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Barista Hustle - November

Long time no see! Welcome to the first monthly newsletter, designed to improve signal and reduce nois

Barista Hustle

November 4 · Issue #88 · View online
Views and news about the brews. Unique and relevant information for coffee professionals and enthusiasts.

Long time no see! Welcome to the first monthly newsletter, designed to improve signal and reduce noise: 3 expanded thoughts and 4 excellent links await.

Brew Longer
Specialty coffee is really good at over-complicating things. The one I’ve been scratching my head over most recently is brew time, or contact time. 
Ever notice that people mostly complain about consistency and flavour with brewing devices designed for sub-four-minute brew times? Especially espresso?
Ever notice that people lament “it tasted so much better on the cupping table”, shrug their shoulders, and continue on?
Every notice that batch brews are quite consistent and tasty compared to V60’s or similar?
It’s because fast brews are fickle and generally under-extracted, while longer brews are more consistent and generally more evenly extracted.
Aiming for brew times anywhere up to 4 minutes is like trying to catch light in a box. Extraction is happening so rapidly that’s it’s almost impossible to stop it at the same point twice. It’s also more than likely under-extracted due to the interior of grinds being a torturous water maze.
Extracting for longer in any brew method is far more consistent because extraction slows as it approaches the maximum. I’m not saying absolute maximum. I’m saying the maximum you could get with that brewer if you extended the time indefinitely.
Extremely loose diagram for 🤔 purposes only.
Maximum extraction barely, if ever, tastes bad (unless you’re using a blender and keeping the water above 90C). It’s also really consistent. I like recommending things that are near-maximum because they’re almost impossible to screw up. Boiling water is hard to screw up. Tamping until the coffee stops compressing is hard to screw up. Near-maximum extraction is hard to screw up.
TL;DR - When you next brew coffee, don’t be afraid of brewing for longer; everyone is roasting so light, and under-extracting so often, that it’s nearly impossible. Try brewing coffee for longer regardless of method. You might find a whole new world of sweetness you didn’t know existed!
The Subscription Grows
2450 bags to 747 cities and towns.
The Subscription has turned into a core slice of the Barista Hustle pie. From a whim in the Facebook group to a (very small but now sustainable) business. Looking at a map like this really drives home how borderless coffee can be. I never thought I’d be part of something that directly touches so many humans in so many countries! Thanks to everyone who has signed up so far - your curiosity and trust keep me going!
Also, I now accept paypal! If that was a hang-up, now’s your chance to get involved. Learn more and sign up for December here.
Gender and Competition
A recent theme for the Facebook group was competition. It saw some people get angry, others wax lyrical about the benefits, and many others scratch their heads. You can read posts on tips for first-timers, ideas to improve competition relevancy, reasons why people haven’t competed, and why they have competed
Most interestingly (to me at least) was a poll to discern some differences between male and female attitudes and experience in competition. It was pretty simple, separating men and women into 16 buckets of yes/no to competing before and yes/no for likelihood of competing again (in retrospect a non-binary gender category should have been included, and will be in the future!).
Things that are obvious:
  • Most people haven’t competed.
  • Former competitors are highly likely to compete again (a positive).
  • Non-competitors are highly unlikely to compete (totally fine).
What surprised me:
  • Men and women are almost identical across the board (awesome!!). 
  • If anything, women are more likely to compete in the future, whether they have or haven’t before.
You could draw a hundred random conclusions from this, but here’s mine: I’d like to think that men and women aren’t so different, and that equal representation in competitions isn’t an impossible notion. We need to even out how many people of all genders start the race, which should even out where they all finish, and how (all) the benefits are distributed.
Note: there were 1250 respondents, and 3.5 times more males than females (better than I expected!). All percentages are calculated as if gender cohorts are equal size. And obviously this isn’t indicative of the whole industry, just one Facebook group full of geeks. 🤓💗
This Month on the Internets
Crony Beliefs
Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground
Coffee Roasting: Measuring What Matters
The Coffee Community: Working Together
See You Next Month!
As always, you can reply to this email to say hi or send me interesting things to chew on. I’m active in the Facebook group and less so on other platforms.
As I mentioned above: if you enjoy this newsletter, the absolute best way to to help out is to spread it on the socials (or sign up to the Coffee Subscription!). Easy buttons for sharing are just below…
To the boundaries of coffee,

Matt Perger
Barista Hustle
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