BH Unlimited Update, Jan. 30th, 2021.

We have entered the closing stages of the Immersion course, but it would not be complete without a close look at the hybrid brew methods like the Clever Dripper. We use the term ‘hybrid’ because these styles of brewers combine elements of both immersion and drip coffee. In Chapter 5, Jessica Sartiani (Florence-based barista Trainer and BH Italian translation partner) demonstrates a recipe which she designed for the final round of the 2019 Italian Brewers Cup. 

In a series of experiments, Jessica explores how changes in ‘time’ and ‘grind profile’ can affect extraction yields. To do this, she changes the amount of time that passes before ‘breaking the crust’; and she uses a hand sieve to achieve a very specific grind profile and compares that to how un-sieved grinds behave. Jessica comes up with some very surprising results. For instance, she found that brews where the crust is broken at 1’30” and commences the drawdown 30 seconds later, were only taking just over 1 minute to draw down. Whereas, breaking the crust after 3, and 5 minutes, took almost exactly twice as long. 

Another fascinating discovery Jessica made was that when she used her hand sieve to remove particles outside of a 500–900 µm range, the drawdown was much slower. Would you expect that? We didn’t. Plus, Jessica was able to obtain yields that averaged almost 11 percent higher when she brewed with the sieved grind profile. There’s also a great new video in the course where Jessica walks you through her experiments. We look forward to following up on these discoveries in the next update, plus we’ll be getting into the cezve next time, too. 


This week we have added a new post by Jonathan Gagne to the Whitepapers, entitled The Four Rules of Optimal Coffee Percolation . It’s interesting considering our recent focus on steep-and-release brewing, because if you did brew in the Clever Dripper for example, you’d be adhering to most of the rules Jonathan is proposing — just by accident; such is the cleverness of that device. But sadly, it’s not that simple. What Jonathan is getting at with this daring assault on the status quo of percolation brewer designs is that none of the existing designs adhere to all four of these rules. 

One of these rules, which is probably the most troubling, concerns bypass. Not the kind of bypass that massive batch brewers do, where they drop a bit of hot water out over the side of the funnel. What Jonathan means by ‘bypass’ is the water that you pour into the slurry that never passes through the bed, and is instead, able to slip out through the holes in the filter paper that are situated, above the level of the coffee bed. This image (below) from the whitepaper says it all. 

The main takeaway here is that there’s work to be done… That the perfect pour-over brewer design is still ahead of us. And the question is: who’s going to hit the jackpot and release the optimal pour-over device? Barista Hustle is definitely ready to sponsor that Kickstarter. The design is out there somewhere... orbiting around the boundaries of coffee. 

The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Guatemala

Meanwhile in our Buyers’ Guide, we dust off our crystal balls and take a look into the future of coffee farming in Guatemala. The coffee price crisis of 2001 triggered a monumental change in Guatemalan coffee farming. Most large coffee farms left the industry and started growing other, more profitable crops, which created an opportunity for thousands of smallholders to enter the market. However, the low prices that created this opportunity also make it hard for small farms to cover the cost of production.

Coffee farmers in Guatemala are also experiencing the effects of climate change. Extreme weather events are becoming more common, and drought or unseasonal rainfall can cause severe damage to the coffee crop. The changing climate also affects the distribution of diseases like Coffee Leaf Rust and nematodes.

Faced with these threats, many Guatemalan coffee farmers face an uncertain future. However, entrepreneurial smallholders are adapting to the challenging circumstances, diversifying into new crops, and taking advantage of the growth in the market for specialty coffee. Research shows that a modest amount of support and investment in Guatemala can result in substantial increases in yield and profitability for small farms, which would help to put the industry on a more sustainable footing.  

BH Tools

BH Tools are back for individual and wholesale customers in the USA — other locations soon to follow. All orders get free shipping. Our global store is just inches away from the same situation. If you'd like to be notified when we're open for global business, just reply to this email with a note.

Quick Links

  • Monica Chan’s summary of a report about the US Coffee Market-performance is a sobering reminder of how tough our friends over the pond have had it. ‘The global pandemic has wiped out almost a quarter of the US coffee market.’ 
  • Bulgarian scientist Nasko Panov’s explorations into Turbidity in Aeropress making. 
  • The carbon footprint of coffee roasting .

CBG Guatemala - New Lessons!

Growing, Harvesting, and Processing:
CBG 3.06 • Economic Outlook
CBG 3.07 • Climate Change
CBG 3.08 • Adaptation

Immersion - New Lessons!

IM 4.10 • Recap
IM 4.11 • Comprehension Test — Chapter 4
IM 5.00 • What’s in Chapter 5?
IM 5.01 • Steep-and-Release
IM 5.02 • Experiments with Steep-and-Release

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

To the Boundaries of Coffee,
Team BH