A Better French Press Recipe

BH Unlimited Update, Apr 19th 2022.

When we were carrying out brewing experiments during the writing of the Immersion course last year, there was one particular experiment run by Jessica Sartiani which opened the door on something which was quite surprising to us. This week, Jessica retraced her steps to find out for sure if the results she was getting with her French press were statistically significant, by doing a lot more repetitions. And the answer is — yes they are.

Jessica has identified a method of brewing French Presses that makes the variance between the strength of your brews one hundred times smaller.

In other words, this new recipe will make the TDS of your French Presses miles closer together. To find out exactly what’s involved, here’s our new blog post: it’s called If and When to Stir Your French Press .

Roasting Science

Detail from Goldfine’s 1944 patent for an asymmetric spouted-bed roaster.

In our Roasting course this week we explain the principles of fluid-bed coffee roasters. This type of roaster uses airflow to partially or completely fluidise the beans — lifting them up in the stream of air so that they float and are able to behave like a liquid, circulating in the hot air.

Strictly speaking, most modern ‘fluid-bed’ roasters are actually ‘spouted beds’. In a spouted bed, the bed is only partially fluidised around a jet of air. The beans are lifted up in the jet, then fall back down in the roasting chamber to recirculate. Coffee beans are hard to fluidise, so spouted beds are more efficient at mixing coffee beans than true fluid beds.

Fluid-bed roasters were invented by Heinrich Caasen back in 1926, but it took another 30 years for the first commercially viable machine, Lurgi’s Aerotherm, to reach the market. The unsung hero of fluid-bed roasting, however, is Wesley Goldfine. Goldfine invented a roasting machine in 1941 that used a jet of air to circulate beans in a chamber, rather than fully fluidising them. This machine could be considered the forerunner of modern spouted-bed designs, and was invented more than a decade before the term ‘spouted bed’ was coined.

You can read more about how fluid-bed roasters work, and how they affect the flavour of the coffee, with an unlimited subscription.

The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Brazil

Our comprehensive course on the world’s biggest coffee producer is nearing an end this week. For our final lessons, we spoke to the wonderful Martha Grill, 2019 Brazilian Barista champion, to ask her advice on how to get the most out of Brazilian coffee as a barista, roaster, and green buyer.

Martha made her name as a barista at the World Championships, but now also roasts coffee and runs the seed-to-cup programs at Minamihara , an organic coffee farm in Alta Mogiana. There she sees first-hand how good farm management and processing can affect the bean, creating dense, long-lasting, and aromatic coffees ‘[that] could easily be mistaken for an Ethiopian coffee during the roast, as well as on the cupping table.’

Roasters and baristas working with Brazilian coffee should keep an open mind and look for unexpected flavours, Martha says. ‘I wish more baristas in other countries knew that Brazilian coffee is more than nutty, chocolaty, and full-bodied coffees.… I can’t stop being surprised by the quality, consistency, and different sensory profiles that I taste day by day.’

Martha’s insights reinforce everything we’ve learned on our journey through the growing regions of this huge and fascinating country. Brazilian coffee is no longer just the safe choice for the base of an espresso blend; the best the country has to offer can be as complex, difficult, and exciting as coffee from anywhere in the world.

Our Editorial Policy

At BH we never do ads for products on our website. There’s no product placement in any of our courses, newsletters or blog posts. Our only income comes from what you pay for your subscriptions. When you see machinery or coffee gear mentioned in any of our educational material, or featured in our course videos, we have chosen to use that equipment because we like using it or because it shows you something you need to see. It’s as simple as that.

Roasting Science

Roaster Types
RS 1.08 • Development of Fluid-Bed Roasters
RS 1.09 • Pros and Cons of Fluid-Bed Roasting

The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Brazil

Notes for Green Buyers
CBGB 7.04 • Interview with Martha Grill — Part I
CBGB 7.05 • Interview with Martha Grill — Part II

As always, we're just an email away if you have any queries! Have a great week and we look forward to seeing you next time.

To the Boundaries of Coffee,
Team BH