More Pourover Notes

My AeroPress has been a little bit neglected lately, as I’ve been really enjoying the pourover cups I’ve been brewing with my bag of light roast beans. Both the pourover and AeroPress methods take about 5 minutes (start to finish) to brew a single cup, so going forward, I’ll probably be using both, depending on the beans and (to an extent) my mood. Two things I’ve learned over the past week:

  • With pourover, small adjustments to the grind size seem to have a larger effect on the finished cup than with the AeroPress. The first few pourover cups I brewed tasted a little bit sour and under-extracted, but at just a slightly finer grind (6 clicks on my JX), I’ve been getting fantastic cups.
  • When brewing single cups with boiling water, the coffee will cool to a drinkable temperature faster if I use a room temperature ceramic mug instead of an insulated Hydro Flask mug, so I can enjoy it sooner and without burning my tongue. 😀

Morning Notes

After alluding to it yesterday, I brewed a cup of pourover coffee this morning using this recipe, with the same beans and a slightly finer grind. I went back and forth over whether to try it coarser or finer, eventually settling on finer just because of how my earlier pourover cups have tasted. I used a setting of 18 on the JX grind chart, which is two rotations minus 6 clicks (54 total clicks). I think this was the right call. The cup had a little bit more fruitiness than the cup I brewed with the AeroPress, with more body to balance out the fruity acidity than my previous pourover cups. Now I’m wondering how fine I can go before it starts to taste bitter.

The weather was quite pleasant this morning, and the past several days have been dry, so I hit the trails and commuted to work through PVSP on my mountain bike. It was my third bike ride in 4 days. On the HoCo side of the river, I rode Belmont Trail to Morning Choice to Lewis and Clark to Garrett’s Pass, which is a route I take frequently. It was a great ride, except something stung me on my arm at one point. I am wondering if maybe I ran over an underground hornet’s nest, and one of them got me. If that’s the case, I’m glad I was moving fast (and I’m not allergic)!! We’re still in heavy summer growth season, but with a few exceptions, the trails I rode were not overgrown. Upper Soapstone Trail, which is on my route home, may be another story, so I’ll see how that is doing later this afternoon.

Pourover vs AeroPress

I’ve brewed the same light roast coffee beans with the same pourover method four times now, and the results have been fairly consistent — good cups that could probably be a little bit better. Today, for comparison, I went back to my AeroPress, using a recipe I had tried once before with these beans. Other than the brewing method, the main differences were that I used a slightly coarser grind with the AeroPress (2.5 turns on the JX vs 2 for pourover) and also a little bit higher ratio (1:14 vs 1:16.67). Both cups seemed good strength-wise. The AeroPress cup was stronger, but the pourovers weren’t thin or weak tasting. They did have more of a noticeable fruity/acidic taste than the AeroPress cup. I think, overall, the AeroPress cup was a little bit better, but I’m curious to see what happens if I try the pour-over with a different grind size. I’m just not sure whether to try it coarser or finer.


I needed to shift gears after using up the last of my dark roast beans this morning, so this afternoon, I decided to finally try making pourover coffee.

  • Beans: Local Coffee Roasting Co. (Roxana, DE) Breakfast Blend (Guatemala/Colombia) light roast
  • 15g coffee / 250g water (1:16.67)
  • JX: 2 rotations or 20 on the grind chart (medium — a little finer than what the chart shows as a pourover grind) Note — better a little bit finer at grind setting 18 (2 rotations minus 6 clicks)
  • Water at boil (100°C)
  • Recipe: A Better 1 Cup V60 Technique (see below)
  1. 0:00: Pour 50g of water to bloom
  2. 0:10 – 0:15: Gently Swirl
  3. 0:45 – 1:00: Pour up to 100g total (40% total weight)
  4. 1:10 – 1:20: Pour up to 150g total (60% total weight)
  5. 1:30 – 1:40: Pour up to 200g total (80% total weight)
  6. 1:50 – 2:00: Pour up to 250g total (100% total weight)
  7. 2:00 – 2:05: Gently swirl
  8. Drawdown should finish around 3:00

This went pretty much according to the script, except I maybe waited a little too long before the first swirl, and I completely forgot the second swirl. I will try to improve my swirling technique next time. To preheat my ceramic V60, I went downstairs to the workshop and found a rubber Fernco cap that was just barely large enough to fit around the flange on the bottom of the V60. I took the metal clamp off the cap, put the cap on the V60, filled the V60 up with water from my insta-hot tap, and let it sit while the brew water was coming to a boil. It worked great, and the V60 was nice and hot when it came time to use it.

I have to remember to let the cup cool for a little longer when brewing with boiling water, as I got a little impatient and burned my tongue. 😮 Other than that, I was pretty happy with how this turned out, especially for my first time doing pourover. The flavor and strength both seemed good. I’ll probably brew it exactly the same way next time. I’m curious to see how a coarser or finer grind affects the taste, so I may play around with that a little bit eventually. I hadn’t brewed these beans in about a month, so I’m also curious to try this AeroPress recipe again and see how it compares to the pourover.

Brew Notes

  • Beans: Local Coffee Roasting Co. Breakfast Blend (light roast)
  • Grind: Medium-coarse – 2.5 turns on the JX
  • 100°C water (full boil)
  • 13 grams coffee / 180 grams water (about 1:14)
  • One new paper filter (dry)
  • Recipe: 13g that makes you happy (inverted: add 30g water, stir 5x, top up to 180g at 0:35, stir 10x, flip at 1:35 and press very slowly, finishing at 2:35)

Another in my continuing efforts to see if I can use this recipe as my “daily driver”. Two modifications for these beans: boiling water (vs 90°C), and 5 seconds longer initial “bloom”. This produced a pleasant, nicely-balanced cup which I would definitely brew again. It was slightly cleaner and milder than the cup I brewed with the French press a few days ago, with more flavor than my earlier attempts with the AeroPress. While it’s just fine as-is, I might try a finer grind some time just to see how, if at all, it affects the flavor.

Brew Notes

  • Beans: Local Coffee Roasting Co. Breakfast Blend (light roast)
  • 20 grams coffee, 260 grams water (1:13 ratio)
  • French press
  • Gooseneck kettle
  1. Preheat French press
  2. Heat brew water to boil
  3. Coarse grind (JX setting: 3 rotations + 4 clicks or 94 total clicks)
  4. Start timer and pour at the same time
  5. 60 second bloom (including pour time)
  6. Stir a few seconds until grounds settle
  7. Steep 6 minutes

I’ve been getting a little bit frustrated with my AeroPress lately. I just seem to be unable to get consistently good results with it. One day I’ll brew something that is really good, and the next day I’ll brew the exact same beans with the exact same recipe, and it will be lackluster. I wish I could figure out what I’m doing when I get a good cup from it, and repeat it somehow.

On the flip side, we have the French press. It takes longer than the AeroPress, but I don’t think I’ve ever brewed a bad cup with it. For this one, I used the light roast beans I picked up last week in Bethany. I’ve used this exact French press recipe with lots of different beans. The only difference today was that because it’s a light roast, I used boiling water instead of 85-95°C water. The result was a rich, full-bodied, generally excellent cup. The only problem was that it was maybe a little too strong. I am feeling the caffeine more than I would like. The 1:13 ratio is stronger than the 1:18 I’ve been using with the AeroPress, but it may just be because it’s a 30% larger cup than what I usually make with the AP (260 vs 200 grams). I can see if I like it at 1:14 or 1:15, or just cut the volume down to 200 grams, which would call for about 15 grams of coffee to get a 1:13 ratio.

I may try out an AeroPress recipe like this one that uses a coarser grind which more closely mimics what I’ve been using with the French press, just to see what kind of results I get.

Random notes

Still experimenting with the light roast coffee beans I picked up the other day in Bethany. This was an improvement over yesterday:

  • Local Coffee Roasting Co. Breakfast Blend (Guatemala/Colombia)
  • 11 grams coffee, ground at 39 clicks on the JX (1.5 turns minus 6 clicks)
  • 200 grams water at full boil (1:18.1)
  • Two paper filters
  1. 20 second pour
  2. Steep 2 minutes
  3. Take off scale and swirl
  4. Wait 30 seconds
  5. Press 30 seconds

Compared to yesterday, this was ground slightly finer (39 vs 42 clicks) and poured right off the boil, instead of 99°C. Arguably not much of a difference there, but I suspect that due to heat loss, this gives an actual steeping temperature close to 99°, which is what the Hoffmann recipe calls for. The cup definitely had more flavor than yesterday’s. Just to make sure I’m extracting these beans as much as I can, I may try drawing the brew time out a little longer, and see if I can get it to the point where I start to taste some bitterness. At that point I’ll back off the brew time a little bit, and see if the cup is as strong as I would like. It’s worth noting that the instructions on the bag of beans specify a 1:17 ratio, which is slightly more coffee than I’m using here.

I got out at around 6:40 this morning and ran 5.3 miles. I felt a little better than I did Sunday. I woke up slightly sore after climbing yesterday evening and swimming yesterday afternoon, and wasn’t initially sure I wanted to go out, but once I get moving, I felt fine. Climbing went well last night. I climbed 4 routes on lead and 4 on top rope, at grades ranging from 5.8 to 5.10+. It was my first time leading in about a month. Lead climbing is one of those things you have to keep doing regularly to stay comfortable and confident on the wall.

This and that..

On July 6, I noted some recent issues with tightness in my right calf, which has been a recurring issue with me. I’ve suspected that poor kicking form while swimming freestyle and backstroke might contribute to this. I did not swim at all while we were on vacation last week, and had no tightness issues for the entire week. However, I’m noticing that a little bit of tightness is back today, also in the right calf, and I have not yet been in the pool. It just occurred to me that both days I’ve had the issues were right after I took long drives. On July 4, we took a 6-hour day trip to Pennsylvania, and yesterday was a 4-hour(!) drive home from Bethany. My right leg, of course, is the side I use for the accelerator pedal. Could there be a connection here?

While at the shore, I picked up a few half-pound bags of coffee beans, including some light roast (breakfast blend) from Local Coffee Roasting Co. in Roxana, DE. Today was my first foray into brewing anything lighter than medium roast in the AeroPress. I followed the James Hoffmann recipe pretty closely:

  • 11 grams coffee, ground at 42 clicks on the JX (1.5 turns minus 3 clicks)
  • 200 grams water at 99°C (1:18.1)
  • Two paper filters
  1. 20 second pour
  2. Steep 2 minutes
  3. Take off scale and swirl
  4. Wait 30 seconds
  5. Press 30 seconds

The end result was OK, but lacking in flavor, which tells me I’m probably not getting enough extraction from the beans. In his video, Hoffmann recommends adjusting either the grind size or the water temperature to address this, instead of upping the amount of coffee, which you might do with a darker roast. Next time, I may try going a little bit finer with the grind, and possibly heating the kettle water to a full boil and pouring directly off that.