Peet’s Major Dickason’s AeroPress

  • Beans: “Major Dickason’s Blend” (Latin America/Indo-Pacific)
    • Dark roast
    • Roaster: Peet’s Coffee (Emeryville, CA)
    • Roast date: 11/19/2023
  • Dark Roast AeroPress Recipe
    • JX grind setting: 11 to 12 (33 to 36 clicks)
    • Water temperature: 85°C
    • Steep time: 1:35
    • Ratio: 1:12.5 (20g coffee, 250g water)
    • Prismo with metal filter and 1 paper filter
    • Go easy on the stirring (3x or so before and after steeping)

I initially brewed these yesterday at grind setting 16, but it tasted a little bit watery/under-extracted. I tried again today using grind setting 15, and it was quite good. Some “fines” definitely make it into the cup at this setting, which doesn’t bother me, but if it did, I could add a paper filter to get rid of them.

12/30: Decided to experiment today and see how much stirring really affects extraction, as I’ve read in various places that more stirring == more extraction. I stirred at least 10 times at both the beginning and the end of the steep period. The result was a really watery and lifeless cup, which is not what I had been expecting. After the fact, I realized that I had used grind setting 16 instead of 15, which kind of invalidates the experiment. It does prove that no amount of stirring is going to make up for the grind being too coarse. It also makes me wonder if I should try grinding finer than 15. Not sure if I’ll try that tomorrow, or try the stirring experiment again.

12/31: Went to grind setting 14 and back to just 4-5 stirs. Kind of a weird cup, where the first half tasted full-bodied and pretty good, but the second half seemed like it had less flavor. I’ve noticed this phenomenon a few times before, particularly with darker roasted beans, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the coffee cooling down as I drink it, or my own taste buds getting desensitized, or both, or neither. It could be that the beans are past their prime, in which case I may have hit the point of diminishing returns. However, it seems that I’ve used grind settings as low as 12 with dark roasts in the past, so I will likely try to go a little finer next time and see what happens.

1/1/24: Grind setting 13 was an improvement over 14. Interestingly, the first sip had a slightly watery mouthfeel, but the rest of the cup was pretty nicely balanced, which is the exact opposite of what I noted yesterday. Once again, I’m not sure how much of it is related to temperature vs palate. Could probably go even finer if I wanted to..

1/2: Grind setting 12 today. This was a little better still than 13, at least until the last third of the cup, when I started noticing some bitterness. This cup also had noticeably more sludge in it. I may try adding a paper filter tomorrow, to see if filtering the sludge out eliminates the bitterness.

1/3: Kept grind setting 12 and added a paper filter on top of the metal Prismo filter. Good cup with no bitterness at the end and no sludge. I think I might brew the rest of the beans this way, unless I get the urge to tinker some more.

1/5: This was still good at grind setting 11. I wonder how fine I can grind these before they start getting bitter…

1/9: Grind setting 11, stirred a little bit more than usual (maybe 7 times or so back and forth before and after steeping). This cup tasted kind of like burnt ashes. Is this what over-extracted dark roast coffee tastes like?

1/10: Used setting 11.3 (34 total clicks). I added 1 click on a whim, but I doubt it’s enough to tell a difference from 11. Didn’t stir much this time — 3 rather leisurely back-and-forth stirs before and after steeping. This ended up being the best cup I’ve brewed so far. It was good, with no burnt-coffee taste, and the entire cup was consistent (no mysterious loss of flavor halfway through). Could the stirring (or lack thereof) really contribute that much to the flavor? Unfortunately, I only have 30g of beans left to experiment with, so I’ll have to pick this back up with the next dark roast I buy.

1/12 or 1/13: Used up the last of these. I got the best cups using a grind setting of 11 to 12, going easy on the stirring, and using a paper filter in front of the metal Prismo filter, so I’ve updated the recipe accordingly. Incidentally, I ended up with 8 grams of beans left, which was not enough for a full cup, so I brewed it at 1:10 (80 grams water) and added it to some hot chocolate. It was quite tasty!