” left over in the grinder than with any other of the beans I’ve ground to date. Not sure why that is, or whether it’s considered “good” or “bad”, although I suspect I’ll learn at some point. For now, it’s just an interesting observation.

9/26: For the second time today, I forgot to reset my grind setting after brewing cold brew yesterday, and ended up grinding the beans finer than with my prior cups. I used 16g coffee with a grind setting of either 16 or 18. There was not much difference with the brewing process: very little fine dust left in the grinder, and the V60 drained down at around 2:40. The flavor was definitely different, but not in the way I would have expected. It had a little bit less body and a much more prominent fruity/cherry overtone. While it wasn’t bad, It was decidedly better balanced at the original grind setting of 20, so I’ll definitely be going back to that. Intentional or not, though, It’s always good to learn more about how various tweaks affect the flavor of the coffee.

9/29: Decided to make a larger cup of this “to go” today. I went back to a grind setting of 20, used 20 grams of coffee to 300 grams of water (1:15), and poured in 5 “pulses” of 60g each (vs 50). This worked fine with my size 1 V60 and my 12-ounce Hydro Flask mug, and tasted the same as the numerous 250g cups I’ve brewed. I seem to get pretty consistently good cups out of these beans.

10/2: Have brewed larger cups of this (per 9/29) several times now and they have all been pretty consistently good, but this afternoon’s seemed a little bit better than the others. Same water temperature, same grind size, same ratio, same recipe, etc., except this time I did not swirl the V60 at all. Instead, I rotated it a little bit between each interval, because I noticed that the area closest to where I was holding the kettle looked like it wasn’t getting as much water as the rest. Don’t know if that was the difference maker, but I’m going to try it again next time to see.

10/18: Used up the last of these today. Somehow, I ended up with 29 grams of beans left, which was only enough for two really small cups or one really, really big cup. I opted for the latter, brewing all 29 grams with 435 grams of water for my usual 1:15 ratio. I was initially going to use the French press, but realized that I had already ground the beans too fine, so I stuck with the V60 recipe, and scaled the 5 “pulses” water up to 87 grams each. These beans generate very few “fines”, and the water drains through them quickly, so I had no issues with the dripper overflowing. Other beans might require a larger V60 for this quantity of coffee. The cup was pretty good. I didn’t notice a big difference from the smaller cups I’ve brewed. I would definitely buy these beans again, and probably will at some point.