Zeke’s Market Blend Pourover (take 2)

Starting a new post for these beans, because this is a significant change from my original recipe.

  • Beans: “Market Blend” (Ethiopia/Guatemala)
    • Medium roast (5/8)
    • Roaster: Zeke’s Coffee (Baltimore, MD)
    • Roast date: 10/2/2023
  • 18g coffee / 250g water (1:13.9)
  • JX: 2 rotations + 9 clicks (23 on the grind chart / 69 total clicks)
  • Bloom water at 99°C, brew water between 81°C and 85°C
  • Recipe: A Better 1 Cup V60 Technique (see below)
  1. Heat water; preheat V60 and mug
  2. Pre-moisten filter, add coffee, and tare scale
  3. Shake V60 to level coffee bed; make small indentation in center of grounds
  4. Start timer and do the following, finishing between 0:45 and 1:15:
    • Pour 50g of water to bloom
    • Return kettle to base
    • Lower kettle temperature by 20° or so by adding room temperature water
    • Bring kettle water back up to 81°-85°C
  5. Reset timer
  6. 0:00 – 0:10: Pour up to 100g total (40% total weight)
    • Hold kettle for the remainder of the brewing process
  7. 0:20 – 0:30: Pour up to 150g total (60% total weight)
  8. 0:40 – 0:50: Pour up to 200g total (80% total weight)
  9. 1:00 – 1:10: Pour up to 250g total (100% total weight)
  10. Wait for drawdown (30-60 seconds)

As with my last bag of medium roasted beans, I had been trying to brew these using a pourover recipe that works well for me with lighter roasts, with unspectacular results: the cups were occasionally bitter, occasionally weak/watery, and generally lacking in sweetness/complexity. I couldn’t quite get things figured out with my last bag, so I ended up brewing most of my cups in the French press.

Visually, these beans look pretty dark, and they are also coated with oil, which makes me think maybe I should try to brew them like a dark roast. The problem is, I had never tried a pourover with a dark roast. I found yet another James Hoffmann video where he covers this topic. The main takeaways I got were:

  • Bloom with near-boiling water, but brew with cooler water
  • Grind coarser, because we actually want to extract less from the beans than with a light roast
  • Corollary: extracting less at the same ratio as a lighter roast will result in a weaker-tasting cup, so use more coffee to compensate.

In practice: I started with a 1:14 ratio, and decided to shoot for a brew temperature of 85°, but I added a little bit too much cool water after the initial pour. As a result, the water took longer than the appointed 45 seconds to warm back up. I ended up blooming for an extra 30 seconds, at which point the water was at about 82°-83°. That, of course, pushed back the times for all of my subsequent pours, as well.

This cup was definitely a step in the right direction. It was better than any of the previous pourovers I’ve made using these beans. It had a nice flavor with no bitter aftertaste, and it seemed like a good strength as well. Next time, I’ll work on my water-cooling technique, and see how the next cup turns out.

10/23: After brewing several cups, I’ve found that this recipe works well with bloom times anywhere from 0:45 to 1:15 and water temperature between 81° and 85° (inclusive). Since the bloom time can vary depending on how long it takes to bring the water back up to temperature, I added a step to zero the timer after the bloom, to make it easier to keep the timing straight during the subsequent pours. I am hoping this will be a good starting recipe for medium to darker roasts.

10/28: Decided to try a slightly stronger cup this afternoon. I used 260g water and 20g coffee (1:13), which is the ratio I usually use for medium roasts with the French press. I poured 5 “pulses” of 52g each. It turned out great! I think that 1:13 to 1:14 is about the perfect range for these beans.

11/2: Used up the last of these today, exactly one month after roast date and a little over three weeks after I bought them. The last few cups were still good, but I think the beans were getting a little bit past their prime, as there was a small, but noticeable, drop-off in taste/complexity with the last few cups. I’ll definitely buy these again at some point, though. Just need to plan to use them up within a month of roast date.

2 thoughts on “Zeke’s Market Blend Pourover (take 2)

  1. Trying comments again instead of editing the post itself with followup info. Still not sure which I prefer.

    Brewed this again this morning, and again added too much water to cool, so everything ended up identical to yesterday, including the pour times. The cup was very similar to yesterday’s, so maybe I should just keep doing it like this. 😀

    I think that the amount of cold water to add is always going to be somewhat of a crap shoot. Even if I were to exactly measure out the amount of water I add to the kettle, the resulting temperature would still vary based on the room temperature. It would then follow that I can’t really predict how long it will take for the water to recover to the ideal brewing temperature of 82-85°, although I suspect that with practice, I’ll be able to get to where it’s fairly consistent. Since the main thing that it affects is the bloom time, I’m curious whether a 30-second variance in bloom time has any significant effect on how the cup tastes. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. There’s also the issue of keeping the pour interval times straight in my head when they vary from what I’ve memorized. I’m not sure I trust myself to do the math in my head first thing in the morning. A simple answer to that, though, would be to just zero the timer after the bloom ends.

  2. This afternoon’s cup was the first that went according to (intended) script. I poured just enough cold water to drop the temperature to about 82°, and it had warmed to 85° by 45 seconds, allowing me to follow the original timing of the recipe. The finished cup was pretty good, and did not taste noticeably different from the others I’ve brewed with this recipe. So, the beans seem to tolerate a bloom time of 0:45 to 1:15, and a brew temperature anywhere from 82° to 85°C. I’ll update the recipe in the main post after I’ve brewed one or two more cups.

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