CCD Experiments and More Tips

Showing the translucent cup of paper filter brew on the right and the opaque Swiss Gold brew on the left.

Swiss Gold Sludge in the bottom of the cup. We used a moderately coarse grind for drip brewing, and a nice Mahlkonig grinder.

Clever Coffee Dripper Cover the dripper while steeping the water and grinds; use a small plate or or pot lid.

These are the range of grinds we tested, and the middle was the best. No surprises here; the best grind was a fairly typical drip grind.

Our brew testing of various grind types

Too fine grind (left) and too coarse grind (right) comparing opacity in the cup with a back light. Not very scientific, but telling.

We have tried a few different methods of brewing in the CCD and cupped the results... Here are some tips and comments based on our tests. We invite your own input on this via the Forum! We still have some brew variations to try out, so this page will grow...

Don't use a Swiss Gold filter...

Let's start with the easy recommendations that resulted from our tests: Don't use a Swiss Gold filter! Okay, use one if you like, but we couldn't produce a good cup with one! We tried several times to get good results by using the Clever Coffee Dripper with a permanent gold filter. The results were a brew with poor texture (mouthfeel) and muddy flavors as well. The problem isn't specific to the CCD, it's a general Swiss gold issue, that too many fine particles of insoluble solids pass through the filter into the cup.

Soluble solids in coffee are the oils and other compounds dissolved by the hot water, whereas insoluble solids are small particles in the grounds and are comprised of the woody cellulose structure of the bean itself. These are normally trapped by paper filters, but make it into the cup with the French Press, espresso brewing or the Swiss gold type filters.

A little theory: There are 2 general ways of thinking about drip brewing: coffee ground particles suspended in liquid, or coffee particles forming a bed in the bottom of the filter, and the water percolating down through though them into the cup.

You can have good results with a Swissgold brew if, after the brew phase is over, you let the coffee sit for about 4 minutes undisturbed, and carefully pour from the top of you cup or carafe. The turbidity settles out in this time, and you can see some layering in the cup of clean, sediment-free brew at the top, muddy and turbid liquid at the bottom. (This is true with French Press too!) I think Swissgold works best in brewers where the grounds are not stirred, where it forms a bed and the water percolates through it. But in our brew method with the CCD, we stir the coffee at 1:30 minutes, and this makes for a gritty brew. So you might say, "just don't stir with the Swissgold!" Well, we found that result cleaner in terms of sediment but lacking in overall cup flavors.

Cover the dripper

We like to cover the dripper during brewing; use a small plate or or pot lid. One of the advantages here over a standard filter cone holder is that you can maintain a thermal mass of hot water steeping the coffee. Covering it helps to reduce heat loss.

Optimal Grind

We tested for cup quality and brew strength using a range of grinds. One of the nice things about the CCD is that grind and brew timing are no longer linked. Consider this: in a standard filter cone, you usually need to grind coffee ridiculously fine in order to extend brew times, to slow the rate at which the coffee drains into the receptacle. The CCD frees up the process from using grind in this way: you can grind to your preference, a French Press type grind if you like that, or a filter grind. To the right is an image of the range of grinds we tested, and the middle was the best.

No surprises here ...the best grind was a fairly typical drip grind. We liked the French Press type grind for the clarity and cleanliness of the cup. But we found a little less body. The fine grind tasted slightly acrid, over-infused. I fear that those used to a typical filter cone brew have also ground coffee very fine out of habit, so you might want to err on the side of coarse, then go progressively finer if you think the coffee lacks body.

Keep it Clean

Do not allow residue to build up in the filter; lightly scrub the cone with very hot water and a sponge or brush, taking care to clean shut-off mechanism lightly from the top. If necessary, use a detergent-free cleaner designed for carafes and filter cones. When we get buildup in a filter cone, we soak it in a strong espresso machine cleaner (Urnex Cafiza) and very hot water for 5 minutes, scrub with a brush and rinse with very hot water.

Ideal Brewing: the "1.5 Minute Stir" method.

Here are some more specific recommendations for exactly how I use the brewer

Amount of Ground Coffee 2 scoops/22g
Water used 12 oz/350 mL/361 grams*
Infusion time 3 - 4:00 min
Amount of Filtered Coffee Made 10 oz/300 mL

* We have found that for the most accurate brewing, it is best to measure your water by weight. This is easily done by preparing your coffee on a scale. For 22 grams of coffee, you want to use 361 grams of hot water.

** These recommendations are based on using a regular drip grind. If you use a coarser grind, you may need to lengthen extraction time.


Other little notations

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