Wulf's Webden

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Two Stage Mash

I need to get round to doing some more homebrewing soon. What I’m thinking about with this title, though, is coffee. There are lots of ways to brew coffee. Unless you have unlimited funds, one of the critical restrictions is your equipment but, even there, there are normally plenty of choices. Beyond the choice of bean, how do you grind it, what temperature is the water, how long do you leave it and so forth.

For my regular brews, I tend to use relatively course ground coffee, a filter that sits in the cup until I remove it and water at 90°C. That last one is possible because I have a kettle where you can set the temperature. Boiling water creates, to my taste, a harsher brew while my favourite method for smooth flavour is cold steeping the ground coffee (possibly extra strong and then finishing with hot water to bring to a drinkable temperature). Cold steeping needs to be started the day before though and I’m rarely that organised!

What I’ve been experimenting with recently is an idea that owes a little to some methods of beer brewing – the two stage mash. I start with adding some water at 70°C to the grounds, enough to cover them but leaving plenty of headroom. Then that can steep for a while which, in practise, often means just long enough for me to heat the rest of the water up to 90°C. I’ll pour that second lot in as slowly as possible, give the filter a swirl and remove it. The result, to my mind, is something that is a little richer while being little more hassle.

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