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Tuesday, 26 June 2018 00:43

Brew Gadgets: Melodrip!

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by Ray Murakawa,
Founder of Melodrip

Melodrip was conceived in 2015 as a tool for testing the effects of agitation on coffee extraction.  Standard techniques such as pouring slower/lighter were considered means of reducing agitation, but when pouring into a brewer the size of a standard single serve brewer, I observed that any bare-kettle pour caused enough turbulence to suspend particles in the slurry.  During this research I discovered when sampling brewed coffee spun in a centrifuge, a noticeable volume of finer particles were being discharged into the final cup.  So I focused on testing how I can control the amount of these discharged particles, and how they effected our perception of flavor at standard extractions.  What I’ve found was that the amount and duration of particles in suspension correlated to the volume of particles discharged.  So the more you suspended in the slurry, the more insoluble content can be observed in the brew.  If you can control the amount of insolubles in your cup, you effectively have a cleaner cup of coffee.  Additionally, when insolubles are accumulated on our tongues we become less sensitive to certain tastes as well.  
What melodrip is designed to do is to reduce particle suspension in pour over coffees. Melodrip is not specifically designed to remove agitation as this variable is essential for efficient distribution of heat and hydration.  All of our recipes require a combination of bare-kettle and controlled agitation techniques.  
rsz emptyname 9
What you can expect from a properly extracted melodrip pourover is a medium to light body when is hot, and a medium body when is warm.  The tactile sensation is silky.  Acidity and overall flavor separation is magnified with a bump in malic acidity.  When is cool down, bitterness and astringency do not increase in certain roasts because there are less insolubles extracting in the cup, and brighter coffees continue to retain their bright and sweet characteristics as temperatures continue to drop.
So can you achieve these flavors using other techniques?  Sure.  To do it consistently is another issue.  Telling someone to pour light or medium or heavy is extremely vague.  Pouring is like our handwriting- it’s completely different from person to person, hand to hand etc.  In an enthusiasts world where we continue to push numbers and data to correlate them to what we taste, it would be an oversight to believe that applying agitation in repetition consistently is easily executed or taught with a bare kettle.  Pourovers have existed for over 100 years, and since then every other aspect of coffee preparation has progressed, from the farm level to the cup, except how hot water is applied to ground coffee.  
rsz emptyname 11
The popular concept of extraction - to get everything out of coffee, high tds/ high yeild, I believe is flawed.  I’m more focused on only getting only what I want from coffee.  Extracting 22-26%E.Y. with a standard bare kettle method and the melodrip method are two different cups of coffee.  So melodrip allows enthusiasts to explore that difference and apply this to personalize their ideal balance.
Home brewing is about personalization, I don’t know of any coffee shop that is tasked with brewing my ideal cup of coffee.  And they don’t need to.  That’s my job! 
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