From January 19th through 22nd, Coffee Common held their first public event in North America at A Startup Store in Chelsea. A selection of the world’s best baristas gathered to make delicious coffee and help people understand how they can too. Demand for quality coffee is on the rise, but a market filled with strange devices and alien vernacular can sometimes be intimidating. Read more…
Minded with mastery and no stranger to events Troy, of Cosmic Cup Coffee and Gerra, of New Harvest Coffee can add another successful gathering to their list of accomplishments.
Barista folk from all over the world gathered at a specialized 2 1/2 day event titled MANE.
According to attendees, speakers and a brief, lovely post from dear coffee i love you we’d like to offer a little recap.
With interviews from a short, but sweet DM twitter feed from an easy man to adore, Gwilym Davies and one of our very own attendee/instructor/all around cool guy, Scott Guglielmino.
Let’s start with the keynote speaker and 2009 World Barista Champion (apparently looking very good for his age according to the wikipedia definition, perhaps some shenanigans around his birth year). If you have met Gwilym you would agree he’s probably the most approachable person in the industry; kind, knowledgeable, and a professional learner. His keynote speech summed up felt a little something like this “we just don’t know much…and it’s time to drop the ego’s.” With an invitation like that you can imagine how the dynamic of a room can change opening up the lines of communication.
Scott G. (LM Solutions & specialized customer service tech.) came away with a similar feeling on the event. Scott spent his time doing what he does very well, explaining the intricate but very basic controls for finding great coffee; dose, grind, temperature. His message is the same whether he is here, abroad or at MANE, “…the correction extraction should also taste good.” (Thank you www.dearcoffeeiloveyou.com for that perfect quote). He is full of impactful one liners like that. Scott had another pretty inspiring moment that he put into these exact words,”The thirst for knowledge in the New England coffee community was refreshing.”
The event had great topics, full days of information sharing in an intimate layout which welcomed conversation and encouraged hands on learning.
Evenings were matched with a latte art competition, brew down event and what would be great fellowship leading into the wee hours of the morning.
Strada, lever machines and Marco boilers played supporting equipment roles in the production that attendees brag is the best coffee event to date!
Continuing on in our Pulitzer-qualifying “What It Is & What It Isn’t” series, covering some of our newer, lesser known products, we continue on with the Marco Uber Grinder.
What is the Uber Grinder?
With the delicious madness that is manual brewing sweeping the land of specialty coffee, there hasn’t been quite a performance driven grinder to match the level of thought and input that manual brewing requires. This is quite worrisome, as you spend 3-5 minutes (or more!) on a preparing a single cup of brewed coffee to only result in maddening quality variance, over/underextraction, and, above all, a sub par cup of coffee.
As part of Marco’s UBER PROJECT (a continuous endeavor to pursue the very best in coffee equipment), the Uber Grinder is designed to achieve what’s technologically and practically possible in grinding for manual brewing. Marco’s main focus is the burr set, which provides the key to an incredibly narrow grind particle distribution curve that results in maximized clarity in the cup. The Uber Grinder burrs feature:
- Magnets to hold it in place (instead of screws, which their screw holes would trap coffee grinds)
- Custom profile optimized for 750-800 microns
- Optimized glass pearl blasting
- Titanium plating
How the Uber Grinder works
Properly BREWED coffee is a function of an appropriate amount of coffee surface area exposed to hot water and time. Done correctly and you get 18-22% extraction (percent of coffee mass removed from coffee grounds) with 1.15-1.55% brew strength (concentration of coffee solubles in brewed coffee), depending on your preference. Grinding is a critical link in this equation in that it determines the total surface area of the coffee being exposed to the hot water. The finer the grind, the more the surface area, and the more the extraction. The coarser the grind, the less the surface area, and the less the extraction. From here on, it gets a bit more complicated.
Different burr designs – blade, flat, conical, roller – result in different shape of the grind. Unless you have an electron microscope, the shape is probably not as big of a concern for most practical applications. What is of greater concern is the uniformity of the grinds – that is, the consistency of the grind sizes. This is translated into particle size distribution, expressed in sieve sizes, microns, or, most pragmatically, particle size distribution graph.
Uber Grinder’s particle size distribution chart (in RED).
There are two predominant methods in coffee to analyze particle size distribution. One is with lasers and obviously more restricted to a dedicated lab setting. You get a nice graph seen above. The other is with sieves. There’s Ro-Tap but, due to its exorbitantly high cost, very few are frequently used in the coffee industry. Then there’s the mini grind sizer from coffeechemistry.com, a hand-shaken portable sieve set great for everyday use. Not only can it help you to brew a better cup of coffee, you can also shake and dance around in the process of doing so.
The key to proper extraction in BREWED coffee is grind uniformity. For manual brew, the optimal grind size is around 800 microns. If you have a less uniform batch of grinds, the smaller grind size portion of it will be overextracted (resulting in bitterness) while the larger grind size portion will be underextracted (resulting in peanutty, grassy tastes). All else being equal, a more uniform grind will produce a cup with more clarity and more representative of the coffee being used. The ideal shape of a particle size distribution graph for brewed coffee would be one that’s very tall and narrow.
(The exception here if grinding for ESPRESSO. The ideal espresso grind needs the tiny grind fragments (fines) in addition to larger grinds in order to produce the necessary pressure and solubles. The resulting particle size distribution graph would exhibit either a slant towards the finer side, or multiple peaks.)
Compared to common drip coffee grinders, the result is something you can literally taste. The difference in particle size distribution can be clearly seen in the contrasting lines in the above graph.
- Incredibly uniform and consistent grind particles
- Fast grinding
- Near zero residual grinds in housing
- Easy chute cleaning tapper
- No programmable timer
- 1.6lb hopper (good if you use different coffees cup to cup but not so if you just want one)
First of all, stop using Robur or Kony E’s for drip brewing! They are designed for espresso! Second, Uber Grinder is excellent for drip coffee grinding, particularly for single cup brewing applications. If you focus so much on sourcing the best and the latest coffees to feature at your bar, why let something as simple as grinding mess it up?
The Uber Grinder may command a price premium over typical retail coffee grinders but considering the consistency and additional quality in the cup you can achieve, it may be well worth your consideration.
The Uber Boiler is part of Marco’s “UBER PROJECT“, a continuous endeavor to pursue the very best in coffee equipment. Whereas typical products go through the standard product development cycle – research, concept, develop, test, and launch – the Uber Project inherently loops itself indefinitely. As we speak, Marco has the next generation in development. Read more…