final daily tasting – number 7: pulse brewing

So, when I started these tastings, my intention was to do one tasting each day for a week. Almost two weeks later, I’m finishing writing up day 7.

In retrospect, this was definitely too ambitious a blogging project at a time when I have a lot of practicing to do for NERBC and a lot of new projects at work.

One such project I’ve had to work on lately was a pourover event over the weekend.1 this “tasting” is more an anecdote from that event than an actual experiment like the others.


I am admittedly pretty inexperienced with manual brewing and coming up with manual brew recipes, plus we decided to work with a device I hadn’t used before. So, at first I felt a bit lost, using dose and grind as best I could to dial in. I got it as good as I could this way, but it seemed totally underdeveloped.

The brew time was far quicker (2:30) than I felt like it should be, and the variables I was working with just weren’t changing the brew time very much.2

Enter pulse brewing. Dividing my continuous pour into two even pours with a drawdown in between brought my brew time up to about four minutes – more of a difference than I thought it would be, and much closer to the time I had initially suspected might be more appropriate.

Even with the same amount of water, same dose, and same grind setting, the longer brew time with the drawdown between made for a noticeably further extracted cup – in a really good way.3

In other words, drawing out the brew time was basically a one way ticket to tasty town. Like, literally. And it made for a more complex and delicious cup.

Like I said, this probably should have been obvious from the beginning for me, but sometimes I think we baristas get into a mode of tweaking the recipes we already have rather than trying out totally different things that may be really lovely.

I have a lot more to learn about brewing theory and whatnot. I think I may make it a goal to test out more of the variables more systematically, if only to get a better feel for it all.


  1. Photo instagrammed by Andrew Lopilato.
  2. I basically couldn’t get out of the espresso mindset.
  3. There are, of course, other ways of drawing time out. I was pouring about as slow as I felt like I could do consistently, but I’d like to experiment with a flow restrictor at some point. I should also not that I changed the time I stirred to coincide with the beginning of the first drawdown, which also has a pretty significant effect on extraction.

About barnwolf

head barista for pavement coffeehouse and erc boston
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